Portman applauds latest aid package to Ukraine, says Ohio ready to welcome refugees

Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 21, 2022

CLEVELAND — As the Biden Administration announced $800 million in new military aid for Ukraine and a half billion more to help strengthen that country's economy, Ohio Senator Rob Portman was in Cleveland speaking at the City Club. Portman told News 5 it's a good step for sure but there are more steps that are needed.

"I'd like us to do even more. I'd like us to provide those airplanes we've talked about a lot and also provide some larger drones that could be more effective against tanks and against ships," Portman said. "But look I think it's a positive step in the right direction."

"He also announced that we are going to start bringing in these 100,000 refugees. I believe that in the state of Ohio alone there are 100,000 people willing to be sponsors. I hear from people all of the time including today, we'd like to help we'd like to open our home. So I thought it was encouraging that he is finally putting in place the process to get these 100,000 refugees in."

Fifteen months after announcing his decision to leave office at the end of his term he says it's actually been nice to be able to do his job without having to worry about raising money for an election.

"I mean I've been able to devote myself to the infrastructure legislation. More recently to the battle with Russia and Ukraine where I have taken the leading role but also I've taken a lead on worker retraining, hoping to get the jobs act done in the next month or so, retirement security issues where we got a new bill that's really exciting to help people save more for their own retirement. I've been able to be more involved and engaged than I would have been able to had I been out campaigning or raising money so that's been kind of nice."

Those were items where there was bipartisan support in Congress, something that is more of a rarity these days. We asked Portman if his retirement and the retirement of other senators who were willing to work across the aisle was a cause for concern in the next Congress.

"Well you've got to have bipartisan support to get anything done I mean that's the way it works and so people say well you can't compromise with the other side. It's not a matter of compromise you know you have your position, they have their position but you got to find that common ground.

"I hope that whoever succeeds me will follow in that way to say you get hired by the people of Ohio to represent them and that means to help them and you can't help the people if you're not willing to reach across the aisle and find some common ground because otherwise, it's just about throwing out the red meat on the right or on the left and not actually getting something done."