GOP senator: Not 'appropriate' to repeal ObamaCare without replacement
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBipartisan bill would bring needed funds to deteriorating National Park Service infrastructure The Memo: Trump allies hope he can turn the page from Russian fiasco Trump seeks to quell Russia furor MORE (R-Ohio) does not support leadership's plan to try to repeal ObamaCare without a replacement.

“I have said consistently that I support repeal and replace, and I’m not giving up on doing both of those things. I don’t think it’s appropriate just to repeal, we’ve also got to put a replacement in place," Portman told Ohio reporters during a Tuesday conference call.

Portman is the fourth GOP senator to push back against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting MORE's (R-Ky.) gambit to try to repeal ObamaCare now and give lawmakers two years to hash out a replacement.

GOP Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 MORE (Alaska), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoLots of love: Charity tennis match features lawmakers teaming up across the aisle Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs America must act to ensure qualified water workforce MORE (W.Va.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: Novartis pulls back on drug price hikes | House Dems launch Medicare for All caucus | Trump officials pushing ahead on Medicaid work requirements Senate panel to vote next week on banning 'gag clauses' in pharmacy contracts GOP senator: Trump's changing stances on Russian threat are 'dizzying' MORE (Maine) said earlier Tuesday that they would vote against proceeding to the House-passed bill being used as a vehicle for any Senate repeal action.

Portman, in comments from the call released by his office, didn't say whether he would vote against taking up the House healthcare bill.

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GOP leadership signaled Tuesday that they would try to take up the House bill, even though it appears they don't currently have the support to overcome an initial procedural hurdle.

With a slim 52-seat majority, McConnell can only afford to lose two GOP senators and still let Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceElection Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Lewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace Indiana has spent over million on cleanup of failed Pence family gas stations: report MORE break a tie.

He noted that his state has been hard-hit by ObamaCare and said he hopes his colleagues will keep working toward a replacement plan that could pass.

"There’s an urgency here for Ohio, and the best approach I think is to continue to work with my colleagues in the hopes that we can come together around a replacement plan that actually works to address these problems. These are real problems and we can’t ignore them," he said.

The Senate previously passed a repeal-only bill in 2015 in a 52-47 vote, with Collins and then-Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkThis week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill Trump attending Senate GOP lunch Tuesday High stakes as Trump heads to Hill MORE (Ill.) being the only Republicans to oppose it.

But GOP lawmakers knew ahead of the vote that then-President Obama would veto the legislation.

GOP leadership initially floated repealing ObamaCare with a delayed replacement as their path forward earlier this year but had to back away amid pushback from moderates.