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

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him How four GOP senators guided a tax-bill victory behind the scenes 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 McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters 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 MurkowskiMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Week ahead: Trump expected to shrink two national monuments GOP on verge of opening Arctic refuge to drilling MORE (Alaska), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoSenate women: Rules on harassment must change Congress, here's a CO2-smart tax fix to protect, create jobs Women, Dems leading sexual harassment discussion in Congress: analysis MORE (W.Va.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Study: ObamaCare bills backed by Collins would lower premiums Right scrambles GOP budget strategy 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.

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 PencePence allies worried he'll be called to answer questions from Mueller: report Trump thought it was ‘low class’ for Pence to bring pets to VP residence: report Pence told RNC he could replace Trump on ticket after 'Access Hollywood' tape came out: 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 KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns 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.