Rob Portman Plans for New Congress

US Senator Rob Portman [photo: Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau]

Republican Senator Rob Portman has returned to work as a member of the new majority party, and a new member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

In a conference call Wednesday afternoon, Portman said the first order of business is repealing and replacing Obamacare. He wants that to happen over a two- or three-year transition period, during which Ohioans could keep their existing coverage.

Portman said he also plans to ensure that the law he authored last year, called the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act, gets fully funded and implemented. The law seeks to help combat drug addiction—especially the opioid epidemic that has hit Ohio hard.

"We're working with the Obama administration right now to try to get as much done as possible before the new administration, and we're also starting to talk to the transition about the new administration putting in place all the programs that are under the Comprehensive Recovery Act that help on things like treatment and recovery and prevention," he said.

The national legislation could address a problem in Northeast Ohio. A spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said they have confirmed 517 deaths from heroin, fentanyl, or both in 2016, though that number could change.

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