'I don't think (Biden) does go far enough on Saudi sanctions': Sen. Rob Portman

George Stephanopoulos interviews Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on "This Week."
7:20 | 02/28/21

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Transcript for 'I don't think (Biden) does go far enough on Saudi sanctions': Sen. Rob Portman
Let's bring in Republican senator rob portman from Ohio. Senator, thank you for joining us. I do want to start with the covid relief bill, you said the passing this through the reconciliation would poison the well of bipartisanship, you voted to pass the trump tax cuts, so why isn't right for the Democrats to do this now? George, we were talking about difficulties of passing this legislation. There's an easy answer to this, let's make it bipartisan. Covid relief has never been a partisan issue. There are a bunch of us Republicans, I was one of the ten Republicans who went to see the president a few weeks ago and said let's negotiate. We've done this five times before, we can do it again. This is not like taxes or healthcare, this is covid by the way, it doesn't fit in reconciliation as we have seen, because it has to be directly related to the budget. To revenues or spending. Which is why the minimum wage got knocked out. I have not figured it out yet, but I think what he should do is what you did in the Clinton administration start off with more bipartisan measures. So that we can continue to work together and in this case, it would be very easy to get Republican support for a covid relief package. Well, there's Republican voters support for this package, 40% according to "The New York Times" support what's in the package right now. That's certainly one definition of bipartisanship. Yeah, if, you know, checks are coming out to people's homes, that's going to be popular but that doesn't mean that this is the right bill. It's $1.9 trillion, more half of it, George, won't even be spent in this calendar year. How could it be about covid relief? No one exhibits a year from now for us to be the covid crisis we're in now. So, it just doesn't make any sense. Number of things in here that have nothing to do with covid relief. There's a bridge in New York. Hundreds of millions of dollars for the arts and so on. Things that have nothing do with covid. Ming -- minimum wage was one of them. Even the child tax credit. Won't occur until next year. It's just not targeted. We have a Republican alternative, as you know we've been talking with the president and people about it. We got no response. That's much more targeted and focused on the real health care and economic matters that are urgent and that's what we ought to do. We've done it again five times more. This is not difficult. We can work together on this one. My hope is that they'll change their mind before this is over and it's going to be very, very close as Jon Karl said. For them to get this done will be difficult. Hopefully they'll back up and say, let's work with some Republicans and do something bipartisan. Let's talk about Saudi sanctions. Back in 2018 you said the crown prince should be removed from the line of succession if he was found responsible for this attack on Jamal khashoggi. Has president Biden gone far enough? No, I don't think he does go far enough. You have to give him credit, because he's increased sanctions and increased the travel bans on those individuals directly responsible. George, I don't think anybody thinks that the crown prince was not responsible, in other words that he knew about it and that he approved of it. I do think there should be something additional that focuses on him. It could be along the line of sanctions or travel bans. And look, I know this is tough, because Saudis are pushing back right now on Iran, that's very important. We've see what the Iranians are doing with the rocket attacks. So it's a delicate area and as we said earlier, it's easy to campaign harder to govern. President trump backed to campaigning today, he still dominates the Republican party, some of your colleagues like Lindsey graham say Republicans can't win without him. Are they right? Is he a blessing or a burden for the GOP? Well, he's very popular among Republicans, and the polling all shows that, I do think the policies is what even more popular and that's why Republicans actually did pretty well in 2020 other than at the presidential level. 15 seats were picked up in the house. That was unexpected. We did better in the senate. We picked up some statehouses unexpected. If you look at our country right now, most people are supportive of the general policies the Republican party has put in place with regard to tax relief, with regard to regulatory reform, with regard to rebuilding our military, regard to operation warp speed, number of things that we can talk about from a policy perspective that I think will move the party forward. Can you talk about that when president trump is out there in the lead? Well, sometimes makes it more difficult. But, look, I think he has an opportunity today to talk about his accomplishments. Instead of talking about personalities and who might have not agreed with him on the impeachment process, talk about what you did. When you think about it, a year ago, as we were going into the covid-19 crisis, we had the 19th straight month of wage growth of over 3%, the lowest poverty rate in the history of country. I mean, it was a strong economy but it was also an opportunity economy. We didn't talk about that. Why was that? Why did we have energy Independence? Because of good policies. Lot for him to talk about. Finally, you mentioned the supply chain issues, semiconductor shortage in the country right now, president Biden signed an executive order on that this week, what more should be done? Well, it's a very difficult issue, automobiles have been hit particularly hard right now. Not having this one item with more electronics in all of our lives, we're going to see furloughs. We're going to see it in the home appliance area, consumer electronics area, this is a huge problem because we're totally reliant on Taiwan. One company in Taiwan that makes these semiconductor chips, an example of a larger problem, George, we're too reliant on foreign sources for so many of our products and these supply chains need to be moved back here so we have more releicht. The president issued an executive order this week that I support. In the meantime we got to do something with the urgent crisis that we face and get the production up in Taiwan and do whatever we can in this country to move production back here to our shores. Senator portman, thanks for your time this morning. Thanks, George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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