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Ohio Republicans Criticize Biden's Columbus Visit As 'PR Tour'

In this April 16, 2018 file photo, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks during a news conference at a Kroger supermarket as the company announces new associate benefits attributed to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo
Associated Press
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman

President Joe Biden visited with officials at Ohio State's James Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus on Tuesday, where he talked about the expansion of the Affordable Care Act.

As Biden made his trip, state Republican leaders argued the president had other issues he should be addressing.

"There is a crisis at our Southern border, today is not the day for a PR tour to spike the football on a $1.9 trillion 'relief' bill that does next to nothing to combat COVID-19," wrote Ohio Republican Party chair Bob Paduchik in a statement before Biden's trip.

Paduchik is referring to the surge of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and the increase of people being held in detention facilities.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) added his criticism to the relief bill, saying Congress should have taken a different approach to expanding the Affordable Care Act.

"My concern on that, which I expressed at the time, is it's increasing the subsidy for people who are well above the poverty line, and I would've targeted it much more," said Portman.

Portman, who voted against the relief bill along with every other Republican in Congress, also noted what's happening at the border, saying it constitutes a crisis. Portman visited the border himself over the weekend and says the Biden administration should open the facilities to the press, which at this point has been denied access.

Supporters of the ACA expansion says it gives millions of more low-income people the ability to get health coverage and expands Medicaid coverage.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.