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Decision 2020: U.S. Senate Candidate Joni Ernst interview

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Joni Ernst

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Election Day is approaching and over the next few weeks KTIV will be talking to candidates for races for the U.S House and U.S. Senate in all three Siouxland states.

The first KTIV will focus on is the race for the Iowa U.S. Senate seat. The four candidates include Republican incumbent Joni Ernst, Democratic nominee Theresa Greenfield, Independent Suzanne Herzog and Libertarian Rick Stewart.

KTIV's Matt Breen talked with Republican incumbent U.S. Senator Joni Ernst. You can read the full interview below:

"Senator Ernst, the Trump administration has asked the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act," said Matt Breen. "How would you replace the Affordable Care Act if it is ruled unconstitutional?"

"We have many opportunities in front of us," said Sen. Joni Ernst. "I do believe, number one, that we have to protect those with pre-existing conditions. And, we can do that by providing a federal government backstop for those with the most complex medical situations. Those that might require a heavy level of treatment. So, I do recommend that the federal government do that. I think that's one way we can cover those that most need affordable coverage. We also need to address the cost of our health care. The ACA did not do that. Health care costs continue to go up. Prescription medications. I was part of the CREATES Act, which lowers the prescription drug costs by allowing more generics on the market. We have other opportunities that exist, as well. Senator Grassley's prescription drug bill... I'm one of the co-sponsors of that bill, as well. So, a lot of opportunities there. We need to come together as Democrats and Republicans and find a workable solution to deliver quality, affordable healthcare."

"You sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will conduct hearings on President Trump's nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg," said Matt Breen. "Why should the president nominate, and the Senate consider, with a handful of days remaining before the general election?"

"It is our Constitutional duty," said Ernst. "There are no time frames established within the Constitution. Right now, we do not have divided government between the president and the Senate majority. The president has made a nomination, and it's up to the Senate to advise and consent... decide whether to take up that nominee. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has decided that he will take up that nominee. As a member of the Senate Judiciary I will do my Constitutional duty. And that is to vet the nominee that's in front of us."

"You said during a recent debate that your own parents are among 700-thousand Iowans that rely on Social Security," said Breen. "To keep the program solvent, you said Congress needs to look at all of the options. Specifically, which options have you considered? Raising the payroll tax rate? Changing the way the annual cost-of-living adjustments are calculated? Raising the retirement age?"

"All of those things need to be discussed," said Ernst. "But, I'm going to go back to... we cannot do this one party or the other. We have to come together in a bipartisan manner and sit down and work through this. One easy way to help shore up the system right now is to simply make sure that across the United States that we are fully employed meaning as many people as possible are fully-engaged in our workforce that will keep contributing to Social Security and Medicare. Then, beyond that, we need to make sure that we keep it solvent so that our children and grandchildren still have the opportunity and that safety net. I have never, ever voted to take away Social Security benefits or Medicare benefits from our seniors... never, ever... and it is my promise that I will not take away those benefits from our seniors."

"Senator Joni Ernst... best of luck on election day," said Breen.

"Thank you very much, Matt," said Ernst.

"Thank you," said Breen.

You can watch the other candidates' interviews by following the links below:

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