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Decision 2020: Interview with Mike Rounds, Republican candidate for US Senate in South Dakota

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Mike Rounds

(KTIV) -- The election is next week and KTIV is continuing its interviews with candidates for U.S. House and U.S. Senate in all three Siouxland states.

KTIV interviewed the candidates for U.S. Senate in South Dakota, Democrat Dan Ahlers and Republican incumbent Mike Rounds.

KTIV's Matt Breen spoke with U.S. Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota to learn more about his campaign for reelection. You can read the full interview below:

"Senator Rounds, the Trump administration has asked the justices to overturn the Affordable Care Act," said Matt Breen. "How would you replace the ACA if it is ruled unconstitutional?"

"We've actually proposed legislation in the past that would reduce the cost of health care for Americans by 20-percent," said Sen. Mike Rounds, (R) South Dakota. "The Government Accountability Office (GAO) made a report on it two years ago. We do have plans in place. But, of all the plans that we've looked at, all include coverage for preexisting conditions. So, I think that if we are successful in having the Affordable Care Act, or portions of it,  overturned, I think you'll find less-expensive health care available on a state-by-state basis. Furthermore, you'll find the pre-existing conditions would be covered in all of those cases. In South Dakota, we actually provided protections for young people on their Mom and Dad's policy until the age of 29 if they were students before Obamacare. Second of all, we have coverage for portability, which meant you could move from one group to another group. That was all included before Obamacare came on board. We think we can reduce the cost, put competition back in, and still provide the protections that people want."

"You have indicated support for the TRUST Act, a bipartisan bill which could allow for fast-tracked changes to Social Security and Medicare to keep the programs solvent," said Breen. "What options would you consider to make sure Social Security is solvent? Raising the payroll tax rate? Changing the way COLAS are calculated? Raising the retirement age?"

"The reason we actually took on the TRUST Act, and the reason we are recommending it, is because we don't walk in saying we already know the answer," said Rounds. "What we're saying is let's get a bipartisan group of people together-- from the House and Senate, Republican and Democrat-- and talk about how we save those trust accounts... whether it's Medicare or Social Security, or the Highway Trust Fund. In each case, they're going to run out of money unless we do something about it. One thing we can do right away is Obamacare is taking about $700 billion out of the Medicare trust account. When that goes away, that draw goes away. So, we think that's one alternative. We need a bipartisan group of people to get up and say whether it's revenue increases, whether it's management changes, whether it's different types of investment strategies-- whatever it maybe-- let's talk openly and in a bipartisan way. But, let's make darn sure that people, who have put money into Medicare, and into the Social Security trust funds, that we never let them go without the coverages that they are... not so much entitled to, but which we have contracted to provide them."
"President Trump recently took to Twitter to end COVID-19 relief bill negotiations with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congress... only to back away from that statement the next day asking Congress to pass a bill with only the $1,200 checks for individuals in it," said Breen. "What do you want to see in the next relief bill?"

"What we have already offered is the protection of the PPP program, which is the Payroll Protection Plan, we've offered already to put that back in place," said Rounds. "Unemployment benefits, I believe, should be a part of that. But, not at $600. Probably at about $300 per week. I also think we should look at a stimulus check, as well, to every American. It doesn't have to be huge, but a little bit to get by this really tough time. We also have got to get people back into school, which means protecting those universities... the schools, and so forth, that spent money to take care of those kids. We want to help reimburse them along with doctors. Finally, in order to manage this, the sooner we get the pandemic under control, the better off we're going to be. It means more money for therapeutics, which we're successful on right now. And, also for vaccines. Both of which should be included in a bill that we all agree on. We just need to get together and get it done. The sooner the better."

"U.S. Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, best of luck on Election Night, sir," said Breen.

"Thank you," said Rounds.

You can watch Dan Ahlers' interview here.

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