Incumbent senator looks to be elected to her position for 1st time

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, August 12, 2018

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Tina Smith disagrees with the approach President Donald Trump’s administration is taking to health care.

Tina Smith

Smith, DFL-Minnesota, who replaced former Sen. Al Franken after he resigned following sexual assault allegations, said the administration’s efforts to eliminate the Affordable Care Act are contributing to the problems consumers face in health care.

To Smith, the administration’s proposed removal of consumer protections under the ACA — especially provisions regarding pre-existing conditions — are not appropriate.

“I just think that’s wrong, and that’s a great place where I disagree with the Trump administration,” she said.

Smith supports allowing Medicare to directly negotiate with drug companies to reduce prices, a position she said Trump has supported but has not taken action on.

She said she plans to introduce legislation to close loopholes allowing drug companies to strike deals with generic drug companies to keep their drugs off the market.

 

Farming

Smith said this year’s farm bill is a good example of bipartisan work being done in the Senate.

According to Reuters, the Senate passed a sweeping farm bill in June without food stamp changes approved by the House of Representatives earlier that month.

The measure passed by an 86-11 vote.

Smith said she has heard from farmers who have expressed concern about the long-term impacts tariffs instituted by Trump’s administration and retaliatory tariffs by other countries will have on farmers. She said it is important that the U.S. stands up to China, but Trump’s tough approach to trade negotiations with other countries is making it hard on Minnesota farmers.

Smith said Trump needs to stop negotiating through Twitter and understand global trade deals require nuance.

 

Immigration

Smith called for comprehensive immigration reform that includes strong border protections and a path to citizenship for Dreamers. She said farmers are concerned about the impact Trump’s immigration policy is having on their labor force, which includes seasonal workers.

She said she would have supported bipartisan immigration reform passed by the Senate in 2013.

 

Taxes

Smith said she would have opposed the tax bill passed by Congress that included tax cuts for a majority of Americans. She said the bill borrowed $1.5 trillion for unfunded tax cuts, and a majority of the cuts went to corporations and the wealthy.

“I question that,” she said.

Smith said a majority of additional revenue companies have because of the tax bill has gone to enrich shareholders, not to increase employee pay.

“I think that tax bill was a mistake,” she said.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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