Iowa U.S. Senator Joni Ernst talks healthcare, gun control and Trump

MOLINE, Illinois — U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, on a  swing through the Quad Cities region this week to attend the Scott County Republican Dinner and to visit the Rock Island Aresenal, stopped by the WQAD News 8 studios for a “Breakfast With” interview with the morning news team.

Ernst had plenty to say about a variety of topics ranging from healthcare, to gun control and her work in Congress.

We also asked some of your questions. The first topic discussed was healthcare.

Watch the full interview with Sen. Joni Ernst here:

Health Care

After the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare failed in the senate several times – congress is still trying to come up with a plan.

In Illinois – Blue Cross, Blue Shield plans to drop three OSF healthcare hospitals from its network. In Iowa, the only statewide insurer on the exchange – Medica - is threatening to raise its rates which could leave thousands uninsured.

Ernst remains hopeful congress can come together and find a solution. She added it’s important to make sure families and people with pre-existing conditions will still have healthcare at an affordable rate and congress must understand that.

“We need to realize that what we have is not working. It’s not working for our families out there. It’s too expensive,” added Ernst.

While on the subtopic of pre-existing conditions, a viewer asked the following question:

"Since the Las Vegas shooting, those victims will now have pre-existing conditions, many who do not have health insurance. How do you reconcile supporting the NRA while taking away healthcare for victims of that same gun violence? What are your ideas for replacement options?"

Senator Ernst responded by saying, “we are not taking away coverage for the victims. Hopefully they have wonderful exchanges where they have insurance. It’s two separate issues. I do support the second amendment but gun violence is never okay and we need to make sure those with pre-existing conditions are covered.”

Gun Control

With the Las Vegas shooting still fresh on people’s minds, the gun control debate has resurfaced and attention has turned to the issue of bump stocks. Ernst believes there is a loophole in the law – which allowed the gunman to use bump stocks for evil intent.

Senator Ernst says she’s working with lawmakers in Nevada to make change.

“I have joined with senator Dean Heller of Nevada and a number of other colleagues to ask the ATF to go back and re look that language. If the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms doesn’t act then congress will,” said Ernst.

President Trump

Our conversation wrapped up talking about Ernst’s current support for the Trump administration and her work in Congress.

She stated that she supports Trump's tax reform plan and infrastructure plan and how health care reform will benefit Iowans.  She said she sometimes disagrees with the president and isn’t afraid to say so.

Congress

Senator Ernst talked about one of the successes both parties have made with the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation.

It’s a bill which allows a memorial to be built on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to honor those who have served on the global war on terrorism. She also talked about the climate in Washington D.C and why she thinks it isn’t as negative as some believe.

“The media shows the divisiveness in Washington but what they don’t show are where we come together as parties and we work together. We have had some successes,” said Ernst.

Senator Ernst also updated us on the work she's doing in Washington D.C. to pass a bill that will cap the personal allowance for former presidents in hopes of elevating the burden for taxpayers.

After coming on Good Morning Quad Cities, Ernst head to the Rock Island Arsenal. She says she's working on several initiatives to sustain and build it up into something more for both the Quad City Area and the United States.