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Rounds Weighs In On Federal Shutdown, Health Care Reform

Rounds for Senate

United States Senator Mike Rounds says he expects Congress will avoid a government shutdown. The current federal funding bill runs out Friday night. Rounds says lawmakers agree on a measure to extend the continuing resolution one week. He says that time allows Congress time to finalize federal government funding through September.

"Not the way we ought to be running government. There’s a lot of us that are not happy with it. We’ve got a number of recommended fixes to do, but we need to get past this time in which we have transition from one administration to another," Rounds says.

The South Dakota Republican says changes include more money for defense. He says Congress did not include that funding in the current bill.

Rounds says Congress is working on health care reform. He says gaining and keeping a majority is difficult. The Senator says lawmakers working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are balancing support from moderate Republicans and more conservative party members. 

"We know the transition period here is going to be expensive, and that seems to be part of the concern that a lot of conservatives had. That and the fact that they didn’t want to burden the states with essential health benefits that were mandated by the federal government. I think there’s a middle ground there," Rounds says. "I do think it’s going to cost us some money to get out of Obamacare long term, but by the year 2020 I’d really like to see this resolved and get back into a competitive health care industry again."

Rounds says the market should provide a variety of plans with different coverage levels. He says the industry needs more people on group health insurance and fewer on government subsidies and programs. Rounds also says states need to participate in managing local health programs instead of the federal government.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).