South Dakota’s congressional leadership is back in Washington D.C. following a recess during the campaign season.
Earlier this week Senator John Thune was re-elected as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. This puts Thune in the top three of the Republican leadership.
Thune says the GOP has a chance to deliver on Republican promises of economic and national security.
Thune says many concerns expressed by state residents sync up with what the new congress and President-elect Donald Trump want to accomplish.
“We talked about the problems with Obamacare, and the need to repeal and replace that, I think that will be very much front and center in the new Congress and the new administration," Thune says. "I think the stopping the regulatory overreach. It doesn’t matter where I went in South Dakota, whether it was healthcare, financial services, agriculture—production and agriculture, energy, everyplace you went felt like they’d been deluged with costly, burdensome regulation.”
Thune says expectations are high to get a lot done with a Republican controlled House, Senate and White House. He says he expects Congress to work on filling the vacant Supreme Court almost immediately.
Senator Mike Rounds says Congress is working on finishing up the budget and focusing on an increase in defense spending.
Rounds says Congress is headed straight to Washington following the new year to start on legislation for President-elect Trump’s administration.
He says Congress is going to be busy the first few months. He expects cabinet position approvals and a Republican plan for healthcare coverage to come up first…
“We are talking about repealing and then having an extended period of time for when we transition to more of a market based plan. I’m hoping that when we get done with it, it will be one that has a lot of the protections built into it that we had in South Dakota before Obamacare came in, which would include—and I think everybody still talks about the fact that—we want to make sure that it’s guaranteed renewable products, it’s still got a case of where you can be portable in your coverages from one plan,” says Rounds.
Rounds says a market based approach will increase competition, which he says is what’s missing from the Affordable Care Act.
Rounds says there should be a healthcare coverage option based on what people can afford to purchase.