Sen. Warner Discusses Health Care, Student Debt & Election Security During NBC29 Visit
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Elections were among the slew of topics Senator Mark Warner weighed in on Friday night. The Democratic lawmaker stopped by the NBC29 studios on his way to an event at Sweet Briar College, on Friday evening.
Senator Warner and NBC29s Daniel Grimes discussed an array of topics from health care, student debt, election security and the Russian disinformation campaign to immigration and his involvement in former UVA Coach Joanne Boyle's adoption.
When it comes to health care and student debt, Senator Warner does not support a single-payer system like the one some 2020 presidential candidates have proposed. He also does not support canceling all student debt.
Senator Warner cited the nation's $22 trillion debt as his reason. He says we need to refinance the student debt to a much lower rate and allow students who qualify for Pell Grants to use them while in high school at community colleges.
On health care, the senator does not support a single-payer system because it would kick people off their private insurance.
“I would not support a system that takes away private health insurance from 180 million Americans. There are ways to improve. I think there are opportunities for Americans who don't have access to healthcare to buy into plans like Medicare,” said Warner.
Warner called for expanding the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare while leaving a public option on the negotiating table. Senator Warner also wants the United States to confirm if Iran was responsible for the Saudi Arabian oil bombing as President Donald Trump has stated.
“America should do what is in our national interest, not simply what is in Saudi Arabia’s national interest. America should not get into a war over Saudi Arabian oil. I think this is also a reflection of the failure for the president to have an organized plan against Iran,” said Warner.
Foreign affairs are a big focus right now. Warner says elections need to be kept secure, including from foreign governments. “Let's make sure we've got clear legislation that says if a foreign government tries to intervene in a presidential election, the obligation ought to be tell the FBI, don't say thank you."
He has urged the Virginia Assembly to adopt security measures so Virginians can head to polls with a peace of mind come November. "We now have a backup paper ballot for every voting machine in Virginia."
Russia used social media companies to spread disinformation in the 2016 elections. That's an area where Warner says Congress should act.
“I think it's time for us not only to have appropriate election security legislation for social media companies, but we need privacy legislation, we need to know how much data these companies are collecting from us and what that data is worth,” said Warner.
As for immigration, the senator says the system needs to be fixed. Warner helped former UVA Women's Basketball Coach Joanne Boyle with her daughter’s nearly five-year adoption from Senegal, but he says that shouldn't be necessary.
“Part of that immigration reform ought to be secure borders. I support secure borders,” said Warner. “But in addition to secure borders, we've got to make it frankly provide that path to citizenship for, particularly dreamers. Young people who were brought to this country when they were children.”