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Tina Smith delivers weekly Democratic address

By MAYA RAO Star Tribune

WASHINGTON – Rookie U.S. Sen. Tina Smith delivered the weekly Democratic address at the Capitol on Friday, saying she was ready to work with President Donald Trump on lowering prescription drug costs and investing in infrastructure.

“Mr. President, Democrats stand ready to work with you,” Smith said. “But if you are unwilling to work with us in good faith, know that we won’t back down from a fight.”

In her first such speech, days after Trump’s State of the Union address, Smith called attention to her party’s proposals to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and said Republican lawmakers should work with them on the issue.

Smith also backed Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, but added that if it’s “little more than a giveaway to giant companies that stand to make huge profits, you can count us out.”

Smith criticized Republicans for pushing legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would push millions out of the health insurance system. And she called his plan to end a program that protects undocumented young immigrants brought here as children “callous.” Smith accused Trump of holding the so-called Dreamers hostage by offering a pathway to citizenship “only in exchange for his most hard-line, anti-immigrant proposals.”

“I do not see eye to eye with President Trump and Republicans in Congress on many issues,” Smith said. “But I firmly believe that people don’t send their elected representatives to Washington just to squabble — they send us here to get things done.”

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