Kaine, Scott address national security concerns at town hall

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — With questions of uncertainty swirling around Washington, Senator Tim Kaine and Representative Bobby Scott answered questions from concerned constituents at a town hall Friday night.

The forum was aimed at talking about the future of the Affordable Care Act, but citizens asked more questions about national security and their perceived instability of the current administration.

“I cannot sleep at night. I am literally having nightmares,” said Vanda Jaggard, a mother from Chesapeake with two sons in the military. “A mother worries about her children. A mother worries about her community.”

Sen. Kaine (D-Va.) and Rep. Scott (D-Va.) spoke for nearly two hours on America’s relationship with Russia, the budget, President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks and the the controversial healthcare policy.

Earlier this week, General Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser after he reportedly admitted to not giving an accurate account of his dealings with the Russian government.

While Trump has denied ties to the Kremlin, the two local lawmakers say they want an independent commission to investigate the possible connection.

“I’m concerned about the whole thing,” said Sen. Kaine. “When a foreign nation decides to intervene in an election, you are talking about the integrity of the American electoral process. There’s nothing that’s more important than that.”

Kaine says Russia’s alleged involvement in intervening in the 2016 election shows the U.S. needs to invest more money in cyber-security protection.

Friday’s forum came as the Republican-led Senate is working to repeal and replace the law known as Obamacare.

Kaine and Scott say it’s crucial to have a replacement ready if Republicans choose to repeal the seven-year-old policy.

“If you are interested in making improvements, let’s sit down and talk, but if you pull the ripcord on a repeal, healthcare is one sixth of the economy,” said Kaine.

Kaine told reporters Friday at the Gethsemane Baptist Church that Trump will likely increase defense spending in the upcoming budget process, but he fears it will come with cuts to education and other areas and an increase in the federal deficit.

“You have to deal with arithmetic,” said Scott. “You increase one part of the budget, you have to decrease another part. You can’t have increases in defense spending … and think you are going to deal with the budget deficit.”

Scott says he supports an increase in defense spending.