Dem senator: Abolishing ICE 'a terrible idea'

Dem senator: Abolishing ICE 'a terrible idea'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellySupreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda Republicans fret over divisive candidates Everybody wants Joe Manchin MORE (D-Ind.) this week came out in opposition to calls from some Democrats to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“I think that’s a terrible idea,” Donnelly told the Washington Examiner on Monday. "It’s important that we have strong, and safe, and secure borders, and ICE is a part of that."

Donnelly, who is facing a tough reelection campaign against Republican Mike Braun, also voiced opposition to a push among some Democrats for nationalized health insurance.

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Dozens of House Democrats have backed plans for "Medicare for all" legislation.

“I’m trying to protect what we have now,” Donnelly told the Examiner. “That’s my focus — is to make sure we can protect pre-existing conditions, protect the Affordable Care Act.”

Several Democratic senators have pushed back on calls to dismantle ICE, an idea that has been endorsed by Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power Senators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance Overnight Defense: Military justice overhaul included in defense bill | Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' | Pentagon carries out first air strike in Somalia under Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) and others in the wake of controversy over the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which led to the separation of thousands of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year.

Donnelly, who is running for reelection in a state that President TrumpDonald TrumpRonny Jackson, former White House doctor, predicts Biden will resign McCarthy: Pelosi appointing members of Jan. 6 panel who share 'pre-conceived narrative' Kinzinger denounces 'lies and conspiracy theories' while accepting spot on Jan. 6 panel MORE carried by double digits in 2016, has also faced criticism from Republicans over his vote against the GOP's tax-cut bill — criticism he dismissed in his interview with the Examiner this week.

“I voted with [Trump] 62 percent of the time,” he said. “My job isn’t to be his puppy dog, my job is to be the senator from Indiana. If you want someone who is going to be with you on every single thing, you know there’s an old saying: If you agree with someone on everything, then one of you is not needed. My job is to be the senator for the people here.”

Donnelly also refused in the interview to take a firm stand against Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.

The Democratic senator reiterated the commitment he voiced last month to meet with Kavanaugh before deciding whether or not to oppose his nomination.

“I’m going to meet with him on [Aug.] 15, and just go through all of the questions that I have,” Donnelly said. “I’m not an ideologue on this, I don’t have litmus tests, and I will look at it on its face.”

Donnelly was among three Senate Democrats who voted for Trump's first pick for the high court, Neil Gorsuch, last year.