Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

Senator Ernst Joins Bipartisan Effort For Timely DoD Audit

“It is imperative that subsequent, annual audits continue as planned.”

By U.S. Senator Joni Ernst

February 4, 2019

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined Senators David Perdue (R-GA), Angus King (I-ME) and 23 bipartisan members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services and Budget Committees in sending a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan requesting his commitment to the timely completion of a full audit of the Department of Defense in FY2019.

“We commend Mr. Norquist and the Department of Defense for finishing its first-ever complete audit required by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990. This was a critical first step to bring greater transparency and accountability to the Pentagon; however, more progress must be made to reach a clean opinion,” wrote the senators

“It is important to note that the benefits of the audit go beyond good stewardship of the taxpayer dollar,” continued the senators. “Not only will it improve business operations, but also it can enhance national security by ensuring accuracy in inventory and by identifying vulnerabilities in our cybersecurity. Ultimately, because only 5 of the 24 individual audits conducted received a passing grade, it is imperative that subsequent, annual audits continue as planned to properly measure progress.”

Senators Ernst, Perdue and King were joined by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Tim Kaine (D-VA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Doug Jones (D-AL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Gary Peters (D-MI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rick Scott (R-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

View the letter here.

Ernst Week in Review

By U.S. Senator Joni Ernst

February 2, 2019

 Honoring Sarah Root 

On January 31, 2016, the day of her college graduation, Iowa native Sarah Root was struck and killed by an illegal immigrant who was drag racing and driving extremely drunk. After he was charged, he was not detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and instead posted bail and disappeared.  Now, three years later, Sarah’s killer remains at large.

In honor of Sarah, this week, Senator Ernst took to the Senate floor to reintroduce her bill—Sarah’s Law—which would require federal law enforcement to detain illegal immigrants who are criminally charged with killing or seriously injuring another person. Ernst spoke to Fox News and Radio Iowa about the importance of getting Sarah’s Law passed.

Click here or on the image above to watch the whole interview.

Putting Iowa First 

Earlier this year, the Department of Education announced an initiative that would address the inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in schools across the country. Senator Ernst has been engaged with the Department of Education on this issue, following allegations of misreporting of seclusion and restraint within the Cedar Rapids Community School District. KCRG covered Senator Ernst’s reaction to the new initiative, which you can watch here.

On Wednesday mornings when the Senate is session, you can find Senator Joni Ernst talking with Iowans over a warm cup of coffee. This week, Ernst held her inaugural Capitol Grounds constituent coffee for 2019! Check out some photos below.


One of Senator Ernst’s favorite traditions is doing a ruck march in Washington, D.C. with fellow veterans and members of her staff to honor our nation’s veterans and servicemembers. Despite the cold weather—though not as cold as back home in Iowa—Senator Ernst pushed full-speed ahead on Wednesday night.

Ensuring the Enduring Defeat of ISIS and Al Qaeda 

The Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act, which was again considered by the Senate this week, is a bill that will help reinforce our alliances in the Middle East and keep pressure on the Assad regime in Syria. Ernst cosponsored an amendment to the bill that urges the Administration to ensure conditions have been met for the enduring defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS, as well as the protection of regional partners and allies, before withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria or Afghanistan.

Making ‘em Squeal

Senator Ernst was elected to make Washington “squeal.” She is always searching for and identifying areas of waste, fraud and abuse. Each month, Ernst gives out a “Squeal Award” which recognizes a Washington expense, program or concept that’s wasteful and must be cut.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported ten different cat studies—funded from grants totaling $1.3 million of taxpayer money—that concluded classical music has an effect on cat behaviors. These studies do not comply with a law requiring disclosure of the cost to taxpayers for a federally funded project. Senator Ernst has asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to find out why NIH studies are refusing to disclose the cost. These cat studies are another great example of taxpayer dollars being tossed around like a “ball of yarn,” and that’s why NIH received the January Squeal Award.

Ernst Week in Review

By U.S. Senator Joni Ernst

January 5, 2019

And we’re back! The 116th Congress is now in session, and Senator Joni Ernst will be serving on the following Senate committees in this Congress:

Grassley, Ernst Sworn into Senate Leadership

For the first time in history, two Iowans are serving in Senate leadership.  In case you missed it, in an op-ed in the Des Moines Register, Senator Grassley explains the significance of Senator Ernst’s, and his own, new leadership position.

Another prominent Iowan, Douglas Strike, was confirmed by the Senate as the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Iowa. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier details Mr. Strike’s three decades of service and his new responsibilities.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Anniversary

December 22, 2018 marked one year since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law.  According to estimates from the Iowa Department of Revenue, Iowans will save almost $1.8 billion in federal taxes in 2018, and those in Iowa who are earning between $40,000 and $80,000 will receive an average tax cut of $1,128. Senator Ernst penned an op-ed in the Telegraph Herald discussing the impact the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is having on Iowans across the state.

LTE: Senators Aim to Protect Progress in Yemen

In case you missed it, Senator Ernst, and her Iowa colleague Senator Grassley, wrote a letter to the editor of The Gazette discussing their stance on the war in Yemen and their opposition to the Yemen Resolution.

Ernst and Grassley write: “Peace talks between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels are showing significant progress. We should not put these talks — and long term peace — at jeopardy for the sake of a Resolution that is more about politics than peace.”

You can read the full letter, here.


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