Skip to content

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

Sen. Joni Ernst

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Ernst Slams Biden Push Moving Military to All-Electric Vehicles Potentially Sourced With Child and Slave Labor

As President Biden pushes to move the military’s entire fleet of non-tactical vehicles (NTVs) to all-electric, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is telling the administration they must make sure those electric vehicle (EV) components are not sourced with child and slave labor.


<![if !vml]><![endif]>

Click here or on the image above to watch Ernst’s full remarks.


In the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act, Ernst included provisions to prohibit the Pentagon from sourcing EV components from any entity that uses child or slave labor and require an examination of the national security risks involved in the transition to an all-electric NTV fleet.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Joni Ernst: Biden’s baby formula shortage a matter of life and death.

Here’s a headline I would never have thought I’d read in America in 2022: “Iowa families scour stores for baby formula.” But that’s the grim reality today under President Biden.

 In their reporting, the Des Moines Register cataloged the story of one mother who visited more than five different stores without finding the formula she needed for her newborn. Her story, tragically, isn’t an outlier.

 These are the heartbreaking, and infuriating, struggles parents are going through right now thanks to a baby formula shortage under the Biden administration that’s been months in the making. Earlier this year, President Biden’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shut down an Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan—one of the nation’s largest producers of baby formula. With no clear strategy at the time to make up for the lost supply, the president let a problem turn into a national crisis. Just a few weeks later, American families today find themselves scrambling to get their hands on the limited formula that’s available on shelves across the nation.

 The problem is particularly dire here in Iowa. As the Register reported, our state’s supply chain shortages top 50 percent, making Iowa one of only six states where the crisis is this bad. In fact, the Des Moines metro area alone has the fourth-highest supply chain shortage in the entire country.

 What can’t be disputed is how poorly the Biden administration has handled this crisis—every step of the way. While they’ve announced a consent decree reached between the FDA and the major Michigan formula plant, the facility is still months away from production. At the same time, as families are struggling to feed their babies, the Biden administration evidently has been keeping a well-stocked supply at facilities at our nation’s Southern border. Why are they hoarding a limited stockpile while American families are in a crisis?

 Parents across this country are scared. There’s no guarantee that moms and dads will be able to find the formula they need to feed their babies. Even if they can find this precious resource, it’s often rationed in quantities that are wholly insufficient to meet their needs. Enough is enough.

 This week, I partnered with Congressman Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) in demanding answers and a full briefing from the Biden administration on the action they are taking to ensure such a disaster won’t happen again.

 The president and his administration have mishandled this situation from the start. His answers so far are way too little, way too late—parents need solutions now. It’s a disgrace, and it’s putting American families in an increasingly dire spot.

 For the Iowa moms and dads who are going store to store and struggling to find food for their baby, there’s no more time to waste. This is a matter of life or death for our most vulnerable.

 Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Monday, March 25, 2022

Ernst Calls on Biden to Withdraw Mask Mandate Appeal

In a letter to the Attorney General, the Iowa senator said, “…the mandate is inconsistent with policies instated by cities and states across the country who have elected to repeal their own mask mandates, as well as commentary by President Biden.”

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is calling on the Biden administration to withdraw their appeal of the U.S. District Court’s decision striking down the federal mask mandate.

 In a letter to the Attorney General, Ernst writes, “I have long been supportive of individuals taking action to protect their own health. However, your attempt to continue this mandate takes the decision-making out of the hands of individuals and creates uncertainty for travelers, as well as businesses tasked with enforcing this unpopular mandate…In addition to being overly burdensome, the mandate is inconsistent with policies instated by cities and states across the country who have elected to repeal their own mask mandates, as well as commentary by President Biden.

 She continues, “As cities across the United States continue to fully reopen, I respectfully request that the Biden Administration withdraw their appeal.”

 Ernst also asked that written responses to the following questions be submitted to Congress within 30 days:

1.      Is there scientific evidence that masking while traveling reduces the spread of COVID-19 either in the individual’s originating or destination site?

2.      Is the administration weighing national case counts while making decisions on whether or not to enforce mask mandates for domestic travel? If so, what is the threshold that would allow individuals to travel without masking?

3.      What guidance and/or support has the administration provided to businesses tasked with enforcing the travel mask mandate?

 To read the full letter, click here.

Friday March 14, 2022

Ernst, 48 Republican Colleagues to President Biden: An Iran Agreement

Without Broad Congressional Support Will Not Survive

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a combat veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, along with 48 of her Republican colleagues, released a statement telling the Biden administration they will not support the revived Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, which is expected to weaken sanctions and lessen restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.
According to press reports, the Biden Administration may soon conclude an agreement with Iran to provide substantial sanctions relief in exchange for merely short-term limitations on Iran’s nuclear program.
By every indication, the Biden Administration appears to have given away the store. The administration appears to have agreed to lift sanctions that were not even placed on Iran for its nuclear activities in the first place, but instead because of its ongoing support for terrorism and its gross abuses of human rights. The nuclear limitations in this new deal appear to be significantly less restrictive than the 2015 nuclear deal, which was itself too weak, and will sharply undermine U.S. leverage to secure an actually ‘longer and stronger’ deal. What is more, the deal appears likely to deepen Iran’s financial and security relationship with Moscow and Beijing, including through arms sales.
The administration has thus far refused to commit to submit a new Iran deal to the Senate for ratification as a treaty, as per its constitutional obligation, or for review under statutory requirements that passed on a bipartisan basis in response to the 2015 deal. Additionally, despite earlier promises to the contrary, the administration has failed to adequately consult with Congress.
Republicans have made it clear: We would be willing and eager to support an Iran policy that completely blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapons capability, constrains Iran’s ballistic missile program, and confronts Iran’s support for terrorism. But if the administration agrees to a deal that fails to achieve these objectives or makes achieving them more difficult, Republicans will do everything in our power to reverse it. Unless Iran ceases its support for terrorism, we will oppose removing and seek to reimpose any terrorism-related sanctions. And we will force the Senate to vote on any Administration effort to do so.
We strongly urge the administration, our Democrat colleagues, and the international community to learn the lessons of the very recent past. A major agreement that does not have strong bipartisan support in Congress will not survive.”
Last month, Ernst backed legislation to re-impose terrorism sanctions on the Iran-controlled Houthis after a series of terror strikes on civilian targets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. In January, Ernst joined nine of her Senate colleagues in a letter to President Joe Biden demanding that he enforce mandatory sanctions against the growing fleet of oil tankers selling Iranian oil and against the entities purchasing this oil.
Senator Ernst joined an effort to impose human rights sanctions on the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the regime’s President Ebrahim Raisi. Ernst has continued to oppose the Biden administration’s efforts to rejoin the JCPOA. She supported a bill that would enable Congress to approve—or block—any effort by the administration to suspend or terminate U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime. She also urged the Biden administration to work with our allies and partners to impose a new arms embargo on Iran.
In addition, Ernst helped introduce legislation that would curb President Biden’s ability to re-enter the JCPOA.
Ernst has been outspoken in calling on the Biden administration to make it a top priority to keep our nation and the world safe from the threat of Iran, penning an op-ed in the Washington Examiner.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Joni Ernst: Under progressive politicians and liberal DAs, crime is on the rise.

When the Biden administration ordered the evacuation of families of U.S. diplomats from Ukraine last month due to the increased threats of Russian military action and crime, a Ukrainian official responded, “Quite frankly these Americans are safer in Kyiv than they are in Los Angeles…or any other crime-ridden city in the US.”

Sadly, he may be right.

In fact, a Los Angeles (LA) police department detective said the out-of-control crime in the city is “so violent, we’re telling people ‘don’t visit,’ because we don’t think we can keep you safe right now.” The city was surrendered to criminals by the LA District Attorney on his first day on the job in 2020 when he banned bail and prohibited prosecuting even the most serious crimes, like murder and rape, to the fullest extent of the law.

The decision to give “get of out jail free” cards to criminals have consequences.

Thieves are breaking into local businesses. Looters are robbing trains like it’s the Wild West. A Union Pacific Railroad official said even when apprehended, “criminals boast” that they will face “no serious charges,” and within hours they are let back out on the streets. Most troubling, over the past two years, LA has experienced a shocking 94 percent increase in homicides. And who does the LA sheriff blame? The “woke policies” of both the district attorney and the county board.

Unfortunately, the senseless acts of violence aren’t confined to liberal Los Angeles.

The U.S. murder rate hit its highest point in a quarter-of-a-century last year. More and more felons are being released across the country as a result of permissive policies being pushed by progressive politicians and lenient district attorneys who view punishment as the real crime. Democrats in New York, for example, recently pushed through a state law requiring the release of suspects arrested for stalking, arson, robbery, and other misdemeanors, without bail. And despite the dramatic increases in crime in New York City, a Democratic district attorney released a list of crimes on his first day in office that would no longer be prosecuted, including resisting arrest.

Refusing to keep dangerous, repeat criminals with a history of violence behind bars allows anyone, at any time, to become the victim of an entirely preventable crime. For example, the low bail set by a Wisconsin district attorney’s office last November resulted in the release of a violent criminal with a long list of charges going back 15 years. Within days of being released, he drove that same SUV into a crowded Christmas parade, injuring more than 60 people and killing six. The Democratic district attorney has since admitted the release was “a mistake.”

The American people cannot afford any more of these “mistakes” by public officials who are putting their personal political agenda ahead of protecting the public. Public officials charged with enforcing the law who signal that it’s okay to commit crime by reducing or eliminating penalties are engaging in criminal negligence. It’s time to put an end to prosecutors being partners in crime.

Across the country, violent crime is on the rise, and the Biden administration and other Democratic politicians are asleep at the wheel—failing to take action to keep our citizens safe.

This week, I took the first step towards making our streets safer by introducing legislation to increase the penalties for some violent offenders and child predators, including life imprisonment for repeat offenders. We need progressive prosecutors to stop playing politics and start doing their job—enforcing the law. Criminal penalties are not just suggestions, they are put in place to protect the public.

We also need to ensure we are supporting our men and women in blue – the ones who risk their lives every single day to keep our streets safe.

The Left’s “defund the police” movement has victimized our law enforcement, making it harder for them to do their jobs. That’s why I’m proud that here in Iowa, under the leadership of Governor Kim Reynolds, we’ve taken action with legislation like the Back the Blue Act, increasing penalties on a range of other destructive behaviors and strengthening due process protections for law enforcement. The law also creates accountability for local governments that prevent law enforcement from doing their jobs. Our governor has also proposed giving our law enforcement officers a well-deserved bonus for the uniquely challenging and critical work they do.

Liberal politicians across the country should, once again, follow Iowa’s lead. It’s time we get serious about crime in our country. Our laws need to be enforced, our law enforcement needs to be supported, and perpetrators need to be held accountable. Parents shouldn’t have to worry about the safety of their children, and no one should feel unsafe, especially in their own neighborhood. The only people who should be afraid to walk down our streets are criminals.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Monday, January 28, 2022

Ernst, Colleagues Call on Biden to Enforce Sanctions on Iranian Oil Tankers

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined nine of her Senate colleagues in a letter to President Joe Biden demanding that he enforce mandatory sanctions against the growing fleet of oil tankers selling Iranian oil and against the entities purchasing this oil. President Biden has so far refused to take action against the sharp rise in Iranian oil exports since he took office.

In part, the senators wrote, “The vessel owners and their customers in China are taking greater risks because they believe that your administration is too weak and indecisive to punish them for their crimes. Your unwillingness to take actions that could jeopardize the doomed Vienna nuclear talks has undeniably emboldened these criminals. Meanwhile, the boom in oil sales has refilled the Iranian regime’s once-empty coffers, removed crucial American leverage over Iran, and encouraged the Iranians to stall negotiations in Vienna and irreversibly advance their pursuit of a nuclear weapon. It is long past time to stop your dithering. You are putting U.S. national security at risk.”

“We urge you to enforce U.S. sanctions against entities that purchase Iranian oil and against those foreign-flagged oil tankers which keep Iran’s illicit oil trade alive. Each day you delay gives Iran more money to finance their terrorist activity and more time to develop a nuclear weapon. We would also remind you that sanctions against Iran’s oil exports are mandatory and passed Congress with bipartisan majorities. You are not above the law and must stop violating it,” the senators continued.

To read the full letter, click here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

As Russian Aggression Continues, Ernst Backs Effort to Support Ukraine

As Putin continues his aggression on the Ukrainian border, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is backing an effort to provide critical support to Ukraine, a longtime partner of the United States.

 “While the Biden administration continues appeasing America’s adversaries, most recently supporting Putin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, I have consistently urged the United States to take action to deter Russia and support Ukraine,” said Senator Ernst. “Standing with our democratic partner is critical to America’s fight for freedom and democracy around the globe. As Russia inches closer to invading, Ukraine and its people need our support, and this measure will help give them necessary resources to push back against Putin’s hostility.”

The Guaranteeing Ukraine’s Autonomy by Reinforcing its Defense Act (GUARD Act):

·       Substantially and immediately increases material support for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, including funding for weaponry, training, and military reform.

·       Authorizes $450 million in Foreign Military Financing for Ukraine for the year 2022.

·       Would replenish the presidential drawdown authority account should the president use all currently available funds to support Ukraine.

·       Strengthens sanctions on Nord Stream 2, a Russian malign influence project designed to undermine Ukraine and threaten European energy security.

·       Establishes diplomatic and military deterrents to counter Russian aggression:

          o   Designates Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism in the event its forces further invade Ukraine.

          o   Limits security risks related to U.S.-Russian military cooperation.

·       Reaffirms U.S. policy of unwavering commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty.


In November, Ernst met with members of the Ukrainian delegation at the Halifax International Security Forum. In an op-ed in Defense News last month, Senator Ernst outlined steps America should take to counter Russian aggression against Ukraine.

After stating in an interview on Fox News Sunday that the United States should not allow Putin to move forward with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Ernst slammed Senate Democrats after they blocked an effort to reinstate sanctions on the pipeline.

Ernst also joined her colleagues in a letter calling on President Biden to make clear that America stands with our eastern European allies amid Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Joni Ernst: Washington Democrats are gaslighting the American people.

Just last year, Washington insiders colluded to try to overturn the will of the people of Iowa in a fair and free election.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives attempted to steal a House seat. Iowa’s Second District congresswoman, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, won her election in 2020 and was certified by Iowa’s Secretary of State, 24 County Auditors from both parties, and the bipartisan State Board of Canvass. But in a total political power grab, the Speaker of the House spent over $600,000 of taxpayer money in an attempt to unseat Congresswoman Miller-Meeks.

Little did we know that this was an opening salvo in the Left’s ongoing rush to take over our elections.

Right now, using fake hysteria, my Democratic colleagues are trying to blow up the Senate and federalize our elections. Their proposals seek to limit voter ID, legalize ballot harvesting, provide taxpayer money to campaigns, and weaponize the Federal Election Commission. And if you don’t support their radical agenda, the leader of their party, President Biden—the same man who promised to unify the country—considers you of the likes of segregationists George Wallace and Jefferson Davis.

Folks, Washington Democrats are gaslighting the American people.

In 2017, when the Iowa legislature modernized our state’s election laws—which included requiring voter ID—many Democrats warned the law was ‘dangerous,’ an ‘unnecessary hurdle,’ and a ‘significant barrier’ for anyone who is not a white male. They could not have been further from the truth. Three times since the new Iowa voter law was implemented, the state has seen record high turnout for elections. This includes record high absentee voting during the 2020 presidential election and record off-year turnout in 2021.

While Democrats and the liberal media continue their inflammatory rhetoric and accusing “red states” across the country of voter suppression, the reality is that New York, home of Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and Delaware, home of President Biden, have some of the most restrictive voting laws in the entire country.

The Left has manufactured a voting crisis in this country in a blatant attempt to destroy the Senate and take control of America’s elections. This isn’t about voter access; it’s about power. It’s the same power grab that liberal elites in Washington made in their rush to steal Iowa’s Second Congressional District—now held by Congresswoman Miller-Meeks—and silence Iowans’ voices. Voters in Iowa should decide who we choose to represent us, not politicians in Washington.

 Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Monday, January 3, 2022

ICYMI: Ernst Gets Bill Creating Global War on Terrorism Memorial Signed Into Law

A veteran of the Global War on Terrorism herself, Ernst spearheaded the years-long effort to create the memorial on the National Mall that will honor the veterans of America’s longest war.
After a years-long, hard fought effort, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) had her bipartisan legislation to build a memorial on the National Mall honoring the veterans of the Global War on Terrorism signed into law, guaranteeing that the memorial will soon become a reality.
WOWT-TV in Omaha reported on Ernst’s successful effort, stating: “Part of the [NDAA] signed yesterday was a provision creating a Global War on Terrorism memorial. The effort is led by Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.”
Click HERE or on the image above to watch WOWT-TV’s report.
The Military Times covered Ernst’s bill getting signed into law, reporting“A memorial for veterans of the Global War on Terror is now set to be built on the National Mall, and a tribute to Medal of Honor recipients will be included nearby. […] The provision was championed in recent months by a host of House and Senate lawmakers, including veterans Rep. Jason Crow, D-Pa.; Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc.; and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. 
Click HERE or on the image above to read coverage in the Military Times.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported on Ernst’s memorial bill getting signed into law, stating: “The bill signed by Biden also includes a provision spearheaded by Ernst to build a memorial on the National Mall honoring the veterans of the Global War on Terrorism. Ernst commanded 150 troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom and is the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate.”
Click HERE or on the image above to read more of the Gazette’s coverage.
KIWA Radio in Sheldon, Iowa described Ernst’s successful effort to create the memorial: “After what Senator Joni Ernst’s office calls a “years-long, hard-fought effort” spearheaded by Republican Senator Ernst and Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, their bipartisan legislation to build a memorial on the National Mall honoring the veterans of the Global War on Terrorism has been signed into law, guaranteeing that the memorial will soon become a reality.
Click HERE or on the image above to read KIWA Radio’s report.
 Task & Purpose detailed the effort by Ernst to build the new memorial, reporting: Sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), the bill codifies into law a spot for the memorial along the National Mall, in the same area where monuments honoring veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam are located.
Click HERE or on the image above to read Task & Purpose’s reporting on the new memorial.


Monday, December 6, 2021

Governor Reynolds awards $4 million in career academy grants to prepare more students for high-demand fields

On Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education awarded four $1 million competitive grants through the Career Academy Incentive Fund to prepare more high school students for success in college, postsecondary training and the workforce.

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), Iowa Lakes Community College, Iowa Western Community College and North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) each received a $1 million grant to increase access to career academy programs in high-demand fields through new regional centers. Students in partnering school districts will benefit from industry partnerships, earn high school and college credit and gain technical and traditional academic skills offered through career and technical education (CTE) programs. This is the third round of awards.

“Expanding career academies develops our workforce talent pipeline and prepares high school students for high-skill, high-demand careers that are available right here in Iowa,” said Gov. Reynolds. “I commend DMACC, Iowa Lakes, Iowa Western and NIACC for their leadership in growing career academies which inspire and develop some of Iowa’s most valuable workers beginning at a young age and, at the same time, expands opportunities to meet the needs of students, families, schools and employers in their local communities.”

DMACC’s grant will be used to create a new regional center in Templeton that will serve students from four rural districts in west central Iowa. Iowa Lakes will use the funding to establish a new regional center on its Spirit Lake campus that will expand career academy programming to students in four surrounding districts. Iowa Western will work with four rural school districts to establish a new regional center in Missouri Valley. NIACC will establish a new regional center in Charles City to serve students from seven school districts in north central Iowa. This is the second Career Academy Incentive Fund award for NIACC. The college was awarded the state’s first grant in 2020, which was used to establish the new John V. Hanson Career Center in Forest City.

At these new locations, students will have access to CTE programs and state-of-the-art equipment in high-demand fields, including advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, building trades, electrical trades, health care, information technology and welding.

“These innovative partnerships are vital to introducing more students to high-demand fields in programs where they can earn industry-recognized credentials and college credit,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “The new regional centers will help more students leave high school prepared for the workforce or ready for further postsecondary education, and I am thankful to these community college and school district leaders for their dedication to expanding career academy opportunities.”

The Career Academy Incentive Fund was established by a 2019 law that extends a statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure, called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE), through January 2051. At least $1 million will be awarded annually to support career academy partnerships among community colleges, school districts, business and industry, Regional Planning Partnerships, Area Education Agencies and others to increase student access to college programs, state-of-the-art equipment and career paths in Iowa’s in-demand fields.

Expanding student access to high-quality career and technical education is part of the Future Ready Iowa initiative, which is focused on growing a skilled workforce in all regions of the state by connecting more Iowans to the education and training needed for high-demand careers.

Applications for a fourth round of funding through the Career Academy Incentive Fund will be open next spring. More information is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.


Friday, November 19, 2021

Joni Ernst: Under Biden, this Thanksgiving may break the bank

Over-cooking the turkey. Making sure there is enough food for each guest. In-laws overstaying their welcome. These are the typical concerns we think about during the Thanksgiving holiday. But this year, because of President Biden and Washington Democrats’ reckless policies, skyrocketing inflation, and a supply chain crisis, families across the country celebrating the holiday will be facing new hurdles and historically high prices.

Last year, COVID-19 forced many families to shift toward smaller gatherings, and Thanksgiving dinner costs dropped to a 10-year low. But now, as we come back from the pandemic and look forward to reuniting with extended family and friends for our usual holiday traditions, nearly every ingredient that goes into the Thanksgiving meal is expected to cost more.

According to the American Farm Bureau, this year’s Thanksgiving feast will cost an average of 14% more than last year. This includes key items like turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, rolls, peas, and pumpkin pie. The price of the turkey itself has risen to $23.99 for a 16-pound bird, an increase of 24% from last year. It’s not just Thanksgiving meals either—the price of nearly every good and service continues to rise, with inflation hitting its highest point in more than 30 years.

If you travel for the holiday, that won’t be cheap either. Gas prices continue to tick up and are currently at a 7-year high, and that trend is only expected to increase. And if the temperature drops and you or your host has to turn the heat on, it will cost 69% more to do so than it did last year.

While President Biden and his liberal allies spending the holiday in Nantucket may not be impacted by these outrageous prices, hardworking Iowans will be forced to gobble them up. This may end up being the most expensive Thanksgiving ever, and Democrats in Washington aren’t the least bit concerned. They are riding the gravy train full-steam ahead and working to pass their reckless tax-and-spending spree that provides tax cuts for wealthy coastal elites on the backs of middle-income Americans. Many economists believe this pork-filled bill, the most expansive in history, will only make matters worse.

It’s time for President Biden and congressional Democrats to listen to the kitchen table—or Thanksgiving table—needs of every day Americans, like the majority of adults who are concerned about inflation. Their inability to solve the supply chain crisis, stop the spending, and combat inflation is a recipe for disaster this holiday season.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Ernst’s FAUCI Act Introduced in the House

Today, Senator Joni Ernst’s FAUCI Act is being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Chris Stewart (R-Utah).

As you all may know, Senator Ernst’s FAUCI Act – or the Fairness and Accountability in Underwriting Chinese Institutions Act – would ban U.S. funding for gain-of-function research in Communist China, produce a full accounting of U.S. tax dollars spent, and restrict government officials who intentionally mislead Congress. Ernst’s FAUCI Act comes in the wake of revelations about the U.S. government’s involvement in and support for dangerous scientific experiments in China under Dr. Anthony Fauci. Ernst is also leading bipartisan legislation to create a 9/11-style Congressional commission to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Here is a quote from Senator Ernst on Rep. Stewart’s introduction in the House today:

While American tax dollars were being funneled into Communist China to support dangerous experiments on coronaviruses at the Wuhan Lab, the head of the division funding those activities, Dr. Fauci, failed to tell the truth to Congress and to the American People about how our money was being spent,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Enough is enough—we need a full accounting of how and where our tax dollars are going. I’m pleased Congressman Chris Stewart is introducing a companion bill to my FAUCI Act in the House, to put an end to U.S. funding of gain-of-function research in Communist China, go after government officials who intentionally mislead Congress, and bring about badly needed transparency and accountability.”

Rep. Stewart stated:

The world is still feeling the devastating human and economic impacts from COVID-19,” said Rep. Chris Stewart. “The American people deserve accountability and transparency. First, we need to ban U.S. taxpayer dollars from funding dangerous research in the labs of our greatest foreign adversary. This is an inexcusable mistake that demands immediate correcting. Second, we need to know exactly how and where American taxpayer dollars were spent. And finally, to ensure we get those answers, we need to establish consequences for anyone who intentionally misleads our investigations. These efforts aren’t about assigning blame – it’s about preventing another catastrophe and demanding justice on behalf of the American people.”

Brendan Conley

Iowa Communications Director

Senator Joni Ernst

Tuesday, November 16, 2021


Skyrocketing Inflation Under President Biden and Democratic Rule Puts Most Vulnerable Americans at Risk

The Iowa senator noted it may be the most expensive Thanksgiving ever, but Democrats are focused on tax cuts for the rich.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) today slammed the skyrocketing inflation created by the Biden administration’s misguided policies. Ernst noted that as prices rise, hardworking Iowans are being forced to pay more at the pump, at the grocery store, and to heat their homes—putting the most vulnerable at risk.

Ernst called out Democrats for refusing to address this crisis and instead focusing on providing tax cuts for wealthy coastal elites on the backs of middle-income Americans.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Every state is now a border state

In August alone, Customs and Border Protection encountered more than 208,000 people attempting to enter the U.S. illegally—an increase of 318% during the same exact time just one year ago. And the harsh reality is the situation shows no signs of improving.

Earlier this month, I led a congressional delegation mission to Panama and Colombia, where one of the most pressing issues I heard about from leaders in Central and South America was the number of migrants making the dangerous trek to our southern border. In a round-table with Colombian Migration Agency Director Juan Francisco Espinosa, we heard about the challenges they are facing due to the over 9,000 migrants stranded in the country amid a surge of people passing through on their way to the United States-Mexico border, and the amount of drug trafficking that takes place as a result of the influx of migrants.

By the end of the year, the U.S. is expected to see more than 2.3 million people attempt to illegally cross our southern border. These numbers are staggering.
From President Biden’s immediate reversal of the former administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy—which the Supreme Court has ruled he must reinstate and the administration is ignoring—to their refusal to rebuild the wall, misstep after misstep is fueling an increasingly disastrous and dangerous situation.

There is no question that our immigration system right now, under the Biden Administration, is being pushed to its limits, all by crises they created.

Because of this, we know folks are going to try to take advantage of the strained immigration system, and we need to ensure we have laws on the books to keep dangerous people out of our country.

Right now, our laws don’t effectively target those who have been convicted of sexual assault and sexual violence. And tragically, we’ve seen horrific crimes committed by those trying to take advantage of our immigration system, including horrendous things like sex trafficking, forced marriage, and even female genital mutilation. Immigrant women in particular have significantly increased vulnerability to recurring sexual assault.

The bottom line is that predatory sexual violence cannot continue to go unchecked in our immigration system. That’s why I’ve put forward a bill to block convicted sexual predators from immigrating to the United States. The Better Enforcement of Grievous Offenses by un-Naturalized Emigrants Act, or the BE GONE Act, simply makes “sexual assault and aggravated sexual violence” a disqualifying act for those seeking entry. It gives our law enforcement the ability to deport those who have been convicted of sexual violent crimes or sexual assault and are trying to immigrate here.

This is a commonsense, urgently-needed solution to modernize our immigration policies and combat sexual violence and those seeking to exploit our laws. I’m proud to have support on this legislation from over a dozen of my friends and colleagues in the Senate, including Iowa’s senior senator, Chuck Grassley.

Because of the Biden Administration’s policies, every state is now a border state. Iowa sees the effects of a porous border, from drug trafficking to human trafficking, and the overwhelming national security threat these reckless policies have created. There are steps the president and Congress could take right now to start addressing the crisis. I encourage them to start with something easy—pass and sign into law my BE GONE Act and ensure sexual predators and those who are convicted of sexual crimes stay out or get out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

 “This was not a conditions-based withdrawal.”

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a former company commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom, today pressed top military officials Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, and Commander of U.S. Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie at a Senate Armed Services Committee on the Biden Administration’s haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In her opening remarks, Ernst stated that President Biden prioritized a cheap political victory—a withdrawal timed to the 20th anniversary of 9/11—and executed his vision with little regard for American lives or the real threats we face, and the loss of our servicemembers and abandonment of Americans and Afghan allies last month was an unforced, disgraceful humiliation that didn’t have to happen.


Click here or on the image above to watch Senator Ernst’s questioning.


Decision to Withdrawal

Ernst asked Secretary Austin if President Biden or any of his national security advisors expressed any military and diplomatic conditions for the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, beyond the looming 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Ernst noted that—as General Milley had stated—military recommendations should be conditions-based. Ernst said, “Secretary Austin, you are extremely diplomatic in your answers…but this was not a conditions-based withdrawal.”
Ernst also expressed her frustration in the inability to continue a diplomatic mission in Afghanistan after our diplomats were forced to evacuate the country.


Monday, September 27, 2021

Ernst Joins America Reports to Discuss Ongoing Border Crisis, Push for Answers on Biden’s Chaotic Afghanistan Withdrawal

The Iowa senator will question Gen. Mark Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal at tomorrow’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the first female combat veteran elected to the Senate, joined John Roberts and Sandra Smith on America Reports to discuss the ongoing crisis at the southern border and her push for answers on President Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Click HERE or on the image above to watch Senator Ernst’s interview.
Ernst on Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas admitting that 12,000 Haitian migrants were released into the United States from the southern border:
“I’m extremely concerned about it…Will they return for a court hearing? That is the big question…This will continue going forward until this administration secures the border.”
Ernst on White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s characterization of the border crisis as “cyclical:”
“This is a debacle. Yet, another one of the crises created by President Biden and this Administration…And their unwillingness to secure the border has created this challenge that we see with thousands and thousands upon thousands of illegal immigrants coming to the southern border…They need to secure it. They need to continue with many of the polices that were put in place during the past administration, like the Remain in Mexico Policy…Joe Biden hasn’t been to the border at all, and Kamala Harris barely touched ground there. So they need to go see firsthand what is going on. It is a humanitarian crisis—one that is devastating. And to continue encouraging people to flow to our southern border with the promise of entering into the United States is absolutely ridiculous. We cannot sustain this.”
Ernst on Mayorkas’ insistence that the southern border is “not open” amid the ongoing influx of migrants into the United States:
“That is a message…Come to the United States. We’ll do a quick survey of you, and then release you into the United States. And we know from past experiences that many of those who are even given a notice to report, they don’t show up at their court date. They’re just free to roam in the United States…So it is an encouragement for people to just show up. … Any changes to immigration don’t matter when you have a porous border, and that’s exactly what this administration is encouraging.”
Ernst on tomorrow’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about Afghanistan:
“Certainly what we want to find out is: Did the president really know and understand the ramifications of the withdrawal? What was the advice that was given by our top military commanders to the president, and was it censured by his political advisement team? So what were the ramifications to not only those that were serving in uniform in Afghanistan, but the civilians that we had on the ground in Afghanistan, and of course the innocent Afghans that stood by our side for the past 20 years? We want to know, who knew what, when—and why were those decisions made?”

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Ernst Joins ABC This Week to Discuss Afghanistan

Combat veteran and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined Martha Raddatz on ABC This Week to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. Excerpts from the interview are below. For the full interview, click here.

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

On getting Americans safely out of Afghanistan:

“We should be doing everything possible to get Americans safely to the airport for evacuation. We are the strongest military on the face of this planet and we should be exercising those authorities to make sure that we are flexing our military muscle—especially when it comes to evacuating Americans.”

On vetting and evacuating Afghan allies:

“We have been on the Administration for months now to be working on the vetting process—to make sure we’re working with those interpreters—to get them safely out of the country. The State Department, it has drug it’s feet, it has moved so slowly, and now we’re at a point where these Afghan interpreters—other partners—are in deep jeopardy with the Taliban because they weren’t able to get their vetting done on time. So it is important that we continue pressing on with this…we should be doing absolutely everything we can to assist those who assisted us for the past two decades in the Global War on Terror.”

On President Biden’s poor planning:

“…it is so important that we continue working with these third-country nations providing them with whatever support we can in those countries, and this is where President Biden, unfortunately, has really—he has messed it up, I’ll just put it out there—of course with our international community with this haphazard withdrawal. If we had been working with those allies, those partner countries, this would’ve been a lot easier. He knew this day was coming, and again, was very slow to respond to the needs of not only our American citizens—by pulling those troops out before we had them safely out of Afghanistan—but he’s also again jeopardized those that were partners to us through an extended war on terror.” 


In a letter to both the Secretaries of State and Defense earlier this week, Ernst called on the Biden Administration to provide answers on the safety of American citizens and details on the plans to get them out of Afghanistan. Ernst also urged President Biden to fulfill his “solemn responsibility to evacuate all American citizens and Afghan partners without respect to arbitrary timelines dictated by the Taliban.”

In May, Ernst teamed up with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to lead a bipartisan effort to express widespread support in the Senate for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Afghans, and to urge continued support from the administration to uphold the integrity of the program. Their bipartisan bill to provide immediate improvements to and strengthen the efficiency of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program was signed into law.

This week, Ernst and Shaheen led 53 of their colleagues in urging the administration to address the quickly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and implement the Ernst-Shaheen SIV bill.


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Ernst to President Biden: Devote “All Means Necessary” to Evacuate Americans, Eligible Partners from Afghanistan

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a veteran of the Global War on Terror and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is urging President Joe Biden to fulfill his “solemn responsibility to evacuate all American citizens and Afghan partners without respect to arbitrary timelines dictated by the Taliban.” Ernst joined 15 of her Republican colleagues on a letter to the president.

“We are extremely concerned that, despite our recommendations, your administration failed to establish a coherent plan to get all American civilians and Afghans who have aided us out of the country as quickly and safely as possible. This must be our top priority,” the senators wrote. “Not only should we protect American citizens in Afghanistan, we must also uphold our promise to the thousands of Afghans who put their lives on the line to work with us to advance our shared security goals.”

“You must devote all means necessary to ensure every American citizen and all eligible Afghan partners are successfully evacuated. In addition, you must make it clear to the Taliban and every other terrorist group that they will face severe consequences if they attempt to interfere with this process,” the senators.


This letter reinforces Ernst’s calls for the Biden Administration to authorize the U.S. military to guarantee safe passage for Americans to Hamid Karzai International Airport, and commit to evacuating every American from the country before again withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan at or beyond the end of August.

In May, Ernst teamed up with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to lead a bipartisan effort to express widespread support in the Senate for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Afghans, and to urge continued support from the administration to uphold the integrity of the program. Their bipartisan bill to provide immediate improvements to and strengthen the efficiency of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program was signed into law.

Earlier today Ernst and Shaheen led 53 of their colleagues in urging the administration to address the quickly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and implement the Ernst-Shaheen SIV bill.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Joni Ernst: Only in Washington, D.C. does the word “trillion” get thrown around so often and so easily.

Under the Biden Administration, there’s a lot of bad news coming out of Washington, D.C. The Administration’s failure to address, or even acknowledge, the crisis at our southern border; their neglect of skyrocketing inflation and rising costs of everything from gasoline to milk; and, of course, their march toward socialism as they continue their reckless tax-and-spend spree. While it’s easy to gloss over the details of these misguided policies, it’s important to understand the impact they will have on Iowa families—particularly when it comes to their pocketbooks.

Our national debt is nearing $30 trillion. Already this year, Democrats have spent $2 trillion of hardworking taxpayer money on legislation they passed without any Republican input or support, and hurt our economy by paying people more to stay home than get a job.

But they’re not done yet: while our families are already feeling the burden from rising costs of goods and services, Washington Democrats want to continue to spend at reckless rates. Their $3.5 trillion spending spree nears the total cost of the entire Second World War—the most expensive war in history—when adjusted to today’s dollar.

Only in Washington, D.C. does the word “trillion” get thrown around so often and so easily.

How much is a trillion? For reference, a stack of one billion dollar bills would be approximately 68 miles high—about the height of Jeff Bezos’ flight to space earlier this week. A stack of one trillion dollar bills would reach almost 68,000 miles into space. If an individual Iowan spent $40 per second, it would take them over 790 years to blow through $1 trillion. It truly is hard to comprehend how much money we’re talking.

It’s time for Washington politicians to come back down to Earth. The enormous costs of these proposals have real life impacts on Iowa’s farmers, families, and small businesses. We’ve already seen the prices of essential household items increase at the highest rate in nearly 13 years. The answer is not to raise taxes to continue to print and spend more money.

It’s also important to remember that the bills for the Democrats’ liberal wish lists are eventually going to come due—and it is Iowa taxpayers that are going to be stuck with the tab. The folks I meet with across the state on my 99 County Tour work hard and live within their means, and they want Washington to do the same.

Instead of a never-ending tax-and-spend spree, Congress needs to rein it in. A trillion dollars might not mean a lot to President Biden and his liberal allies in Congress, but it means a heck of a lot to the taxpayers in Iowa who are footing their bill. It’s time to put an end to the Democrats’ reckless, multi-trillion-dollar taxing and spending spree, and I hope there are some commonsense folks across the aisle who will agree.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Joni Ernst: Cuba Serves as a Reminder of the Dangers of Communism and Socialism, Promise of America

Last weekend, Cubans from across the island nation—from Havana to Santiago—took to the streets, rising up against the Communist-run government, as they face the worst economic conditions in decades. While the Cuban people have long suffered under authoritarian rule, the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated their hardships and further revealed the abject failures of socialism.

Immediately, videos of the demonstrations flooded social media. It’s been inspiring to see the people of Cuba reject generations of dictatorship and demand liberty. And in many of their hands, they carried the ultimate symbol of liberty–an American flag.

While some people in this country may not agree, the American flag represents hope, opportunity, and freedom—not just within our borders, but across the world. The principles of democracy represented by our stars and stripes are what the Cuban people deserve to have too. Here in Iowa, and across America, we hear their calls and stand united with these men and women in their fight for liberty.

The movement being led by the courageous people of Cuba also serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of socialism and communism. These repressive ideologies have failed every time, and in Cuba they’ve led to 62 years of corruption and poverty. The sad reality is many in the Democratic Party ignore the evidence in front of them of what communism entails. Instead, they continue to march towards the far Left and promote socialism or socialist principles right here in America.

During my time at Iowa State University, I attended an agriculture exchange program in the Soviet Union. I witnessed the devastation of socialism and communism up close, and I immediately realized how truly grateful I was for the many freedoms offered to me as an American. I’ve spent my life defending our American ideals, in uniform and now in the United States Senate. Now, it’s important for the United States to stand with the Cuban people who yearn for the same basic human rights and democracy that we enjoy.

These historic demonstrations mark a turning point. The Biden Administration must be steadfast and clear in their support for the Cuban people. I’m hopeful the men and women of Cuba can chart a new path forward—one of liberty and opportunity.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Sen. Joni Ernst: Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal puts American lives at risk

As Published In: Fox News | July 2, 2021

When an American president makes a decision on military deployment, the action sends signals to friends and foes alike around the globe.

Take for example President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. Not only was this hasty and misguided, disregarding conditions on the ground, it was also a political message calculated for a front-page or primetime talking point on the 20 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

We can’t ignore the reality on the ground in Afghanistan. Many of the threats that brought us there in the first place are spreading through the region. The Taliban is gaining strength and threatening the Afghanistan government. They also threaten those who worked alongside our U.S. military and diplomatic personnel. President Biden’s announcement of a precipitous withdrawal emboldens the Taliban and their allies.

Once the United States military is gone, I’m concerned the Afghan government will struggle to hold on, giving space for extremist groups like al-Qaeda and rogue terrorist states like Iran to regroup for continued attacks against the U.S. And sadly, recent history would show that this is a very dangerous reality that could easily play out, in person or on social media.

U.S. military, intelligence, and homeland security agencies must be vigilant and clear-eyed about what the inevitable consequences of a rushed withdrawal from Afghanistan could mean to our homeland. We should not leave haphazardly and without a plan. And doing so, unconditionally and uncoordinated, may risk our national security. The American people know that what happens over a continent away can have a direct impact on their safety.

That’s why I’m introducing the Preventing Terrorism from Hitting America’s Streets Act. This bill will require our nation’s military, intelligence, and homeland security branches to take a cold, hard look at the increased risk that a hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan poses to our homeland.

Terrorists can hide in the masses creating the ongoing crisis at our southern border. Earlier this year, two Yemini men who were on the FBI’s terrorist watch list were detained at the southern border, and eleven Iranians were caught illegally entering our country. The radical extremists who planned and executed terrorist attacks on our own soil nearly 20 years ago also slipped into the country. Failed border security combined with no forward-thinking or strategy around a potential terrorist resurgence in Afghanistan could lead to devastating consequences for our country.

That’s why this new bill will require our military, Intel, and homeland security officials to analyze and explain to Congress what kind of illicit activities are being carried out at our southern border by terrorist groups and our adversaries around the globe. My bill will also require an assessment of the potential for Afghanistan to be used as a base of operation for international terrorism after the withdrawal of our military. It’s forward-thinking, and a step toward having some semblance of a plan.

I commanded troops overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a military leader, it was my responsibility to be on guard and always watchful against any threats to my troops and ultimately to our country. My fellow commanders realized the decisions we made there affected lives back here. It’s with this mindset and posture that the president and his administration must approach our drawdown in Afghanistan.

We cannot have a repeat of history. There needs to be a plan to ensure the safety and security of this country against any threats at home or abroad.

Joni Ernst represents the state of Iowa as the first female combat veteran elected to serve in the U.S. Senate. In 2003, Joni served as a company commander in Kuwait and Iraq, leading 150 Iowa Army National Guardsmen during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Joni retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard after 23 years of military service.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Joni Ernst: A gut punch to Iowans

A gut punch to Iowans. That’s the only way to describe the Biden Administration’s decision to roll back the previous administration’s Navigable Water Protection Rule. Sadly, for those of us who have been on the frontlines of this fight since 2015, this news is not a surprise.

Now let me be clear: everyone can agree that clean water should be a national priority. Iowans, and all Americans, want sensible safeguards that protect our environment and keep our nation’s water clean. But what they don’t want is a one-size-fits-all, Washington power grab that makes it harder for Iowans to farm, ranch, and build.

That’s why, in 2015, when the Obama-Biden Administration finalized its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule—giving the federal government authority to regulate water on 97 percent of the land in Iowa—I immediately got to work to get it off the books. I fought to nullify the rule, but even after my bill passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support, it was vetoed by President Obama.

But I didn’t back down, and even before President Trump took office, I signaled my intent to work with him on a new, more flexible rule. And we did: the Trump Administration released a proposed rule to replace the Obama-era rule with one that provided much-needed predictability and certainty for farmers. Importantly, it established clear and reasonable definitions of what qualifies as a “water of the United States.” That rule, entitled the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, was finalized in January 2020.

As they say, however, elections have consequences. Anticipating a return to the Obama-Biden era of burdensome regulations, at the beginning of this year I urged the Senate to stand with workers, farmers, manufacturers, and businesses by upholding the previous administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

Despite having the support of 25 of my colleagues and stakeholders across the country, the Biden Administration ignored these concerns, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced their plans to undo all of our progress.

The reality is the fight for Iowa’s agriculture community is never over, and right now I’m working to push back on any harmful regulation this new administration might impose on these hardworking folks.

Together with Senator Chuck Grassley, I’m pressing the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, to make known to the president and his colleagues at the EPA and the Corps the serious concerns Iowa’s farmers and ranchers have with their recent actions on WOTUS. I’m also working to strengthen the voices Iowa’s small businesses in the federal rulemaking process. Too often, Washington bureaucrats put forward rules and regulations without considering their impact on small businesses—and the Obama-Biden WOTUS rule is a perfect example. That’s why I’ve put forward the Prove It Act which allows our small businesses to send federal agencies back to the drawing board to “prove” what they’re proposing won’t hurt small businesses. Specifically, the bill gives the Small Business Administration the ability to question an agency’s analysis if it claims a rule or regulation won’t impact small businesses.

When it comes to WOTUS, instead of continuing to confuse Iowa’s hardworking families, farmers, and businesses by changing its definition with each new administration, we need to make a reasonable, workable definition permanent. To do so, I helped introduce the Define WOTUS ActThis commonsense effort is more important now than ever.

There’s simply no reason to return to the Obama-era ways of giving an unchecked federal agency and unelected Washington bureaucrats more authority to control what’s done on private land. I will always fight tooth and nail for Iowa’s agriculture community, our working families, and our small businesses—and I’ll continue to push back against any attempts to impose complex, burdensome, and overreaching regulations on folks in our state.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Ernst on Democrats’ Election Bill: “This is not about democracy. It’s about changing the rules and tipping the scales to favor Washington Democrats.”


Senator Ernst’s full remarks are below:

“In each new Congress, the bill number ‘S. 1’ is assigned to the Majority’s priority legislation.

It says a lot about the new Democrat majority that the bill they chose to design as S. 1 prioritizes…themselves.

 “This bill creates a federal campaign fund to finance the expenses of candidates for Congress.

 “Instead of addressing the important issues that are on the minds of my fellow Iowans—like the rising cost of gasoline, bread, milk, and all sorts of household goods—this bill literally takes money out of the paychecks of working Americans and puts it into the campaign coffers, yes, of Washington politicians.

 “Rather than helping get Americans back to work, the Democrats’ top priority is to create a federal jobs program for political consultants and pollsters.

 “Taxpayer-subsidized robocalls interrupting your family dinner, junk mail cluttering your mailbox, and attack ads blaring, yes, on your TV.

 “And folks, you can’t, cannot, unsubscribe either, because there is no opting out.

 “Think about the politician you dislike the most…now imagine your tax dollars funding their ads and fliers and campaign parties and rallies…that’s what this bill does.

 “That’s right, the bill subsidizes politicians’ campaigns…your tax dollars helping to elect politicians who oppose your values.

 “This idea is so unpopular, a New York poll found that the Majority Leader’s own constituents oppose public funding of campaigns by a 3-to-1 margin.

 “While the Democrats call the bill, the ‘For the People Act,’ a more apt title would be ‘Fund the Politicians Act.’

 “It is about Washington politicians—the same ones who just brought back earmarks to pay for their pet pork projects with your tax dollars—prioritizing themselves.

 “The bill not only subsidizes the campaigns of politicians, it also nationalizes elections.

 “Washington would tell the rest of the country how you can select your representatives.

 “It does so by creating a federal work-around of state voter ID laws by effectively eliminating the enforcement of state ID requirements at the polls.

 “Think about what you’re required to show an ID to do…drive a car, board a plane, buy a beer, and the list goes on.

 “But Democrats think it’s best if we don’t require an ID to vote.

 “The majority of Americans disagree with Washington Democrats. 77 percent of voters support voter ID.

 “And a little known fact: this includes support by 63 percent of Democrats and a vast majority of Black and Hispanic voters.

 “It’s all part of the Democrats’ larger scheme and total power grab to tilt our political system in their favor: first, eliminate the filibuster, then, rig elections by eliminating election integrity laws—like voter ID verification—then add new states, like the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, that will elect Democrat senators, and don’t forget the plan to pack the Court.

 “There are just 50 Democratic senators, but 60 votes are required to end debate on legislation in the Senate. 

 “Therefore, the Democrats must eliminate the filibuster in order to pass S. 1.—their priority legislation.

 “That’s right, changing the rules in order to fundamentally change the country.

 “And I would remind folks: my friends across the aisle are seeking to abolish the very same tool – the filibuster – they used 327 times last year alone when they were in the minority.

 “If they choose to change the rules, they would destroy this chamber’s long, proud history as being the world’s greatest deliberative body.

 “The Senate’s current Assistant Majority Leader made it clear, very clear, in 2018 in no uncertain terms that ending the filibuster ‘would be the end of the Senate as it was originally devised and created going back to our Founding Fathers.’

 “Because the take-over of elections is just as radical and largely unconstitutional, the Democrats’ court-packing scheme is another key component of enshrining S. 1.

 “Folks, we can all see this for what it is, a transparent play for permanent political power.

 “This is not about democracy. It’s about changing the rules and tipping the scales to favor Washington Democrats.

 “As a former local elections commissioner, I believe elections are always best kept at the state and local level, and I will continue to push back on my colleagues’ attempts to federalize our elections.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

As Biden Threatens New Water Regs, Ernst Leads Effort to Stand Up for Farmers, Small Businesses

The bill aims to improve transparency and strengthen the voices of Iowa’s small businesses in the federal rulemaking process

As the Biden Administration seeks to roll back the previous administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule that provided more certainty for Iowa’s farmers and small business owners, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, is introducing legislation that aims to improve transparency and strengthen the voices of Iowa’s small businesses in the federal rulemaking process.

Specifically, the Prove It Act gives the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy—the small business watchdog for rules and regulations—the ability to question an agency’s analysis if it claims a rule or regulation won’t impact small businesses.

“Too often, Washington bureaucrats put forward rules and regulations without considering their impact on small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. A perfect example is the Obama-Biden WOTUS rule, which would have given the federal government authority to regulate water on 97 percent of land in Iowa and burden our farmers, landowners, and businesses. This bill will give Iowa’s small business community the opportunity to send federal agencies back to the drawing board to ‘prove’ that what they’re proposing won’t hurt small businesses,” said Senator Ernst.


SBA’s Office of Advocacy found that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers improperly certified the Obama-Biden era WOTUS rule, and, despite EPA claiming otherwise, the rule would have indeed had a costly and direct impact on small businesses. Provisions in the Prove It Act would have allowed for a review or reconsideration of the certification that the rule wouldn’t have a significant impact on small businesses.

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, federal agencies are required to certify whether a rule has a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses. If the rule does, agencies are then required to perform a substantive regulatory analysis. Agencies also have the discretion to certify that the rule would not impact small businesses significantly and can then bypass further analysis requirements.

The Prove It Act gives the Office of Advocacy an opportunity to submit a request to an agency to take a second look and reconsider its certification. If after 30 days of review the agency determines that its certification was incorrect, then the agency would be required to do further analyses on the rule. The request for review must be published in the Federal Register and on the Office of Advocacy’s website to ensure transparency.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Ernst Works to Rein In Federal Spending, Address Debt Crisis

As the national deficit approaches $30 trillion, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), known as the Senate’s leading foe of government waste, helped introduce a bill to rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending and provide a concrete path forward to tackle the nation’s debt crisis.

 “Despite being almost $30 trillion in debt, President Biden and congressional Democrats are continuing to propose trillions in additional spending of taxpayer dollars. If Iowans are expected to live within their means and balance their budgets, our federal government should too. This bill takes commonsense steps to hold Washington politicians accountable and to provide a pathway forward to tackle our nation’s debt crisis,” said Senator Ernst.

 The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act:

  • Requires the Office of Management and Budget to declare a “Federal Debt Emergency” in any fiscal year where the federal debt exceeds 100% of that year’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  •  This emergency designation would trigger several provisions to help control and reduce the federal debt to levels below 100% of GDP, including:

o    Terminating any unobligated funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, and any previous stimulus bills, and sending it back to the Treasury General Fund immediately for deficit reduction.


o   Requiring all legislation that increases the federal deficit, as determined by the Congressional Budget Office, to carry its own offsets. If it does not, the legislation shall be considered out of order and will require at least two-thirds of all Senators to vote to increase federal debt before even being able to consider the bill.

o   Fast-tracking any legislation that would reduce the federal deficit by at least 5 percent over ten years.

 “Congress needs to get serious about record debt and deficit levels, while also working to avoid back-breaking tax hikes on the middle class and small businesses. Senator Scott’s Federal Debt Emergency Control Act would give Congress the tools it needs to meaningfully address the debt when it outgrows the size of the economy. NTU applauds Senator Scott for leading this fiscally responsible effort,” said Andrew Lautz, Director of Federal Policy, National Taxpayers Union (NTU).

 “After the budget deficit has exceeded $3.7 trillion and the national debt stands at more than $28 trillion, it is time to rebuild the nation’s fiscal security. The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act creates a commonsense plan to rein in the federal government’s excessive spending habits; makes payments toward reducing the national debt; and forces members of Congress to be on the record when they vote to increase the deficit. Passage of Senator Scott’s legislation will begin to put an end to reckless, wasteful, out-of-control government spending,” said Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste. 

 “Federal spending and the national debt have been completely out of control for years, yet the Biden administration wants to make this problem worse by enacting trillions of dollars in new spending. Lawmakers must get serious about curbing this problem and can do so by supporting Senator Rick Scott’s Federal Debt Emergency Act. This important legislation will implement much-needed legislative reforms that will force lawmakers to seriously address federal spending and deficits. Importantly, this legislation contains safeguards to protect against tax increases, ensuring that politicians do not force working families and businesses to pick up the tab for years of Washington mismanagement,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.

 “Washington has gone on a spending spree, adding trillions of dollars to our national debt since last year. The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act makes important reforms to stop Congress from its habit of deficit spending on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Brent Gardner, Americans for Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer.

 “With a national debt surpassing 28 trillion dollars, our country’s fiscal health is in dire straits. Decades of reckless spending have created a true emergency laid at the feet of Americans now and for generations to come. More than ever, we need real conversations and workable solutions to address the national debt. Senator Scott’s Federal Debt Emergency Control Act is an important measure to force politicians who would rather look the other way to instead curb Congress’s spending addiction and preserve the financial health of our country,” said Adam Brandon, President of FreedomWorks.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Joni Ernst: President Biden’s Policies are Hurting Iowa’s Economy, Working Families

Even if you’re paying attention, it’s hard to keep track of all the numbers flying around Washington, D.C. right now. Despite our national debt approaching $30 trillion, President Biden and congressional Democrats are proposing trillions more in taxpayer spending. In fact, on the Friday before Memorial Day, the White House quietly released the president’s $6 trillion budget proposal that would, as the New York Times put it, “push federal spending to its highest sustained levels since World War II.” It’s important to remember that this comes just months after they fast-tracked a nearly $2 trillion “COVID relief” bill without any Republican support.

With the Biden Administration continuing full speed ahead with its egregious spending, it’s clear the president’s economic policies are failing the American people. We’ve seen the prices of gasoline, milk, lumber, and other goods that families in Iowa and across the country rely on daily continue to rise—with the annual inflation rate reaching its highest in nearly 13 years. The May jobs report failed to meet expectations for the second month in a row—with the number of unemployed Americans remaining well above pre-pandemic levels and enhanced federal perks continuing to discourage folks from going back to work. And let’s not forget the thousands of jobs President Biden destroyed in the first few days of his administration when he unilaterally canceled the Keystone XL pipeline with the stroke of a pen.

Sadly, President Biden’s massive, multi-trillion-dollar budget reflects a continuation of these failed policies. His budget would impose higher taxes on working Americans while making dangerous cuts to our national defense, all to pay for a massive expansion of the federal government and the enactment of radical progressive demands, like parts of the Green New Deal. In fact, the entire plan can be summed up as: higher taxes, higher spending, and higher debt.

Under the Biden budget, by 2028, Washington will collect more tax revenue as a portion of our economy than at nearly any point over the last 100 years. This tax collecting scheme even includes a retroactive tax increase—meaning Iowans may owe higher taxes on past earnings. Plus, the president would allow the tax cuts I helped pass for lower-income and middle-class Americans to expire in 2025, resulting in higher taxes for most Americans.

The administration’s “Build Back Better” plan includes proposed tax policy changes that could have devastating impacts on America’s family farms and ranches. The American Farm Bureau stated that the tax plan would mean “a significant tax increase on farmers and ranchers.” Punishing Iowa family farmers, who help feed and fuel the world, with tax hikes is exactly the opposite of what the Biden Administration should be doing right now and shows just how out of touch Democrats are with Rural America.

The bottom line is President Biden’s economic policies are hurting hardworking Iowans and Americans. We need to be working together in a bipartisan way to get our economy back on track like it was pre-pandemic. That doesn’t mean tax hikes on our families; that means getting folks back to work and reining in unnecessary spending. I’ll continue holding the Biden Administration’s feet to the fire to protect the pocketbooks of working families in Iowa and across the nation.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Monday, May 24, 2021

During June, Office of Senator Ernst to Hold Traveling Office Hours Across All 99 Counties in Iowa

Representatives from Senator Ernst’s office will be available in every county across Iowa to assist constituents with issues and casework

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) announced today her office will be holding traveling office hours in all 99 counties across Iowa at different times during the month of June to provide assistance with casework for constituents.

 *Please Note: Senator Ernst will not be at the traveling office hours*

 Representatives from Senator Ernst’s office will be available in every county throughout the state to assist Iowans with problems or questions about issues involving Social Security, veterans’ benefits, military affairs, passports, immigration issues, and other federal programs.

 “No matter the issue, if you are experiencing challenges with federal services such as those at the VA or Social Security office, my staff and I are here to assist,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “My staff members in offices across Iowa can help with all sorts of problems that can arise when it comes to federal agencies. So, throughout the month of June, we are offering traveling office hours in every county in Iowa to make sure we are available and accessible to folks who need assistance. Please be sure to stop by when my staff is in your area and always feel free to reach out if we can help.”

 Those who are seeking assistance with federal agencies but who are unable to attend the traveling office hours can contact one of the Senator’s offices directly or submit a casework request online at www.Ernst.Senate.Gov.

 A complete list of all upcoming dates and locations can be found below (in alphabetical order).

 *Please Note: Senator Ernst will not be at the traveling office hours*


Audubon County

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Audubon Public Library

401 North Park Place

Audubon, IA


Calhoun County

Thursday, June 17, 2021

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Pomeroy City Hall

Community Building

109 S Ontario St

Pomeroy, IA


Carroll County

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Carroll Chamber of Commerce

407 W 5th St

Carroll, IA


Crawford County

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Schleswig City Hall

111 2nd Street

Schleswig, IA


Greene County

Thursday, June 17, 2021

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Greene County Courthouse

Board of Supervisors Office

114 N Chestnut Street

Jefferson, IA


Guthrie County

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Guthrie County Courthouse

Public Meeting Room

200 North 5th Street

Guthrie Center, IA


Harrison County

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Missouri Valley Public Library

420 East Huron Street

Missouri Valley, IA


Ida County

Friday, June 25, 2021

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Galva City Hall

116 South Main St

Galva, IA


Monona County

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Onawa Public Library

Small Meeting Room

707 Iowa Avenue

Onawa, IA


Sac County

Thursday, June 24, 2021

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Lake View City Hall

Council Chambers

305 Main St

Lake View, IA


Shelby County

Thursday, June 15, 2021

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Harlan Chamber of Commerce

1901 Hawkeye Avenue

Harlan, IA

Friday, May 14, 2021

Joni Ernst: Help Wanted: Federal Policies That Incentivize Work, Support Small Business

There’s no doubt about it: it’s been a long year. Just ask any small business, restaurant, or other employer across our state. Fortunately, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Because of Operation Warp Speed, we now have vaccines; and COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are trending down. In Iowa, folks are ready to return to “normal life,” and for our businesses, that means operating at full capacity.

For Iowa’s employers, fully reopening means a complete workforce and making up for lost revenue—and it’s critical that they are able to do so as soon as possible.

As I’ve met with folks across the state, they’ve consistently shared the challenges they’re experiencing in finding the workers needed to get back up and running. That’s what happens when the government pays people more money to stay at home than to go to work. Look no further than the disappointing jobs report released last Friday. We were anticipating close to one million new jobs, and we only gained around 266,000.

I’ve heard from restaurant owners in Bellevue who need about 36 employees between their two locations, and can only find 20. They’ve been forced to suspend plans to expand, costing additional jobs and stifling economic development. And they’re not alone: the owner of a small business in Cedar Rapids that offers good-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree was turned down by three separate people because they chose to stay on unemployment instead. I’ve also heard from folks who run in-home care services in West Des Moines and Cedar Rapids about their difficulties hiring providers for their professional care teams. Again, this is all due in large part to the federal government’s excessive unemployment perks.

If we’re going to begin erasing the damages caused by the last year of the pandemic and get our economy moving again, we cannot continue to let Democrats disincentivize work. Thankfully in Iowa, our great Governor Kim Reynolds has already taken steps to curb the excessive federal unemployment that has kept Iowans on the sidelines and created these challenges for our employers.

Now, we need to do more nationwide. As a senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I’m helping to lead a bicameral effort to end the enhanced perks at the federal level. The Get Americans Back to Work Act, which I helped put forward this week decreases the extra federal unemployment benefits to $150 per week at the end of this month, and then fully repeals them at the end of June.

As I saw last week on my 99 County Tour, and as I’ve heard from a number of my colleagues, “Help Wanted” signs are plastered on front doors and window panes all across our main streets. We’re on the verge of beating this pandemic, but we can’t have the federal government get in the way of our recovery. Congress, the Biden Administration, and state leaders across the country should be focused on doing all they can to help get folks back to work and get our businesses up and running once again.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Following Revealing Report, Ernst, Pappas, Hassan, and Hinson Take Action to Crack Down on Sexual Harassment at VA

The lawmakers’ bipartisan, bicameral legislation would implement numerous policy changes within the VA to prevent and address sexual harassment

Following the release of a government watchdog report exposing alarming instances of sexual harassment by employees and management failures at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Representatives Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) are introducing bipartisan and bicameral legislation to drastically improve policies and oversight and to crack down on harassment at the department.

 The lawmakers’ new legislation, the Improving VA Accountability to Prevent Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Act of 2021, would implement numerous policy changes within the VA based on recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The report—requested by Senator Ernst, herself a combat veteran and survivor of sexual assault—revealed that the VA does not require reporting of all sexual harassment complaints, has an improper leadership structure for overseeing their sexual harassment process, and has incomplete and outdated policies, information, and training.

“Sexual harassment must be addressed and rooted out no matter where it exists, but under no circumstance can it be permitted under the roof of our nation’s VA—a place so many of our veterans trust and rely on,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “As a sexual assault survivor and a combat veteran myself, I’m disturbed by the failures that have gone on at the VA for far too long. It’s past time we take action with this bipartisan and bicameral bill to expand oversight, improve policies, and ensure sexual harassment is prevented and dealt with properly and immediately.”

“It’s unacceptable that someone who has proudly served our nation is subjected to sexual harassment in the institution whose charge it is to serve them,” said Congressman Pappas. “I am proud to help introduce this legislation that takes critical steps to combat sexual harassment by updating the VA’s antiquated policies and structure in addition to creating stronger reporting requirements. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure all of our veterans can be confident about accessing VA care in a safe, respectful setting.”

“The VA should be a place where veterans can go to feel supported and cared for, yet there is clear evidence of significant sexual harassment at the VA,” Senator Hassan said. “In order for veterans and staff to feel safe at the VA, we must take an aggressive approach to combat this harassment and ensure that survivors are being heard. I am glad to work with my colleagues across the aisle on this important bill that will take steps to hold perpetrators accountable.”

“The widespread failures at the Department of Veterans Affairs to address sexual harassment properly are inexcusable,” said Congresswoman Hinson. “Our bipartisan bill will help fix the systemic issues with how the VA handles sexual harassment and put policies in place to prevent it in the future. I thank Senator Joni Ernst for her continued leadership on this critical issue, which will no doubt help many veterans who have faced sexual harassment or discrimination, and I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside her.”

Friday, April 9, 2021

Joni Ernst: Democrats’ Violence Against Women Act pressures women to negotiate with abusers

Women have fought too long to not be held responsible for the actions of their abusers; I cannot support legislation that would return us to the past.

Thirty years ago, before the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) became law, domestic violence was viewed as a behind-closed-doors, private matter between husband and wife. Victims were often told to just deal with it — weathering the emotional and physical impacts of abuse alone — sometimes even being blamed for causing the strife. Resources and services were scarce, and women had nowhere to turn.

Since its inception, VAWA has strengthened local, state, tribal, and federal responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Because of this important legislation, women now have places to turn for support.

Fortunately, Congress has continued to fund the VAWA programs year after year despite their “unauthorized” status because of folks like myself and others who recognize the need to ensure survivors are supported. But the fight over getting the bill reauthorized and modernized has become all too polarizing. My Democratic colleagues continue to read from the same script, year after year, attempting to hijack a bill for their own agenda on everything from gun control to sexual orientation. And admittedly some of my Republican colleagues have their own routine concerns with VAWA.

Negotiation is not an option

In March, the House of Representatives passed the mostly partisan Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021. That bill has been sold by Democrats as a simple reauthorization of VAWA, but it is far from that. Just read the section of the bill on “Restorative Practice.” This practice shockingly funds programs that allow an abuser to negotiate with their victim in the name of “collectively seeking accountability from the accused.” While there might be decent intention behind this, it puts the responsibility of stopping abuse on the survivor.

Instead of going to jail, a wife-beater could sit across the table from their victim and discuss a settlement. Yes, you read that right; abuser and survivor in the same room, forced to negotiate. The bill states restorative practice would be “on a voluntary basis,” but given the way a victim has suffered, it won’t feel voluntary. Nothing about these crimes is voluntary.

While this approach might work for middle school conflicts or neighborly disputes about flowerbeds, it’s coercive, re-traumatizing, and could even be deadly when applied to survivors of domestic violence. Democrats want this radical approach to apply not just to survivors of domestic violence, but also sexual assault. This framework holds a victim responsible as an essentially equal partner in preventing future violence. This reminds me of how women were treated decades ago when they were asked what they did to deserve it and this kind of social experimentation has no place in VAWA.

A web of abuse

As a survivor of both domestic violence and sexual assault, I’m appalled at the lack of understanding regarding the complexities of the relationships between survivor and abuser, especially a long-term abuser. Untangling a web of abuse is a daunting task. The coercion and community pressure can be overwhelming. Under the Democrats’ bill, the victim would be responsible for publicly stating to her community whether her abuser should face consequences or not.

I am committed to reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. It’s why I introduced a modernized version last Congress and intend to do so again — one that holds predators accountable and supports survivors in all communities, rural and urban. I stand ready to negotiate with my friends across the aisle. But the reality of a 50-50 Senate is that Democrats need to be willing to find consensus.

I will work with anyone on a bipartisan bill that increases funding for needed programs and makes appropriate, and necessary, updates to the law. But ideas like restorative practice have no place in a bill called the Violence Against Women Act. Women have fought too long to not be held responsible for the actions of their abusers. I cannot support legislation that would return us to the past.

Joni Ernst, a Republican, is a combat veteran and the junior U.S. senator from Iowa.

As published in USA Today.

Monday, March 29, 2021

After Democrats Tucked a Provision Banning State Tax Cuts Into Their “COVID Relief” Bill, Ernst Backs Effort to Reverse It

The Iowa senator is backing legislation to eliminate a provision in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion bill that punishes states wishing to provide tax relief to its citizens

After Democrats tucked a little-known provision into their $1.9 trillion “COVID relief” bill that would ban states, like Iowa, from cutting state taxes, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is backing legislation to reverse the provision.
“The Democrats’ partisan, nearly $2 trillion ‘COVID relief’ package rewards states that have mismanaged their budgets while punishing those who have acted responsibly during this pandemic. It’s no surprise that this rushed bill also prevents states—like Iowa—from cutting taxes for its hardworking taxpayers. We shouldn’t punish states, and our working families, for prioritizing fiscal responsibility, and this commonsense legislation will repeal this ill-conceived provision that infringes on states’ rights,” said Senator Ernst.
“Iowa’s fiscal health is strong and we are cutting taxes so that Iowans can keep more of their hard-earned money, but unfortunately our approach is in jeopardy because of what’s happening in Washington, D.C.,” said Governor Kim Reynolds. “Biden’s stimulus plan is full of reckless spending with strings attached aimed at bailing out mismanaged states and cities. I appreciate Senator Ernst taking the lead on the State Fiscal Flexibility Act to help prevent the federal government from slowing down Iowa’s economic recovery.”
The Democrats’ partisan, $1.9 trillion “COVID relief package” they passed earlier this month included a $350 billion bailout for states, rewarding those with poor fiscal management and punishing those who operated responsibly during the pandemic. However, they added a little-known provision that also punishes states for providing tax relief.
Ernst is cosponsoring the State Fiscal Flexibility Act, which would eliminate this provision, giving power back to the states to determine what fiscal policies will best serve their citizens.
Ernst is also supporting a similar measure, the Let States Cut Taxes Act.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Ernst: Stop the Dangerous Surge at the Border

The Iowa senator is backing legislation to close loopholes that encourage vulnerable immigration populations to take dangerous, illegal paths of entry into the U.S.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is helping introduce the Stopping Border Surges Act, a bill to address loopholes in our immigration system which encourage vulnerable immigrant populations to take dangerous, illegal paths of entry into the United States.

“The current surge of migrants at our border, due in large part to the immediate and illogical reversal of the previous administration’s policies, underscores the need for Congress to work together to address this humanitarian and national security crisis. Right now, loopholes in our immigration system are encouraging unaccompanied children and families to make the perilous journey—at the hands of ruthless smugglers—to enter the U.S. through our now-open southern border. This bill will close a number of these loopholes and help stop this dangerous surge,” said Senator Joni Ernst.
The Stopping Border Surges Act, led by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), includes reforms that would help stem the surges of illegal immigrants that our country can neither support nor sustain; strengthen our asylum process; eliminate the incentive to send children on the perilous, solo journey to the border; and dampen the exploitative power of the coyotes and cartels.
Last week, Senator Ernst joined her colleagues in highlighting President Joe Biden’s unlawful suspension of border wall funding and construction.
Senator Ernst also published an op-ed outlining the border crisis as both a humanitarian one and a threat to U.S. national security and urged President Biden and his administration to acknowledge the border crisis.
As the lead Republican on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Ernst highlighted the importance of defending the border against the threat of Transnational Criminal Organizations and other nefarious influencers—including Iran, Russia, and China—and called on her colleagues to work together to secure the border.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Two Ernst-Backed Transparency Bills Advance With Unanimous, Bipartisan Support

The bills will help prevent duplicative and wasteful federal programs and allow for more information about government spending to be accessible to the public

With Sunshine Week coming to a close, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) had two transparency and government accountability bills she’s backing advance in the Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support. One bill will help prevent duplicative and wasteful federal programs while the other will allow for more information about government spending to be accessible to the public.

“In Washington, there’s no shortage of waste and duplicative government programs—always at the expense of the American taxpayer. We certainly need to cut the fat and get rid of unneeded federal programs, but, at the very least, hardworking taxpayers have a right to know where and how their money is being spent. These two bills will go a long way in cutting down on waste and shining light on the tax dollars being spent, and I’m pleased Democrats and Republicans agreed to move them forward,” said Senator Joni Ernst.

Ernst is an original cosponsor of the Duplication Reduction and Scoring Act and the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act, which both passed out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee this week.

The Duplication Reduction and Scoring Act

The bill directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review each piece of legislation reported out of a committee to determine if it poses a risk of producing more duplication in areas of government where the GAO has already identified such problems in one of its duplication reports.

The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act

This bill would put in place a requirement that agencies’ budget justifications are publicly available on a centralized website, as well as on each agency’s own website.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Ernst: Biden Fueling the Border Crisis by Unlawfully Suspending Border Wall Funding, Construction

Amid the rapidly escalating crisis along the southern border, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) joined her colleagues in highlighting President Joe Biden’s suspension of border wall funding and construction without lawful justification, as required by the Impoundment Control Act.

In a letter to GAO Comptroller General Gene L. Dorado, Ernst and her colleagues write, “On January 20th, in one of the first official acts of his presidency, Joseph Biden suspended border wall construction and ordered a freeze of funds provided by Congress for that purpose. In the weeks that followed, operational control of our southern border was compromised and a humanitarian and national security crisis has ensued.”

 They go on to write: “The President’s actions directly contributed to this unfortunate, yet entirely avoidable, scenario. They are also a blatant violation of federal law and infringe on Congress’s constitutional power of the purse…We believe they violated the Impoundment Control Act (ICA), as interpreted by your office, and we request your legal opinion on the matter. Prompt action to end these violations is required to restore order at the border.”

To read the full letter, click here.


Last week, Senator Ernst published an op-ed outlining the border crisis as both a humanitarian one and threat to U.S. national security and urged President Biden and his administration to acknowledge the border crisis.

As the lead Republican on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Ernst highlighted the importance of defending the border against the threat of Transnational Criminal Organizations and other nefarious influencers—including Iran, Russia, and China—and called on her colleagues to work together to secure the border.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Ernst Statement on Regan Confirmation Vote

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, voted in opposition to Michael Regan to be the next Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Following the vote, Ernst issued this statement:

“While I appreciate Mr. Regan’s experience working on environmental issues and his commitment to taking into consideration the opinions of our farmers when it comes to implementing the Biden agenda, I still have serious concerns about the path this administration will take on issues like renewable fuel and agency rulemaking. President Biden has already taken steps to roll back the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule and transition the federal fleet to electric vehicles. This, coupled with the unsuccessful record of the Obama-Biden Administration on securing E15 year-round and their harmful WOTUS rule leave me concerned about how Mr. Regan will handle important issues to Iowans. Regardless of who is leading the EPA, I will continue to be a champion for my home state’s biofuel industry, farmers, manufacturers, and businesses and stand up against radical policies like the Green New Deal,” Ernst said.

Last week, Ernst questioned Mr. Regan at a Senate EPW Committee hearing on his commitment to defending the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and his view on the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule that replaced the unpopular Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Ernst: U.S. “must maintain sanctions on the Iranian regime…”

The Iowa senator joins 29 colleagues on a resolution opposing lifting sanctions against Iran

As Iran continues moving ahead in advancing its nuclear program and beginning to produce uranium metal, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, is joining 29 of her Senate colleagues in calling for the U.S. to oppose lifting sanctions against the country.

“The United States must maintain sanctions on the Iranian regime until it abandons its nuclear ambitions and completely ends its support for violence and funding terrorism around the region. Iran took advantage of weak policies during the Obama Administration, and President Biden must not repeat those same mistakes,” said Senator Joni Ernst.

Ernst today announced her support for a Senate resolution calling for the U.S. to maintain sanctions against Iran.


Ernst has been outspoken in calling on the Biden Administration to make a top priority of keeping our nation and the world safe from the threat of Iran, penning an op-ed in the Washington Examiner. Last week, Ernst called on the Biden Administration to work with our allies and partners to impose a new arms embargo on Iran.

She also helped introduce a resolution expressing opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and urging President Biden to work with Congress and refuse to re-join the deal without significant reform. She also joined Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) on a bill that would enable Congress to approve—or block—any effort by the administration to suspend or terminate U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime.

Following the recent U.S. strike in Syria, Ernst said that Iran’s aggression must be countered with a strong, decisive response and that the United States cannot afford to pivot to a weak policy against Iran, like another failed nuclear deal.


Monday, March 8, 2021

Ernst: The Democrats’ “COVID Relief” Bill is Partisan, Pricey, and Full of Pet Projects

It’s no secret that the worst global pandemic in a generation has brought unforeseen challenges and hardships. But it’s often during these challenging times when the American people band together, and we’ve seen it: folks across Iowa have risen to the occasion to help out their friends, family members, neighbors, and communities. We’ve also seen it in our government. Even in increasingly partisan times, state legislatures—and even Congress—have worked across party lines to provide relief to those who need it.

I’ve been proud to work with Democrats and Republicans to pass five overwhelmingly bipartisan packages to support Iowans and all Americans. And last week, I was ready to do it again.

Unfortunately, my friends across the aisle had a different idea.

Ignoring President Biden’s call for unity, Democrats—led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer—shut out me and my Republican colleagues and instead focused on fast-tracking their highly partisan, nearly $2 trillion “COVID relief bill” through Congress. Despite what they’re calling the legislation, this package is full of spending that has absolutely nothing to do with addressing the immediate needs of COVID-19.

Hardworking Iowa taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for Speaker Pelosi’s and Senator Schumer’s wish list of long-time liberal priorities. That’s why I worked to shed light on the extraneous provisions in the bill—and we had some success. After bringing attention to the $1.5 million of taxpayer dollars set aside for building a bridge from the state of New York to Canada, this partisan pet project was struck from the bill. We also exposed—and stopped—a cleverly-worded provision that earmarked $140 million for a subway in California’s Silicon Valley. What do these projects have to do with COVID? The answer is nothing.

Sadly, there is plenty of additional pork in this bill. There’s still a whopping $350 billion bailout of “blue” states that the Democrats crafted to reward states with mismanaged budgets and bad past behavior. The biggest winners include New York and California.

What else is in this mammoth package? A loophole that allows millionaires, yes millionaires, to take advantage of a program intended to help make quality child care affordable for working parents who are struggling to make ends meet. And then there are millions for so-called “environmental justice grants.” Instead, this money could be better used on things like broadband for schools that have needed additional help with connectivity during COVID-19. Unfortunately, with just nine percent of this bill actually going to COVID health spending, these are just a few examples—the liberal wish list is long.

I fully understand that there are still needs that must be addressed across the country. But instead of bridges and bailouts and money to millionaires, this package should be focused on immediate help to get folks back to work, kids in school, and vaccines in Iowans’ and all Americans’ arms.

The money Democrats want to spend isn’t monopoly money. It’s going to be paid out of the pockets of essential workers and others who are continuing to work, pay taxes, and keep America running. And of course, by my daughter and the generations to come.

As I’ve said, COVID relief should focus on COVID relief. Period. Instead, Democrats turned their back on bipartisanship for their own political interests and party priorities and shoved through their nearly $2 trillion bill without any Republican support.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Ernst: “With a one-party monopoly of Washington, Democrats are back to their old spending games.”

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) spoke on the Senate floor today calling out congressional Democrats for fast-tracking their highly partisan $1.9 trillion “COVID relief bill” through Congress, instead of working in a bipartisan way like Congress has done five previous times. Ernst shed light on the wish list of long-time liberal budget-busting priorities—that have nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic—included in the bill, and reiterated that relief should be focused on getting folks back to work and kids back in school.

Click here to watch Senator Ernst’s remarks.

Senator Ernst’s full remarks are below:

“With a one-party monopoly of Washington, D.C. Democrats are back to their old spending games.

“Most of the 1.9 trillion dollars within the Democrats’ ‘COVID’ package has absolutely nothing to do with COVID.

“Unlike the previous five pandemic relief bills that were approved with overwhelming bipartisan support, Democrats have shown no interest in working with Republicans and are instead fast-tracking this highly partisan bill through Congress.

“The bulk of this budget-busting bill is devoted to fulfilling a wish list of long-time liberal priorities, including—billion-dollar bailouts, progressive program expansions, and pricey partisan pet projects.

“Let’s talk about a few of those. Look at this right here: a New York bridge to Canada. That’s $1.5 million for a bridge connecting the state of New York to another country: Canada.

“Or what about this one? The cleverly-worded provision that earmarks – yes, I said it, folks – earmarking is already happening – $140 million to a subway in Silicon Valley in California. What does that have to do with COVID?

“And a whopping $350 billion blue state bailout that rewards the states that have imposed the strictest lockdowns.

“Folks, we should be rewarding the states that demonstrated leadership by finding ways to safely stay open, not those that shut down schools, closed businesses, and killed jobs.

“But most importantly, COVID relief should stay focused on COVID.

“There is still about $1 trillion of COVID funding that Congress previously approved that hasn’t even been spent yet. Yes folks, $1 trillion.

“So why are we looking at spending yet another $2 trillion, of course, on things that are not even related to COVID?

“That isn’t to say there aren’t still needs across the country, because there are. We know that. All across our country.

“But instead of bridges and bailouts, the money should be focused on immediate help to get our moms and dads back to work. To do that, we need to do a few things: One, lets safely reopen our schools; Number two, expand access to quality, affordable child care; and number three, distribute the vaccine as quickly as possible.

“While the bill does provide assistance for these purposes, even here the Democrats show how out of touch they are with what’s actually happening on the ground.

“For example, nearly $15 billion is included for the Child Care and Development Block Grant.

“At a time when so many moms are being forced to choose between their careers and children as a result of school closures, the support is very much needed.

“But, a loophole in the bill allows millionaires to use up this program which was created to help make quality child care affordable for working parents struggling to make ends meet.

“While the additional funding will certainly help many, expanding eligibility to millionaires who have the financial means to afford their own ‘nannies’ will not.

“While the bill also extends the enhanced unemployment benefit and provides an extra $400 per week for those who are out of work because of the pandemic, there again, another loophole, there is no income limit placed on the eligibility.

“That means someone who may be out of work but is still earning a million dollars or more qualifies for these bonus payments.

“You might laugh and ask, ‘How many people would apply for unemployment assistance if they were making a million dollars?’

“The answer is thousands.

“During the Great Recession just a decade ago, more than 3,000 individuals with adjusted gross incomes of $1 million collected unemployment benefits.

“Because this bill doesn’t cap who may receive support, jobless millionaires may end up collecting as much as $1 million in enhanced unemployment assistance every week.

“This is like a reverse millionaires’ tax.

“The Democrats are paying millionaires to not work, with taxes paid by lower-income workers. How do you like that socialist scheme?

“So if you are a coastal elite, living in California or New York and maybe making a million bucks despite being out of work, this bill is especially generous for you.

“But folks: this isn’t Monopoly money! This is the real deal, and someone has to eventually pick up the tab.

“Sadly, it is going to be paid out of the pockets of essential workers and others who are continuing to work, those that pay taxes and keep America running.

“Now, as an eternal optimist, I am hopeful that when this bill comes before the Senate, my Democrat colleagues will actually work with us to cut the pork and refocus the bill on what it should be focused on: the immediate needs of the COVID pandemic.

“Not a fancy subway. Not a bridge to Canada, and certainly, not wealthy state bailouts. Focus on the immediate needs of the COVID pandemic.

“And if not, I’m afraid the Democrats will just “keep passing go” and collecting hundreds of dollars from hardworking taxpayers across this country, only to pay for their pricey partisan pet projects and wish list items that have nothing to do with COVID-19.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

With Iowa’s Redistricting Deadline Looming, Ernst Urges Census Bureau to Quickly Get Data to the State, After COVID-Related Delays

Iowa’s state constitution requires a new legislative districting map be signed into law by September 2021

As Iowa’s deadline for submitting its new legislative redistricting map approaches later this year, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is urging the U.S. Census Bureau to expedite getting its 2020 data to the state after delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iowa’s state constitution requires state lawmakers to submit and sign into law a new legislative redistricting map by September 15, 2021. If the new map is not finalized by then, the Iowa Supreme Court is required to draw it, bypassing the bipartisan commission that would otherwise provide the general assembly with draft maps and taking the redistricting process out of the hands of the state legislature.

Today, Ernst sent a letter to the U.S. Census Bureau describing the urgent need to get the 2020 census data to Iowa “as soon as possible.”

Click here to see Ernst’s full letter to U.S. Census Bureau Acting Director Ron Jarmin.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Ernst: Taxpayers Win in the ‘War on Waste’ in Annual Defense Bill

The Iowa senator secured a number of key measures that hold the Pentagon accountable, increase transparency, and help rid the department of duplication

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), known as the Senate’s leading foe of wasteful government spending, won important victories in her ‘War on Waste’ in the Fiscal Year ‘21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could potentially save taxpayers billions of dollars.

 “I’m glad to report that Iowa taxpayers, and folks across the country, won a battle in the ‘War on Waste’ in this year’s defense bill. Through my efforts, we’ve made spending more transparent, curbed needless duplication, and we’re holding accountable, not rewarding, bad behavior and questionable actions by the Pentagon,” said Senator Ernst. 

 “Taxpayers have a right to know how much money the Defense Department wastes on boondoggles like hooking animals on cocaine and putting pigs on treadmills. We applaud combat veteran Senator Joni Ernst for championing this important transparency measure to require price tags on often-wasteful Pentagon spending so taxpayers can hold government accountable. Now, the Senate must pass Senator Ernst’s common sense COST Act—which is supported by a supermajority of Americans—to ensure all federal agencies and their grantees publicly disclose how they spend taxpayers’ hard-earned money,” said Anthony Bellotti, president and founder of taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project.

 “Senator Ernst’s transparency provision is a welcome reform that gives taxpayers the information they need to help keep government accountable and limited to purpose. Too often, federal spending, including funding that goes through the Department of Defense, does little to enhance our national and economic security. Setting priorities is especially critical now as our nation struggles to recover from the effects of COVID-19. We need a more efficient and transparent government to help us grow at home and compete abroad. This is an important and timely victory for America’s taxpayers, families, farmers and small businesses,” said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of


Through Ernst’s COST Act—which was included in this year’s NDAA– grant recipients who get money from the Pentagon will now be required to include a price tag disclosing the cost to taxpayers for their military research. Ernst has highlighted a number of questionable projects supported by DOD funding, including Navy research analyzing puppy personalities to determine why canines are so doggone friendly and an Air Force report on how to develop psychic teleportation to use mind powers to travel through parallel universes and to alien planets.

 Senator Ernst also won on an amendment to get the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the most expensive cost overruns in weapon systems and forces to Pentagon to disclose to Congress their top 10 most expensive weapons to fix and maintain.


Under Senator Ernst’s leadership as the chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee, the FY21 NDAA cut $300 million in research and development programs that were wasteful, duplicative, or not a priority. This funding was redirected towards urgent research needs, such as getting a deployable vaccine for our troops and for funding Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) programs.

 Senator Ernst also successfully passed an amendment to require the most senior science and technology leaders to meet to discuss their research to ensure that it is coordinated and the Pentagon doesn’t continue to try to fund the same research more than once.


Another Ernst win, the GAO – Congress’ watchdog for waste – will investigate if the billions of dollars in bonuses paid to defense contractors, for projects that are over budget or behind schedule, are warranted.

Leave a Comment