Thursday, February 16
Ernst Leads Bipartisan Effort to Give Students a Clear Picture of College Costs Upfront
The bipartisan bill gives prospective students an estimate of the total amount of interest they would pay on a loan.
WASHINGTON – As students and families across the United States face mounting student loan debt, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is leading a bipartisan effort, supported by her fellow Iowan, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), to provide more transparency to prospective students before they take out a loan.
The Student Transparency for Understanding Decisions in Education Net Terms (STUDENT) Act would provide student loan applicants with an estimate of the total amount of interest they would pay, based on a standard 10-year repayment plan, during or prior to accepting a loan. The bipartisan bill was introduced by Senators Ernst and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and cosponsored by Senators Grassley, Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Supporting organizations include Iowa College Aid and Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation.
“The one time students should be given a cheat sheet is to reveal the true cost of college tuition. My bipartisan bill will pull back the curtain and give our students the tools they need to make the best decisions for their financial future,” said Ernst.
“Too many students find themselves overwhelmed as interest piles up on loans they never understood in the first place,” said Grassley. “The answer isn’t to cancel loans after the fact, it’s to provide students with greater transparency before they borrow. This bill will help students in Iowa and across the country get ahead by making informed and responsible borrowing decisions.”
“The STUDENT Act gives students and their families the information necessary to understand their federal student loans and their repayment obligations,” said Mark Wiederspan, Executive Director of Iowa College Aid. “We hope this information helps make the decision to borrow more transparent, and helps students learn the best way to finance and achieve their postsecondary education.”
You can find full bill text here.
Monday, February 13
Ernst Calls on Biden Administration to Scrap Burdensome, Costly Regulations on Small Businesses
The Iowa senator is the Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee, today called on the Biden administration to rescind a newly-proposed rule that increases burdensome and costly greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) requirements on small businesses competing for federal contracts. The rule comes from the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council, which consists of the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In a comment letter to the FAR Council, Ranking Member Ernst slammed the rule: “In addition to being confusing, contradictory, and misaligned with existing longstanding federal contracting standards, the proposed rule will disproportionately harm small businesses, including and especially those small, disadvantaged businesses the Administration purports to support, and will result in broader, deleterious impacts to the small business industrial base, affecting our national security posture and national economy.”
On November 14, 2022, the FAR Council proposed a rule requiring federal contractors to disclose greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related financial risks and to set science-based targets to reduce emissions. The total estimated cost of the rule to small businesses is over $103 million in the first year of implementation and over $62 million in the following years, however this figure is likely a significant underestimation of the true total cost of the impact.
Read the full comment letter here, which will be filed formally today in the regulation’s docket.
February 9, 2023
Ernst Demands Biden EPA Remove Regulatory Barriers on Ethanol, Provide Certainty for Farmers and Consumers
This move follows the request of Midwest governors, including Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.
Biden’s EPA is past due for action on E15.
WASHINGTON – As the 2023 summer driving season quickly approaches, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is leading a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Biden administration demanding they remove regulatory barriers for gasoline-ethanol blends—like E15—and implement the long-awaited request of Midwest governors, including Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. This move would provide much-needed certainty to farmers, producers, and consumers who are directly impacted by the decisions and actions of the Biden administration.
The entire Iowa Congressional delegation signed onto this letter.
In the letter, Ernst and 30 of her fellow Senate and House colleagues write: “Relying on an annual emergency waiver is not a permanent solution for fuel retailers, consumers, or the environment…By working swiftly to finalize the Governors’ requests, you will bring much needed certainty to our corn growers, fuel retailers, and consumers to enjoy the clean-burning, lower cost benefits of year-round E15 through the 2023 summer driving season.”
Ernst’s letter would grant a common-sense request from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, as well as several other Midwest states, who formally urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove the 1-psi volatility waiver and allow their states to sell E15 year-round.
The Clean Air Act states that after the EPA administrator receives a notification from a governor – like the one from Governor Reynolds – they must respond with regulation within 90 days. Governor Reynolds sent her letter on April 28, 2022, and EPA and OMB have not taken action – putting them past the statutory deadline.
Joined on the letter, led by Senators Ernst and Duckworth (D-Ill.), are Senators Baldwin (D-Wis.), Brown (D-Ohio), Fischer (R-Neb.), Grassley (R-Iowa), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Marshall (R-Kans.), Ricketts (R-Neb.), and Smith (D-Minn.), and Representatives Alford (R-Mo.), Bost (R-Ill.), Budzinski (D-Ill.), Craig (D-Minn.), Davids (D-Kans.), Emmer (R-Minn.), Feenstra (R-Iowa), Finstad (R-Minn.), Fischbach (R-Minn.), Flood (R-Neb.), Hinson (R-Iowa), Johnson (R-S.D.), Kaptur (D-Ohio), LaHood (R-Ill.), Mann (R-Kans.), Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Nunn (R-Iowa), Pocan (D-Wis.), Smith (R-Neb.), Sorensen (D-Ill.), and Stauber (R-Minn.).
Read Ernst’s full letter here.
Friday, January 6
Bipartisan Ernst-Led Initiatives to Support Veterans Signed Into Law
The Iowa senator is a combat veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
RED OAK, Iowa – Three of U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-Iowa) initiatives to better support America’s veterans were recently signed into law.
“Our veterans have risked life and limb for our freedoms, and we have an important charge to support them after they come home,” said Ernst, a combat veteran. “These heroes deserve a quality of care we can all be proud of, and that includes checking in on them and holding the institutions and departments designed to care for them accountable.”
Ernst-led bipartisan measures signed into law include:
- The Ensuring Quality Care for Our Veterans Act, which requires every health care provider hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with a revoked license undergo a third-party review of that provider’s care.
- The Improving VA Accountability to Prevent Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Act, which drastically improves sexual harassment reporting policies and increases oversight to crack down on harassment at the VA, based on recommendations from a 2021 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
- Legislation designating one week per year as “Buddy Check Week,” when the VA will organize outreach events and educate veterans on how to conduct peer wellness checks. The program is modeled after the American Legion’s “Buddy Check National Week of Calling” designed to combat veteran suicide.
Tuesday, February 10
Dear Friend –
The lethal drugs that come through our U.S.-Mexico border feed directly into Iowa’s streets, schools, and homes.
Last weekend, I led a bicameral Congressional delegation to the California-Mexico border and into Mexico City, Mexico to see the epicenter of fentanyl trafficking firsthand.
Under President Biden, our Border Patrol is completely demoralized. Agents have been reduced to Uber drivers and paper pushers, tasked with shuffling the overwhelming surge of illegal immigrants into the United States.
Folks, simply stated, EVERY state is now a border state because of President Biden’s failure to address this crisis. I will keep working hard to equip Border Patrol with the resources they need and to push the Biden administration to take action. Read more about my solutions here.
Welcoming An Iowa Small Business Owner to Washington
Our job creators and entrepreneurs are the backbone of Iowa’s economy, with small businesses making up 98 percent of businesses across our state.
I was proud to welcome Iowa small business owner Sydney Reickhoff, co-founder and CEO of Almost Famous Popcorn in Cedar Rapids, as my guest for the State of the Union address.
While I was hopeful that President Biden would address inflation, fentanyl, and the border crisis, his 73-minute State of the Union address lacked real solutions to these ongoing issues.
Click here or the image above to read my reaction to the president’s speech.
Protecting Our Farmland
Iowa is a leading producer of corn, soybeans, pork, eggs, and renewable fuel.
During this week’s 2023 Farm Bill hearing, I emphasized the importance of crop insurance and reiterated the national security risks that come with foreign ownership of American land.
I’m not talking about the nice Canadian couple that would like to buy a home on Lake Okoboji, my concern is foreign adversaries, namely China, attempting to disrupt our food supply.
I will always stand up and fight for our agriculture community.
Click here or the image to listen to my opening comments at the Farm Bill hearing.
Holding Drug Cartels Accountable
The criminals profiting from the Biden administration’s border crisis and the fentanyl epidemic need to face consequences.
That’s why I’m leading the Transnational Criminal Organization Illicit Spotter Prevention and Elimination Act, which would harshen penalties and impose a maximum prison time of 10 years on those convicted of helping cartels.
I am also joining my friend Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in reintroducing the Felony Murder for Deadly Fentanyl Distribution Act. This effort will impose felony murder charges for people who willingly distribute this lethal opioid to unknowing recipients.
Click here or the image above to learn more.
Tuesday, January 3
ICYMI: Ernst Blasts Biden for Spending Millions to Police Online Content
The Biden administration paid a group called Hack/Hackers $5 million to police content from sources they deemed not “reliable.”
WASHINGTON – Last month, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the Senate’s leading foe against government waste, blasted the Biden administration for paying a group called Hack/Hackers more than $5 million to police online content shared from organizations and media they deemed not “reliable.” Ernst awarded her December 2022 Squeal Award to the minister of misinformation himself, President Biden, for steering tax dollars into these Soviet-style propaganda tactics that target citizens and media who dare question his administration’s narrative.
The Daily Wire reported on the senator’s effort, quoting her letter to the National Science Foundation condemning the project: “We really do not need a return to the dark days when some in Washington maintained an ‘enemies lists’ of fellow citizens and journalists with opposing viewpoints. Instead, the NSF would much better serve taxpayers by supporting our nation’s bright young minds with initiatives to improve math and science education rather than these efforts to troll taxpayers online.”