Ernst says “substantial” spending cuts are needed before she’ll support House debt ceiling bill

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 6:41 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) - Both President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are speaking hopefully of the likelihood of an agreement to raise the government’s debt limit and avert an economically chaotic federal default.

Yet, House Republicans are pushing debt ceiling talks to the brink. They left town Thursday for a long Memorial Day recess. They’re just days out from a debt default if Congress fails to act to raise the borrowing limit.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, of Iowa, says there need to be “substantial” spending cuts before she’ll support the House debt ceiling bill in the Senate. KTIV’s Matt Breen spoke with the Republican on Thursday.

“The Hill has reported that your Senate colleague Mike Lee, of Utah, has threatened to use “every procedural tool” at his disposal to slow down Senate passage of a bill to raise the debt ceiling if it doesn’t include “substantial” reforms,” said Matt Breen. “What does that debt ceiling bill have to include to get your support as you stare down a June 1st deadline?” “It really does have to have some spending cuts and there, we have to be able to raise the debt ceiling,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, (R) Iowa. “We know that we can’t default as a nation. But, it does need to be significant. Iowans work very hard for the dollars that go into their pocket, and they don’t want to turn around and send those dollars right back to the federal government to be spent on things that they don’t support. There is a lot of spending, we’ve seen trillions of dollars flowing out from the federal government under Democratic rule, one sided Democratic rule for the past number of years, we can’t continue to do this. It’s unsustainable, it’s untenable. And our Iowa voters and workers, they really don’t want to see that anymore. So it does have to have some substantial cuts. We’ll see where the President and Speaker McCarthy of the House land. And that is likely the negotiated deal that will be supported in the Senate.”

“As a retired member of the Army Reserve and Iowa National Guard you are acutely aware of the impact a default on the nation’s debt could have on the payment of military benefits,” said Breen. “Does that factor into the decisions you’ll make about the debt ceiling?” “Well, all of those are issues that will be included in my decision making process,” said Ernst. “But, let’s be very clear about this, that the benefits that are owed to our military members will be paid. The even the House Republicans have stated that that in their negotiations, that is not something that is up for negotiations. It is a threatening scare tactic coming from the Democrats. We will of course, own the budget, we will of course make those decisions on how the bills are paid, as we’re passing different spending bills, those that have earned those benefits, they will continue to receive those benefits.”