U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) took to the floor of the Senate to express her disappointment over Congress failing to properly fund the government yet again. A full transcript and video of the Senator’s remarks can be found below.
“I rise today disappointed and frustrated.
“Once again, we have passed an ill-advised continuing resolution to fund much of the government. Once again, we have passed the buck. Once again, we have failed to do our job.
“One of Congress’s most essential roles is to fund a responsible government that runs efficiently and effectively. We have a duty to taxpayers to not just simply give a thumbs up on spending their money, but to debate and consider whether programs are working and serving their needs.
“Unfortunately, we have been negligent in this solemn duty. Like myself, Americans are tired of this shortsighted habit of kicking the can down the road.
“How did we get to this point? After all, we have worked across the aisle in an open and collaborative way and found a path forward to fund our national defense and the vital departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. We recently passed a similar bill related to Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs.
“But, as we’ve seen, a continuing resolution (CR) was attached to this legislation for the rest of the government, including our vital Department of Homeland Security.
Worse, this CR doesn’t fund the government fully until the end of the fiscal year. No, it simply punts the ball until December 7th.
“That’s it. We’ll be back here before Christmas, and if experience is a guide, multiple times after that, before we can get the government fully funded.
“I ultimately chose to vote yes on this CR because of what it means for our national security and servicemembers who risk their lives every day for our security. Also, the CR included the Violence Against Women Act, a bill I could not allow to lapse given that this bill provides services for our most vulnerable.
“VAWA addresses the scourge of domestic violence that is so prevalent in our communities. Crimes that often hurt women and children the most, often requiring them to be displaced from the only homes they know. I believe that we can strengthen this Act in several ways by addressing changing circumstances since its last reauthorization 5 years ago and by tailoring its language to better fit the needs of our communities. There are provisions we need to change and work on. But we were not afforded that opportunity.
“Tying our nation’s security and the Violence Against Women Act to the CR made it both the carrot and the stick. We are leaving services and programs that the American people rely upon open to partisan delay and political gerrymandering.
“The people of Iowa elected me to come to Washington to be their voice and to instill much needed fiscal responsibility.
“Rather than pushing, procrastinating, and postponing for another 3 months, we should buckle down and build upon the great progress that we have made this year by getting the remaining appropriations bills across the finish line.
“We should debate the Violence Against Women Act in regular order to strengthen it and provide protections for those who need it most.
“Mr. President there are items I support in this CR, but we need to do our job. We need to fund the government. If we don’t take action now, we will be back here month after month, year after year doing the exact same thing. Thank you.”