Sen. Joni Ernst hopes pretending to cut spending will help re-elect her

If you visit the website of Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and click the “Issues” tab, you’ll find a link to a page titled “Make ‘Em Squeal,” a moniker she developed for her 2014 senatorial campaign to show her commitment to cut wasteful spending, repeal Obamacare, and balance the budget.

Using pig castration as a kind of double entendre — castrating a pig equals cutting the pork — Ernst rode the 2014 Red Wave into office but quickly became just another groupthink Republican choosing to confirm to the will of the party and its leaders, while abandoning her so-called principles.

After five years in office, Ernst carries a 62% (D) Liberty Score® with Conservative Review, mostly due to her votes concerning budget and spending issues. Some of the lowlights include:

  • Apr 2015 – Voted in favor of the $500 billion Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.
  • Dec 2015 – Voted in favor of a $305 billion highway spending bill that also funded the troubled Ex-Im Bank.
  • Sep 2016 – Voted in favor of a short-term spending bill designed to kick the issue past the 2016 election while funding Obama’s spending priorities, including Planned Parenthood.
  • Oct 2017 – Voted in favor of a $36.5 billion “emergency” bill to fund FEMA that included $16 billion for the government-owned and bankrupt National Flood Insurance program.
  • Mar 2018 – Voted to help McConnell advance the $1.3 trillion omnibus that funded Democrat spending priorities, including Planned Parenthood, and advance the Second Amendment-killing Fix NICS Act.
  • Mar 2018 – With the procedural vote out of the way, McConnell allowed her to vote oppose passage of the $1.3 trillion omnibus because her vote was no longer needed for passage.
  • Jul 2018 – Again voted in favor of a bill to fund the still bankrupt National Flood Insurance program.
  • Sep 2018 – Voted in favor of the $855 billion “Cromnibus” bill (part continuing resolution, part omnibus) just prior to the midterms in a desperate attempt to limit GOP losses. The Cromnibus broke nearly every GOP promise made since 2014 while continuing to finance Democrat spending priorities.
  • Dec 2018 – Voted in favor of a $900 billion farm bill loaded with socialist, anti-free market policies.
  • Aug 2019 – Voted in favor of suspending the debt ceiling, canceling budget caps, and increasing spending by $321 billion over two years. These measures guaranteed at least $2 trillion in additional debt.

Ernst’s Liberty Score® will likely drop to an “F” after her votes favoring the recent $1.4 trillion omnibus are added to her record.

But hey, it’s election season and Ernst is up for re-election, so why not pretend to do something about spending in order to at least look like you meant it when you said you’d “cut the pork?”

Ernst recently introduced the “End of Year Fiscal Responsibility Act” (EYFRA), a measure she hopes will rein in the government’s “use it or lose it” practice of spending any unused funds at the end of each fiscal year — currently estimated to be approximately $100 billion — to avoid a budget cut the following year by that amount.

Despite her hyperbolic claims, EYFRA is more like putting lipstick on the pig instead of castrating it. Ernst admits this even as she declares how the bill is needed:

“This bill won’t end all wasteful spending, but it will force agencies to put more thought into long-term planning and curtail the bad habit of out-of-control impulse spending.”

Actually, it won’t do anything to reduce spending and here’s why. The bill will attempt to limit end-of-the-year spending by capping the last two months to no more than the monthly average spent over the previous 10 months. All an agency has to do is do some “long-term planning” by spending more per month to raise the average. Spend more earlier and there will be less unspent money at the end of the fiscal year. In the end, government still gets its $100 billion.

Joni Ernst lied about cutting the pork to get elected in 2014, and she’s repeating the same lie in 2020. It’s sad, but that’s the state of affairs within today’s GOP.


David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative.

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