Sen. Ernst to Newsmax: 'Amazing' That Schumer, Biden Want Filibuster Gone (Al Drago-Pool/Getty)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 08 January 2022 12:36 PM
It's "amazing" that now that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Joe Biden are in power, they're ready to end the Senate filibuster to advance legislation on voting reform and other issues, but in the past, while they were both senators, they wanted to uphold the tradition, Sen. Joni Ernst said on Newsmax Saturday.
"Sen. Schumer and then-Sen. Biden were very ardent supporters of the Senate filibuster," the Iowa Republican said on Newsmax's "America Right Now," after watching a video from 2005 of Schumer saying that people who wanted to end the filibuster would turn the United States into a "banana republic."
"It's amazing that now they are in power, they don't see the need to maintain the traditions of the Senate," said Ernst. "The Senate is there for cooler heads to prevail and to stop knee-jerk reaction on pieces of legislation that come from the radical fringes. It forces compromise that protects the minority party, and that's why we need to maintain this."
Keeping the filibuster will also protect the nation from the Democrats' "radical agenda," said Ernst, including election reform legislation that if passed will give control of the nation's elections to the federal government.
"They want statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico," she added. "There are so many radical things that they have on their plate. The only way that they can accomplish that is by getting rid of the Senate filibuster."
Meanwhile, there are some Republicans who say that they are open to reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1877 in hopes of protecting the process of the presidential election from congressional interference, in hopes of avoiding another Jan. 6-type incident in future presidential elections, Newsmax host Tom Basile, and Ernst said Saturday her support of that would depend on what changes ore being considered.
The law determines the procedures behind certifying the Electoral College's ballots in the presidential election, reports NPR, but also allows members of Congress to easily object to the results after they're submitted by the states, even if they don't have a legitimate concern. Legal experts also say the law does not clarify the role of the vice president in the process.
Ernst, meanwhile, said what she does oppose is a federal takeover of election systems.
"I tend to believe as a former commissioner of elections at the local level, that our local elections officials and our state elections officials are much better at administering fair and balanced elections," said Ernst. "We don't need bureaucrats taking over local elections."
There has also been some talk in the Republican caucus about potentially supporting another COVID stimulus package, said Basile, but Ernst said that the government has already spent trillions of dollars on the nation's recovery.
"What I would like to see is let's just get our economy up and going," said Ernst. "Let's encourage vaccines where we can but not mandate them."
She added that she's concerned about waste and abuse of federal dollars and would like a "clear accounting" of where other stimulus money has gone.
"A lot of it hasn't even been spent and we know at least $100 billion of it went to China and Russia due to fraud," Ernst said.
The senator, a combat veteran, was recently part of an effort through Congress to establish a memorial in the National Mall in honor of the global war on terrorism, and the recently signed act will honor "those who gave selfless service and sacrifice," she said Saturday.
"It will be located alongside so many of those other wonderful war memorials to allow healing to take place and allow our veterans to be able to visit with others about their tremendous service in keeping our nation safe," said Ernst.
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