Ernst Admits “All” Republicans See Social Security, Medicare as “Out-of-Control” Spending After Backing Massive Corporate Tax Giveaway

After Suggesting Lawmakers Cut Social Security “Behind Closed Doors,” Ernst Confirms at Closed-Door Event That She Wants to Cut Safety Net Programs

A new report from Iowa Starting Line reveals that after voting for a corporate tax giveaway that added $2 trillion to the national debt, Senator Joni Ernst is blaming earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare for “out of control” spending, and went on to admit “all” Republicans agree.

Last year, Senator Ernst was caught advocating that lawmakers discuss their plans to cut Social Security “behind closed doors so we’re not being scrutinized.” Now, it appears she did exactly that — using a closed-door fundraiser to confirm her commitment to cutting the benefits Iowans rely on.

The new report comes as President Trump pushes hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security disability benefits — the latest development in the “longstanding” efforts by Ernst and Washington Republicans to gut and undermine these critical programs. 


Iowa Starting Line: Ernst Audio: Spending On Programs Like Medicare ‘Out Of Control’

By Elizabeth Meyer

February 12, 2020

Key Points:

  • U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst seemed open to restructuring popular programs like Medicare and Social Security, according to an audio recording of the Iowa senator obtained by Starting Line.
  • The 55-second clip includes a conversation Ernst had on March 7, 2019, at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C.
  • She was asked her thoughts on Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s longstanding efforts to limit spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as a way of driving down annual deficits and the nation’s ever-growing debt.
  • “I think we all are because we understand that our non-discretionary spending is growing like this,” Ernst replied, referring to entitlement programs that include things like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that are automatically renewed every year. “Everyone focuses on discretionary spending because that is what we can control in Congress. The rest is on autopilot and is out of control. We have to figure out ways to honor the commitments that have been made, but make changes for the future. How we do that, I don’t know.”
  • This is not the first time in recent memory Ernst has made interesting comments on entitlement reform.
  • The uncovering of her comments at the 2019 fundraiser comes at a time when Trump’s $4.8 trillion 2021 budget proposal “includes a familiar list of deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing efforts, food stamps, and Medicaid,” according to the New York Times.
  • “All together, it proposed combined cuts to spending in Medicaid and Affordable Care Act subsidies that equal a trillion dollars — cuts that would mean substantial program changes,” the Times reported.
  • Forbes reported on Monday that Trump’s budget proposal reduces Medicare spending by a total of $756 billion between 2021 and 2030, a decrease of 7%. The proposal reduces Medicaid spending over the next 10 years by 16%, Forbes reported, and cuts tens of millions of dollars from two of Social Security’s disability programs.

Read the full story here.

Here’s what Senator Ernst has said in the past about putting benefits like Social Security on the chopping block (but only behind closed doors):


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