Ernst Votes Against Hurricane Relief Paired with Debt Ceiling Raise, Asks to Cancel Recess

Sep 7, 2017

Senator Joni Ernst voted against a measure Thursday that lumped federal aid for hurricane victims with budget and debt ceiling extensions.

President Donald Trump made a deal to that effect Wednesday with Democratic leaders. It pairs about $15 billion in disaster aid with an agreement to keep the government until Dec. 8.

In a call with reporters Thursday, Ernst said combining those issues into one bill is "a bad way of doing business." 

"We have a three-month continuing resolution which doesn’t offer any long term stability for any of our federal agencies, and we have this three-month debt ceiling deal as well," Sen. Ernst said. "We’re not getting serious about what we should be doing as Congress."

Sen. Ernst said she never supports raising the debt ceiling, and she thinks federal aid for hurricane victims should be offset by other budget cuts.

The combined measure passed the Senate 80-17 and is being sent back to the House. Sen. Chuck Grassley also voted against the measure. 

Senators Ernst and Grassley are also calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel the October congressional recess. 

Ernst said Congress needs to work on stabilizing health insurance markets, tax code changes, infrastructure, DACA and the debt ceiling. She said there are so many issues facing Congress, it’s hard to prioritize one over the other.

"I am hopeful Senator McConnell gives this serious consideration because I don’t see how we as Congress get our work done if we are not physically in Washington D.C. going through the committee process, working on these issues, and debating them on the floor," she said.

Ernst said she does not understand why McConnell refused to cancel the August recess after she and several other senators asked to stay in session.