Ernst Votes Against Torture Ban

Jun 18, 2015

Iowa’s two Republican U.S. Senators Tuesday split their votes on a measure to strengthen the U.S. ban on torturing detainees.  

Senator Chuck Grassley voted yes on an amendment to bolster current law and give the Red Cross access to all detainees.   Senator Joni Ernest was among 21 Senators voting no.

“It is not wise to let our enemies known what our techniques are--that allows them to train, resist, and defeat it," Ernst said.

She says the president should be able to authorize torture if there’s a potential threat against Americans. 

“The president has the authority to decide if those techniques would be used or not,” Ernst says.  “Only in rare circumstances should they be used."

Backers say without the legislation, President Obama’s executive order against torture could be lifted by a future president.    

The amendment was sponsored by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein.     It was part of the National Defense Authorization Act the Senate approved on Tuesday.

Ernst also voted against an unsuccessful amendment dealing with sexual assault in the military.  The measure would have taken the commanding officer out of the decision to prosecute offenders.