Bruce Braley for U.S. Senate
Ernst’s “Iowa Values” Threaten Iowa’s Middle Class Families
June 16th, 2014

DES MOINES, IA – While State Senator Joni Ernst’s first ad of the general election includes a lot of misleading character attacks against Bruce Braley, it is noticeably missing any mention of what her “Iowa values” mean for middle class Iowans. That’s because Sen. Ernst knows that when Iowans discover her plans to privatize Social Security, turn Medicare into a voucher system, repeal the federal minimum wage, and her philosophical opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard, they will find that her “Iowa values” are out-of-step with the interests of Iowa’s working families.

In contrast, Bruce Braley is proud of his long record standing up for Iowa’s middle class families, and looks forward to making this campaign about his plans to grow the middle class, expand economic opportunity, strengthen small businesses, and protect Social Security and Medicare for all Iowans.

“It’s not surprising that State Senator Joni Ernst’s new advertisement makes no mention of her positions on the issues, because they put politics before people and are out-of-step with middle class Iowans,” said Braley for Iowa spokesman Jeff Giertz. “From her plans to privatize Social Security, turn Medicare into a voucher program, repeal the federal minimum wage, and philosophically oppose the Renewable Fuel Standard, Ernst’s agenda is a better representation of the oil billionaires backing her campaign than Iowa values. While Joni Ernst may hide from her positions, Iowans will elect Bruce Braley this November because he is proud of his record of standing up for the middle class, expanding opportunity for all, and protecting Social Security and Medicare for all Iowans.”


NARRATOR: Washington politician, Bruce Braley is already running a dirty campaign. He insults farmers. His ads? Called sexist. He even mocked Chuck Grassley for not having a law degree. The press called Braley’s attacks, “elitist,” “false,” “misleading.” Joni Ernst’s Actual Policy Stances Would Damage Iowa’s Farmers & Agricultural Community

Ernst Would Vote Against Farm Bill

Ernst Said She Would Have Voted Against The Farm Bill. Ernst said: “Well I think through the farm bill, the farm bill, as it applies to that, I do think we need to take a hard look at what’s being done within the farm bill, and I would’ve been there with Chuck Grassley voting against this particular farm bill.” [Des Moines Register Editorial Board, 5/09/14] (video)

Ernst Said She Was “Philosophically Opposed To Taxpayer Subsidies,” Said The Farm Bill Was “Made Up Of Pork.” During a debate, Ernst said: “Going back, going back to the farm bill though, I am philosophically opposed to taxpayer subsidies and that is all throughout any sector that is out there.” Kay Henderson said: “So you oppose the crop subsidies?” Ernst said: “But, I would say, that we do have to protect our agricultural economy here in Iowa. So knowing that, if we are to get rid of any subsidy that’s out there it has to be done across-the-board in every sector and at the same time. We are not willing to risk the ag economy here in Iowa for maybe the sugar crop in Florida. So we do have to make those tough decisions. But the farm bill was not all that it was cracked up to be. So much of that, very little actually applies to agriculture. The brunt of that bill is made up of pork, which we need to cut.” [IPTV Press debate, 4/24/14] (Video)

Ernst Philosophically Opposes Renewable Fuels Standard

Ernst On The RFS: “Philosophically I Am Opposed.” In May 2014, The Des Moines Register reported, “ ‘Philosophically I am opposed to those mandates or those subsidies that are coming from the government,’ Ernst said. “But, however, I understand that we are an ag economy here in Iowa and until we eliminate those subsidies across the board – every sector and at the same time – I’m going to continue to support the RFS.’” [Des Moines Register, 5/9/14]

Ernst Philosophically Opposes The Farm Safety Net

Ernst Claimed She Was “Philosophically Opposed” To Farm Subsidies. In May 2014, Radio Iowa reported, “The candidates appeared this afternoon at a forum in Cedar Rapids sponsored by the Iowa Broadcast News Association and one of the questions they faced was whether federal farm subsidies were ‘the best use of taxpayer dollars.’ … Joni Ernst of Red Oak said she is ‘philosophically opposed to subsidies’ but supports continuing the subsidy farmers get to buy crop insurance. ‘Reality is that with the subsidies, unless we’re eliminating all of them across the board at the same time for every sector out there, then I’ll go ahead and support those subsidies,’ Ernst said.” [Radio Iowa, 5/3/14]

Joni Ernst: Don’t believe the false attacks. I’m Joni Ernst and I approve this message because I may not have a law degree but I’ve got something Washington needs a whole lot more. Iowa values. Why Doesn’t Sen. Ernst’s Ad Give Any Policy Positions?

Joni Ernst Wants To Privatize Social Security – A Position She Admits May Cost More

Ernst: “We Do Have To Look At Some Sort Of Personal Savings Account.” At an April 2014 IPTV Republican Senate debate, in response to a question about Social Security Joni Ernst said: “I think we have to keep the promises that have been made to our seniors but we do have to change the way we do business with our younger workers or those that are just entering the workforce. And I agree, we do have to look at some sort of a personal savings account. But the bottom line is that those savings accounts should not be and should be established so that the federal bureaucrats should not be able to raid those savings accounts [IPTV Republican Primary Debate, 4/25/14] (video 34:00)

Ernst: “I Would Like To See” Privatized Social Security. At an April 2014 Republican Senate Forum, in response to a question about Social Security, Joni Ernst replied: “What I would like to see, and what we need to have further discussions on, is transitioning our younger workers, those that are just going into the workforce, into perhaps a personal savings account and something that cannot be raided by our federal government.” [Iowa State College Republicans Senate Forum, 4/2/14] (video 39:21)

Ernst: One Change To Social Security Would Be “Personal Savings Accounts.” In May 2014, in response to a question about Social Security, Joni Ernst said: “We do have to look at perhaps, one way of doing it would be personal savings accounts for younger workers that are coming up through the workforce.” (video 51:00)

Ernst On Social Security: “I Do Like Looking At The Personal Savings Account Option.” In April 2014, in response to a question about Social Security, Joni Ernst said: “For Social Security, we have to keep the promises that are made to today’s seniors. But, for younger workers that are entering the workforce, we do have to look at something that is sustainable, and I do like looking at the personal savings account option, but it has to be done in such a way that those personal savings accounts cannot be raided by bureaucrats.” [Family Leader Forum, 4/25/14] (video 1:00)

Ernst: Tying Social Security To The Stock Market Is “Something That We Need To Consider.” At a May 2014 interview with The Des Moines Register editorial board, in response to a question about Social Security, Joni Ernst said: “Something I’m willing to look at is a personal savings account, and it would be one that, whether it’s interest bearing or whether it’s tied to the market, ya know, I would need to look at the details, but I do think that’s something we need to consider.” [Des Moines Register ed-board interview, 5/9/14] (video 32:00)

Ernst: Privatizing Social Security “Might” Cost More, “But We Have To Change It.” At a May 2014 interview with The Des Moines Register editorial board, in response to her proposal to privatize Social Security, a reporter asked: “That’s gonna cost you more in the long run, isn’t it?” Ernst replied: “Well, it might, and that’s why I said we need to take a look at this. This is something I’m willing to take a look at. But there may be a few years where it is difficult, but we have to change it. Just because we have it in place, it’s not working right now it’s not sustainable. But does that mean because it might be difficult, we’re not going to change it? We have to make changes.” [Des Moines Register ed-board interview, 5/9/14] (video 34:00)

Joni Ernst Supports Ending Medicare As We Know It

Ernst Voted Against A Senate Resolution Expressing Opposition To Paul Ryan’s Medicare And Medicaid Proposals. On June 27, 2011, Ernst voted against adoption of SR 15, “A Resolution opposing proposed Congressional changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs… the United States House of Representatives has recently adopted House Concurrent Resolution 34 encompassing the budget proposal of Budget Chairman Paul Ryan which would make fundamental changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs…BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE, That the Senate respectfully expresses its opposition to the budget proposal encompassed in House Concurrent Resolution 34 and any proposals to change the Medicare or Medicaid programs that are projected to lead to fewer Americans, especially those most vulnerable due to age, disability, or poverty, being able to obtain or retain health care coverage.” The resolution was adopted by a vote of 26-21. [Senate Vote on SR 15, Iowa State Senate Journal, 6/27/11; Senate Resolution 15; HCR 34, introduced 4/11/11]

  • Wall Street Journal: GOP Plan Would “Essentially End Medicare.” In April 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported, “The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/04/11]