‘Code for Massive Cuts’: Audio Shows GOP Sen. Joni Ernst Telling Donors She Wants ‘Changes’ to Medicare, Medicaid

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UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 22: Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., conduct a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa told donors at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. last March that federal spending on non-discretionary programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security is “out of control” and will require “changes” in the future.

That’s according to a 55-second audio clip published Wednesday by Iowa Starting Line. In the recording, Ernst is asked by an attendee whether she is on board with Sen. David Perdue’s (R-Ga.) call for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

“I think we all are because we understand that our non-discretionary spending is growing like this,” replied Ernst, who is up for reelection in 2020. “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.”

Progressive advocacy group Social Security Works tweeted that “changes” is “code for massive cuts.”

Kimberly Graham, one of five Democrats vying to unseat Ernst in November, tweeted Thursday that “we barely invest in the health and well-being of our people as it is, and Joni Ernst thinks even that is too much.”

“Joni doesn’t work for Iowans,” added Graham. “Joni works for the wealthy donors that fill her campaign coffers.”

The audio clip comes months after the Democratic super PAC American Bridge posted a video of Ernst telling a town hall audience in August that members of Congress should negotiate changes to Social Security “behind closed doors” to avoid scrutiny from advocacy groups and the press.

“The minute you say we need to address Social Security, the media is hammering you, the opposing party is hammering you—’there goes granny over a cliff,'” said Ernst, who has in the past expressed support for privatizing Social Security.

“There is a real issue out there,” added the Republican senator, “and as long as we are being hammered as members of Congress for even saying we need to do something about it, you’re not going to find people that are willing to step forward and do it.”

Watch:

Eddie Mauro, another Democrat running for Ernst’s Senate seat, said the Republican “should be ashamed” of her position on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security spending.

“Again, Joni Ernst has shown that she is willing to push our families into poverty with a smile,” Mauro tweeted Wednesday. “The programs she plans to cut are a lifeline for millions of Americans.”

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7 Comments on "‘Code for Massive Cuts’: Audio Shows GOP Sen. Joni Ernst Telling Donors She Wants ‘Changes’ to Medicare, Medicaid"

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Le Borgne
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Le Borgne

If Joni Ernst wants to reduce the deficit, she can always propose re-instating the taxes on the super wealthy that were reduced in 2017.

We need to make sure her electorate knows what she proposes to do to their medical care.

She is EVIL!

Rutokin
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Rutokin

That’s the republitard way of doing things. They have always taken from those who don’t have and give to the ones that do have. They are going to keep on their corrupt massive spending as they always have. It’s always been a democratic administration that puts this country back on fiscal responsibility

Robert Burnett
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Robert Burnett

The repukes always threaten what they will do. They will do what we allow them to do. Time for this btch to go.

David Bishop
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David Bishop

She’s got nothing to worry about the, the house dems will fold again before the election.

fishouttaH2o
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fishouttaH2o
The Republicans have opposed every social program that’s ever been proposed. We are supposed to be healthy & working to pay taxes so the rich people can attain & hoard more money. If we are old, young, disabled, mentally ill, sick, injured or incapable of self support we are supposed to be good Americans and die. The Nazi’s called them people undeserving of life & just outright killed them but we can’t do that here, so we just starve them & let them die under a bridge from the elements. Joni’s just encouraging the useless to do what’s right and… Read more »
chris whitley
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chris whitley

Well we could immediately reduce government spending by firing her. And then get someone in there to go after that loser tax deal to put money back in circulation instead of our dictators friends pockets.

J.M
Guest

Nothing but a bunch of vile fcking demons!