WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) released the following statement after supporting urgent lethal aid for Ukraine in their fight against Russia’s unlawful and murderous invasion, a boost to America’s defense spending, and her landmark bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and modernize the
Violence Against Women Act:
“Under President Biden’s weak doctrine of appeasement, our friends and partners in Ukraine are being slaughtered by Putin, and America finds itself facing more serious security threats and a more dangerous world than we have in a generation,” said Senator Joni Ernst, a combat veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We cannot waste one more second in getting lethal aid to Ukraine—something I’ve urgently advocated for and this administration has delayed on—and bolstering support for our national security.”
“For three years, I’ve worked diligently with Democrats and Republicans to modernize the Violence Against Women Act to ensure my fellow survivors are empowered and have access to the support they need. I’m thrilled this important legislation is one step closer to becoming law,” said Ernst, a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The bipartisan package that passed the Senate today includes these key provisions:
Urgent Lethal Aid for Ukraine
- $3.5 billion in authorities and associated funding to quickly provide crucial military equipment to Ukraine—double the request made by the Biden Administration.
- Several provisions from Ernst’s legislation to allow the Biden administration to immediately transfer aircraft, weapons, equipment, and additional defense support capabilities sitting in warehouses across the world—including provisions meant for Afghanistan—to Ukraine.
Boost in Defense Spending
- The package provides $728.32 billion—an increase of $32.51 billion, or 5%, over the previous year and $22.37 billion above President Biden’s budget request—to develop, maintain, and equip America’s military forces and intelligence community.\
Ernst’s Bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act
- The package includes Ernst’s bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act, legislation she worked on for more than three years to modernize and reauthorize this critical law.
- After the Violence Against Women Act expired in early 2019, Ernst worked, in good-faith, across the aisle to modernize and reauthorize the legislation. In late 2019, after nearly a year of working with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Senate Democrats abruptly stopped bipartisan negotiations on reauthorizing VAWA. Democrats decided to introduce a Speaker Pelosi-led bill they knew was a non-starter in the Senate and full of partisan, political talking points. Senator Ernst introduced her own version of VAWA that drastically bolstered support for survivors in all communities.
- This landmark piece of legislation is the first reauthorization in nearly a decade and will bolster resources for survivors, ensure that women in custody are protected, and deliver for rural survivors in Iowa.
In addition, Senator Ernst offered and supported amendments to the package to address Washington’s wasteful spending and its impact on inflation, including:
- Ernst’s Providing Reports on Inflation Costs and Economic Impact Act (PRICE Act) which requires all proposed spending by the federal government to include a report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) detailing the impact on prices and paychecks.
- Ernst’s Cost Openness and Spending Transparency (COST Act) which requires every project supported with federal funds to include a price tag with its cost to taxpayers; and, provides authority to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to withhold a portion of a grant from a recipient that does not disclose the costs, as required, until it does.
- Report language from Ernst’s American Small Business Competition Act which requires the Small Business Administration (SBA) to send a report to Congress on the impacts of recent inflation and supply chain disruptions and to make recommendations to support access to capital for small businesses involved in the domestic manufacturing, agriculture, and production of technologies relating to national security.
- An effort to “pull the pork” from the mammoth package by prohibiting funding for any of the Congressionally-directed earmarks – which make their first return in over a decade—in the package.