The Iowa senator urged her Democratic colleagues to follow the advice of George Washington on the intended role of the Senate and “cool it” with their radical Senate takeover.
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), continued to call out Democrats—including President Joe Biden and the current Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer—on their hypocrisy and push to destroy the Senate. Ernst highlighted previous statements from Democrats who argued that destroying the Senate would be a "doomsday for democracy” and a “fundamental power grab”—hypocrisy she’s dubbed the “filibuster flip-flop.”
Senator Ernst’s full remarks are below:
“I’d like to first wish a very happy and healthy New Year to you, Madam President, and the same for all of the staff and pages who make the Senate run so efficiently every day, and frequently late into the night.
“The world’s most deliberative body has unpredictable hours, which all too often means missing important events with family because we are here, going back and forth on the pressing issues of the day.
“This is why we have a Senate, after all, to give voice to the various viewpoints of Americans from each state and then to try to resolve those differences.
“It isn’t always easy since, unlike the House of Representatives, the Senate’s unique rules require us to work together, across party lines.
“I know what it’s like to work with my Democratic friends, in fact, I was named as one of the most bipartisan senators in the United States Senate in the past 25 years.
“That is what it takes to get things done here, because the rules force us to reach consensus.
“The Senate was created specifically to prevent a mob rule mentality.
“James Madison, the father of the Constitution, described the Senate as the ‘anchor’ of the federal government that would act as a ‘necessary fence against fickleness and passion.’
“And George Washington famously said the Senate was established to cool legislation passed by the House in the same way that a saucer cools hot tea.
“And folks, we have certainly seen a lot of hot mess coming over from the House.
“It’s very concerning that the saucer intended to cool heated passions is itself beginning to boil over as a result of hot air from within.
“Senate Democrats are threatening to blow up the Senate—to fundamentally change the United States Senate—and to radically transform our country.
“It cannot be understated how detrimental this action would be to America.
“It would unravel two centuries of American representative democracy, silence millions of Americans, and destroy what comity remains within this body.
“I have to ask my colleagues, which side of history do you want to be on?
“Do you want to go down in the history books as the ones who turned the Senate—the world’s most deliberative body—into the House of Representatives?
“The law of our land would dramatically sway back and forth.
“And the resulting political uncertainty would all but erase what little trust the people have in our governing institutions and lead to even greater political divisions.
“I don’t think this is a future any of us want and certainly not the one that was promised by President Biden when he pledged not to divide, but to unify our country.
“When the threat of blowing up the Senate arose during Mr. Biden’s time in this institution, he spoke passionately against it.
“I don’t often quote Joe Biden, but I would urge you all to listen to his full speech on the matter.
“In fact, Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to include his speech in the Congressional Record following my remarks.
“Then-Senator Biden warned, ‘History will judge us harshly, in my view, if we eliminate over 200 years of precedent and procedure in this body and, I might add, doing it by breaking a second rule of the Senate, and that is changing the rules of the Senate by a mere majority vote.’
“Senator Biden concluded, ‘This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab by the majority party.’
“Flash forward 17 years later—Joe Biden is still in Washington—and he and his Democratic counterparts are the ones who are exercising that arrogance of power.
“Now, as the president, Biden just yesterday declared, ‘we have no option but to change the Senate rules including getting rid of the filibuster.’
“So how and why are we at a point where nuking the Senate could even be a possibility?
“Plain and simple, the Democratic Leader—who has participated in hundreds of filibusters over the past five years—hundreds—wants to have his way regardless of the longstanding rules of this institution, the viewpoints of other senators, or even...the wishes of the citizens of his own state.
“Just last week, the Democratic Leader said the filibuster was being used to ‘embarrass the will of majority,’ and therefore, ‘the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17.’
“Folks, it’s not the Senate rules embarrassing the majority, but rather their two-sided, flip flopping on the importance of the filibuster to this institution and to our democracy.
“Not so long ago, the Democratic Leader said eliminating the filibuster would turn ‘the cooling saucer of democracy into the rubber stamp of dictatorship’—it’ll be ‘a doomsday for democracy.’
“Today, he is the one with a finger on the nuclear button—all because he can’t get his way.
“This is the kind of power grab you would expect from tyrants in socialist nations, who seem to be where the Democrats are taking many of their cues from these days.
“Tyranny is no way to run a democracy, and destroying the U.S. Senate for a power grab is certainly not the example we should be setting for the rest of the world.
“But the hypocrisy doesn’t end there, folks.
“Democrats are manufacturing hysteria that Republican-controlled states are placing what they consider ‘unfair restrictions’ on voting as an excuse to blow up the Senate and, thereby, clear a pathway for the rest of their radical liberal agenda.
“The irony here is that New York, home of the Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and Delaware, home of President Biden, have some of the most restrictive absentee voting laws in the entire country.
“Just this past November, the Democratic Leader’s constituents—his constituents—overwhelmingly voted down a ballot initiative to allow absentee voting without providing an excuse and another proposal to permit unregistered voters from registering and then voting on Election Day.
“So in New York the only way to qualify for an absentee ballot is to be out of the county or sick, or have a physical disability. No other reasons are permitted.
“Now, the senior senator from New York is threatening to destroy the Senate to override the wishes of the residents of his very own state who voted against the policies he is trying to impose on every other state.
“Did you catch that, folks? He’s overriding the will of the people of his own state.
“Does that sound like democracy to you?
“It’s not Senate Republicans blocking the Democratic Leader’s agenda—it’s his own constituents!
“Folks, the reality is this election takeover bill is just being used as an excuse by the Majority Leader to break the Senate and strengthen his own grip on power.
“This party boss mentality may work in New York, but the Senate isn’t Tammany Hall.
“While Senate Democrats would have you believe Republicans are somehow limiting the rights of Americans to vote, they, in fact, are the ones plotting to silence millions of Americans.
“The same partisans on the other side of the aisle who boasted of ‘resisting’ just a year ago by filibustering and blocking just about every proposal or nominee put forth by the prior president, now they call this tool a threat to democracy.
“Remember, less than two years ago following the very tragic death of George Floyd, the senator from New York voted to block consideration of a police reform bill put forward by my friend Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
“That’s just one of many other examples of commonsense bills the Democrats blocked for purely partisan reasons.
“The real threat to democracy isn’t the filibuster, but those politicians who abuse the power with which they have been entrusted.
“The Democratic Leader has already put a chokehold on democracy right here in the Senate, abusing his position to singlehandedly block other senators from offering amendments to the bills he chooses to bring to the floor.
“If the Majority wants to demonstrate a commitment to democracy, why not start right here in the Senate?
“Instead of threatening to have less deliberation why not commit to more?
“Let’s bring up bills that already have broad bipartisan support, and let’s allow more votes on amendments.
“But rather than starting this new year with a resolution to take this approach and make the Senate a true example of democracy in action—where every voice is heard and respected—the Democratic Leader penned each of us a bombastic letter, written with the Left’s usual dramatic flair and theatrics, comparing the filibuster to a dead hand and promising to permanently alter the Senate—unless we bend to his wishes.
“The Senior Senator from New York should leave the theater for Broadway, where it belongs.
“And before casting a vote that could fundamentally change the Senate forever, I would urge my Democratic colleagues to take some advice about the intended behavior of the Senate from our nation’s greatest statesman, George Washington, and cool it.”