Ernst calls on Senate to "pick up the pace"

Source: KMA Land

(Washington, D.C.) -- Congress has a lot of work to do with little time remaining before the end of the current fiscal year.

That's according to Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, who called on Senate leaders to "pick up the pace" in a recent press conference alongside Republican colleagues.

“Besides providing for our national defense, one of the most fundamental responsibilities of Congress is to fund the government," Ernst said. "Yet, since 1974, we have passed all of our appropriations bills just four times.

The Red Oak Republican tells KMA News she's frustrated with members of Congress who want to take lengthy vacations when there is more work to do.

"Every August – right before the end of the fiscal year on September 30th – Congress heads out of town for vacation, leaving behind mountains of work to get done and no time to do it," Ernst said. "Right now, we have less than 12 weeks to finish 12 appropriations bills before the end of this fiscal year. We have countless nominations to confirm, and we have a number of other important “must-pass” legislative initiatives.

Ernst believes lawmakers should be working nights and weekends in order to follow through on commitments to constituents.

“If we take another August off, we will likely find ourselves once again relying on these horrible continuing resolutions, which have a devastating effect on our military and create billions in waste across our federal government."

"Iowans deserve better than this cycle of governing from crisis-to-crisis," she added. "I believe if Congress hasn't passed a budget and regular appropriations bills by August, we shouldn’t be able to leave on vacation period."

Those joining Ernst in calling on the Senate to stay in session included Republicans David Perdue of Georgia, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Steve Daines of Montana, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee from Utah, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, and Dan Sullivan of Arkansas.

Ernst made her comments in a telephone conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon.