Ames Tribune: Ernst finishes 99-county tour with stop in Ames

By: Laura Carlson, November 9, 2018

Cold winds and grey skies didn’t keep residents from the last county town hall held by U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst Friday morning at the Ames City Hall.

“Thank you for coming, everyone,” said Ernst as the meeting began 10 minutes behind schedule. “I am thrilled to visit with constituents in Iowa. This is my last county town hall stop of 99, and I saved the best for last. I’m glad to be back in Ames. As many of you know, I’m a graduate of Iowa State University. I’m sorry to delay the start of our meeting. I’m working on the E15 year-round availability rules and when a call comes from Air Force One, you take it. The President sends greetings to Ames.”

The first question for Ernst was from a resident who wrote the senator’s office and had already received an answer.

“I’m surprised I got an answer, but I’d like to hear more about the idea of moving the USDA offices to Iowa. I’d like to promote Ames as a better choice to Council Bluffs or the Quad Cities,” the audience member said.

Ernst said she was glad the constituent had received an answer to her letter and then expanded upon the question of moving the EPA and USDA.

“I think this is a phenomenal idea,” she said. “I don’t see active farmers in Washington, D.C., and moving these offices to the Midwest, closer to the people these bureaucracies work with, provides economic benefit and cost efficiency to save taxpayers’ money. This is part of the Swamp Act that I wrote, to move bureaucracy from D.C. When you think of agriculture, you think of Iowa.”

The senator explained how the government funding works in more detail regarding continuing resolutions and temporary budgets. “Did you know,” asked the senator to the audience, “that the federal government has only passed a budget four times under regular order in the past 44 years? That means we are funding antiquated programs because we can’t start new ones unless the budget is passed under regular order. So, we are funding things we don’t want to keep because of the rules. Congress is not doing its job by passing budget and appropriation bills. Part of the national debt is from this problem.”

Ernst reviewed the United States trade agreements with South Korea, European Union, Mexico and Canada. “Dairy farmers can sell across the Canadian border, and turkey and egg commodities as well. We are starting the process of discussions with Japan mainly regarding pork. China is hanging out there.” Ernst expanded upon China trade policy by saying it is a complicated discussion with China stealing intellectual property from America…“What I’ve heard from farmers is that ‘China has been very bad to America for a long time. Why did it take so long for a president to change this?’” she said.

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