WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, blasted her Democratic colleagues on Tuesday who blocked a measure simply allowing a debate on defense funding. On the floor of the Senate, she called on Democrats to put politics aside and to uphold one of the most important duties of the oath of office—and provide our men and women in uniform with the resources they need to do their jobs.
Senator Ernst noted that during her time serving in Kuwait and Iraq, one of the most important things for her troops was knowing that, without a doubt, the American people and policymakers in government who sent them to war stood behind and supported them every step of the way.
Read the transcript of her remarks below:
“Last week we saw our Democratic colleagues once again playing politics ahead of the defense of our great nation. They’re putting their actions ahead of the support that we need to give to those who defend our nation.
“For the second time this year, Senate Democrats have blocked funding for our servicemembers.
“And the kicker, folks, is that the vote they blocked was one that would have simply allowed us to debate the issue.
“It sounds unbelievable even while I’m saying it now, but folks, it’s the sad reality of where we are today.
“What message does it send to our men and women in uniform when every single senator of the Democratic Party votes against providing the funding that our troops need for training…For new defense programs critical to our national defense strategy…For the largest military pay raise in ten years, which our troops have more than deserved after nearly two decades of fighting for their country.
“When I was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in the early days of the War on Terror, the most important thing was not only to ensure my soldiers and I had the right training and equipment to carry out our missions, but knowing, without a doubt, that the American people and the policymakers in government who sent us to war, stood behind us and supported us every step of the way.
“It was placing faith in our country’s leadership to make sound decisions to effectively employ military force, and to have the will, the resolve, and the tenacity to make tough decisions without regard to politics.
“The decision of the Democrats last week to not even open debate on what our troops need to fight and win is so sorely disappointing.
“What will it take in order to get our servicemembers at home and abroad the resources they need?
“Will we really deprive our troops of critical training opportunities to hone their readiness in the most dangerous strategic environment since the end of the Cold War?
“Will we actively aid our enemies by failing to fund those things which we have identified as critical to maintaining an edge against our adversaries?
“It is absolutely unacceptable that Democrats would even entertain these possibilities.
“If you want to have a debate, then let’s have a debate. But to say you support the troops and then obstruct the ability to discuss in this chamber what our servicemembers need, it just, doesn’t add up.
“That’s why I’m here, on the floor today, to call upon all of my colleagues who sank the prospects of defense funding to come down and do the job that all of us swore to do when we took our oath of office.
“It’s time to give our troops what they need to do their jobs. And it’s time to stop running this government through wasteful continuing resolutions in an increasingly dangerous world.”