WASHINGTON — As some of her fellow Republicans call for deep cuts or an end to U-S aid for Ukraine, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst suggests that would be a dangerous step.
“Do we want to live in a world where countries are free and can maintain their own sovereignty and their own borders or do we want to live in a world where Putin and President Xi and other authoritarians can just roll over whatever country they want without repercussions?” Ernst asks.
The Republican poised to be House Speaker if the GOP gains control of congress next year says the GOP will no longer give the Biden Administration “a blank check” for the war in Ukraine and will insist on a plan for ending the conflict. While Ernst agrees unlimited spending on the war effort is unwise, she says the U.S. needs to keep supporting Ukraine.
“But make sure that there’s absolute transparency with how we’re doing that,” Ernst says. “…People want to know how the dollars are being spent. They want to know what is being delivered to Ukraine.”
However, Ernst says that doesn’t mean congress should specify exactly what weapons and military equipment is shipped there. “Everything is so fluid on the ground,” Ernst says, “and we need to be able to provide them with what they need when they need it.”
The U.S. Defense Department is coordinating all the military aid the United States and its allies are providing Ukraine in its fight against Putin’s military. “I think as long as they are willing to do that and stop this horrible, horrible man who also wants to do the U.S. harm, I think then we allow the Ukrainians to do that,” Ernst says.
In 2014, Ernst became the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate. In late 2015, she retired from the Iowa National Guard as a lieutenant colonel. She is now part of Senate GOP leadership as the vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.