Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said at a recent town hall meeting in Emmet County that politicians should “sit down behind closed doors” as a way to avoid public scrutiny when discussing was to fix Social Security policy.
A video clip of Ernst this past Saturday at a school in Estherville shows the Republican senator responding to a question from the audience.
“How do we sustain Social Security for some of our younger workers?” asked Ernst. “We know that there is a point in time when we as Congress will have to address the situation, and I think it’s better done sooner rather than later, to make sure that we shored up that system.
“So, it’s a broader discussion for another day,” she continued, “but I do think as various parties and members of Congress, we do need to sit down behind closed doors so we’re not being scrutinized by this group or the other, and just have an open and honest conversation about what are some of the ideas that we have for maintaining Social Security in the future.”
Social Security reform is a taboo topic in Washington, Ernst said, leaving most lawmakers unwilling to broach the sensitive topic.
“The minute you say we need to address Social Security, the media is hammering you, the opposing party is hammering you — there goes granny over a cliff,” Ernst said, in the midst of her first re-election campaign. “But there is a real issue out there, and as long as we are being hammered as members of Congress for even saying we need to do something about it, you’re not going to find people that are willing to step forward and do it.”
Ernst, who in the past has said she has at least considered privatizing Social Security as a possible option for reform, said at the Saturday town hall, “A lot of changes need to be made in this system going forward.”
“I think it’s smart that we do that now, rather than wait until the very last minute when we have folks that are actually in jeopardy.”
By Elizabeth Meyer