Iowa GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst declared two surprising stances in a Saturday debate with Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), saying separately that she would consider increasing taxes to shore up Social Security and that she does not support repealing President Obama’s executive amnesty for so-called “DREAMers.”
Asked if she would support increasing payroll taxes to pay for Social Security, which Braley had proposed, Ernst said, “That is an option and we need to sit down and discuss that – absolutely – in a bipartisan manner.”
Ernst has signed the “taxpayer protection pledge” organized by Americans for Tax Reform, but increasing taxes would violate its terms. She has been under attack on television air waves with ads noting that she also said she was open to privatizing Social Security for people who aren’t close to retirement age.
Later in the debate, in discussing immigration, Ernst said she does not support repealing Obama’s “Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program.
Asked if she would repeal it, Ernst said, “No, I would not. No, I would not.”
After Braley touted the program’s success, Ernst said, “That’s where we agree. There are a number of children that have been brought here not of their own accord. I do support allowing those children some of the freedoms that are here in the United States. We are a country of immigrants but we are also a nature of laws.”
Other Republicans, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, have cited DACA as partly responsible for tens of thousands of unaccompanied children streaming across the southern U.S. border, causing a humanitarian crisis there.