Washington, D.C. - Both Iowa U.S. Senators are critical of Thursday's demonstrations at the capitol.
Republicans Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst issued lengthy statements condemning the behavior.
Grassley said the violence and disruption should not be allowed, while Ernst called for punishment to people who resorted to anarchy and violence.
Both senators expressed concern about the voting process and said irregularities should be addressed.
Ernst has endorsed a proposal by South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott to establish a bipartisan commission to study the integrity of the election.
Grassley said state legislatures should take steps to ensure the integrity of their elections.
Read the statements of both Iowa senators below.
“The violence and disruption we saw today must not be allowed to disrupt or intimidate us from performing our constitutional duty as lawmakers. I took an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution, even in the face of threats. That is the lens through which I view today’s process.
“The Constitution and our laws give Congress few options and limited authorities when it comes to certifying presidential election results. Congress has no role in conducting elections or adjudicating election disputes, only receiving and formally counting the electoral votes cast in each state. This constitutional process allows the states to determine under their own laws and legal systems how their electoral votes are allocated. And let’s be clear about what the stakes are here. If an objection to a state’s electoral certification is sustained, the state’s electoral votes are thrown out, not reallocated to a different candidate. So anyone voting to object to any state’s certification of electoral votes is voting to disenfranchise an entire state.
“The right place to resolve electoral disputes is in the courts. As we saw in Iowa’s Second District House race, there is an established process to review election disputes, and that process should not involve Congress overriding independent judicial decisions. Our independent legal system is tasked with expeditiously evaluating election disputes. To date, 78 lawsuits have been filed alleging election irregularities in various states. They have had their day in court but none of them was successful in changing election results in any state. Politicians in Washington should not second guess the courts once they have ruled, and we cannot and should not consider allegations not formally presented to a court of law. The question before Congress is not whether there are legitimate complaints about how elections were conducted; only whether to accept or reject entirely the electoral votes cast by a state. I could not in good conscience vote to disenfranchise an entire state.
“That said, it’s important to take seriously concerns about election irregularities to restore faith in our election system. Democrats are wrong to reject this discussion out of hand. They attempted to object to certifying the last three Republican presidential elections on the grounds of alleged election irregularities. I opposed those efforts to reject the state certified vote counts each time. Our Constitution sets up a federal system, of which the Electoral College is a key component, ensuring that states like Iowa have a voice. I swore to uphold the Constitution, therefore I cannot support any effort to undermine the constitutional role of states in elections. I share the frustration of many Americans about the election outcome, and I’m also concerned about claims of irregularities that were exacerbated by states changing their rules at the eleventh hour. Going forward, it’s important that state legislatures closely scrutinize the events of this election and take necessary steps to promote independence, transparency and trust in future elections.”
In the military, I proudly served alongside some of the brightest and bravest men and women to defend America—her freedoms and her values. We fought to uphold the right to peaceful protest. Sadly, what I witnessed today in the U.S. Capitol was a complete betrayal of those sacred ideals. What started as a protest turned into anarchy. Individuals who resorted to this violence must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
“America – we cannot stand for this.
“For years, we have been able to disagree and debate tough issues and always strive to be a more perfect union. We have had a peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another throughout the course of our history, and it’s paramount we do that once again.
“There is no doubt we should ferret out any illegal votes and learn from any irregularities during the 2020 presidential election. This is one reason why I am supporting Senator Tim Scott’s (R-SC) effort to establish a bipartisan commission to study the integrity and administration of the election.
“When looking at the election for Iowa’s second Congressional district, I have been consistently clear that Mariannette Miller-Meeks won. Though the margin was close, Iowans spoke and elected Congresswoman Miller-Meeks, and a bipartisan panel in Iowa certified the results. I view the presidential election results the same way. As a senator, my job is not to overturn the will of voters and choose winners of elections—just like it’s not the House of Representatives’ to handpick who serves as Iowa’s second district congresswoman.
“We’ve heard time and again from Democrats who would like nothing more than to abolish the Electoral College and federalize our election system. What would that do? Silence Iowans’ voices and votes. I won’t allow that to happen.
“Many Iowans supported President Trump in the most recent election and are disappointed by the results. However, objecting to the Electoral College vote count will not change the outcome. And, beyond that, the reprehensible violence we’ve seen in the U.S. Capitol today will not change the outcome.
“Iowans should rest assured that I will continue fighting for our shared values and priorities, and that I will hold the new administration accountable. I truly believe America is the greatest nation on the planet, and she must continue to be a beacon of freedom and hope for everyone around the globe."