Republican senators spearhead push to limit foreign-owned debt amid Russia-Ukraine war

Sen. Ernst on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: ‘We cannot allow this to go unchecked’

Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, joined ‘Fox News Sunday’ to discuss the growing calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, Putin’s reported war crimes, and the energy implications of the war.

Sen. Joni Ernst R-Iowa, is leading a group of senators to introduce “The National Debt Is National Security Act,” a new bill that would require no more than one-third of U.S. national debt be owed by foreign governments, entities and individuals.

The push by the Republican senators, including Sen. Bill Cassidy R-La., and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., comes as they argue that the United States’ national security is threatened by the ongoing aggressive actions by Russia toward Ukraine and by China’s increasing hostility. 

America’s national debt hit a record-breaking $30 trillion last month, and America’s total foreign-owed national debt exceeds $7.7 trillion dollars, with China owning roughly $1.07 trillion, according to the Department of Treasury.

“The United States should not owe over $1 trillion to adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” Ernst said in a statement to Fox News Digital while announcing the new bill. 

The senator noted that it is especially egregious because China uses interest payments to fund forced labor camps in Xinjiang.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) speaks during a press conference following the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on Jan. 19, 2022.
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“Adversarial ownership over our national debt by foreign entities is not only harmful to our economy—it’s also a direct threat to our national security,” Ernst said.

With the introduction of the bill, the senator hopes that the United States’ national debt will no longer be taken advantage of by the Chinese.

“I’m proud to co-sponsor The National Debt is National Security Act with Senator Ernst to limit the economic leverage of the CCP and preserve our economic and national security,” said Braun, who is supporting the bill as a co-sponsor.

Senator Mike Braun, R-IN, questions FBI Director Christopher Wray during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing June 23, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
(Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty Images)

Cassidy also said that by “allowing China and other adversaries to control large portions of our debt is a national security threat.”

“We need to rein in spending, and limit China’s leverage over the United States.”

In a previous effort to control government spending, Ernst helped push the Federal Debt Emergency Control Act in 2021, requiring the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to declare a “Federal Debt Emergency” in any fiscal year when the federal debt exceeds 100% of that year’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to leaders after being formally re-elected to a second term.

Wednesday night, the House voted to approve a $1.5. trillion spending bill that funds the government through Sept. 30 and includes $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine amid the war with Russia.

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