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The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Q&A | U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson speaks on southern border

On the steps of the nation’s Capitol, Hinson aired her frustration with the Biden administration’s southern border policies, vacating the Speaker of the House, and the student loan forgiveness plan.
Cody Blissett
U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson answers questions during an interview in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

WASHINGTON — On the busy steps of Washington, D.C.’s, Capitol, U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, discussed her frustration with the Biden administration’s southern border policies, the potential influence of TikTok, and disagreements with vacating Speaker of the House Mike Johnson. 

Hinson also expressed her frustrations with the federal fiscal 2025 budget and Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. 

This interview has been edited for clarity. 

The Daily Iowan:  You led the TikTok bill, the bill that would require ByteDance to disinvest from TikTok. Tell me a little bit about why you support it.

Ashley Hinson: Well, what we’ve seen is a huge escalation by the Chinese Communist Party, and they’re doing that in a number of ways. And one of the ways that they’ve done that and weaponized the platform is through TikTok.  

They’re manipulating the algorithms and trying to run influence campaigns. So when I look at that danger, we saw what happened when they were able to mobilize just through one alert, what could they do maybe on election day, right? 

So I look at the real risk — they’re associated with the Chinese Communist Party. We want people to continue to have access to that platform. I just want to make sure it’s not owned by a Chinese Communist Party company. 

The U.S.-Mexico border has become a flashpoint for national politics. What are your reactions to what’s happening there? 

I’m incredibly frustrated by the crisis at our southern border. And the reason it’s a flashpoint is that people care about safety and security in this country, and what they’re seeing is a wide open southern border. 

There have been millions of people crossing our southern border, actually more than double the state of population of Iowa, and that’s just the ones we know about,  right? We’ve got people on the terror watch list and an increased number of Chinese Communist Party members who are coming across illegally. 

I would encourage everyone to look at the report that the China committee put out on the Reedley Bio Lab because it speaks to the danger of not knowing who’s coming into our country. They were actually able to open a clandestine lab with mice that are trained to spread COVID-19 and dangerous viruses like Ebola. We don’t know how many others there are like it. So that’s the true danger that could affect the safety and security of Iowans and every American. 

Are there any reforms to the nation’s asylum and legal immigration system that you have in mind or would like to see? 

First and foremost, securing our borders is what I want to see. It should be priorities one, two, and three, and then we can have a conversation about what we need to change with our legal system. 

But we’ve seen a complete abuse and weaponization of the asylum system under President Biden and it’s his policies that have wide-opened our border. They are training people on what to say on the other side of the border to manipulate our asylum system and that’s not right. 

We want to make sure that refugees have the ability to come into our country and people who legitimately fleeing for those purposes have a place here, but we need to make sure we’re doing this in the right way. This administration has enacted more than 60 executive orders to create the crisis at our southern border, including weaponizing the asylum system.

A motion was brought up to maybe remove Speaker Mike Johnson. If it does come to the House floor, would you support it or be against it?

I came here to push back against the chaos and dysfunction not supported,  and I do not want to see another speaker fight on the floor. We need to govern. 

I’m going to try to get the most conservative wins we can in a divided government and that’s difficult. I think we need to push back every chance we can against policies we don’t agree with, but ousting our speaker isn’t the answer here — changing the administration and changing leadership in the Senate is.

The House Republican Study Committee released a plan for the fiscal 2025 budget, in that there were some provisions that would include raising the retirement age, reducing benefits for higher-income seniors, and reforming Medicare. Do you support that plan? Are there things that you would not like in that plan?

Well, let me say first and foremost, protecting Social Security is a priority for me. I do not support any cuts to Social Security, plain and simple. But if we don’t do something long-term, there will be automatic cuts to Social Security by the early 2030s. I don’t want to see that happen either. 

That said, I don’t think that the RSC plan is probably what will make it across the President’s desk, so I look forward to working with my colleagues on policies that actually have a chance.

I think most importantly, life for seniors is much harder under this administration. You look at the inflation cost and what we’ve seen, it’s harder to live, it’s harder to get where you want to go, and certainly we’ve seen that play out in the last three years under President Biden. 

Last question here, what are your reactions to President Biden’s new student loan forgiveness plan? 

I think student loan cancellation is just a debt transfer across the board. And so what I focused on and I’ve actually looked at getting on a bill that’s sponsored by Dr. Virginia Foxx, so I would encourage you to look at that bill, but it’s designed to actually look at the root causes of why college costs so much are the things that we can do to actually lower the price tag of education, so people know what they’re borrowing people have a good understanding of, “Hey, I have I can earn this much after I’m done getting my degree.” 

And I think our Iowa universities do a really good job of counseling students on that. I’ve talked to all the presidents of universities, President [Barbara] Wilson, President [Mark] Nook, President [Wendy] Wintersteen about this. We need to be making sure students are being smart about the debt that they are taking out. 

But passing that debt on to taxpayers, who didn’t incur that signed on the dotted line themselves, is inherently unfair to ask someone who’s maybe a trucker or a lineman to pay for somebody else’s fancy gender studies degree.


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About the Contributors
Roxy Ekberg
Roxy Ekberg, Politics Reporter
Roxy Ekberg is a first year at the University of Iowa. In the Honors Program, she is double majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. Prior to her role as a politics reporter, she worked news reporter at the Daily Iowan and worked at her local newspaper The Wakefield Republican.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.