RED OAK, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) hosted yet another telephone town hall—her sixth in just the last few weeks—with thousands of Iowans this evening and answered questions on a range of topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Ernst was joined on the call by Jeff Kahrs, the Regional Director for Region 7 at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Lance A. Robertson, HHS Assistant Secretary on Aging and the Administrator for the Administration for Community Living (ACL).
“There’s no doubt these are challenging times for folks across Iowa – our families, health care workers, local store owners, farmers, seniors, and many more. That’s why I’ve continued to listen to and hear directly from Iowans. Whether that’s through a telephone town hall like this, or the many other ways we’re communicating with folks these days, I’m working hard to bring Iowans’ needs and concerns to the table, and ensure they’re getting the support they need during this pandemic,” said Senator Ernst. “Thanks to everyone across the state who joined in tonight’s telephone town hall. My staff and I are here to help, so, as always, I encourage any Iowan who has a need to reach out to our office. We’ll get through this: stay safe and stay strong.”
Earlier today, the Senate unanimously passed additional COVID-19 relief funding, including more money for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and support for health care providers.
Background on Ernst’s efforts to combat COVID-19:
Senator Ernst has fought to deliver relief to all Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of her efforts:
- Called on the Small Business Administration to ensue Iowa’s farmers are able to access Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), which was included in the relief package that passed today.
- Urged the administration to ensure the safety and security of the food supply chain.
- Secured nearly $32 million for Iowa’s child care providers.
- Applaudedthe DOJ in providing important guidance to seniors to combat scammers after calling for a crackdown on fraud.
- Urged the federal government to immediately assist rural hospitals and clinics by prioritizing funding for these critical health care providers.
- Called on the Senate to provide public hospitals with additional support through the PPP.
- Urged her colleagues to stop playing politics and provide additional support for workers and employers.
- Calledfor bolstering the small business emergency loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Deliveredmajor wins for Iowa’s workers, employers, health care industry, and more in the bipartisan Phase 3 package.
- Supported the “Phase 1” bipartisan package to provide additional resources to federal, state and local authorities.
- Helped passthe “Phase 2” bill to provide paid sick leave, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and increased support for nutrition for seniors and children.
- Urgedthe Senate to prioritize relief for hospitals, community health centers, and workers on the front lines.
- Sought additional relief for Iowa’s public hospitals, including rural, county hospitals.
- Announceda proposal to immediately redirect the over $350M in the Presidential Campaign Election Fund to be used to purchase specialized face masks and personal protective equipment.
- Called for additional relief for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence during COVID-19.
- Pushed the IRS to ensure survivors of domestic violence get their direct payments regardless of their place of residence.
- Askedthe State Department to immediately act to get Iowans stranded abroad back home.
- Soughttariff relief for Iowa’s businesses by calling on Treasury to defer all tariffs during the pandemic.
- Pressed SBA to clarify questions from Iowa farmers about access to small business relief during COVID-19.
- UrgedUSDA to provide additional funding for Iowa’s biofuels industry negatively impacted by COVID-19 as well as the state’s livestock industry.
- Tookquestions from Iowans in Dubuque and Siouxland areas on COVID-19 relief.
- Answeredquestions from Iowans in Quad Cities area on COVID-19 relief.
- Continuedto listen to and answer questions from small businesses across the state.
- Calledon two federal health agencies to protect Iowa’s Medicare beneficiaries from high-risk settings and ensure safe access to care as we continue to work to combat COVID-19.
- Helda telephone town hall with thousands of Iowans to help answer some questions and hear directly from folks.
- Hosted another telephone town hall with Iowa’s seniors and elderly community.
- Heard from hundreds of Iowa’s small businesses on her telephone town hall.
- Held a fourth telephone town hall with Iowans, specifically seniors across the state.
- Participatedin discussions at the State Emergency Operations Center with Governor Kim Reynolds.
- JoinedGovernor Reynolds at her press conference to give an update on federal relief efforts.
- Discussedthe need to work together – at federal, state, and local level – to tackle COVID-19.
- Publisheda column on everyone doing their part to protect seniors and fellow Iowans from COVID-19.
- Penneda column outlining the federal relief packages Congress passed and reminding Iowans we will get through this, together.
- Wrote a column discussing the relief efforts specifically for seniors and her work to protect Iowa’s elderly population from scammers during COVID-19.
- Calledfor an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.