RED OAK, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, continues to hear from and connect with Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting another telephone town hall today focused on Iowa’s small business community and the relief Ernst has helped deliver for this important sector of Iowa’s economy. Senator Ernst was joined on the tele-town hall by Jayne Armstrong, District Director for U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Iowa District Office.
“Hearing directly from Iowans in every corner of the state during this pandemic is critical to me, and it’s why I’ve continued to participate in question-and-answer sessions and host telephone town halls just like this,” said Senator Ernst. “Today, we focused on Iowa’s small businesses and the relief we’ve provided to these critical local employers through the Paycheck Protection Program. But, it’s clear – after hearing from Iowans and seeing the overwhelming response of small businesses across the country – we need to continue working to help these businesses, and part of that effort is bolstering the funds in the emergency loan program. I’m calling on the Senate to swiftly approve this additional support so we can ensure money continues to flow and our small businesses can stay afloat.”
Senator Ernst continues to be in constant communication with Iowans from every corner and county of the state to ensure folks are receiving the support they need, including the state’s families, small business owners, health care workers, and more. She has participated in several Q&A sessions over the last few days, connecting with hundreds of Iowans.
As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Ernst fought hard to ensure small businesses were a priority in the Phase 3 relief package. Highlighted below are a number of the emergency relief measures Ernst successfully included in the bipartisan Phase 3 package that help support Iowa’s small businesses:
- Protecting workers and small businesses by allowing local banks and credit unions to provide federally-backed loans for small businesses to keep their employees on payroll and to pay bills; loans can be forgiven if they maintain payroll.
- Expanding loan access to child care providers, non-profits, and businesses with less than 500 employees.
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 for bolstering the small business emergency loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Delivered major 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 pass the “Phase 2” bill to provide paid sick leave, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and increased support for nutrition for seniors and children.
- Called for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Urged the Senate to prioritize relief for hospitals, community health centers, and workers on the front lines.
- Announced a 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.
- Asked the State Department to immediately act to get Iowans stranded abroad back home.
- Sought tariff relief for Iowa’s businesses by calling on Treasury to defer all tariffs during the pandemic.
- Urged USDA to provide additional funding for Iowa’s biofuels industry negatively impacted by COVID-19.
- Took questions from Iowans in Dubuque and Siouxland areas on COVID-19 relief.
- Answered questions from Iowans in Quad Cities area on COVID-19 relief.
- Continued to listen to and answer questions from small businesses across the state.
- Called on 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.
- Held a 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.
- Participated in discussions at the State Emergency Operations Center with Governor Kim Reynolds.
- Joined Governor Reynolds at her press conference to give an update on federal relief efforts.
- Discussed the need to work together – at federal, state, and local level – to tackle COVID-19.
- Published a column on everyone doing their part to protect seniors and fellow Iowans from COVID-19.
- Penned a second column outlining the federal relief packages Congress passed and reminding Iowans we will get through this, together.
For additional information for Iowans on COVID-19, you can visit Senator Ernst’s website, which includes resources for families and individuals, small businesses, and seniors.