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Ernst: More COVID-19 Relief is Soon Headed Iowans’ Way

Ernst worked across the aisle to ensure more help for Iowa child care centers, small businesses, farmers, health care systems; first time aid for biofuel producers, local news outlets

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) today supported and helped deliver additional COVID-19 relief for Iowans in the bipartisan package that passed the Senate.
“I’ve long been calling for Congress to provide additional relief to Iowans and all Americans who continue to suffer through this pandemic; and now, more COVID-19 relief is soon headed Iowans’ way,” said Senator Joni Ernst.
“With this new bipartisan relief package, we are bolstering the Paycheck Protection Program for Iowa small businesses – including our local news outlets; supporting child care centers and working families; aiding Iowa farmers and biofuel producers; and helping make sure our health care systems – including those in Iowa’s rural areas—continue to have what they need to fight this virus and distribute the vaccine. This bipartisan bill will bring much-needed aid to Iowans on the front lines of this pandemic, those who are facing unemployment, and families fighting to stay afloat.”
Below are just some of the key measures that Senator Ernst helped deliver for Iowans through this COVID-19 relief package: 
  • Provides direct payments of up to $600 per person and $600 per child
  • Permits USDA to make payments to producers for losses incurred from the depopulation of livestock and poultry due to insufficient processing access
  • Provides assistance to agricultural producers, growers, processors, specialty crops, non-specialty crops, dairy, livestock, poultry, and contract livestock and poultry producers
  • Allows for payments to producers of advanced biofuel, biomass-based diesel, cellulosic biofuel, conventional biofuel, or renewable fuel
  • Temporarily increases monthly SNAP benefits by 15%
  • Increases broadband funding, including support for rural broadband and telehealth
  • Supports grants to stabilize the child care sector and allow providers to safely reopen
  • Allows for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for struggling businesses
  • Makes local chambers of commerce and news outlets eligible for the PPP and improves loan access for farmers
  • Provides for manufacturing and procurement of vaccines and therapeutics and for CDC to ensure broad-based distribution, access, and vaccine coverage to all Americans
  • Provides resources to states and localities for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, containment, and mitigation
  • Supports hospitals and health care providers with additional relief funds
  • Creates a voluntary Medicare payment designation that allows struggling rural hospitals to convert to a Rural Emergency Hospital to preserve access to emergency medical care in rural areas
  • Funds support for mental health and substance abuse services
  • Allows all Medicare beneficiaries to receive mental health services through telehealth on a permanent basis