Ernst, Thune Host Joint Telephone Town Hall with Iowans on COVID-19

Ernst discussed her latest efforts to support Iowa’s ag community, small businesses and health care workers

RED OAK, Iowa – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and John Thune (R-SD), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, held a joint telephone town hall this afternoon with residents in the Siouxland region and other parts of northwest Iowa, answering questions on a range of topics related to COVID-19, including support for the agriculture community.

“As we work to provide relief and support to folks, I’m continuing to hear directly from Iowans across the state – whether that’s through telephone town halls or question and answer sessions – so I can continue making their voices heard,” said Senator Ernst. “I appreciate having my friend and colleague from neighboring South Dakota join today’s telephone town hall and help answer some questions. Together, we will get through this. To everyone across Iowa: stay safe, and stay strong.”

“I want to thank Sen. Ernst for inviting me to join her today and for the great conversation we had with Iowans in the Siouxland area,” said Senator Thune. “I heard a lot of the same concerns today that I’ve been hearing from South Dakotans for the last several weeks. These are unprecedented times, and they are being met with an unprecedented response from local, state, and federal leaders. I’m glad to have a partner like Sen. Ernst in the U.S. Senate who puts the values and priorities of the Midwest and Great Plains above all else. America will eventually get through this fight, and we’ll have gotten through it together.”

This was the eighth telephone town hall Senator Ernst has held in the last few weeks.

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:

  • Joined other Iowa leaders in urging “immediate assistance” from the administration to support Iowa’s pork industry.
  • Applauded the signing of the Phase 3.5 package into law.
  • Pushed for support for Iowa’s local newspapers, TV and radio stations.
  • 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 last week.
  • Working to allow rural electric cooperatives to benefit from the PPP.
  • Urged the administration to ensure the safety and security of the food supply chain.
  • Secured nearly $32 million for Iowa’s child care providers.
  • Applauded the 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.
  • 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.
  • Urged the 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pressed SBA to clarify questions from Iowa farmers about access to small business relief during COVID-19.
  • Urged USDA to provide additional funding for Iowa’s biofuels industry negatively impacted by COVID-19 as well as the state’s livestock industry.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Called for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

For additional information for Iowans on COVID-19, you can visit Senator Ernst’s website, which includes resources for families and individualssmall businessesand seniors.

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