Ernst Supports More COVID Aid for Iowans

Democrats block relief package that includes Ernst’s child care measures and aid for Iowa farmers, families, schools, and small businesses, as well as funds for testing and vaccine development.

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today continued her work to get additional support to Iowans during COVID-19. The relief package Ernst voted for today included many of her priorities—including her bill to support Iowa’s child care providers and working families, access to a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for Iowa small businesses, additional relief for farmers and unemployed Iowans, funds for testing and vaccine development, and much more. Senate Democrats, who claim to support this relief, blocked the bill.
 
“Iowans need more relief, and that’s what I’ve been fighting to get them. But once again, my Democratic colleagues are choosing to hold COVID-19 aid hostage for the sake of their partisan wish list,” said Senator Ernst.
 
“Today’s relief package included bipartisan measures that would help Iowa’s farmers, child care providers, families, schools, and small businesses, as well as spur on testing and vaccine development; yet our friends across the aisle simply said no. Iowans and all Americans deserve better.
 
“In the middle of a public health and economic crisis, we need to put the American people first. Everyone should agree that something is better than nothing. I hope my Democratic friends will come back to the table in good-faith and work with us to get much-needed relief to American families and workers.”
 
Background:
Yesterday, Ernst supported a boost to the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program, which would have allowed Iowa small businesses a second pass at the program, but Democrats voted to block the additional small business relief.
 
Today’s COVID relief package included Senator Ernst’s Back to Work Child Care Grants Act of 2020, which supports the economic recovery and helps parents go back to work by providing nine months of financial assistance for providers to stay open, welcome children safely, and ensure a robust child care sector is available for families.
 
In addition, the legislation included $20 billion in funding for agricultural producers, growers, and processors, something Ernst has been fighting for.
 
The bill also:
  • Includes legislation Senator Ernst worked on to allow more farmers to qualify for PPP loans.
  • Allows local economic development organizations to receive PPP loans.
  • Increases above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions in 2020 from $300 to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for those filing joint returns.
  • Includes $105 billion in funding for K-12 schools and higher education.
  • Provides $16 billion for testing, contact tracing, and surveillance in states. It also requires additional reporting by states to improve accountability over taxpayer dollars. 
  • Includes $31 billion for vaccine and therapeutics development and distribution, the Strategic National Stockpile, as well as grants for establishing state stockpiles.
 
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