RED OAK, Iowa—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, is continuing to listen to small businesses from every corner and county of the state during COVID-19. Today, Senator Ernst held a virtual town hall meeting with more than 120 Iowa members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
“Small businesses make up 99% of the businesses in Iowa, and COVID-19 has caused these local employers across our state to face serious and unforeseen challenges. I worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass the Phase 3 relief package, which included the Paycheck Protection Program to aid our small businesses in this time of crisis, and now it’s important that we help them access that relief, so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills. Today’s conversation was yet another opportunity for me to hear from our small businesses and to understand their needs as we work to provide additional relief,” said Senator Ernst.
“Information is vital during this coronavirus crisis. Our small business owners are cash strapped and many are worried they’ll have to shut their doors for good. That’s why NFIB and Sen. Ernst have been hard at work to arm our Iowa small business owners with the knowledge they need to apply for federal and state loans and grants. Thank you, Sen. Ernst for spending time with our small business owners and providing them with the help they need to make it through this unprecedented crisis,” said Matt Everson, Iowa State Director, NFIB.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Ernst has made it a priority to continue listening to and hearing from Iowans across the state, including small business owners. She has held several Q&A sessions with business owners, and just last week, held a telephone town hall focused on small business relief. After hearing from Iowans, Ernst called on the Senate to bolster relief and provide additional funding for the Patient Protection Program
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:
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.