WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today continued to call on her colleagues to come together to provide additional, immediate relief for Iowans, and all Americans, affected by COVID-19. Ernst pressed her colleagues to put aside their partisan wish lists and to pass the Phase 3 package—a product of hours of bipartisan negotiations—to support workers, families, seniors, health care providers, and small businesses across the country.

Click here or the image above to watch Senator Ernst’s remarks.

Senator Ernst’s full remarks are below:

“We have a clear objective right now, which is to get additional, immediate relief into the hands of the American worker, and to do it fast.

“And that’s what we’re focused on folks—that’s what we’ve been focused on since passing the Phase 1 package and then the House-led Phase 2 relief package last week.

“The Phase 2 bill, it was not perfect, but I was happy to support it—because it was the right thing to do. It was the support that Iowans needed.

“And since President Trump signed that package last Wednesday—nearly a week ago—I’ve continued to hear from Iowans—those in our hospital industry, those in the restaurant industry, agriculture, trucking, retail, child care, biofuels…I’ve heard from all of them. One-on-one conversations, about the need for additional and immediate relief.

“Relief for the young families in Iowa right now who are feeling very anxious about how they are going to make that end of the month rent payment come April 1.

“Relief for the nurse—like my cousin—and the doctors who are fretting about going into work because they don’t have the personal protective equipment they need to prevent them from getting and spreading the coronavirus.

“And relief for the small business owner who so badly wants to be able to keep her employees on the payroll, so that when we get through this pandemic – and, folks, we will get through this pandemic – she can get her business up and running, and so she can keep sending her employees those paychecks.

“We have a lot of those small businesses owners all across our main streets and all around our squares in Iowa.

“I also think about the seniors across my home state of Iowa who are probably worried about access to the medical services and the care that they might need during these very challenging times.

“Or the middle-aged couple that’s been looking at the market, and seeing those markets spiraling down every … single… day – and wondering, ‘what does that mean for our future and for our retirement plans?’ 

“Folks, the American people are hurting right now. They’re very anxious. And now –more than ever – they’re looking to us.

“Iowans – and, of course, all Americans – need to know that we have their back and that their livelihoods are our top priority. 

“What we’ve seen over the past several days is a very sad attempt by folks across the aisle to stall and exploit this crisis as an opportunity to jam through their political wish list.

“And folks, we can have those policy debates. We can have those another day…

“But with each passing minute we waste, more lives are at risk, more jobs are lost, and more communities are turned upside down.

“We’re not going to play games anymore in the United States Senate. The American people have made it quite clear–they need relief, and they need it now.

“This phase 3 relief package is not and will not be a ‘Christmas tree’ bill.

“In fact, folks, it’s been the product of hours and hours of bipartisan negotiations from five different groups—those working groups—who have worked late into the night and over the weekend to come up with a good bill for the American people.

“This bill is squarely focused on getting immediate relief to the millions of hardworking Americans across our great United States.

“Now just a while ago, the Democratic leader was on the floor and he was touting a number of these provisions. And as my colleague from West Virginia pointed out, those provisions that the leader is touting—they have been in this package. These are not new provisions. These are not new provisions, folks.

“We should have, and we could have, advanced this bill days ago.

“This bipartisan Phase 3 package includes:

“Billions of dollars for our nation’s health care workers and our health care system as a whole. And this has been a big priority of mine, something I’ve heard from time and time and again from Iowa’s hospitals and health professionals, and something I’ve called on Congress to respond to.

“Billions of dollars for additional personal protective equipment and other materials – health care workers are depending on us to help increase the supply of the PPE they need so that they can continue to battle the spread of the coronavirus and care for their patients, some of whom are our most vulnerable.

“Billions of dollars for small businesses across our states to be able to keep employees on the payroll and pay their bills – again, a huge priority for Iowa. And as again, my colleague from West Virginia, she stated that about 99% of her businesses in West Virginia are small businesses. That’s true in Iowa as well—with 99% of our businesses being small businesses.

“Billions of dollars to provide direct financial assistance to individual Americans, to ensure access to testing and a future coronavirus vaccine—to make sure it’s covered at no cost…at no cost to the individual.

“Dollars going to expanded telehealth, to increase care for our veterans, and also to provide unemployment insurance, and to defer student loans.

“So folks, the list goes on and on and on….this bipartisan Phase 3 relief package is focused on the American worker, and our American family.

“So again, many of these provisions have been in the bill since the beginning. These are not new provisions. We need to stop these stall tactics. And it’s not time for long, drawn out policy debates on the floor of the Senate.

“Folks, now is a time for action. It is time for Congress to step up, put aside our partisan wants, and show up for the people of our states.

“Mr. President, I’m an eternal optimist, and I have hope that we will be able to come together and reassure the American people that they are our top priority.

“Each and every one of us in this body have an obligation to the men and the women who elected us to do our jobs. And right now, our job is to get Americans the relief, that in some instances, they’re literally crying for.

“To my friends across the aisle, I believe that you know what the right thing to do is.

“Join us: put the people ahead of party. Help us deliver additional relief to the men, women, and children of our great nation.

“Let’s pass this phase 3 relief package today.

“And folks, we all want you to stay safe, and stay strong. God bless you all.”

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