Despite Her Promises to Address the Opioid Crisis, Ernst Voted Five Times Against Efforts to Fund Treatment and Prevention, Siding with Big Pharma Over Iowans

Today marks the anniversary of Senator Joni Ernst’s 2016 vote to block $600 million in emergency funding to combat the opioid crisis, coming as Iowa faced a 46% increase in overdose deaths. Strikingly, the vote was just one instance in a dangerous trend of Ernst siding with Big Pharma – voting at least five times against efforts that would have delivered aid for the opioid crisis to communities in need across Iowa.

While Ernst promised that she would fight to end Washington corruption, she has used her deep ties with corporate special interests to advance her political career – taking their campaign cash while putting their agenda above Iowans. In total, Big Pharma has gifted Ernst’s re-election campaign $120,000, even as Iowans suffer the consequences of her inaction.

Senator Ernst has voted at least five times against common-sense efforts to stem the opioid crisis – breaking with fellow Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley twice in the process:

  • Ernst voted to block a bipartisan push for $600 million in emergency funding for opioid abuse prevention and treatment, doubling down on her vote to block vital funding efforts months earlier. Ernst also split with Sen. Grassley and voted against urging Congress to pass emergency funding for the opioid epidemic in June 2016. 
  • Ernst also split with Sen. Grassley and voted against urging Congress to pass a  bipartisan measure to toughen guidelines for opioid prescriptions for veterans and a bipartisan measure directing grants to rural communities.
  • In March 2018, Ernst was one of only 33 senators to oppose a $3 billion increase in spending to combat the opioid crisis, with funds directed toward prevention, treatment, and local initiatives. Ernst ranks as one of the most partisan senators in the country, voting with her party leaders 99% of the time.