Senator Ernst and GOP Have Refused to Take COVID-19 Seriously, While Tens of Thousands of Iowans are Unemployed and Small Businesses and Farms Reach a Breaking Point

DES MOINES – After months of partisan gimmicks from Senator Joni Ernst and the GOP as they downplayed the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, the Trump Administration abruptly “shut down” Phase 4 relief negotiations yesterday – blocking any new stimulus package until “after the election.” 

The announcement came as Senator Ernst and Republican leaders have refused to consider a Phase 4 relief package with meaningful aid for workers, biofuels, and state and local governments – all of which were excluded or shortchanged in their inadequate “skinny” proposal.

Even in the hours right before the announcement, Senator Ernst’s partisan finger-pointing was in full effect – claiming that Democrats were using relief as a “political tool.” But Ernst’s political blame game runs counter to her own conduct since the virus first began to spread. She claimed that Democrats were “trying to stir up the panic,” called additional funding for hospitals “unnecessary pork,” and even asserted that Iowa had “fared pretty well.”

“Tens of thousands of Iowans are out of work, and small businesses, farms, schools, and health care providers are struggling to stay afloat as this pandemic continues to disrupt our lives. It is inexcusable for Senator Ernst and Washington Republicans to turn their backs on Iowans,” said Jeremy Busch, Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson. “Senator Ernst’s partisan politics brought Washington to this latest breaking point, and she has no one to blame but herself for failing Iowans.”