Again Downplaying the Severity of Iowa’s Crisis, Senator Ernst Calls for Reductions in Safety Guidelines That Would Put More Lives on the Line

Ernst Turns Blind Eye to Dire Shortfall in COVID-19 Testing, Failed To Push For Federal Support For Expanded Testing 

In blatant disregard of warnings from medical experts, plant workers, and even the Iowa government, Senator Joni Ernst went on Simon Conway’s radio program last night to push the message that Iowa is only “two weeks away” from being back to business as usual. 

Calling Iowa a “less-affected” state – the same day Iowa announced new outbreaks at plants and two new long-term care facilities, seven deaths, and faces a higher per-capita infection rate than states like Oregon and Texas – Senator Ernst once again downplayed the virus’ continued threat to Iowa communities, saying, “What we are seeing in cases, they are not as severe as we thought initially.”

Not only is Senator Ernst turning a blind eye to the threats facing Iowans, but she’s entirely ignored the fact Iowa dangerously “lags” in COVID-19 testing, ranking 39th worst in the country. The Iowa Department of Public Health made clear, “The shortage of testing has been no secret,” and reports show the shortage in testing undermines existing efforts to flatten the curve, leads to further spread, and exacerbates the economic toll – already projected to cost Iowa’s agricultural industry over $6 billion this year alone

Yet that has not spurred any action from Senator Ernst, who has failed to advocate for expanded testing to resolve Iowa’s extreme shortfall. 

Now, Senator Ernst’s inaction is making the shortfall all the worse. Because Senator Ernst has refused to use her position in GOP leadership to push for urgent aid, the Trump Administration is now looking to severely reduce assistance to states, leaving Iowa stranded without close to adequate testing to contain the spread.

“Senator Ernst’s push to prematurely roll back safety standards makes it clear she’s entirely oblivious to the dire realities facing Iowa communities,” said Jeremy Busch, Iowa Democratic Party. “Rather than use her office to press for drastically expanded testing and urgent relief to stem Iowa’s severe outbreaks, Senator Ernst is pushing her party’s political agenda that would nullify any progress in containing the disease and undoubtedly lead to further deaths and economic catastrophe. Senator Ernst’s actions once again prove she’s dangerously unfit to represent Iowans.”