Iowans Pay the Price as Senator Ernst Refuses to Put Politics Aside and Push for Meaningful COVID-19 Relief

After Senator Joni Ernst wasted months playing political games with new COVID-19 relief, Mitch McConnell today all but closed the door on a Phase 4 stimulus package, claiming the “proximity to the elections” prevents an action until after Election Day.

Senator Ernst, a member of Senate GOP leadership, has refused to put politics aside and work across the aisle to enact meaningful COVID-19 relief – including extended unemployment benefits, expanded paid sick leave, and more direct payments. The “skinny” proposal Ernst supported excluded dedicated aid for Iowa’s biofuels industry and urgent economic aid for state and local governments. Instead, Ernst has pointed fingers and downplayed the crisis with debunked and dangerous conspiracy theories – even though her failure falls on the backs of Iowa farms, small businesses, and families.

“As a member of GOP leadership, Senator Ernst should call out Mitch McConnell and demand he work to pass much-needed urgent relief for Iowans. It is reprehensible that Senator Ernst is content sitting on her hands as Iowa faces soaring new cases and deaths, record-high hospitalizations, and continued unemployment,” said Jeremy Busch, Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson. “Iowans can’t trust Senator Ernst to put them first in Washington. Ernst has sold out Iowans to Mitch McConnell and her corporate special interest donors – no matter the consequences.”

The announcement came one day after a White House report was released that found Iowa’s rate of COVID-19 transmission is double the national average and leading to “many preventable deaths.” Contrary to the advice of the White House task force, Senator Ernst still refuses to call for a statewide mask mandate and continues to defend her spread of COVID-19 conspiracy theories that downplay the virus.