Iowa Now Faces a “Severe” Shortage in Protective Wear and Testing, Yet Senator Ernst Still Refuses to Do Her Job and Push for Urgent Relief

DES MOINES – New reporting by Iowa Starting Line revealed that after weeks of not taking “the threat of COVID-19 seriously,” Senator Joni Erst failed to show up to her March 12 committee hearing on the coronavirus and small businesses, and the alarming shortfall of personal protective equipment and essential medicine facing our country. One month later, Iowa now faces “a shortage of medical-grade protective equipment,” yet Senator Ernst continues to turn a blind eye to the dire threat and has refused to push the Trump administration to significantly ramp up production of equipment and testing.

Senator Ernst’s disregard of the severity of the crisis continues to leave Iowans at greater risk. Despite a January briefing on the emerging threat, Senator Ernst downplayed the to-be pandemic claiming that Democrats were “trying to stir up panic.” Since then, she’s repeatedly voted against and attempted to block vital measures including paid family leave, expanded unemployment benefits, $55 billion in hospital funding, and new money for states and COVID-19 testing — while taking false credit and misleading Iowans about her record.

“From the start of this crisis, Senator Ernst has repeatedly failed to show up when Iowans needed it the most – ignoring and downplaying early warnings of coronavirus and leaving workers, families, and businesses at greater risk. Even as the pandemic worsens, Ernst continues to oppose urgently needed relief for hospitals and communities. Iowans deserve a senator who will show up and act, not play politics while putting more lives on the line,” said Jeremy Busch, Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson.