After devoting the past two weeks to a fictitious campaign touting COVID-19 relief measures she voted against, Senator Joni Ernst was back at it again this weekend with a column in the Cedar Rapids Gazette making claims that fall far from the truth on Ernst’s refusal to fight for Iowans in Washington.

From opposing expanded unemployment benefits and paid family leave, to voting to shortchange Iowa’s beleaguered health system on vital funding, Senator Ernst has actively worked against urgent, essential relief for Iowa workers, families, and health providers – no matter the consequences. 

Yet, that hasn’t stopped Senator Ernst from using an unprecedented public health crisis to sell herself as a champion for working families – attempting to con Iowans into re-electing a senator who has done everything she can to sabotage Iowa’s health care system and workers throughout her half-decade in Washington. 





Senator Ernst falsely claimed, “One of the most critical parts of this package — one that I made a top priority — was getting our health care workers and hospitals, those folks on the front lines of this crisis, the financial assistance and the equipment they need.” Senator Ernst ignored urgent pleas from Iowa health providers and tried to force through a bill that fell $25 billion short of what leading medical associations said was the minimum needed to aid their shortage of “supplies for both patients and health care workers.” [NBC News, 3/19/20]


After Ernst’s effort failed twice, Senate Democrats expanded funding for hospitals by $55 billion, which Senator Ernst callously called “absolutely nothing.” [Breitbart, 3/25/20]


Senator Ernst continues to stand by the GOP’s lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act and reverse Iowa’s Medicaid expansion – an effort would decimate rural hospitals, strip health insurance from 150,000 Iowans, and undermine critical health protections for Iowans most at risk in this crisis.

Senator Ernst falsely claimed to have “bolstered unemployment insurance” after being “inspired” to “fight all the more at the federal level to get Iowans the economic relief they need as quickly as possible.” Senator Ernst tried to jam through a partisan package with a $500 billion slush fund for corporations without adequate protections to ensure the money would go to supporting workers, not stock buy-backs and CEO pay. [Politico, 3/23/20]


Senator Ernst even voted to roll back expanded unemployment benefits added to the bill by Democrats, which guarantees Iowa workers four months of coverage and $600 more in benefits per week. [The Hill, 3/25/20]


All the while, Senator Ernst scolded Democrats for working to add the additional unemployment benefits and called them “absolutely nothing.” [Breitbart, 3/25/20]

Senator Ernst claims credit for passing the second relief package, which included paid sick leave for workers – while excluding the fact that she voted to remove paid sick leave from the final bill. Senator Ernst voted to remove paid family leave from the final relief package, following her career opposition to the vital program that she redoubled just weeks before. [3/18/20]


Despite her effort to repeal paid family leave, Senator Ernst has repeatedly claimed credit for its passage – calling it a “significant part” of the second relief package and even used an official COVID-19 briefing to tout her falsehood. [Iowa Starting Line, 3/30/20]


In a telling sign of her true intentions, Senator Ernst has refused to call on the Trump Administration to enforce paid family leave as the relief package intended, after reports that the Administration scaled back paid family leave so that now as many as 75% of workers could be blocked from getting benefits.