Senator Ernst Has Repeatedly Claimed Credit For Measures She Opposed – Now, She’s Standing in the Way of Critical Relief for Working Families

As Congress considers new pandemic relief, Senator Joni Ernst has already begun to lay the groundwork for covering up her record of prioritizing funding for big corporations and special interests, while standing in the way of critical relief for Iowa workers, farmers, and families.

After Congress passed initial relief packages in the spring, Ernst repeatedly tried to claim credit for measures she voted against, including paid family leave and expanded unemployment benefits. In reality, Ernst voted twice for a $500 billion corporate slush fund that could have allowed CEOs to fire workers while buying back stocks and boosting their own bonuses.

“Senator Ernst has proven that Iowans can’t trust her to put their well-being ahead of her corporate special interest donors in this health and economic crisis,” said Jeremy Busch, Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson. “After repeatedly voting to bail out her big corporate backers at the expense of working families, Senator Ernst must finally end her political games, stand up to Mitch McConnell, and put Iowans first.”

The tables below set the record straight on what Senator Ernst supports — and what she doesn’t — in new relief:

Funding for Big Corporations, Not Iowans: Despite voting twice for a $500 billion slush fund for big corporations and CEOs, Senator Ernst said that “the bank is not open” for new relief for Iowa small businesses, workers, and families.

Paying for Relief with Social Security Benefits: Senator Ernst introduced a payroll measure to put the cost of relief on Iowans’ hard-earned Social Security benefits. Not only would Ernst’s plan “undermine” the retirement security trust fund, but it would provide no relief for Iowans who have been laid off due to the pandemic. Fellow Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley opposes the idea, calling it ineffective for timely relief and a threat to Social Security.

No Urgency for Action: According to the Wall Street Journal, Senator Ernst said she wasn’t concerned about delays in COVID-19 relief – a stark contrast to voters who do not believe the federal government has done enough to contain the spread and overwhelmingly trust Democrats to respond to the crisis.

Health Coverage for Uninsured Iowans: Senator Ernst made it clear on Iowa Press that she has no plan for the 38,000 Iowans who have lost health insurance during this health crisis – simply saying it should be a part of the “discussion.” Pushed for details, she bumbled through a 75-second, 199-word answer with zero solutions, while refusing to come clean on her support for the GOP’s anti-ACA lawsuit that could kick another 227,000 Iowans off of coverage.

Relief for State and Local Government: Senator Ernst continues to oppose direct funding for state and local governments, which directly undermines first responders and essential services. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that without action, Iowa could lose 57,000 public and private jobs by the end of 2021. 

Renewing Unemployment Benefits: Despite 137,000 Iowans being out of work as new jobless claims are “on the rise again,” Senator Ernst has repeatedly refused to support renewing critical federal unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of July. 

Holding Corporations Accountable for Abusing PPP Loans: Senator Ernst has given big corporations a free pass for raking in millions in PPP loans, as some Iowa small businesses struggle to get the support they need. Instead, Ernst has touted a hollow bill that fails to hold her corporate donors accountable.

As Iowans hold her accountable, Mitch McConnell’s allies have spent millions in TV ads to cover up Senator Ernst’s failure to put Iowa workers and small businesses ahead of the corporations whose PACs have contributed over $2 million to her campaign.