REALITY CHECK: Five Ways Senator Ernst Has Prioritized Partisanship Over Protecting Iowans During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ernst’s Real Record: voting against paid sick leave & expanded unemployment, dismissing funding for hospitals as “political gimmicks” after voting for unaccountable corporate slush fund

Senator Joni Ernst released a desperate new video today in an attempt to mislead Iowans about her failed partisan response to the coronavirus pandemic. As COVID-19 cases surge in Iowa and unemployment remains high, Senator Ernst is trying to rewrite her record of siding with Mitch McConnell and her corporate PAC donors ahead of hardworking Iowans.

“No one is buying Senator Ernst’s desperate attempt to recast her record as anything other than partisan finger-pointing and votes to benefit her corporate donors,” said Greenfield for Iowa spokesperson Izzi Levy. “Senator Ernst has spent months downplaying the coronavirus pandemic, and opposing and slow-walking relief for hardworking Iowans and communities and small businesses across the state. After months of siding with her party leaders and corporate special interests, this is the Ernst campaign’s clearest admission yet that Iowans are rejecting her record of failed leadership throughout this pandemic.”

Here are just a few of the ways Senator Ernst has put party loyalty ahead of protecting Iowans during this pandemic:

  1. Voting Against Paid Sick Leave. While Ernst’s video tries to claim she supports paid sick leave, the reality is Senator Ernst voted twice against paid sick leave, including to strip it from the Senate’s “phase two” relief package before attempting to take credit for it.
  2. Opposing Expanded Unemployment Benefits. Senator Ernst voted against expanding unemployment benefits by an additional $600 per week for Iowa workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. Now, she refuses to commit to extending those benefits for the more than 100,000 Iowans who are still out of work.
  3. Backing an Unaccountable Corporate Slush Fund. Hardworking Iowans and small businesses across the state have faced unprecedented pain during this crisis. Instead of fighting for them, Senator Ernst voted twice for a half-trillion dollar corporate slush fund to bail out her big corporate donors.
  4. Opposing Relief for Local Hospitals and Nurses. While experts have warned that COVID-19 could force some of Iowa’s rural hospitals to close, Senator Ernst brushed off calls for more hospital relief as “political gimmicks” and PolitiFact has confirmed that she “wasn’t initially in favor of including hospital and testing funds to be coupled with small-business loan relief.”
  5. Saying the “Bank Is Not Open” for More Relief. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise and Iowans continue to struggle, Senator Ernst has slow-walked and downplayed the need for urgent relief that puts Iowa’s working families first. The Wall Street Journal reported that Ernst “wasn’t concerned about delays” in getting Iowans the help they need. Ernst also said in a radio interview that “the bank is not open” on any future COVID-19 legislation.