Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

Sen. Joni Ernst

Monday, May 11, 2020

Ernst, Murphy Urge Support for Families, Workers in Need of Diaper Assistance During COVID-19

In a letter to Senate leaders, the senators write, “A clean diaper – a necessity for the health and well-being of every young child – is a basic need…We urge you to prioritize the need of low-income families and front-line workers who are in critical need of diaper assistance.”

With parents facing layoffs due to unprecedented unemployment during COVID-19, plus recent reports of diaper shortages as a result of stockpiling and supply chain issues, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) are teaming up to urge the Senate to support low-income families and front-line workers who are in critical need of diaper assistance to provide for the health, safety, and economic security of their children.

In a bipartisan letter to Senate leaders, Ernst and Murphy write“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, nonprofit diaper bank distribution only met five to six percent of diaper need. Most diaper banks, which were already oversubscribed and had waiting lists for partner agencies, are now facing severe supply shortages due to the demand increase as more families experience job loss during this pandemic.”

The senators continue“Having access to these services is especially imperative for our essential workers so that their children can be accepted into daycare or childcare facilities. Essential workers should not have to worry about diaper need becoming a barrier for accessing childcare…We urge you to prioritize the need of low-income families and front-line workers who are in critical need of diaper assistance to provide for the health, safety, and economic security of their children”

“We are grateful for Senators Ernst and Murphy’s strong bipartisan leadership to help families across get the diapers they need to keep their child clean, dry, and healthy,” said Joanne Goldblum, CEO of the National Diaper Bank Network. “Our more than 200 members across all 50 states have seen dramatic increases in demand for diapers – often doubling or tripling since the beginning of the pandemic. We know that before COVID-19, 1 in 3 US families struggled with diaper need. Diaper need negatively impacts the physical, emotional and economic health of children and families, and the effects are increasing during these difficult times, as families are forced to choose between diapers, food and other basic necessities. The critical funding requested by Senators Murphy and Ernst would enable diaper banks to help families weather the COVID-19 crisis and begin to recover and regain their footing, particularly as parents are able to return to work.”

“Thank you to Senators Ernst and Murphy for their leadership and support of diaper banks, who are working daily to meet the increased need due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Erin Langdon, Chief Development Officer of Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank (EIDB). “Since mid-March, EIDB has more than doubled our distribution to families who are struggling to provide a sufficient supply of diapers for their children. We are committed to providing diapers and wipes to those in need throughout the pandemic and the critical funding request led by Senators Ernst and Murphy will enable us to continue this work. Here locally, families have overwhelming expressed gratitude and thanks in helping to fill this essential need during the crisis.”

Joining Ernst and Murphy on the letter are Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ernst Says Servicemembers Responding to

COVID-19 Should Get Hazard Pay

The Iowa senator, and retired Iowa Army National Guardsman, is proposing a bill to direct DoD to provide tax-free hazard pay to national guardsmen and active-duty troops fighting COVID-19.

With over 850 Iowa National Guardsmen helping in the fight against COVID-19, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities is proposing a bill that directs the Pentagon to provide tax-free hazardous duty pay with back pay for these hardworking men and women on the front lines of this pandemic.

“Whether it’s delivering personal protective equipment, food, or medical supplies, our National Guardsmen and women have answered the call to help during COVID-19. As a former Iowa Army National Guardsman, I could not be more proud of their tireless and selfless efforts. That’s why I believe Congress should take this small step to recognize the hazardous work they’re doing during this pandemic and provide them the pay they deserve,” said Senator Joni Ernst, the first female combat veteran elected to the Senate.

“The National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) thanks Sen. Ernst for introducing legislation supporting National Guard service members on the frontlines with COVID-19,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president. “Through her years of service, Sen. Ernst knows what it means to serve in harm’s way and we are proud that she is leading the effort to classify the current contingency operation as a hazardous duty. National Guard soldiers and airmen are on the frontlines with our brave doctors, nurses, and first responders and deserve this critical recognition and financial support as they risk exposure to this virus every day.”

“Our National Guard men and women have been called upon, once again, by the nation’s leadership to help combat the novel coronavirus pandemic in America. The risks are great; so are the hazards. By definition, Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay is a monetary incentive for volunteers who perform hazardous duty based upon the inherent dangers of that duty and the risks of physical injury. EANGUS agrees with Senator Joni Ernst that the duty our National Guard members are performing embodies that risk, and should receive Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay for COVID-19 response duty,” said Sergeant Major (retired) Frank Yoakum, Executive Director of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States.

Background:

Currently, over 46,000 National Guard troops and 7,000 active-duty troops are helping fight COVID-19. Ernst’s legislation directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide at least $150 in monthly tax-free hazardous duty pay with back pay for National Guardsmen, active-duty service members, and other military medical corps professionals responding to the military’s COVID-19 operations.

In addition, Ernst is sending a letter later today to President Trump asking that he grant Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’s request to extend the authorization of the Iowa National Guard to serve in Title 32 status through June 30, 2020.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Ernst Helps Secure Over $383M for Iowa’s Rural Hospitals, Clinics, and Community Health Centers

Iowa is among the top three states that are receiving the highest levels of financial relief for rural health care providers

As a result of the bipartisan CARES Act, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) has helped secure $383,318,585 for Iowa’s rural health care providers. This announcement follows Ernst’s urging for the federal government to immediately assist rural health providers and builds on earlier relief the senator helped garner for Iowa’s health providers through the CARES Act, as well as supplemental funding of over $11 million for the state’s community health centers.

“Iowa’s small rural hospitals, clinics, and community health centers are vital to folks across our state. These essential health care providers faced many challenges before this pandemic hit, and now, more than ever, they need assistance to make ends meet, maintain their staff, and keep serving Iowans,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “That’s why I’ve consistently fought hard to get Iowa’s rural health providers direct support and assistance and am so pleased that through bipartisan work, more relief is on the way. These folks are on the front lines of COVID-19, and we must make sure they get the support they need. Though our work isn’t done here, this is a really important step.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Friday that 177 rural acute care general hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Health Clinics, and Community Health Centers located throughout Iowa’s rural communities will receive funding which Ernst helped secured as part of the bipartisan Phase 3 relief package.

Background: Ernst has continued to advocate for Iowa’s health care community on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She successfully helped include critical funding for the health care community in the bipartisan CARES Act.

After hearing from county hospitals in Iowa, she also called on the Senate to provide public hospitals, many of which are in rural areas, with additional relief through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). While the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department have said that some of these county hospitals will be eligible, others still cannot get access to the PPP. As such, Ernst continues her efforts to ensure that all small county or municipal hospitals in Iowa are eligible for the PPP.

In addition, as part of the most recent bipartisan relief package, Ernst supported additional funding for hospitals and health care workers.

 

Friday, April 24, 2020

With Local Reporting Critical Amid COVID-19, Ernst Calls for Support of Iowa Newspapers, TV and Radio 

The Iowa senator is pushing for local media to qualify for the widely-used Paycheck Protection Program, like other small businesses, and for public service advertising on COVID-19 to be directed to their airwaves and in print, without any additional burden to the taxpayer

With local reporting and access to information critical amid the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is calling for support for Iowa’s newspapers, television and radio stations.

“Local reporting in Iowa is always vital for our communities, but especially now,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Iowa families and small businesses depend on access to the latest, reliable information, and our local newspapers, TV, and radio stations play an important role in doing that. Local media, like other small businesses who are facing challenging times, should be able to benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program. In addition, we should direct existing funds we’ve already provided to the federal government for public service announcements to our local news outlets, so the public can stay informed and up to date, with no additional cost to Iowa taxpayers.”

The senator is pushing for local media to qualify for the widely-used Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), like other small businesses, and for public service advertising on COVID-19 to be directed to their airwaves and in print, without any additional burden to the taxpayer.
Background:

In certain instances, local newspapers and radio and TV stations are facing hurdles in accessing support from the PPP because they are owned by a larger chain, which puts their number of employees over the 500 limit. As discussions continue on future COVID-19 relief legislation, Senator Ernst is pushing for a Small Business Administration (SBA) rule to be waived so that these local publications and stations can benefit from the PPP.

In addition, Senator Ernst is joining a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting existing funds—which have already been allocated—be directed toward public service announcement advertising on local media, to inform the public and to circulate information about resources available relating to COVID-19.

Click here to view Senator Ernst’s letter to OMB.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

On Call with Iowa Small Businesses, Ernst Answers Questions, Discusses Relief Efforts

RED OAK, Iowa—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, is continuing to listen to small businesses from every corner and county of the state during COVID-19. Today, Senator Ernst held a virtual town hall meeting with more than 120 Iowa members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

“Small businesses make up 99% of the businesses in Iowa, and COVID-19 has caused these local employers across our state to face serious and unforeseen challenges. I worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass the Phase 3 relief package, which included the Paycheck Protection Program to aid our small businesses in this time of crisis, and now it’s important that we help them access that relief, so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills. Today’s conversation was yet another opportunity for me to hear from our small businesses and to understand their needs as we work to provide additional relief,” said Senator Ernst.

“Information is vital during this coronavirus crisis. Our small business owners are cash strapped and many are worried they’ll have to shut their doors for good. That’s why NFIB and Sen. Ernst have been hard at work to arm our Iowa small business owners with the knowledge they need to apply for federal and state loans and grants. Thank you, Sen. Ernst for spending time with our small business owners and providing them with the help they need to make it through this unprecedented crisis,” said Matt Everson, Iowa State Director, NFIB.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Ernst has made it a priority to continue listening to and hearing from Iowans across the state, including small business owners. She has held several Q&A sessions with business owners, and just last week, held a telephone town hall focused on small business relief. After hearing from Iowans, Ernst called on the Senate to bolster relief and provide additional funding for the Patient Protection Program

Background on Ernst’s efforts to combat COVID-19:

Senator Ernst has fought to deliver relief to all Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of her efforts:

  • Urged her colleagues to stop playing politics and provide additional support for workers and employers.
  • Called for bolstering the small business emergency loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Delivered major wins for Iowa’s workers, employers, health care industry, and more in the bipartisan Phase 3 package.
  • Supported  the “Phase 1” bipartisan package to provide additional resources to federal, state and local authorities.
  • Helped pass the “Phase 2” bill to provide paid sick leave, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and increased support for nutrition for seniors and children.
  • Called for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Urged the Senate to prioritize relief for hospitals, community health centers, and workers on the front lines.
  • Announced a proposal to immediately redirect the over $350M in the Presidential Campaign Election Fund to be used to purchase specialized face masks and personal protective equipment.
  • Asked the State Department to immediately act to get Iowans stranded abroad back home.
  • Sought tariff relief for Iowa’s businesses by calling on Treasury to defer all tariffs during the pandemic.
  • Urged USDA to provide additional funding for Iowa’s biofuels industry negatively impacted by COVID-19 as well as the state’s livestock industry.
  • Took questions from Iowans in Dubuque and Siouxland areas on COVID-19 relief.
  • Answered questions from Iowans in Quad Cities area on COVID-19 relief.
  • Continued to listen to and answer questions from small businesses across the state.
  • Called on two federal health agencies to protect Iowa’s Medicare beneficiaries from high-risk settings and ensure safe access to care as we continue to work to combat COVID-19.
  • Held a telephone town hall with thousands of Iowans to help answer some questions and hear directly from folks.
  • Hosted another telephone town hall with Iowa’s seniors and elderly community.
  • Heard from hundreds of Iowa’s small businesses on her telephone town hall.
  • Participated in discussions at the State Emergency Operations Center with Governor Kim Reynolds.
  • Joined Governor Reynolds at her press conference to give an update on federal relief efforts.
  • Discussed the need to work together – at federal, state, and local level – to tackle COVID-19.
  • Published a column on everyone doing their part to protect seniors and fellow Iowans from COVID-19.
  • Penned a second column outlining the federal relief packages Congress passed and reminding Iowans we will get through this, together.

 For additional information for Iowans on COVID-19, you can visit Senator Ernst’s website, which includes resources for families and individualssmall businessesand seniors.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Ernst Calls for Additional Support for Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Survivors During COVID-19

The Iowa senator – a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence – writes: ‘At a time when people who experience domestic violence are at increased risk, and requests for sexual assault and domestic violence-related services have sharply increased, additional funding for these programs is critical.’

RED OAK, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, is joining her Democratic and Republican colleagues in calling for additional support for survivors and victims of sexual assault and domestic violence to be included in future COVID-19 relief legislation.

In a letter to Republican and Democratic Senate leaders, Ernst and her bipartisan colleagues write: “At a time when people who experience domestic violence are at increased risk, and requests for sexual assault and domestic violence-related services have sharply increased, additional funding for these programs is critical.”

Ernst and her fellow lawmakers go on to write“The United States must demonstrate leadership in this effort by continuing to provide the additional resources needed to support at-risk families and children… Domestic violence service providers across the country are facing funding and staffing challenges related to the pandemic and have seen an increased need for services including crisis intervention, shelter and transitional housing, and legal assistance. Rape crisis centers need funding to shift their services from in-person to virtual and meet the emergency needs of survivors. This strain on resources is expected to disproportionally impact traditionally underserved populations such as black and Latino communities as well as people who live in rural areas.”

“We commend Senator Ernst for signing onto this important bipartisan letter to address the immediate needs of survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Beth Barnhill, Executive Director for the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “Senator Ernst has spent considerable time and energy having conversations, asking questions, and getting to know Iowa’s victim service programs. We so appreciate the commitment the senator has made to better understand how survivors are coping with the chaos of these unprecedented times, and how we can work together to come up with concrete solutions to meet the diverse needs of survivors and the programs that serve them.” ​

Background:

Ernst joined Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and 38 of her Democratic and Republican colleagues to call for additional funding for these critical programs, including: the Sexual Assault Service Program; the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) STOP Grants with a priority on flexible funding for victim service providers; grants outreach and services to underserved populations; and, the VAWA Transitional Housing Assistance Grants, among other things.

 The letter is supported by the following groups: Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center; Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence; Break the Cycle; California Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Casa de Esperanza: National [email protected] Network for Healthy Families and Communities; Futures Without Violence; Jewish Women International; Legal Momentum; National Alliance to End Sexual Violence; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; National Council of Jewish Women; National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; National Domestic Violence Hotline; National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center; National Network to End Domestic Violence; National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault; National Resource Center on Domestic Violence; StrongHearts Native Helpline; Tahirih Justice Center; Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community; and YWCA USA.

This letter follows Ernst’s call for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure domestic violence survivors receive their direct COVID-19 relief payments regardless of their place of residence. Last week, Senator Ernst joined a teleconference video call with members of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CASA) to discuss these issues and the ways she’s working to ensure survivors are getting the support they need during COVID-19.

In the most recent bipartisan relief package passed by Congress, Ernst supported additional funding for domestic violence shelters and domestic violence coalitions – such as the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence – and nearly $2 million to bolster the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Ernst Provides Update on Additional COVID-19 Relief Efforts, Urges Iowans to ‘Stay Strong’

Ernst is focused on a number of areas important to Iowans in this Phase 3 package, but three areas she highlights in this short video:

Click here to download a video of Ernst discussing what she’s working on in the Phase 3 relief package.

In addition to a brief update on where things stand in the Senate, Senator Ernst recognized the hard work of those on the front lines of the pandemic, including first responders, health care workers, and those helping to keep the supply chain running.

Click here to download a short video of Ernst thanking those on the front lines against COVID-19.

Background on Ernst’s efforts to combat COVID-19:

Senator Ernst is fighting to deliver relief to all Iowans, including families, small businesses, and seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of her efforts during this challenging time:

  • Passed a “Phase 1” bipartisan package to provide additional resources to federal, state and local authorities.
  • Passed a “Phase 2” bill to provide paid sick leave, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and increased support for nutrition for seniors and children.
  • Called for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Urged the Senate to prioritize relief for hospitals, community health centers, and workers on the front lines.
  • Announced a proposal to immediately redirect the over $350M in the Presidential Campaign Election Fund to be used to purchase specialized face masks and personal protective equipment.
  • Asked the State Department to immediately act to get Iowans stranded abroad back home.
  • Held a telephone town hall with thousands of Iowans to help answer some questions and hear directly from folks.
  • Participated in discussions at the State Emergency Operations Center with Governor Kim Reynolds last weekend.
  • Discussed the need to work together – at federal, state, and local level – to tackle COVID-19.
  • Published a column on everyone doing their part to protect seniors and fellow Iowans from COVID-19.

For additional information for Iowans on COVID-19, you can visit Senator Ernst’s website, which includes resources for families and individualssmall businesses, and seniors.

Friday, February 24, 2020

Joni Ernst: Mississippi River dredge project means a boost for Iowa farmers

As Iowa farmers will tell you, the only thing more important than growing their crops is having access to the markets to sell those crops. For many of our farmers across Iowa, market access depends on the ability to haul our goods down the Mississippi River, where the crops can be exported both domestically and internationally through the Gulf of Mexico.

 In fact, more than half of all U.S. corn and soybean exports, including those grown and harvested by Iowa farmers, are shipped through the stretch of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to the Gulf of Mexico—or what’s called the Mississippi River Ship Channel. As the country’s top exporter of both corn and soybeans, access to this channel directly affects our state’s agriculture economy.

For a few years now, there’s been talk about a dredging project along this southern portion of the Mississippi River. The project would deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel from 45 feet to 50 feet. The additional five feet would allow ships to carry more soybeans, corn, and other goods through the channel, and in turn would lead to lower shipping costs and increased returns for Iowa’s producers.

Iowans from across our agricultural community have told me about the need for this dredging project and the positive impact it could have for our state. So I got to work.

Just last month, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) was in the midst of developing the list of projects it will fund and begin work on this year, I met with Assistant Secretary of the Army, R.D. James— who oversees all aspects of the Corps Civil Works program, including flood control and navigation. I stressed the need for the Corps to fund this key project and expressed the broad support it has from Iowa’s agriculture community.

Following my meeting, I was pleased that, just days later, the Corps officially selected the Mississippi River dredging project as one it will fund and begin work on in 2020.

This project will put more money in the pockets of our hardworking farmers and will help make Iowa’s agriculture products more competitive in the global market. For our Iowa soybean farmers, for example, completion of this project is estimated to result in an additional $71 million in revenue.

Farmers received welcome news with the recent passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the signing of the U.S.-China phase one trade agreement. I’m extremely pleased this project is being prioritized by the Corps and has the support to get underway, delivering another piece of good news for folks across the heartland that will position them for success for years to come.

As someone who grew up on a family farm in Southwest Iowa, I will never stop fighting for our farmers. I’m proud to deliver this win for the folks that work so hard to feed and fuel the world.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Friday, January 28, 2020

Joni Ernst: New WOTUS rule is welcome news for Iowa farmers

In May 2015, former President Barack Obama ignored the legitimate concerns of Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses and announced an egregious rule expanding the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), a move that sent shockwaves through rural communities across the country.

 Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created this rule with little to no regard for the voices of hardworking folks in communities around the country. Folks like Darcy Dougherty Maulsby, a fifth-generation farmer and small business owner from Lake City, testified before the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee on the impact of the WOTUS rule. Despite her testimony, the Obama Administration went ahead with its overreaching WOTUS rule, giving the federal government authority to regulate 97 percent of the land in Iowa.

There’s no doubt that Iowans, and all Americans, want sensible safeguards that keep our environment clean and protect our nation’s water. They want to make sure the water on their land is clean and safe, just like I do. But that doesn’t mean they want a one-size-fits-all solution from Washington that is vague and overly expansive, like the 2015 Obama rule.

Since then, Iowans from all walks of life, including diverse stakeholders that might not normally agree on many issues, voiced to me the need to scrap the Obama rule and to replace it with a workable rule that clearly defines what waters fall under federal jurisdiction. So we got to work.

Along with Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming – who is the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee that I sit on – I  introduced a proposal that provided clear principles and directions for the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to craft a WOTUS rule that actually took into consideration positions held by key stakeholders, like Ms. Maulsby, and not just Washington bureaucrats.

I also helped lead the effort on legislation, with 46 of my colleagues, to scrap the Obama Administration’s ill-conceived rule. Our bill passed both the Senate and the House with bipartisan support. And, to no one’s surprise, President Obama vetoed it.

But we didn’t give up; we kept fighting.

Before his inauguration, I signaled my intention to work with President Trump and his administration to get Obama’s harmful WOTUS rule off the books. I’m glad President Trump understands the importance of getting Washington’s hands out of Iowans’ lives. Almost immediately after taking office, he delivered on that and issued an executive order to start the process of rolling back Obama’s harmful WOTUS rule, relieving hard-working Americans from one of Washington’s most egregious power grabs.

Just last week, after working alongside the Trump Administration these last few years, we’ve successfully finalized a workable rule that clearly defines what waters fall under federal jurisdiction. And I believe Iowa’s farmers and manufacturers are breathing a sigh of relief. We’ve rolled back the far-reaching Obama-era regulation and are now providing more certainty with a new, clearer definition of WOTUS.

This is a huge win for folks in Iowa. But there’s still a role we can play in Congress to ensure this rule doesn’t get overturned by future administrations. That’s why I’ve introduced the Define WOTUS Act to make a reasonable definition for WOTUS – just like this new rule – permanent and to provide more predictability and workability to Iowans for years to come.

Under this president, and with the hard work we’re doing under our pro-growth policies in the Senate, we’ve fought to get the government off the backs of farmers and small businesses.

From deregulation, like getting rid of Obama’s WOTUS rule, to the major wins we’ve had on trade – like the USMCA, the phase one-China deal, and the Japan agreement – we’re spurring a sense of optimism and economic growth across rural America.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Friday, January 21, 2020

Joni Ernst: Getting Right Back to Work for Iowa: Passing USMCA and Securing a Trade Deal with China

As we start off the New Year, I’m wasting no time in getting straight back to work and delivering big wins for Iowa. After only a couple of weeks, I’m excited to have two key victories in the books that will make a big difference for folks across our state.

First, I was proud to cast my vote for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal—or USMCA—and to finally send it to the President’s desk.

This trade deal with Iowa’s top two trading partners, Mexico and Canada, will bring much-needed certainty and predictability for our farmers, manufacturers, and small business owners. In fact, Iowa exports more to Mexico and Canada than we do to our next 27 trade partners combined. The USMCA will allow those numbers to grow exponentially by creating new export opportunities and over 175,000 jobs across the country.

I’ve heard time and again from Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and business owners about the need for the USMCA. And each time, for more than a year, I would convey that message loud and clear to my colleagues in the House.

Just recently, I kicked off my annual 99 County Tour for 2020 with a farmers’ roundtable in Montgomery County. It was no surprise: the item that was top-of-mind for those farmers was the USMCA. After all, that was the case on last year’s 99 County Tour too.

While it took House Democrats far too long to move on it, the Senate got right to work. My friend and colleague Senator Chuck Grassley teed-up the trade deal in the Finance Committee almost as soon as lawmakers got back to DC at the start of the year. And, just a few days later, I helped usher it through the Environment and Public Works Committee and onto the Senate Floor for a final vote.

The USMCA will be a shot of positive energy into the businesses and communities across rural America. I’m proud to finally get this trade deal across the finish line.

Of course, that’s not the only big news as we start the year. Last week, I also joined President Trump at the White House as he signed the U.S.-China Phase One Trade Agreement, another major win for Iowa.

As Iowa’s 4th largest trading partner, China is a critically important market for our farmers and manufacturers. Through this deal, China has agreed to buy $200 billion worth of U.S. goods and services over the next 2 years, including more than $30 billion in farm goods and $70 billion in manufactured goods.

While it’s critical we keep the pressure on China to follow through on this, we are seeing some very positive momentum, especially for our agriculture markets and manufacturers. As we move forward, I’ll be continuing to work with the Administration on ways to ensure China is holding up their end of the deal and to help Iowa’s farmers and producers succeed.

There’s no doubt that this is an exciting start to the new year for our great state of Iowa. From the Phase One China agreement being finalized, to the USMCA moving through the Senate, I’m proud to work with President Trump to deliver real results for Iowa’s farmers and manufacturers.

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.

Friday, January 16, 2020

Ernst Helps Get USMCA Across the Finish Line in the Senate, Securing Major Wins for Iowans

Since the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal was announced by President Trump in October 2018, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) has been a relentless advocate to get the agreement across the finish line in Congress. Today, with the support of Senator Ernst, the Senate passed the USMCA in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote.

“It was hard work, and it took way too long, but we did it: the USMCA is on its way to President Trump’s desk and final ratification,” said Senator Ernst, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy.

“All throughout my 99 County Tour last year, and even just last weekend as I kicked off my 6th annual 99 County Tour, I heard time and again from Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and business owners about the need for the USMCA. And each time, for more than a year, I would convey that message loud and clear to my colleagues in the House. Finally, the Senate was given our chance to take swift action and today passed this agreement with overwhelmingly bipartisan support.

“The USMCA will have a tremendous impact on Iowa’s economy, given that we trade more goods with Mexico and Canada than we do with our next 27 trading partners combined. I’m excited about the market opportunities and predictability this trade agreement will bring to hardworking Americans across the country. The USMCA is truly a win for everyone, especially my fellow Iowans.”

Senator Joni Ernst has been a relentless advocate for over a year on behalf of Iowans when it comes to passing the USMCA.

  • January 14, 2020: As USMCA advances in the Senate, Ernst reiterates Iowans’ strong support of the trade deal.
  • January 14, 2020: Ernst helps move USMCA out of Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
  • December 10, 2019: Ernst applauds Trump Administration for reaching deal with the House on USMCA.
  • December 4, 2019: On one year anniversary of the USMCA, Ernst amped up pressure on the House to move on the deal.
  • October 28, 2019: Ernst outlines in a column in The Gazette that House Democrats need to move on the USMCA.
  • October 23, 2019: Ernst says House Democrats need to do their job, pass USMCA.
  • September 27, 2019: Ernst and fellow Iowans call on Congress to pass the USMCA.
  • September 24, 2019: Ernst: 298 days later, House Democrats still stalling on the USMCA.
  • September 12, 2019: Ernst brings Iowans’ voices to Washington to pass the USMCA.
  • September 9, 2019: On her 99 County Tour, Iowans consistently told Ernst they want the USMCA now.
  • July 30, 2019: Ernst says Iowans need the USMCA.
  • July 16, 2019: Ernst says USMCA will be a “shot of positive energy” for Iowa’s farmers and manufacturers.
  • June 5, 2019: Ernst urges action on USMCA.
  • May 21, 2019: Ernst to House Democrats: let’s move on USMCA.
  • May 1, 2019: Ernst joins Bloomberg TV an says “we want to move ahead with USMCA.”
  • April 20, 2019: Ernst joins Varney & Co. to call on House to support USMCA.
  • November 30, 2018: Ernst says Trump fulfills another promise with the signing of USMCA.
  • October 8, 2018: Ernst applauds USMCA trade agreement.
  • October 2, 2018: Ernst joins CBS This Morning to discuss USMCA.
  • October 1, 2018: Ernst says the USMCA trade deal is “welcome news for Iowa farmers and ranchers.”

Friday, January 10, 2020

Ernst Praises U.S. Service Members and Intelligence Personnel for Successful Mission to Kill Brutal Terrorist Soleimani

WASHINGTON – Former company commander in Iraq and Kuwait, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and 41 Senate colleagues in supporting a resolution honoring the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the successful mission that killed Qasem Soleimani, a designated terrorist and head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF).

“Qasem Soleimani was a terrorist who was responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of Americans. The world is a better, safer place because of the brave and decisive action of the men and women of America’s armed forces who carried out their mission from President Trump with precision and excellence in taking out Soleimani,” said Senator Ernst, the first female combat veteran elected to the Senate. “As a former company commander in Iraq and Kuwait, I commend all of our military and intelligence personnel who assisted in this mission, and all of our service members around the world sacrificing to keep us safe every day.”

This resolution models a resolution unanimously supported by the U.S. Senate in 2011, after American forces killed Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. The full text of the resolution can be found HERE.

Background:

Following the successful mission by the U.S. military in taking out Soleimani, Ernst said in part, “…at the direction of President Trump, he has been brought to justice before he could kill even more Americans.” 

In addition, this week, Ernst joined both Varney & Co. and Outnumbered Overtime to discuss her reactions to President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Following President Trump’s remarks on the missile attacks near U.S. facilities in Iraq by the Iranian regime, Ernst praised the president’s “decisive action” and said she’s hopeful “Iran is choosing the smart path—for their own sake—by de-escalating, in the meantime we must continue our maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian regime and remain vigilant against the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Ernst and Duckworth Team Up to Tackle Sexual Misconduct int he U.S. Coast Guard

After an uptick in sexual assault and harassment claims at the USCG Academy, the Iowa Republican and Illinois Democrat are working together to help address the issue

Following reports of an increase in sexual assault and harassment claims at the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) and a lack of leadership in regards to the Coast Guard’s handling of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, U.S. Senators and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), are introducing a bipartisan bill aimed at preventing sexual assault and retaliation in the United States Coast Guard.

“The recent reports of sexual misconduct and harassment at the Coast Guard and its academy are alarming and unacceptable. We must do better for the Iowans, and all Americans, who choose to serve and protect our country,” said Senator Ernst, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. “This bipartisan bill takes important steps to combat sexual assault within the Coast Guard ranks and the academy.”

“For too long, our military has failed to adequately protect women and men from sexual misconduct and assault,” said Duckworth. “As a former commander, I am committed to pushing for meaningful, effective reforms that prevent sexual assault from happening in the first place. That’s one reason I’m proud to join Senator Ernst to introduce this legislation to help ensure all members of the military are able to work and thrive in their careers without fear of sexual assault.”

Senator Ernst served as a company commander in Kuwait and Iraq, leading Iowa Army National Guardsmen during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard after 23 years of military service. Senator Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran, Purple Heart recipient and served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Background:

The Coast Guard Sexual Misconduct Prevention Act creates a committee responsible for advising the Secretary of Homeland Security on how to prevent sexual misconduct—along with retaliation and social ostracism for reporting such conduct—in the Coast Guard and for recommending changes to the policies, programs, and practices of the service and its academy.

The Advisory Committee will include experts in sexual assault prevention, suicide prevention, and the practice of facilitating change in the culture of large organizations.

In May, Senator Ernst joined Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to put forward two bipartisan bills to expand support for victims of military sexual assault and domestic violence that were included in the year end Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

 

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