Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

Sen. Joni Ernst

Monday, November 16, 2020

Ernst-Supported Bipartisan Bill to Address U.S. Olympics Abuse Scandal Signed Into Law

The enactment of the sweeping reform legislation is a culmination of the Iowa senator’s efforts to address the abuses within the U.S. Olympic system

The bipartisan Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, and Amateur Athletes Act, supported by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), an outspoken advocate for survivors of sexual abuse, was recently signed into law. Ernst helped pass the legislation in the Senate to ensure the resources designated for investigating abuses of Olympic and amateur athletes are safeguarded and put to proper use.

“For decades, Larry Nassar perpetrated acts of sexual abuse against hundreds of young female athletes, and the U.S. Olympic system failed to take action” said Senator Ernst, a survivor of sexual assault. “To help ensure this horrific abuse never happens again, I worked to pass bipartisan legislation that will help empower our athletes, improve the process for reporting abuse, and restore trust and integrity in the U.S. Olympic system. I’m grateful for my colleagues and the president in getting this important bill signed into law.”

The Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act will:
  • Empower athletes by giving them a seat at the decision-making table, and significantly increases athlete representation on governing boards, committees and panels within National Governing Bodies (NBGs) and the USOPC to help identify problematic policies and practices faster, while prioritizing athlete-centric solutions;
  • Bolster resources for the U.S. Center for SafeSport while ensuring its independence from the USOPC and the NGBs;
  • Require relevant SafeSport training, so athletes know how to identify abuse, and so adults know how to prevent it;
  • Strengthen and codify reporting mandates for adults with knowledge of any allegation of child abuse of an amateur athlete;
  • Protect individuals who report emotional, physical or sexual abuse of an athlete from retaliation within the Olympic movement;
  • Promote safety by requiring NGBs to enforce SafeSport sanctions and directing SafeSport to maintain a public list of all barred coaches and individuals;
  • Bolster USOC auditing and reporting requirements, so that Congress can better provide regular oversight; and
  • Establish legislative mechanisms by which Congress can dissolve the Board of the U.S. Olympic Committee and decertify NGBs.
Background:
After the news first broke of Nassar’s abuse of hundreds of young athletes, Ernst called for a special Senate committee to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Gymnastics regarding how team doctor Larry Nassar was allowed to sexually abuse female gymnasts over decades.
Ernst is also a proud bipartisan supporter of the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, which was signed into law by President Trump in February 2018.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Sen. Joni Ernst: Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a role model for girls and shows US women have great freedoms

We are wrapping up a historic event in our nation: the Senate confirmation hearing for 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett for a seat on the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Judge Barrett would be the first mother of school-age children to serve on the high court.

As any mom can attest, balancing schoolwork, dinner and bath time with emails, conference calls and job duties is harder than ever. And with seven children, Judge Barrett’s willingness to jump into serving on the Supreme Court is a real boost to #mompower.

To get here, Judge Barrett has had to endure a grueling degree of scrutiny from lawmakers and the media. Folks have undermined her as a person, attacked her family and children, and challenged her religious beliefs.

Her political opponents have tried to paint Judge Barret’s nomination as some sort of dystopian fulfillment of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” falsely portraying her as a domestic maidservant to her dominating husband.

Of course, this narrative is ridiculous and cartoonish. It is a full fireworks display of the hatred

Hollywood types and their coastal elite friends have toward people of faith, the heartland and conservative women.

The irony of these attacks is just how demeaning to women they really are — implying that Judge Barrett, a working mother of seven with a strong record of professional and academic accomplishment, isn’t capable of a seat on the highest court of the land.

Anyone who watched the Judiciary Committee hearing this week knows that Judge Barrett ran circles around 10 Democratic senators. She invoked complex legal analyses and thoughtful rationales about her judicial philosophy, as well as a sense of service and duty to her nation.

While explaining how she and her family made the life-changing decision to accept President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Judge Barrett posed a question that has stuck with me: “Why should I say someone else should do the difficulty? If the difficulty is the only reason to say no, then I should serve my country.”

Moms deal with difficult problems all the time. And we just make it work. After spending time getting to know Judge Barrett as a mother, jurist and professor, it is not at all a surprise to hear of her deep sense of duty and acceptance of the difficulty.

This sense of duty and a broader purpose is something I can relate to, having served my country in the Army Reserve and Iowa Army National Guard. And it’s something Americans from all walks of life — from veterans and service members, to moms and dads, doctors and nurses, teachers and law enforcement officers — can relate to.

Amy Coney Barrett is a role model for young girls and an example of the great freedoms American women have to be who they want to be.

As I said earlier this week, we don’t have to choose a narrow definition of womanhood. We can build our lives as we choose. Judge Barrett said so herself: “I’ve made distinct choices. I’ve decided to pursue a career and have a large family. I have a multiracial family. Our faith is important to us. All of those things are true, but they are my choices.”

Most importantly, this week Judge Barrett presented a compelling case that she would be a thoughtful, restrained and wise Supreme Court justice who would defend the Constitution. I’m grateful that the American people have had the opportunity to get to know her. Because folks, Amy Coney Barrett truly shows what a mom can do.

To read the column on FoxNews.com, click here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Joni Ernst: Every County, Every Year

This year, much has changed.

In the spring, we didn’t gather in Pella to celebrate the town’s Dutch heritage at the annual Tulip Time festival. This summer, we didn’t stuff our faces with fried food on a stick or take our picture with the famous Butter Cow at the Iowa State Fair. And this fall, we couldn’t attend the annual Cy-Hawk football game.

Like everywhere around the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced our state to put many of the annual traditions we cherish on hold as we work together to defeat this virus.

But pressing pause on these gatherings is minor compared to the hardship folks in Iowa continue to face. When Iowans are struggling—and even when they’re not—they expect their leaders to step up and show up. That’s why I made sure we would continue at least one of my traditions: the 99 County Tour.

At a time when our small business owners are anxiously figuring out how they are going to pay their employees and bills when our farmers and biofuel producers are seeing a drastic drop in fuel consumption and supply chains disrupted, and our families and unemployed Iowans are facing difficult decisions about how to put food on the table, it’s even more critical that I’m visiting directly with Iowans in every corner and county of the state to hear how I can best support them.

Now, with the pandemic, this year’s tour looked a little different. We wore masks and practiced social distancing, and used more hand sanitizer than ever before—but these hurdles did not deter me from connecting with Iowans in all 99 counties. Our senior senator, and my friend, Chuck Grassley, set the standard for this annual benchmark forty years ago, and he too, understood the importance of getting out and meeting face to face with our constituents during these challenging times.

The 99 County Tour is all about making sure I am connected with the people I’m elected to represent. I don’t just step into a county to check the box. I spend time in these communities and hear from business owners, farmers, manufacturers, health care workers, and everyone in between, and then, of course, visit with local press.

There’s truly no better way to do my job than to hear from Iowans. For six years in a row, I’ve made it a priority to get out and listen to my fellow Iowans. Every stop, in every county. The 99 County Tour reminds me what a privilege it is to be your senator and to fight day-in and day-out to put Iowa first.

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

Monday, September 21, 2020

Ernst on Supreme Court Vacancy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement with regard to the Supreme Court vacancy:

 “We have much to consider over the coming days. The Supreme Court plays a fundamental role in the defense of our Constitution and in the protection of our rights and liberties. Once the president puts forward his nominee for the Supreme Court, I will carry out my duty—as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee—to evaluate the nominee for our nation’s highest court.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Ernst Commends Administration’s Historic Peace Deals
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) issued the following statement after President Trump finalized two peace deals—the Abraham Accords—recognizing the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain:
“Today’s historic agreements of full normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain is a step toward peace in the Middle East and welcome news, not only for our partners and allies in the region but for the United States,” said Senator Ernst, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. “Having served our nation in uniform, I know firsthand the need for peace in this region, and I’ve been proud to work with the administration to further our nation’s partnership with Israel and its people.”
In June, Ernst joined her Senate colleagues in a letter to congratulate the president on the continued implementation of his “Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and a Brighter Future for Israel and the Palestinian People,” designed to secure a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Ernst Kicks Off Final Stretch of Her 99 County Tour with ‘Homegrown Week’

The senator will be making stops across rural Iowa to hear from farmers, biofuel producers, veterans, and discuss key issues like broadband access and conservation

ALGONA, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is kicking off her final stretch of her 99 County Tour for 2020 with “Homegrown Week.” The senator will visit with Iowans in rural communities across the state—including, but not limited to, pork producers, corn and soybean farmers, biofuel producers, dairy farmers, and conservationists.
 Click here or on the image above to watch Senator Ernst’s remarks.
“I was born and raised in rural Iowa, and still live in that same Southwest Iowa community. Farming and agriculture are a way of life – not only for my family but for so many Iowans across our state. This week, as I’m wrapping up my 99 County Tour for 2020, it’s all about ‘homegrown,’ said Senator Ernst, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy. “I’ll be hitting the road again to hear from Iowans firsthand about their challenges and successes, and to highlight the tremendous opportunity right here in my home state of Iowa.”
Senator Ernst will be making the following 99 County Tour stops this week:
  • Swine health and veterinary clinic in Kossuth County
  • Pork producers in Wright County
  • Pork processing plant in Hancock County
  • Veterans organization in Winnebago County
  • Biofuel producer in Worth County
  • Rural development and broadband discussion in Mitchell County
  • Iowa State University agriculture research visit in Floyd County
  • Plant and flower supplier in Howard County
  • Young and beginning farmer in Allamakee County
  • Dairy farm and production in Winneshiek County
  • Farmland and conservation site visit in Hardin County
In addition, Ernst will speak at the Black Hawk Corn and Soybean Association Dinner in Dunkerton later this evening. On Thursday, she will welcome U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to cap off her “Homegrown Week” and 99 County Tour for 2020. Along with Secretary Perdue, Ernst will be joined by Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig, where they will tour derecho damage, a conservation site in Radcliffe, a tilapia farm in Ellsworth, and an agriculture technology company in Ames.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Ernst, Grassley Welcome the President’s Approval of Governor Reynolds’ Major Disaster Declaration Request

U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today welcomed President Trump’s swift approval of Governor Kim Reynolds’ request for a major disaster declaration. Yesterday, Ernst and Grassley joined the Iowa delegation urging the President to expedite review and approve the request, which Governor Reynolds and her team assembled within a matter of days following last week’s derecho.

“The derecho that hit our state has devastated Iowans and our communities—taking lives and causing significant damage to both public infrastructure and private property and leaving many without power. I’ve seen the devastation firsthand, and will continue to do so this week,” said Senator Ernst. “It’s clear Iowa needs assistance from the federal government. That’s why I’m grateful to Governor Reynolds and her team for pulling together damage assessment within days and submitting the request for a presidential major disaster declaration, and the president working swiftly to approve it.”

“I’ve seen firsthand the heartbreaking damage to farms, businesses, homes and infrastructure across Iowa. I’ve also seen neighbor helping neighbor and believe we will get through this together. I’m working with Governor Reynolds, Senator Ernst and the rest of the Iowa delegation to make sure Iowa gets all the help it needs. I support Governor Reynolds’ major disaster declaration request and commend President Trump’s swift approval of this much-needed federal assistance,” said Senator Grassley.

Background:

On Friday, Senator Ernst visited Cedar Rapids to continue to meet with and hear from Iowans as the state works to recover from the derecho. Ernst spoke with Governor Kim Reynolds and the Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, Ben Corell, before distributing food alongside volunteers at the HACAP Mobile Food Pantry.

Ernst also visited a farm in Maxwell to see the damage firsthand and hear directly from Iowans who have been impacted by the storms.

Ernst also launched a new resources page on her website for Iowans who have been impacted by the derecho, and is encouraging Iowans to reach out to her office for assistance with federal agencies as she continues to hear from local officials and communities across the state as they work to rebuild.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Senate Unanimously Passes Ernst-Supported Bipartisan Bill to Address U.S. Olympics Abuse Scandal

Building on her efforts to address the abuses within the U.S. Olympic system, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a survivor of sexual assault, helped pass a bill to ensure the resources designated for investigating abuses of Olympic and amateur athletes are safeguarded and put to proper use. The Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act, which Ernst supports, passed the Senate unanimously today.

“The horrific abuses of hundreds of young athletes by Larry Nassar are appalling and unacceptable. Since this news broke, I’ve been working to prevent this type of tragedy from ever happening again. While the U.S. Olympic Committee has shown a willingness to make necessary reforms to prevent these abuses in the future, this legislation builds on that effort by increasing oversight and accountability and puts in place steps to prevent all forms of abuse. The Senate’s bipartisan action today will help start the process of restoring trust and integrity within the U.S. Olympic system,” said Senator Ernst.

The Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act will:

  • Empower athletes by giving them a seat at the decision-making table, and significantly increases athlete representation on governing boards, committees and panels within National Governing Bodies (NBGs) and the USOPC to help identify problematic policies and practices faster, while prioritizing athlete-centric solutions;
  • Bolster resources for the U.S. Center for SafeSport while ensuring its independence from the USOPC and the NGBs;
  • Require relevant SafeSport training, so athletes know how to identify abuse, and so adults know how to prevent it;
  • Strengthen and codify reporting mandates for adults with knowledge of any allegation of child abuse of an amateur athlete;
  • Protect individuals who report emotional, physical or sexual abuse of an athlete from retaliation within the Olympic movement;
  • Promote safety by requiring NGBs to enforce SafeSport sanctions and directing SafeSport to maintain a public list of all barred coaches and individuals;
  • Bolster USOC auditing and reporting requirements, so that Congress can better provide regular oversight; and
  • Establish legislative mechanisms by which Congress can dissolve the Board of the U.S. Olympic Committee and decertify NGBs.

Highlights of Senator Ernst’s work on this issue:

Senator Ernst has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of the survivors of abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar. Senator Ernst is a proud bipartisan supporter of the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, which was signed into law by President Trump in February 2018.

Following the heartbreaking reports of sexual abuse, Senator Ernst called for a special Senate committee to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Gymnastics regarding how team doctor Larry Nassar was allowed to sexually abuse female gymnasts over decades. She pressed her colleagues on this issue at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, in part saying, “Many children grow up admiring Olympic athletes, dreaming that one day they, too, could be on the winner’s podium to accept a gold medal for their country. I want that dream to live on for generations to come, but there is much work to be done first.”

When reports indicated that Scott Blackmun, CEO of the USOC, was aware of the sexual abuse allegations of Nassar, Ernst immediately called for him to step down, saying in part, “If these reports are true, this goes far beyond negligence and raises serious questions of culpability at USOC, in which the most appropriate action would be for Scott Blackmun to resign.”

After Sarah Hirshland took the helm as CEO of the USOC, Hirshland essentially “shut down” USA Gymnastics following the way the organization botched the scandal. After that decision, Ernst stated“I am glad to see that USOC’s current CEO, Sarah Hirshland, is taking action to start rebuilding trust with our country’s athletes and the American people. I also want to applaud the young women who have – and continue – to make their voices heard, calling for change and a new vision for the sport.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Ernst: “We can and should move more jobs out of Washington and closer to the folks who know the needs of their states, farms, and businesses best.”

At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, Ernst spoke about her bill that would move some federal agencies out of the “swamp” and closer to the people they work for.

At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing examining the lessons learned from remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) highlighted her bill that would move some federal agencies outside of Washington and closer to the folks who know the needs of their states, farms, and businesses best.

Ernst stated, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our federal workers have successfully done their jobs remotely, showing us that they don’t necessarily need to be in Washington to do their jobs. I think this bolsters my argument that we can and should move more jobs out of Washington…”

Background:

Ernst’s bill – the Strategic Withdrawal of Agencies for Meaningful Placement (SWAMP) Act – would distribute future agency headquarters over geographically diverse areas of the nation to help ensure agencies focus on the stakeholders most impacted by their decisions while also bringing stable jobs to new parts of the country.

Currently, the headquarters of nearly all executive branch agencies are clustered in and around Washington, D.C., concentrating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region. The SWAMP Act creates a competitive bidding process that allows states, cities, and towns across the country to compete to be an agency’s new home.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Ernst Urges Administration to Ban Taxpayer Money for Cities, States Allowing Anarchy

The bicameral letter to OMB, led by Ernst, follows growing

support for the senator’s Ending Taxpayer Funding of Anarchy Act

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is urging the administration to ensure taxpayer dollars are not used to promote anarchy. In a letter, Ernst and her colleagues call on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russ Vought to use his authority to prevent federal funding for anarchist jurisdictions and to report the amount of taxpayer dollars used to enable autonomous zones.

Ernst and her colleagues write“The federal government must ensure judicious and lawful use of taxpayer funds. With this responsibility in mind, we ask you to investigate and report the amount of taxpayer dollars local officials used to, encourage, sustain, bolster, supply or repair the damage in these anarchist ‘autonomous zones.’… The most fundamental duty of these cities is to provide security for law-abiding citizens. Instead, we have seen businesses destroyed and lives senselessly taken. Thank you for your time, and we look forward to your leadership in ensuring transparency for tax-payer dollars used to enable anarchy.”

The bicameral letter is led by Ernst and cosigned by 29 of her colleagues, including members of the House of Representatives.

In addition to this, support continues to grow for Senator Ernst‘s Ending Taxpayer Funding of Anarchy Act which would restrict federal funding for “anarchist jurisdictions,” or jurisdictions that abdicate their constitutional duty to their citizens to uphold the rule of law and provide police, fire, or emergency medical services due to non-governmental actors. The bill would restrict federal funding to these anarchist jurisdictions until they do their duty and ensure the rule of law prevails.

Since introducing the bill, Ernst has been joined in the effort by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and David Perdue (R-GA). Representative Dan Bishop (NC-9) has similar legislation in the House. For text of Ernst’s bill, click here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Ernst Introduces New Bill to Reward COVID-19 Front Line Workers

The bill includes a payroll and income tax holiday and has the support of 27 industry groups

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today introduced her new bill to allow essential workers on the front lines of COVID-19 to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.

“Our essential workers have risen to the challenge and continued in their daily jobs – to care for and protect Iowans, to produce and deliver food and essential goods, and to uphold our nation’s critical infrastructure throughout this pandemic,” said Senator Ernst. “These front line workers—our nurses, truck drivers, and grocery store workers, child care providers, and so many others—have kept life going and our supply chains intact. These men and women are putting the interests of their fellow Americans ahead of their own. Each and every morning they wake up and go to work, and they should be rewarded for their selfless service.”

Under Ernst’s FRNT LINE Act, federal income taxes would be suspended for essential workers up to an annual income cap set at the highest level of pay for an enlisted person in the U.S. Armed Forces. Additionally, the bill would provide suspension of federal payroll taxes for essential workers who earn up to $50,000 annually.

A number of industry groups—including the National Restaurant Association, the Food Industry Association, the International Dairy Foods Association, and 24 other– wrote a letter in support of Ernst’s FRNT LINE Act. You can read that here.

“The FRNT LINE Act provides important tax benefits to essential food and agriculture workers, including restaurant workers. We’re proud to support this bill which helps ensure we can continue feeding our communities and supporting our supply chain partners, ” said Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, National Restaurant Association.

“The grocery industry and the food supply chain that supports it have worked tirelessly to keep food available to American customers during the COVID-19 pandemic in spite of tremendous challenges. The FRNT LINE Act appropriately recognizes these efforts and gives our frontline associates well-deserved tax relief for their commitment to ensuring that grocery stores are open and stocked continuously during this national emergency.  FMI greatly appreciates Senator Ernst’s leadership on this important legislation,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, The Food Industry Association.

“As the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) poll conducted by Morning Consult finds, a vast majority of U.S. voters across all political spectrums strongly support providing temporary tax relief to our essential workers in food, agriculture, grocery stores and other important parts of the food supply chain,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of IDFA. “We are grateful to Senator Ernst of Iowa for introducing legislation to do just that—honor the men and women performing essential services that keep us fed and protected every day throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We urge all members of Congress to support Senator Ernst’s bill and a similar House bill (H.R. 6841), which would provide targeted relief to workers on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis.”

“Our employees have done an outstanding job providing an essential service through this pandemic,” said Fareway President and CEO Reynolds W. Cramer. “In addition to our efforts internally over the past few months, we appreciate Senator Ernst’s efforts to recognize them for their unwavering commitment through this unparalleled time.”

For a one-pager on Ernst’s FRNT LINE Act, click here.

For bill text of the FRNT LINE Act, click here.

In April, Ernst wrote an op-ed on FoxNews.com about her proposal to reward essential workers. Read that here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Ernst: Expanded Telehealth Services Need to Continue Beyond Pandemic

The Iowa senator and her colleagues are urging HHS and CMS to provide

a plan on permanent changes to Medicare telehealth rules

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is continuing her efforts to expand access to health care for Iowans, particularly in the state’s rural areas. In a bipartisan letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Ernst called on the agencies to provide Congress with a written plan and timeline about any potential changes to Medicare rules governing telehealth.

Through the CARES Act, Congress provided HHS with the authority to waive telehealth requirements for the length of the COVID-19 public health crisis. This has allowed patients in Iowa and across the county to continue receiving medical care without exposing themselves or their providers to the coronavirus. Additionally, telehealth has provided a source of financial stability as providers had to delay non-emergency procedures.

However, patients have expressed concern over the temporary nature of changes to telehealth rules and fear a sudden rollback of the rules without advance notice. Senator Ernst and her colleagues urged HHS and CMS to provide transparency and clarity for their plans on the future of telehealth.

“We appreciate your recognition that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more patients and providers see the value of telehealth. We believe telehealth is an important tool that enhances patient care and can provide efficiency in health care delivery,” Senator Ernst and her colleagues wrote. “While telehealth may not be able to replace all in-person care, we believe it should continue to be an option to meet individual care needs.”

Background:

In Iowa, the CARES Act extended funds for laptops and tablets to rural healthcare providers, allowing doctors to deliver telehealth services to patients across the state. Through the coronavirus relief package, the Iowa Department of Public Health received $2 million to expand programs for those struggling with substance abuse and mental illness – and to expand telemedicine statewide.

Ernst has hosted a dozen telephone town halls to hear directly from Iowans on the impacts of the pandemic and to ensure they have access to critical services – including telehealth. The senator has also held question and answer sessions with employees from across Iowa’s economy, including health care workers, small business owners, broadband providers, local mayors and city leaders, and many more.

Ernst continues to work across the aisle to ensure Iowans receive the care they need during the ongoing pandemic. Earlier this year, Ernst urged the Trump administration to remove regulatory barriers that prevented Iowa’s doctors on H-1B and J-1 visas from providing care via telemedicine.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Ernst Exposes Special Tax Loophole for Communist China

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, Ernst calls for disclosing the true cost of the debt we owe to China, including interest paid and revenues lost due to the tax loophole

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is calling out China for taking advantage of a tax loophole that could be costing American taxpayers billions while not living up to its end of our trade agreements. She’s also urging the U.S. Treasury Department to calculate and disclose to taxpayers the true price of the United States’ debt to China and other nations, including the cost of the interest we pay and the revenues lost due to the tax loophole.

If China’s government-owned industries were treated the same as an American citizen or small business, China would be required to pay taxes on the interest earned on U.S. debt. Due to a decades-old trade deal, however, China is not required to pay this tax.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, Ernst writes: “The shutdown of much of our nation’s economy was necessitated by China’s cover-up of the initial outbreak [of COVID-19] and lack of actions to contain its spread. These deliberate actions have cost the lives of more than 120,000 Americans. It has also caused economic damage, some of which is irreparable, such as the loss of family-owned businesses and the addition of trillions of dollars of debt.” 

The Iowa senator continues: “The Department of Treasury maintains a monthly accounting of major foreign holders of U.S. debt that serves as a great reminder of the more than $1 trillion we are in debt to the Chinese. What is not as transparent is how much China profits from our red ink, both in terms of dividends paid on the interest off of Treasury bonds and a special loophole that exempts those profits from taxation.  If its government-owned industries were treated the same as a U.S. citizen or small business, China would be required to pay taxes on the interest earned on the Treasury bonds that our government sells as a way to borrow money.  Due to a decades-old trade deal, however, China pays no tax on U.S. Treasuries, which allows it to make off with billions of dollars that would otherwise be owed to the U.S.”

Friday, June 26, 2020

Ernst Blocks EPA Deputy Administrator Nominee

Without Ernst’s vote, the EPA nominee does not have a path forward in the Senate EPW Committee  

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee—which provides oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – has announced her opposition to the nominee to be the Deputy Administrator at EPA, Doug Benevento. Without Ernst’s vote, Benevento will not be brought before the committee and therefore a path forward on his nomination no longer exists.

“Until EPA tells us exactly what they plan to do with the ‘gap year’ waivers, Mr. Benevento does not have my vote,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Iowa’s hardworking ethanol and biodiesel producers are sick of being yanked around by Andrew Wheeler and the EPA. Our producers need certainty; until we get that, no EPA nominee is getting my vote.”

Background: This is not the first time Ernst has held up an EPA nominee. The Iowa senator held up the nominee to lead EPA’s air office until the former administrator, Scott Pruitt, committed in writing that he would not seek to reduce the biofuel requirements.

Ernst also helped take down former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt saying in part: “He is about as swampy as you get here in Washington, D.C., and if the president wants to drain the swamp, he needs to take a look at his own cabinet…Mr. Pruitt is breaking our president’s promises to farmers…Maybe at some point Trump will say it’s time for you to go.”

Thursday, June 25, 2020

NEW: Ernst bill bans funding for cities, states that allow anarchy in the streets

The Iowa senator is putting forward a new bill to restrict federal funding from going to states and localities that purposefully obstruct the rule of law in their cities.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is putting forward a new bill that will restrict taxpayer funding from going to cities that allow anarchist jurisdictions – like CHAZ – to continue.

“Anarchy cannot continue on our streets. If city officials or state leaders fail to do their job and protect their citizens, the federal government – American taxpayers – aren’t going to pay for it,” said Senator Ernst. “Local officials are letting chaos continue in their streets, and in some cases, preventing law enforcement from protecting the public. That’s not the America I know or fought for. This bill is straight forward and holds local leaders accountable to the people.”

Background: Ernst’s Ending Taxpayer Funding of Anarchy Act would restrict federal funding for “anarchist jurisdictions,” or jurisdictions that abdicate their constitutional duty to their citizens to uphold the rule of law and provide police, fire, or emergency medical services due to non-governmental actors.  The bill would restrict federal funding to these anarchist jurisdictions until they do their duty and ensure the rule of law prevails.

 For text of the bill, click here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Ernst: To allow the Chinese Communist Party to go unpunished would be a travesty and it would result in a continued cycle of lying

At a Judiciary Hearing, Ernst blasts the Chinese Communist Party for their role in the outbreak of COVID-19.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), one of the first female Republican senators to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned legal experts about China’s role in the outbreak of COVID-19.

Click here or on the image above to watch Ernst’s full remarks and questioning

 Ernst blasted the Chinese Communist Party for their lying and obstruction of information surrounding the coronavirus, saying: “China has no respect for the law. They will do anything they can to get a leg up…and whether that is stealing sensitive military secrets or letting people die to avoid taking responsibility for the spread of COVID-19. So, what I want to see, and I believe what the majority of Iowans want to see too, is for China to pay for this deadly obstruction. To allow the Chinese Communist Party to go unpunished would be a travesty and it would result in this cycle of lying to go on.

Ernst went on to discuss her bill to incentivize pharmaceutical and medical device and supply manufacturers to relocate to the United States. The Iowa senator questioned Attorney General Lynn Fitch of Mississippi about Chinese retaliation for lawsuits regarding COVID-19.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Ernst Calls on Members of Congress to be Transparent about PPP Loans

Following her call for members of Congress to disclose if they received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is introducing a bill to require just that.

“It’s really simple: if you’re a member of Congress and you or a family member benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program, Americans – your constituents – should know. This bill provides greater transparency, which ensures accountability,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “The PPP has saved countless businesses and the jobs of millions of Americans, but those in Congress who are voting on it—or any issue—where a potential conflict of interest may exist need to be upfront about it.  The only reason to oppose this bill is if you have something to hide.”

“Congress has authorized more than $650 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) since March. While PPP has certainly helped many small businesses around the country, taxpayers supporting this program have a right to know where such an extraordinary amount of money is going – especially if the Members of Congress who voted for the program are benefiting from it. The TRACE Act would ensure that the people who represent Americans in Congress are required to disclose any benefits from PPP. National Taxpayers Union applauds Senator Ernst for introducing this good-government measure, and we urge Congress to pass it as standalone legislation or as part of the next major COVID-19 legislative package,” said Andrew Lautz, Policy and Government Affairs Manager, National Taxpayers Union.

“Taxpayers must be able to follow the money. If members of Congress vote for subsidies or other aid that they benefit from in their private capacity, then every dime must be disclosed in as real-time as possible. This helps preserve the institutional integrity of Congress,” said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO & Founder of OpenTheBooks.com.

Ernst’s efforts follow a report that at least four members of the House of Representatives either received a PPP loan or had a spouse who received one. Ernst’s Transparency Requirements Aimed at Congressional Expenditures Act (TRACE Act) would require members of Congress, spouses of members of Congress, and employees of Congress to submit a financial disclosure form within 15 days of receiving a loan through the PPP. This information would be made publicly available.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Ernst Improves Military Technologies, Fights to Strengthen Supply Chain in Annual Defense Bill

The Iowa combat veteran secured a number of provisions in the NDAA, including one to decrease US dependency on the Communist Party of China for defense materials and components

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a combat veteran and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, secured key victories for Special Operations Forces and technologies in the annual defense bill—the National Defense Authorization Act—which passed the Armed Services Committee last week.

“As a former logistics battalion commander in the Iowa Army National Guard, I fully understand the need for our technologies, equipment, and capabilities to be modern day and top notch, and for our supply chain to always remain secure – not dependent on China,” said Chairman Senator Ernst. “These measures, and the defense bill as a whole, will help ensure our troops are ready for the threats we face now and well into the future.”

Senator Ernst successfully secured a number of provisions in the committee-passed NDAA that promote technologies and will:

  • Improve the U.S. supply chain for rare earth metals and battery components so we don’t rely on China
  • Deploy counter-drone weapons to stop unmanned attacks on troops
  • Field Artificial Intelligence technology and capabilities for Special Operations Forces
  • Purchase better guns and more ammunition for Army soldiers and Marines
  • Invest in the latest technology for heads-up displays and wearable tech for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines
  • Encourage competition for our Army pilots to have the best radio in each aircraft

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Ernst: Annual Defense Bill Directly Benefits Iowa

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a combat veteran who served for 23 years in the Iowa Army National Guard and Army Reserves, successfully included provisions that will directly benefit Iowa and its economy in the National Defense Authorization Act that passed out of the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.

 “From funding for COVID-19 vaccine research through Iowa State to increased manufacturing at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, the Rock Island Arsenal, and through a new DOD partnership with the University of Northern Iowa, this defense bill includes a number of key initiatives for Iowa’s economy and our state’s role in helping secure our national defense,” said Senator Ernst, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.

 Senator Ernst’s wins for Iowa include her work to:

  • Fund COVID-19 vaccine research through Iowa State University.
  • Fund the Metals Affordability Initiative at Iowa State University to help reduce costs of hypersonics, additive manufacturing, and engine repair.
  • Increase manufacturing of ammunition, mortars, and artillery at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, which employs nearly 1,000 Iowans.
  • Support the Department of Defense (DOD) partnership with the University of Northern Iowa to increase the number of small- to midsize employers that can perform additive manufacturing, automation, and robotics metal-casting technologies.
  • Direct the Pentagon to purchase and deploy 105mm and 155mm lightweight, self-propelled artillery systems for the Army, which are manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal.
  • Recognize the success of the U.S. Navy led Tactical Combat Training System – II, built by Iowans at the Collins Aerospace plant in Cedar Rapids

Monday, June 15, 2020

Ernst: Taxpayers Win in the ‘War on Waste’ in Annual Defense Bill
The Iowa senator secured a number of key measures that hold the Pentagon accountable, increase transparency, and help rid the department of duplication

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), known as the Senate’s leading foe of wasteful government spending, won important victories in her ‘War on Waste’ in the Fiscal Year ‘21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could potentially save taxpayers billions of dollars.

 “I’m glad to report that Iowa taxpayers, and folks across the country, won a battle in the ‘War on Waste’ in this year’s defense bill. Through my efforts, we’ve made spending more transparent, curbed needless duplication, and we’re holding accountable, not rewarding, bad behavior and questionable actions by the Pentagon,” said Senator Ernst. 

 “Taxpayers have a right to know how much money the Defense Department wastes on boondoggles like hooking animals on cocaine and putting pigs on treadmills. We applaud combat veteran Senator Joni Ernst for championing this important transparency measure to require price tags on often-wasteful Pentagon spending so taxpayers can hold government accountable. Now, the Senate must pass Senator Ernst’s common sense COST Act—which is supported by a supermajority of Americans—to ensure all federal agencies and their grantees publicly disclose how they spend taxpayers’ hard-earned money,” said Anthony Bellotti, president and founder of taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project.

 “Senator Ernst’s transparency provision is a welcome reform that gives taxpayers the information they need to help keep government accountable and limited to purpose. Too often, federal spending, including funding that goes through the Department of Defense, does little to enhance our national and economic security. Setting priorities is especially critical now as our nation struggles to recover from the effects of COVID-19. We need a more efficient and transparent government to help us grow at home and compete abroad. This is an important and timely victory for America’s taxpayers, families, farmers and small businesses,” said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of OpentheBooks.com.

 Transparency:

Through Ernst’s COST Act—which was included in this year’s NDAA– grant recipients who get money from the Pentagon will now be required to include a price tag disclosing the cost to taxpayers for their military research. Ernst has highlighted a number of questionable projects supported by DOD funding, including Navy research analyzing puppy personalities to determine why canines are so doggone friendly and an Air Force report on how to develop psychic teleportation to use mind powers to travel through parallel universes and to alien planets.

 Senator Ernst also won on an amendment to get the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the most expensive cost overruns in weapon systems and forces to Pentagon to disclose to Congress their top 10 most expensive weapons to fix and maintain.

 Duplication:

Under Senator Ernst’s leadership as the chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee, the FY21 NDAA cut $300 million in research and development programs that were wasteful, duplicative, or not a priority. This funding was redirected towards urgent research needs, such as getting a deployable vaccine for our troops and for funding Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) programs.

 Senator Ernst also successfully passed an amendment to require the most senior science and technology leaders to meet to discuss their research to ensure that it is coordinated and the Pentagon doesn’t continue to try to fund the same research more than once.

 Accountability:

Another Ernst win, the GAO – Congress’ watchdog for waste – will investigate if the billions of dollars in bonuses paid to defense contractors, for projects that are over budget or behind schedule, are warranted.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Iowa Leaders Call for Support for State’s Turkey Producers

In a letter to USDA, Senators Ernst and Grassley, along with Governor Reynolds and Ag Secretary Naig, are urging the department to provide federal assistance to farmer-owned cooperatives and independent turkey growers.

U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, along with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, are calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide assistance, through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), to turkey producers across the state.

In a letter to USDA Secretary Perdue, the Iowa leaders write: Plant closures and reduced flocks remain a growing threat to our turkey growers, and food supply chain. Our independent turkey growers stand to lose disproportionately compared to other corporate-owned growers due to increased exposure…There are numerous farmer-owned cooperatives and independent growers who are being left out of assistance in CFAP and we ask that USDA recognize the unique business structure of many turkey operations and help find a solution in order for these producers to receive federal assistance.”

Ernst, Grassley, Reynolds, and Naig also say: “We would ask economists at USDA to work to devise a methodology and formula that allows this niche sector of the nation’s poultry industry to have the same opportunities provided to others in the pork, cattle, and sheep industry. We are convinced a verifiable formula structure can be developed. USDA already has demonstrated an ability to calculate the value of turkeys when indemnifying for animal disease losses and making Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) payments. Those formulas almost certainly could serve as a basis for calculating lost value.”

To read the full letter, click here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2020

With New Bill, Ernst Continues Work to Decrease US Dependency on China
The Iowa senator is introducing a bill to incentivize pharmaceutical, medical device, and supply manufacturers to relocate to the United States

U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are introducing the Bring Entrepreneurial Advancements to Consumers Here In North America (BEAT CHINA) Act to incentivize pharmaceutical and medical device and supply manufacturers to relocate to the United States.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been what I call a ‘great awakening’ when it comes to the vulnerabilities in our supply chain. It’s clear now, maybe more than ever, that our nation has become all too dependent on the Communist Party of China for items like PPE, prescription drugs, and other essential medical supplies. We need to fix that,” said Senator Ernst. “While China is our trade partner, there’s no doubt we can find ways to produce and manufacture goods and supplies right here in the US, and this bill is good step toward that end.”

“For too long, our manufacturing has moved overseas, taking American jobs, jeopardizing our supply chains and forcing us to depend on competitors,” said Senator Loeffler. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how dangerous it is to rely on other countries, including China, for critical, life-saving products like drugs, medical devices and supplies like gowns, masks and swabs. It is time we incentivize companies to bring those factories, and jobs, back to the United States.”

“Mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party have threatened to cut off U.S. access to life-saving pharmaceutical products,” said Senator Cruz. “Because so much of our medical supply and manufacturing has been outsourced to China, this is a credible threat that if they were to follow through on, would be not just economic warfare but real warfare, endangering American lives. I’ve called for structural, and bold initiatives to address our dependencies on China, and am proud to join my colleagues on this important measure to bring medical manufacturing and development back to our shores.”

Bill text is available here.

Background:

  • This bill would amend the tax code to provide incentives to companies to relocate the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and supplies to the United States.
  • Medical supply and pharmaceutical companies that move from a foreign country to the U.S. can have non-residential real property purchases considered to be 20-year property instead of 39 years, a change which will allow companies to be eligible for “bonus depreciation” and the purchase of the property to be fully deducted in the first year.
  • Qualifying companies will also be able to exclude from gross income any gain earned on the disposition of assets in the country the company is moving from. This will prevent companies from taking unnecessary hits from taxes if they choose to move to the U.S.
  • In order for companies to qualify for these tax incentives and to ensure the domestic production of materials, companies must adhere to at least the same production levels in the U.S. as levels of the country they move from.

 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Ernst Joins Bipartisan Bill to Support Iowa Biofuel Producers

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a relentless advocate for Iowa’s biofuel community and member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), is joining her fellow Iowan Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on bipartisan legislation to support biofuel producers negatively affected by the pandemic.

“Iowa leads the nation in biofuel production. With folks traveling less and ethanol plants shuttering across the heartland, this pandemic has certainly taken a toll on our renewable fuel producers. Just like other farmers and members of our ag community, Iowa’s hardworking biofuel producers need relief. This bipartisan effort will help support this vital part of our state’s economy and provide assistance to our farmers, workers, and producers,” said Senator Ernst.

“The biofuels industry works directly with our farmers. And the current disruptions from the pandemic have created ripple effects, including steep declines in corn and soybean prices. We need to continue to support those farmers who feed and fuel our country and the world. This bill will help ensure biofuel producers survive this economic downturn and also ensure corn and soybean farmers have a place to sell their products,” said Senator Grassley.

“At a time when many farmers and rural communities are feeling disproportionate impacts from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important we work to keep our renewable fuel industry strong,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Renewable fuel processing plants employ thousands of people in rural areas, purchase billions of bushels of commodities from farmers, and provide stability in our agricultural supply chain. This legislation will ensure farmers and workers receive our support during these tough times.”

As social distancing guidelines were put into place due to COVID-19, gasoline use in the United States plummeted to 50-year lows around the country. This rapid decrease in consumption has led more than 130 biofuel plants to partially or fully shut down. Forty percent of Iowa ethanol production remains offline today. Ernst’s, Grassley’s, and Klobuchar’s bipartisan bill would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reimburse biofuel producers for their feedstock purchases from January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

Background:

Throughout COVID-19, Ernst continues to be a voice for Iowa’s biofuel producers. In April, Ernst called for USDA to provide additional funds to the biofuel industry through the CCC, which is exactly what this bill would do.

Ernst led a bipartisan effort in urging the Trump Administration to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and reject requests for the RFS to be waived. During a Senate EPW hearing last week, Ernst pressed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler on his awareness of the impact COVID-19 has had on ethanol producers, how he intends to handle the request for an RFS waiver, and his commitment to expand biofuel infrastructure by fixing ongoing labeling issues for higher blends of ethanol.

Ernst also joined Senator Grassley in urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clarify its temporary policy for the manufacture of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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