U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, spent the day on the phone participating in four different question-and-answer sessions with Iowans and small business owners from across the state. On the calls, the senator answered questions from Iowans about the COVID-19 pandemic federal relief packages she helped deliver over the last few weeks, including the Paycheck Protection Program.
The senator was on the phone answering questions from members of the Cedar Valley Coalition, the Iowa City Business Partnership, the International Franchise Association (IFA), and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI).
“There’s no question these are uncertain and challenging times for Iowa families and our small businesses who make up the backbone of our state’s economy, which is why I’m continuing to listen and answer questions from folks across the state,” said Senator Ernst. “I want to make sure our local businesses and workers understand and utilize the critical resources available to them and that all Iowans know my staff and I are here to help. Yes, these are challenging times, but we will get through this – together.”
Cedar Valley Coalition Administrator Steve Firman said, “On behalf of the members of the Cedar Valley Coalition, we greatly appreciate Senator Ernst for taking the time to answer questions and listen to some of our thoughts regarding ways to ensure our small businesses continue to succeed through these challenging times. We thank her for her leadership and for being a voice for our community and local businesses.”
IFA President and CEO Robert Cresanti said, “Senator Ernst is a consistent champion for Iowa small businesses and their employees. Today, she didn’t just provide an update to Iowa small business owners from across the state, she listened to their concerns and worked to find solutions. In these unsettled times, voices like hers are a tremendous benefit to small business owners in Iowa and across the country.”
ABI President Mike Ralston said, “ABI and our members are thankful for Senator Ernst’s leadership and her strong support of the business community throughout her time in the Senate. As Iowa businesses work through these trying times, we’re grateful for her time to speak with and listen to Iowa’s employers regarding the federal solutions to COVID-19. This is an important call, as ABI member employers will be key in leading the economic recovery in Iowa.”
As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Ernst fought hard to ensure small businesses were a priority in the Phase 3 relief package. Highlighted below are a number of the emergency relief measures Ernst successfully included in the bipartisan Phase 3 package that help support Iowa’s small businesses:
- Protecting workers and small businesses by allowing local banks and credit unions to provide federally-backed loans for small businesses to keep their employees on payroll and to pay bills; loans can be forgiven if they maintain payroll.
- Expanding loan access to child care providers, non-profits, and businesses with less than 500 employees.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.