Sen. Ernst addresses tax reform, DACA

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Sen. Joni Ernst spoke with Iowa reporters last week. Topics of interest included the new Tax Cut and Jobs Act (tax reform law), mental health funding, and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

Tax Reform

     Ernst said since President Donald Trump signed the new tax reform bill into law before the New Year, positive changes have already been seen.

     “This was a monumental moment for our nation, as it will provide on average every income group with tax relief,” she said.

     Ernst said specifically, middle- and low-income Iowans would see lower tax rates out of this. “More of their hard-earned dollars in their pockets.”

     She also spoke of many businesses in Iowa, specifically Ohnward Bancshares, Inc., who have been able to provide bonuses to their employees through this tax reform.

     “In less than 3 weeks since this legislation was signed into law, we’ve already seen the positive effects of tax reform, as businesses across the country are awarding special bonuses and increasing wages for their employees,” Ernst praised. “Additionally, job creators of all sizes will be more competitive and can reinvest in their most important resource, their employees.”

     When asked about the long-term effects, Ernst said it’s hard to tell so soon after the bill was signed into law.

     “It’s hard to describe the long-term benefits because so much is being reinvested not only in those companies, corporations, and small businesses, but it also has that spin-off effect in those communities,” she said. Ernst explained with increased wages, people could go out and spend more money in their communities, invest in their children’s education. “I think it’s so boundless what we will see with the opportunity that exists out there,” she said.

     To the naysayers out there claiming tax reform will only benefit the upper class, Ernst said those claims are inaccurate. “We are really focused on those middle- and lower-income wage earners. Most of those people will see great benefits coming back to them.”

     She shared that an average Iowa family of four that makes $73,000 could see approximately $2,000 coming back. “This is money they’ve earned. They will take that and use it as best necessary for their own families.”


     Ernst’s advice to DACA (Dreamers) in Iowa is to “stay put.

     “You are really important to our communities and our future,” she said. “You are valuable to our communities.”

     Having met and spoken with DACA individuals in Iowa, Ernst said they are impressive people. “We’re educating them. They’re part of our communities. We want them to stay engaged in our communities.”

     She said she would like to find a fix for those DACA recipients so they can remain in the U.S.

     “This has been a large part of the conversations ongoing here in Washington,” shared Ernst. “I’m so glad the President has put the emphasis on this that he has because we have the opportunity now to move them out of this temporary status and find a permanent fix.”

Mental Health

     Ernst was pleased to see the Senate unanimously pass her bi-partisan bill titled “Veterans E-Health & Telemedicine Support (VETS) Act,” which improves access to mental health services for veterans and service members.

     “This bill seeks to improve healthcare access, including mental health treatment, for disabled or rural veterans by expanding the telehealth services provided by the VA,” she explained.

     Ernst said veterans living in rural communities have a hard time getting the care they need due to the commute to veteran facilities.

     “Telehealth offers another way in which we can provide veterans the care they need, including critical and potentially life-saving mental health care. The VETS Act will ensure that veterans can receive the timely and quality care they deserve from the comfort of their own homes.”

     Ernst is hopeful Congress will pass the bill for the President to sign into law.


Subscriber Login