As we head into the New Year, I will always put Iowa first

Guest Column
Joni Ernst
U.S. Senator

     2020 has presented unique challenges for folks all across our state. The global pandemic coupled with a devastating derecho has been tough, but through it all we’ve witnessed the resilient spirit of Iowans.

     As I safely and responsibly traveled Iowa on my sixth annual 99 County Tour – visiting every county in our beautiful state – I continued to listen to your stories, challenges, and successes to take your voices back to Washington.

     COVID-19 was certainly top of mind for so many, and that’s why I prioritized getting relief to families, workers, small businesses, farmers, and folks in all walks of life. I worked swiftly with Democrats and Republicans to secure billions in relief for more than 60,000 of our small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). And in the newest COVID-19 relief package, I again worked across the aisle to bolster the PPP.

     I’ve continued to be a strong advocate for our families; fighting to expand access to childcare services, provide financial relief for family caregivers, crack down on scammers targeting our seniors, and support our nursing homes and senior care facilities. Through the bi-partisan CARES Act, I helped secure nearly $32 million in relief for Iowa childcare centers and pushed for more assistance for Iowa’s diaper banks. In the newest aid package, I worked in a bi-partisan way to make sure our childcare industry continues to have support.

     When it comes to healthcare, I’ve also worked hard with Democrats and Republicans to support Iowa’s hospitals and healthcare systems throughout this pandemic – including expanded telehealth and mental health treatment – to push for lower healthcare and drug costs, and to expand access to care, especially for rural Iowans.

     Having grown up on a farm in rural Iowa, the same community I still live in to this day, I understand the challenges our hardworking farmers face. With the pandemic and devastating derecho, things were that much tougher this year. That’s why I pushed to secure immediate COVID help for our pork producers and strengthen our food supply chain. I successfully helped provide support for Iowa’s dairy, turkey, egg, and cattle producers – and in the newest COVID-19 aid package, deliver more agriculture support.

     In the immediate aftermath of the derecho, I met directly with Iowans and local leaders on the ground to help ensure recovery resources were available, including assistance for farmers and cooperatives impacted by the storm. Most recently, my bi-partisan bill to provide tax relief to communities, families, and businesses hurt by the derecho was signed into law.

     When it comes to trade, I helped finalize the USMCA, supported getting the Phase One trade deal with China done, and pushed for a new deal with the U.K. And, of course, I’ve kept up the fight for our biofuel producers – always pushing to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). I helped get the “gap year” small refinery waivers thrown out, secured a commitment from the president to allow E15 and E10 pumps, and helped push the FDA to allow ethanol to be used for hand sanitizer. And just recently, after pushing Congressional leadership, we successfully made COVID relief accessible to renewable fuel producers.

     Whether it was securing critical COVID relief, working to rebuild from the derecho, fighting tooth and nail to defend the RFS, or continuing to be accessible to Iowans across our state – in 2020 I never stopped fighting relentlessly and delivering for all Iowans.

     As we head into the New Year, I’ll continue to be your voice in Washington and to always put Iowa first


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