The National Federation for Independent Business or NFIB hosted an informational webinar with Sen. Joni Ernst. The Senator connected with more than 120 small business owners, giving them the latest information about what’s going on in Washington D.C. and how Congress is helping small business owners during this coronavirus crisis. You can watch the virtual meeting here.
“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 Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee.
From her home in Red Oak, Sen. Ernst told NFIB small business owners she’s doing everything she can to get them more funds. The Senator acknowledged that the Small Business Administration is stretched thin right now and said she’s working with Senate leadership to address the problem and get small business owners more of the funds they desperately need to stay open.
With the House scheduled to go back into session on May 4th, this morning Sen. Ernst told NFIB members that the Senate with likely do the same. That’s because even if Senators were to go back earlier, they can’t get bills passed into law without the House there to vote as well.
However, the Senator assured Iowa small business owners that even though she’s not in D.C., she continues to have conversations with Senate leadership and hold committee meetings from her home in Red Oak. Several members, including Scott Turczynski of Heartland Company, expressed frustration about unemployment insurance and the CARES Act, which gives people on unemployment an extra $600 a week. Turczynski told the Senator that he’s worried his employees will choose to stay at home rather than come back to work because they can actually receive more money on unemployment than he can pay them. Sen. Ernst told Turcynski that she voted for an amendment that would have stopped that from happening, however, it didn’t have enough support. Sen. Ernst added that the Senate needs to correct the issue and promised that should will keep pushing for it.
“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,” said NFIB State Director in Iowa, Matt Everson. “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.”