Twenty-Four Hours Short

Senator Ernst:

Tell the President to honor the men and women who are helping all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic

Cancel the June 24th “hard stop” of deployments

                            (see the full statement below)
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Here’s the statement:

As Americans pause to remember our fallen service members this Memorial Day weekend, the Trump administration is working to end National Guard deployments just 24 hours shy of service members becoming eligible for key federal benefits.

The Trump administration was planning to have this unconscionable act fly under the radar.  They have no problem using our tax dollars to provide huge tax breaks to their wealthy friends and donors. Or bailing out big corporations. But for our members of the Iowa National Guard, who are just as essential as our frontline workers and first responders, key benefits are just another crucial item on Trump’s chopping block during this crisis. While others get to have a day off and enjoy the weekend, our service men and women will still be working to keep us safe even as they become yet another group to be dealt a blow by Trump’s economic policies.

Veterans are disproportionately impacted by the effects of coronavirus, and veterans are facing rising case numbers in veteran and nursing homes. Trump’s botched response and our elected officials’ failure to fight for all of our Iowans does not help. This Memorial Day, we see Trump vowing to block aid to essential workers and prioritize yet another bailout for the wealthy. As a veteran herself, Joni Ernst must fight for Iowa’s essential workers in uniform, instead of denying Iowans key benefits during this crisis.

Already, due to the CARES Act, an estimated 43,000 millionaires will receive an average tax cut of more than $1.6 million thanks to changes in the coronavirus stimulus bill. The changes allow all businesses with net losses in 2018, 2019 or 2020 to seek refunds on previously paid income taxes, among other similar reforms. While the changes will provide some relief to smaller businesses, most of the benefits will flow to wealthy business owners and partners, at great expense to the federal government. 

By adding provisions into the CARES Act that benefit the richest Americans, while small business owners and everyday Americans continue to struggle in the face of this pandemic, Trump and his allies make their priorities clear. And now, the Trump Administration is planning to end National Guard deployments with one day to spare in order to keep from giving them the benefits they deserve.

Hundreds of Iowa National Guard soldiers have been called to active duty to help in the Iowa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, joining over 50,000 National Guard members currently deployed. Now, Senator Ernst must look out for us and demand that the president cancel the planned  “hard stop” on deployments on June 24. Writing a letter to the President asking for an extension is a nice gesture, but during this time of crisis our soldiers need more than half measures. They need a voice in Congress and as a veteran, Joni Ernst needs to use hers.

Here’s a little bit of what our service members will be denied

  • Qualifying for early retirement: for every 90 days served in a federal emergency, Guard members are able to speed up retirement by 3 months.
  • Education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill that helps pay for tuition, fees, housing and supplies.

And here’s how it will affect all of us: Terminating federal deployments early in the summer just as states are reopening could contribute to a possible second wave of infection. When you factor in the required two week quarantine before returning to civilian life, these front-line soldiers would need to stop their work in early June, long before we can afford to lose their help.

As Senator Ernst said, “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.”

Where is Senator Ernst when all of our essential workers need support? She needs to remember what it means to answer the call and use her influence to honor the men and women who are helping all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stand up for the economic interests of all Iowans, not Trump’s wealthy friends by extending deployment for our frontline workers.