Fact Checker

Fact Checker: Did Greenfield oppose every coronavirus relief bill?

Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst speaks with reporters May 19 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick
Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst speaks with reporters May 19 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

As the national debate around the right amount of coronavirus relief continues, that issue also emerged in the Oct. 3 U.S. Senate debate between incumbent Republican Joni Ernst and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield.

WHO-13 News political director Dave Price asked each candidate about Test Iowa and whether rapid tests would be a better option.

Ernst discussed her support for the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which provided funding for tests, while attacking her opponent’s lack of support for coronavirus relief bills.

Graded a C

“My opponent Theresa Greenfield has opposed every (coronavirus relief) package — both Democrat and Republican — that have come through Congress,” Ernst said.

Analysis

Ernst’s campaign directed Fact Checker to Greenfield’s social media posts, a news article and debate clip showing her opposition to the CARES Act, other Republican-led coronavirus relief and the Democratic HEROES Act, which is short for the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act.

The CARES Act received bipartisan support in Congress, and President Donald Trump signed it March 27.

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House passed the HEROES Act in May for more coronavirus relief, but the U.S. Senate did not vote on it. The House passed an updated version of the law Oct. 2, but the Senate has not acted on the bill yet.

Greenfield does not currently hold elected office, so she did not have the chance to vote for or against these bills. But she has made public statements about them.

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Greenfield criticized the CARES Act, according to a Sept. 20 Omaha World-Herald article, saying she’d rather see a bill with more support for workers, small businesses and state and local governments.

In a campaign ad, she also criticized a part of the bill that would give the U.S. Treasury a $500 billion fund to support corporations without having to disclose which companies received aid for six months.

A Sept. 28 tweet from Greenfield said she supports parts of the CARES Act that provided “a hand up to small businesses and hardworking families,” though.

In an “Iowa Press” Democratic Primary Debate in May, Greenfield said she would have opposed the original HEROES Act because of concerns over transparency of the relief funds.

She also tweeted opposition to a Republican coronavirus relief bill that Ernst supported on Sept. 10, saying it “didn’t include direct payments, enough unemployment benefits, local aid, or dedicated relief for our biofuels industry.”

Greenfield has called for a “robust” bill providing more coronavirus relief, according to a Sept. 23 article in The Gazette. Her “back on our feet” recovery plan posted Sept. 29 through her Medium page also calls for a renewal of the $600 per week unemployment benefits from the CARES Act and an expansion of paid sick leave.

The $600 per week in additional benefits for unemployed Americans was part of the CARES Act but expired at the end of July.

Conclusion

Greenfield indeed had objections to bills in Congress providing coronavirus relief, but she has also supported parts of the CARES Act providing aid for those unemployed and small businesses and advocated for more federal relief. Overall, we give this claim a C.

Criteria

The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate/officeholder or a national candidate/officeholder about Iowa, or in ads that appear in our market.

Claims must be independently verifiable.

We give statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.

If you spot a claim you think needs checking, email us at factchecker@thegazette.com.

This Fact Checker was researched and written by John Steppe of The Gazette.

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