ELECTION 2020

Theresa Greenfield seeks more pandemic help for Iowans, end of D.C. corruption

Her no-opinion on expanded Supreme Court draws fire from Sen. Joni Ernst campaign

Democrat Theresa Greenfield, who is challenging Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in the Nov. 3 general election, speaks at a p
Democrat Theresa Greenfield, who is challenging Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in the Nov. 3 general election, speaks at a political event last November in Cedar Rapids. During a Wednesday business forum in Des Moines, she said she supports more federal help to Iowans battling the coronavirus and that she hadn’t formed an opinion on increasing the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Democrat Theresa Greenfield said Wednesday she wants more federal help for Iowans battling the COVID-19 pandemic, including direct payments to individuals and businesses, extended jobless benefits for idled workers and aid to biofuel companies and state and local governments facing revenue declines.

Greenfield, who is challenging first-term Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in the Nov. 3 general election, also said she puts taking steps to end political corruption in Washington ahead of calls to alter the Senate’s filibuster rule or to add more members to the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.

During an hourlong forum with a Des Moines business group, Greenfield was asked if she would support a move to expand the nine-person court.

“I don’t know that that’s what we need to be doing by any means,” she said. “ ... I wouldn’t say that I have formed an opinion on that, but that certainly is not a high priority for me, and it’s not something that Iowans are talking about at this point in time.”

After the forum, Greenfield’s spokesman Sam Newton issued a statement saying Greenfield. “instead of adding more justices to the Supreme Court,” believes “the best way to make our democracy more representative for all Iowans is to end political corruption by banning corporate PACS, banning dark money and banning members of Congress from becoming lobbyists.”

The Ernst campaign charged that Greenfield’s statement at the forum is a reversal of her position in May when she opposed an expansion of the Supreme Court.

“In the Senate, you are forced to make yes-or-no decisions, so it’s remarkable that Theresa Greenfield is refusing to give voters a straight answer regarding liberals’ plan to pack the Supreme Court with radical judges,” Ernst spokesman Brendan Conley said. “Greenfield’s caving is proof that, if elected, she’ll stand with liberal special interests bankrolling her campaign, not Iowans.”

Health care, Pandemic

During the forum, Greenfield said she would boost health care options by making major prescription drug reforms.

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She said she supports strengthening and enhancing the Affordable Care Act by building in a public option but does not support Medicare for all. She also opposes privatizing the Social Security system.

“I believe we’re still in crisis,” Greenfield said of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans and almost 1,300 Iowans.

She called for a “robust” federal stimulus package that would include a second round of direct payments to individuals and families, extended jobless benefits, more help for struggling businesses, direct aid to the biofuels industry, money to keep the U.S. Postal Service operating and a major infrastructure package.

“The list is long, but we can’t be shy about investing in one another and investing in our economy,” she told the Greater Des Moines Partnership forum.

“What I’ve learned (on the campaign trail) is above all Iowans want the divisiveness to end. They just want it to end, they want Washington to work like a hometown.” she said. “I’m focused on that.”

If elected, Greenfield said she would work within her party and across the aisle with Republicans to “get things done.”

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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