Congresswoman Finkenauer Announces Priorities for Next COVID-19 Relief Package

WASHINGTON, DC – With Congress beginning work on the next phase of coronavirus relief and recovery, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) today released her priorities for the next aid package.

Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer

The priorities fall into four categories — Expanding Assistance for Hardworking Families; Standing by our Health Care Providers and Essential Workers; Looking out for Iowa Communities; and Protecting the Future of Iowa. These priorities focus on ensuring Iowans are equipped to respond to the pandemic and persevere through its economic fallout.

“I’ve heard from Iowans across the First District about what they’re seeing in their communities and what they need to get back on their feet. These priorities encompass that feedback, and I’ll fight for every one of them in our next relief package,” Finkenauer said. “I’m committed to doing everything necessary to end this pandemic and reopen our economy as safely and quickly as possible.” 

The four categories and priorities included in the plan are: 

Expanding Assistance for Hardworking Families The next package should include additional direct payments for Iowans, easier access to health care coverage, extending critical unemployment benefits, expanded aid for students and updates to CARES Act programs that aren’t operating as intended.

Standing by our Health Care Providers and Essential Workers Finkenauer is calling for hazard pay and stricter safety protections for medical professionals and essential workers and seeking additional aid and flexibility for rural hospitals and health providers to keep their doors open during this critical time. She also supports adequate funding and support for the Postal Service, as its services are more critical than ever.

Looking out for Iowa Communities Coronavirus relief should include direct assistance for farmers, agricultural and biofuels producers, Main Street businesses and local governments, just as we’ve provided such support for individuals and families.

Protecting the Future of Iowa – Finkenauer wants to make sure that any investment in infrastructure should support American jobs through strong labor and domestic content requirements. Expanded broadband deployment is also a long-standing need in rural America, and would support telehealth efforts, virtual classrooms and small-businesses connectivity to ease the strain of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full priority list here

Finkenauer voted in favor of all four previous emergency relief packages, and has issued more than a dozen oversight letters to federal agencies to ensure aid programs and funds are being administered as intended. While working from home, the Congresswoman has held numerous telephone town halls and roundtable discussions with constituents and community leaders across the district to gather feedback and provide resources amid the pandemic.

Congresswoman Finkenauer will continue working to ensure Iowans have the critical information and resources they need. For more information, please visitfinkenauer.house.gov/coronavirus  

Congresswoman Finkenauer’s Ongoing Response Efforts:

On April 23, Finkenauer voted to help pass additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, hospitals and healthcare providers, and increased funding for COVID-19 testing.

On April 21, Finkenauer helped introduce the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act to increase safety standards for essential workers and at-risk employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill was introduced amid concerns over rising COVID-19 infections and reports of inadequate protections for employees at some Iowa meat processing plants.

On April 20, Finkenauer sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons urging the FTC to delay no further in investigating ongoing concerns about out-of-state investors and corporations buying mobile and manufactured home communities in Iowa and taking advantage of their residents with unfair business practices. This issue has been a top concern in Iowa for months, and become more pressing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 17, Finkenauer sent letters to three federal agencies asking for enforceable safety standards, COVID-19 testing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees at meat processing plants in Iowa. Finkenauer sent oversight letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Labor (DOL), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to highlight the urgency of the situation facing hard-working Iowans at these plants, and request immediate assistance.

On April 15, Finkenauer helped lead more than 40 Representatives and Senators in writing a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli expressing concern that regulations for visa programs are standing in the way of the strongest possible medical response to COVID-19.

On April 13, Finkenauer led a bipartisan letter addressed to Jovita Carranza, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Association, expressing concern that there is no longer a full-time Director for the Office of Rural Affairs and urging the SBA to provide the Office of Rural Affairs with the necessary staff and resources to ensure that rural small businesses are able to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 9, Finkenauer held telephone-town hall to discuss mental health impacts and resources around coronavirus.

On April 9, Finkenauer sent a letter to HHS Secretary Azar asking for information about how the $100 billion in the CARES Act for hospitals and health care providers will distributed, including information on Iowa’s share of the funding.

On April 2, Finkenuer sent letters to 11 federal agencies seeking updates on aid programs authorized by recent legislation to address the COVID-19 crisis.

On March 27, Finkenauer sent a letter to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds urging her to issue a statewide ‘stay-at-home’ order.

On March 27, Finkenauer voted for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) an emergency aid package to help hospitals, frontline workers, and working families across Iowa and the country.

On March 26, held a telephone town hall for constituents in the First Congressional District. Business and workforce leaders from around the district answered questions about personal financial impacts of coronavirus response. 

On March 25, Finkenauer released her priorities she pushed to have included in the third coronavirus response supplemental – Preparing Iowa Communities & Protecting our Families.

On March 19, Finkenauer held a telephone town hall for constituents in the First Congressional District. Health officials from Black Hawk and Linn counties participated and answered questions, as well as the liaison for Dubuque City and County Emergency Health Response Team.

Finkenauer also sent a letter to federal health officials on March 19, urging them to ensure Iowa medical professionals have the necessary protective equipment to treat patients.

Finkenauer joined a call for President Trump to use his authority under the Defense Production Act of 1950 to increase production of necessary medical supplies. On March 18, President Trump announced he would use the authority to avoid supply shortages. 

On March 17, Finkenauer reached out to community leaders in Iowa asking for their concerns, priorities and more info on how the outbreak is affected local economies. 

On March 15, Finkenauer sent a letter to Governor Kim Reynolds encouraging the state to create a more centralized location for key information, including consideration of school closures.

Finkenauer voted to pass an emergency package to help Iowa families and health professionals impacted by coronavirus on March 14.

Taking early action, Finkenauer voted to approve a critical coronavirus funding package to help expand testing and research. Finkenauer also sent an oversight letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar seeking specific answers on whether local health agencies and hospitals have the tools they need.

On March 13, Finkenauer helped host a Small Business Committee hearing on Coronavirus and asked a witness about health and safety, and financial security for hard-working Iowans impacted by coronavirus. 

Finkenauer followed up that hearing with an oversight letter asking the Small Business Administration (SBA) about their progress on providing information on small business assistance to Iowans along with what methods they will be doing outreach to Iowa businesses. Later that day, the SBA posted this information webpage. 

Finkenauer also published a coronavirus informational page to help Iowans access important information regarding the global pandemic. The page is available at https://finkenauer.house.gov/coronavirus-information 

Finkenauer’s office has been in contact with area hospitals, business organizations, schools and colleges with respect to the virus to understand any ongoing concerns. Finkenauer has also spoken with Governor Kim Reynolds for an update on Iowa’s response to coronavirus.

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