Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) urged the federal government on Friday to tap into the unused Presidential Election Campaign Fund to provide healthcare equipment to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Ernst called for the federal government to tap into the resource, which has more than $357 million in unused funds sitting idle, to be used to purchase masks and other protective equipment for healthcare providers, first responders, and others to protect against the coronavirus.
The Iowa conservative’s proposal would redirect from the presidential campaign fund to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Strategic National Stockpile, which stores and distributes supplies for emergency situations.
Ernst, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, said in a statement on Friday:
As I’ve said, it’s going to take an all hands on deck approach to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve heard directly from Iowa state officials and our health care providers about the need for additional masks and personal protective equipment. Right now, there’s more than $350 million in unused cash sitting around in the obsolete and outdated presidential election campaign fund. This is simple. We should immediately move that money to where it’s critically needed: let’s put it toward more masks and personal protective equipment for the health care workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic.
Ernst’s announcement came as she spoke to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, and other health providers, about the shortage of specialized masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Ernst’s proposal would also eliminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, which she has called to do in her Eliminating Leftover Expenses for Campaigns from Taxpayers (ELECT) Act of 2020.
“I’ve heard directly from Iowa officials & health care providers: we need masks & personal protective equipment now. We don’t need the presidential election campaign fund. My bill redirects money to where it’s critically needed,” Ernst wrote on Friday.
I’ve heard directly from Iowa officials & health care providers: we need masks & personal protective equipment now.
We don’t need the presidential election campaign fund.
My bill redirects money to where it’s critically needed.https://t.co/xO7tjXFPO8
— Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) March 20, 2020
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.