Joni Ernst's New Measure Would Tweak a Controversial Part of the CARES Act

Posted: May 20, 2020 11:02 AM
Joni Ernst's New Measure Would Tweak a Controversial Part of the CARES Act

Source: Caroline Brehman/Pool Photo via AP

The Democrats told you that the CARES Act would send unemployment assistance to Americans who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis. What they didn't tell you was that millionaires are eligible for that money too. There's no financial limitation on the eligibility for these new benefits. 

"The question of the day is: Isn't that just rich?" Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) asked in a phone call with reporters on Wednesday, no pun intended.

Aware of the CARES Act controversy, the senator has unveiled her Returning Inappropriate Cash Handouts (RICH) Act. The measure will mandate that anyone who lost a job during COVID-19 but is still earning $1 million or more this year would be barred from receiving the $600 weekly unemployment bonus and denied eligibility for the new expanded unemployment coverage provided by the CARES Act. The bill, she noted, could save as much as $2 million every week.

The CARES Act "was supposed to be for folks who lost their only income," Ernst explained. Not for millionaires. 

Something is off when "wealthy coastal elites may be making off with money coming out of the pocket of essential workers across the country," she added.

I asked Sen. Ernst to predict the Democrats' counter argument, considering the RICH Act just seems like common sense.

"It seems like they're trying to hamstring the economy and to admit they made a mistake would be devastating to them," Ernst told Townhall. "I think it's a bad move on their part maybe they thought they could get away with it and bury it deep in the bill."

She was hopeful, however, that she could win an audience with some "common sense Democrats" who would be open to supporting the RICH Act, especially the group of Democrats who voted against Nancy Pelosi's $3 trillion HEROES Act. Among those rebels were two of her fellow Iowans, Sens. Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer.

Sen. Ernst started a new trend in giving a "Washington Squeal" award to worthy participants. The May 2020 award, she revealed, is going to "jobless millionaires looking for handouts from hardworking taxpayers."

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