- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2020

Sen. Joni Ernst is calling for more than $350 million sitting in an unused fund to be deployed to the Department of Health and Human Services to purchase face masks and other personal protective equipment for health care workers and those on the front lines combating COVID-19.

The $357 million being held in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund would go to the department’s Strategic National Stockpile that stores and disburses emergency medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.

“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,” the Iowa Republican said.

“Right now, there’s more than $350 million in unused cash sitting around in the obsolete and outdated presidential election campaign fund.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,” she added.

The money in the fund had historically been set aside for presidential party nominating conventions and has been dispersed in the past for pediatric research by the National Institutes of Health.

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