Four Senate immigration bills fail: How Grassley and Ernst voted

With less that three weeks remaining until the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program expires, the U.S. Senate voted today on four immigration proposals. Three of them contained language to protect “DREAMers,” who were brought to this country without authorization as children. No proposal received the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. The only bill to fall short of 50 votes was Senator Chuck Grassley’s legislation, modeled on President Donald Trump’s demands.

Iowa’s senators have talked a good game about the DREAMers, but today Grassley and Joni Ernst rejected bipartisan plans in order to be rubber stamps for the president and immigration hard-liners.

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Senate rejects 20-week abortion ban despite Iowans' support

A ban on almost all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy failed to advance in the U.S. Senate on January 29, as a motion to proceed with debating the bill gained only 51 votes, short of the 60 required under Senate rules. Three Democrats (Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia) voted for cloture on the misleadingly-named Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, joining most Senate Republicans, including Iowa’s Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst. Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted no, as did most of the Democratic caucus. Two Democrats facing potentially tough re-election campaigns this year–Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Claire McCaskill of Missouri–opposed the bill.

The U.S. House approved the same legislation in October on a mostly party-line vote of 237 to 189. Republicans Rod Blum (IA-01), David Young (IA-03), and Steve King (IA-04) supported the legislation, while pro-choice Democrat Dave Loebsack (IA-02) opposed it.

Nineteen states already ban most abortions after 20 weeks; Iowa joined their ranks in May 2017. Most terminations at that stage of pregnancy happen either because the mother has a serious health problem or because of a severe (often unsurvivable) fetal anomaly. Five women who have faced those difficult circumstances allowed Bleeding Heartland to share their stories last year.

I enclose below statements from some of the Iowans in Congress and background on the bill, which uses a faulty premise as an excuse to restrict women’s ability to make decisions about their own medical care.

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Loebsack joins Republicans on vote ending shutdown

All Iowans in Congress approved a resolution today to fund the federal government through February 8, with a six-year extension of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. President Donald Trump signed the legislation this evening, ending the partial government shutdown after three days. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley were part of the bipartisan majority that approved the deal by 81 votes to 18 (two Republicans and sixteen Democrats opposed). The U.S. House vote was not quite as lopsided: 266 votes in favor (241 Republicans and 25 Democrats) and 150 against (six Republicans and 144 Democrats). Representatives Rod Blum (IA-01), David Young (IA-03), and Steve King (IA-04) all voted for the bill.

The lone Democrat in Iowa’s delegation, Representative Dave Loebsack (IA-02), opposed last week’s short-term funding bill, saying “it is now past time for gimmicks that will only lead to another manufactured crisis in February. I remain prepared to stay in Washington and work until a long-term plan is in place.” Following today’s vote, he said in a statement enclosed in full below, “While I remain deeply skeptical that today’s agreement will actually lead to the change that is needed, it at least provides a framework to begin dealing with issues Iowans tell me they want addressed. I will support the effort in hopes that Congress can somehow do better.”

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More than a photo

Tyler Higgs is a local activist and concerned constituent in Clive. Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts advocating for candidates in Democratic primaries. Please read these guidelines before writing. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Anyone who has been to Representative David Young’s Facebook page knows what pandering looks like — drawings by second-graders, pictures of handshakes with people he votes to remove healthcare from, etc. His page is completely devoid of substance. What is he actually doing to address the concerns of his constituents? When will he put the People of Iowa ahead of his party’s far-right agenda?

That’s why I was so eager to see such a wide field of candidates challenge him this year. Unfortunately, a quick search of many of the candidates’ websites and Facebook pages shows just more of the same — photo ops of meet and greets, charming pictures of family, and no substance.

I’m an issues person. I care about the issues, not about who is advocating for them. I know that if I talk with any of these great candidates one-on-one, they will tell me what I want to hear. But I’ve had that experience with David Young as well. I don’t want to be pandered and lied to any more. I don’t want to be told something in private that a politician won’t state publicly.

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Democrats squandered best chance to help DREAMers

While many Americans enjoy a peaceful Christmas with loved ones, hundreds of thousands of “DREAMers” who have lived in this country since childhood risk losing everything unless Congress acts before March 2018.

Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate, including Iowa’s Representative Dave Loebsack, just blew their best chance to provide some form of permanent legal status to these victims of a broken immigration system.

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