[Bleeding Heartland Logo]

Bleeding Heartland is a community blog about Iowa politics: campaigns and elections, state government, social and environmental issues. Bleeding Heartland also weighs in on presidential policies and campaigns, federal legislation and what the Iowans in Congress are up to. Join our community, post your thoughts as comments or diaries, help keep our leaders honest and hold them accountable.
- desmoinesdem
- Iowa 2012 election coverage
- Who's who in the Iowa House for 2015
- Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2015
- Iowa wildflowers
2014 Election Coverage
- Absentee ballot numbers
- IA-Sen
- IA-Gov
- IA-01
- IA-02
- IA-03
- IA-04
- Secretary of Agriculture
- Secretary of State
- State Auditor
- Iowa Senate overview
- Iowa House overview
- Senate district 5
- Senate district 7
- Senate district 9
- Senate district 12
- Senate district 13
- Senate district 15
- Senate district 17
- Senate district 27
- Senate district 29
- Senate district 39
- Senate district 41
- Senate district 47
- Senate district 49
- House district 8
- House district 15
- House district 25
- House district 26
- House district 28
- House district 30
- House district 33 (2013)
- House district 40
- House district 51
- House district 60
- House district 63
- House district 65
- House district 68
- House district 73
- House district 82
- House district 91
- House district 92
- House district 95
- House district 99

Advanced Search

Paid Advertising

Bleeding Heartland
It's what plants crave.

Iowa voting and reaction to the House Republican budget

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Mar 26, 2015 at 13:32:15 PM CDT

The U.S. House approved a draft budget yesterday with some drama along the way. Details on the important budget provisions and how the Iowans voted are after the jump.
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1043 words in story)

Grassley, Ernst vote to confirm new Defense Secretary

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Feb 16, 2015 at 16:20:00 PM CST

Catching up on news from last week, the U.S. Senate confirmed Ashton Carter as secretary of defense by 93 votes to 5 (roll call) on February 12. Only five Republicans opposed the nomination, which is rare for President Barack Obama's administration. Iowa's Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst both supported Carter, and I've enclosed their statements after the jump. Grassley emphasized that he will "continue to press for clean, accurate audits at the Defense Department," while Ernst praised Carter's "strong support and dedication to our service members and their families." Ernst serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which unanimously forwarded Carter's nomination earlier in the week. Kristina Wong reported for The Hill, "Republicans on the committee were particularly pleased that Carter said he would consider recommending that Obama modify his Afghanistan troop drawdown schedule, if necessary, and that he was inclined to arm Ukraine against Russian aggression."

I've also enclosed below Carter's official bio, summarizing his extensive Pentagon experience.

On February 9, Grassley and Ernst joined their colleagues in unanimously confirming Michael Botticelli as director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Grassley's statement on the country's new "drug czar" is after the jump too. He praised Botticelli for recognizing "the dangers of smoking marijuana." In recent testimony before a U.S. House committee, Botticelli said "The [Obama] Administration continues to oppose attempts to legalize marijuana and other drugs."

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 947 words in story)

Links and news from Joni Ernst's first day as a U.S. senator

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 12:15:00 PM CST

Joni Ernst was sworn in yesterday (twice) as Iowa's first new U.S. senator in 30 years. You can view the ceremonial repeat swearing in on KCCI's website. Vice President Joe Biden complimented Ernst on her "great victory". He also made an inappropriate comment to one of her daughters. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham gave Ernst a livestock castration device mounted on a plaque engraved with the words, "MAKE 'EM SQUEAL, JONI!"

Ernst is the first woman ever to represent Iowa in Congress, and while I think many women who came before her were more worthy of the honor, it's good that the young generation will not grow up wondering whether Iowans would ever elect a woman to high office.

I'd been looking forward to see how Ernst would set the tone on her first day in the Senate. For the last two months, she has been dodging interviews--sorry, "keeping a low profile." She hired staff and made time for her first foreign junket (a trip to Israel bankrolled by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), but she has said little of substance about any current events. Watching Ernst's first official remarks after being sworn in, I felt disappointed to hear a rehash of her stump speech. In two months she could have come up with something more than "it is certainly a long way from Red Oak to Washington, D.C" and "As a mother, soldier and independent voice [....]" I would like to know whether she has specific goals and legislation she wants to help pass. Instead, we got more vague talk about the "Iowa Way," "working with our neighbors to find solutions to the many problems we face." Ernst plans to visit all 99 counties every year. I hope at those town-hall events, Iowans will press for real comments about real issues.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread. After the jump I've enclosed the full transcript of Ernst's video remarks yesterday, a list of her key staff hires, and excerpts from her recent interview with Kathie Obradovich. Ernst is "anxious to get to work." I would advise her not to miss a single hearing of any of the four committees to which she has been assigned (Agriculture, Armed Services, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs). Her campaign's attacks Bruce Braley set the standard: missing a committee meeting = not doing your job and not caring about people.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 849 words in story)

This is why presidents bury big news during holiday weeks

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 22:15:00 PM CST

After a busy day, I sat down this evening to write my "Iowa reaction to Chuck Hagel's resignation" blog post.

Only problem was, more than twelve hours after the news broke, I couldn't find any Iowa reaction. No press releases, no statements on Facebook or twitter from anyone in Iowa's current Congressional delegation or newly-elected delegation.

Does that strike anyone else as odd? I would have thought the defense secretary resigning after less than two years on the job, probably under pressure from the president, possibly over disagreement with the administration's approach to Iraq and Syria, would be big news. Remember, Representative Dave Loebsack sits on the House Armed Services Committee. Senator-elect Joni Ernst has claimed to have a strong interest in our country's Middle East policy, since her "boots were on that ground" now controlled by ISIS. Senator Chuck Grassley served with Hagel for years and will have a vote on confirming his successor at the Pentagon. Newly-elected Republicans Rod Blum (IA-01) and David Young (IA-03) both criticized the Obama administration's policy in Iraq during this year's campaign.

I will update this post as needed if I see some Iowa political reaction to Hagel stepping down. But at this writing, I got nothing.

This is why presidents bury big news during holiday weeks, when elected representatives and their staffers are out of the office.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Grassley, Harkin support failed bill on military sexual assault cases (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 12:24:55 PM CST

Yet another good idea has fallen victim to the U.S. Senate's rules requiring a super-majority to advance legislation. Although 44 Democratic senators and eleven Republicans supported a bill that would have taken sexual assault cases outside the military chain of command, backers fell five votes short of the 60 needed to pass a cloture motion yesterday. Iowa Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley both voted for cloture (roll call) on the bill sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Pentagon leaders and Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Claire McCaskill lobbied against the measure. A weaker sexual assault prevention bill proposed by McCaskill advanced after senators rejected cloture on Gillibrand's bill.

After the jump I've posted the key arguments for both sides in the debate, as well as comments from Grassley and Representative Bruce Braley (D, IA-01). In the floor statement I've enclosed below, Grassley urged colleagues, "We need a clean break from the system where sexual assault isn't reported because of a perception that justice won't be done." Braley has long supported reforms along the lines of Gillibrand's bill, and yesterday he promised to keep pushing on the issue, saying opponents are "on the wrong side of history." Braley is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat Harkin will vacate at the end of this year.

P.S. - Of the Republican senators considered most likely to run for president in 2016, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul voted for cloture on Gillibrand's bill. Marco Rubio voted against it.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 3063 words in story)

Grassley, Harkin back pension fix, split on debt ceiling hike (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 18:26:00 PM CST

This afternoon the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to reverse a planned change in cost of living adjustments for some military pensions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to bring up the bill that passed the U.S. House yesterday, rather than a Democratic alternative that fixed the military pension policy without any spending cuts to offset the $6 billion cost over ten years. Senators approved the House bill by 95 votes to 3, with Iowa's Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley both supporting the measure.

Also today, senators approved a bill "to temporarily extend the public debt limit" with no strings attached. That bill also cleared the House yesterday. A dozen Republicans including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell crossed party lines to approve the cloture motion on the debt ceiling hike, but the procedural vote was a nail-biter that took more than an hour. Grassley was one of the 31 Republicans who opposed cloture. The debt ceiling increase then passed on a a straight party-line vote of 55 to 43, with Harkin voting yes and Grassley voting no.

Possible 2016 presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio all voted against cloture on the debt ceiling increase as well as against the bill on final passage.

UPDATE: Erik Wasson, Ramsey Cox and Peter Schroeder wrote a fascinating piece on the battle to advance the debt ceiling bill: "McConnell and top lieutenant Sen. John Cornyn (Texas) reluctantly backed ending debate after it became clear that no one in their conference wanted to cast the deciding 60th vote."

This post covers reaction to the debt ceiling vote from Republican candidates for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Iowans support House bill to reverse military pension cuts (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 16:44:00 PM CST

One of the most shameful provisions in last year's federal budget deal between Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan was a change in the cost of living adjustment for military pensions. The pension cut could never have passed in a stand-alone vote but got through as one small piece of what was perceived as a must-pass deal. At the time, an old friend and 20-year Navy veteran commented on Facebook, "This is a great bookend for why we are tired of being thanked for serving. Actions speak louder than mere words for the sacrifices made by people in uniform and their families."

House and Senate members are eager to reverse this pension cut, but so far can't agree on how or whether to offset the $6 billion that would have been saved during a ten-year period of screwing over veterans on full pensions.

Today House leaders attached military pension language to an unrelated bill and quickly passed it under a suspension of normal House rules. The roll call shows that Democrats Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Republican Steve King (IA-04) were all part of the 326 to 90 majority who voted yes. Tom Latham (IA-03) was not present for the vote. The 19 Republicans and 71 Democrats who voted no had different reasons, Pete Kasperowicz reported.

Some Democrats said they opposed not only the speed with which the bill was rushed to the floor, but the way Republicans are offsetting the $6 billion cost of the bill. The legislation pays for the restoration of benefits by extending sequester cuts to mandatory spending under Medicare for one year, through 2024 instead of 2023. [...]

Republicans had their own reasons for opposing the measure - many GOP members have said they disapprove of the idea of paying for current spending by promising cuts 10 years out.

When Congress approved the Murray-Ryan budget deal in December, three of Iowa's four House members voted yes, with King the odd man out. Senator Tom Harkin supported the deal, while Senator Chuck Grassley voted against it.

UPDATE: Added a statement from Braley below.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 106 words in story)

Harkin, Grassley split as Senate approves budget deal

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 15:04:00 PM CST

In a departure from the usual brinksmanship over funding the federal government, the U.S. Senate approved yesterday the recent bipartisan budget deal. Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan worked out a compromise on overall budget targets for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, replacing some of the "sequester" cuts that went into effect earlier this year. The deal passed the House last week with strong bipartisan support, including three of Iowa's four representatives.

Senate Republicans were less supportive of the budget agreement than House GOP members, but nine Republicans crossed over to vote with the entire Democratic caucus, approving the deal by 64 votes to 36 (roll call). Iowa's Senator Chuck Grassley was one of the 36 Republicans who voted no, along with possible future presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul. I have not seen any statement from Grassley's office explaining that vote but will update this post as needed. UPDATE: Added a few comments from Grassley.

President Barack Obama will sign off on this agreement, but Congress still needs to pass an omnibus budget bill before January 15 to avoid another government shutdown. After the jump I've posted a statement from Senator Tom Harkin supporting the deal, as well as details on why some conservatives oppose this deal.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1269 words in story)

More Senate confirmation news: how Grassley and Harkin voted

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 06:40:00 AM CDT

Bipartisan consensus allowed a group of President Barack Obama's nominees to be confirmed easily this week, but a Republican filibuster nearly blocked the confirmation of one federal agency head. In addition, Senator Chuck Grassley again pushed back against claims that Republicans have dragged their feet on confirming federal judges during Obama's presidency.

Details are after the jump.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1528 words in story)

House approves Paul Ryan's budget: How the Iowans voted

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 11:56:00 AM CDT

Yesterday the U.S. House approved a fiscal year 2014 budget prepared by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. The bill also sets budget levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023. Bleeding Heartland covered Iowa reaction to the latest Ryan budget here. After the jump I have details on yesterday's vote and statements released by members of the Iowa delegation.

Despite the spin from some Congressional Republicans and Governor Terry Branstad, it's important to remember that Ryan's budget is not balanced and will not be balanced even 10 years from now. Both the non-partisan Tax Policy Center and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have noted that Ryan does not say how he would offset trillions in lost revenue from income tax cuts he proposes. In addition, the Ryan budget "understates defense spending by $100 billion over the next ten years" and assumes that the 2010 health care reform law will be repealed, which obviously won't happen. The Ryan plan isn't about eliminating the federal deficit, it's a plan to end Medicare as a single-payer program and change the role of the federal government in the lives of low-income Americans.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1512 words in story)

Senate, House avert government shutdown: How the Iowans voted

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 09:45:00 AM CDT

This week Congress approved a continuing spending resolution to fund the federal government through the end of the current fiscal year on September 30. Iowa's delegation split on this compromise, but not strictly along party lines. Details on the budget compromise and how the Iowans voted are after the jump.
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1121 words in story)

Iraq War 10th anniversary links and discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 16:32:00 PM CDT

Ten years ago, President George W. Bush made the disastrous mistake of taking this country to war against Iraq. I've posted some links about the costs and casualties of war after the jump.

Any relevant thoughts are welcome in this thread. I appreciate the work and commitment of those who tried to derail the speeding train toward invasion, and of those who protested the war after it began. I did nothing to stop the war in Iraq--just sat in a rocking chair cradling a new baby, feeling horrified while watching the news on television.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1847 words in story)

Iowa reaction to Paul Ryan's new budget

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 17:45:00 PM CDT

U.S. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan presented his new federal budget blueprint today. As before, he would end Medicare as a single-payer system for all Americans under age 55, slash spending on programs for the poor such as food stamps and Medicaid, and cut taxes for some, though the details there are fuzzy. He would not cut the defense budget or Social Security. Ryan says his budget would be balanced in 10 years, but he relies on some assumptions that won't happen, such as repeal of the 2010 health care reform law.

I've enclosed Iowa political reaction to the Ryan budget below and will update this post as needed.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1587 words in story)

Loebsack votes with House Republicans on government funding resolution

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:20:00 AM CST

Yesterday the U.S. House approved a bill to fund the federal government through the remainder of the current fiscal year. Dave Loebsack (IA-02) was one of 53 House Democrats to vote for the spending bill, along with most of the Republican caucus. Follow me after the jump for details and the latest sleight of hand by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1130 words in story)

Rand Paul filibuster discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:13:00 AM CST

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky delayed Senate business yesterday by launching a filibuster that lasted nearly 13 hours. The ninth-longest filibuster in Senate history and the longest since 1992 focused on the president's power to order an American citizen killed on U.S. soil. Paul managed to delay a planned confirmation vote on President Barack Obama's nominee for CIA director, John Brennan. Senators are likely to confirm Brennan today, but Paul's tactic served two longtime historical purposes of the filibuster: slow down Senate business and call attention to an issue of national importance. To my knowledge, the last lengthy filibuster of this kind happened when Bernie Sanders talked for more than eight hours against the December 2010 deal to extend most Bush tax cuts.

Eight other senators joined Paul's filibuster yesterday: seven Republicans and Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon. Iowa's GOP Senator Chuck Grassley did not take part.

In related news, some Senate Democrats are warning that the majority may revisit filibuster reform because Republicans continue to demand a 60-vote majority for almost any kind of Senate business. That was entirely foreseeable. But Democrats missed their best chance to change the rules at the beginning of this year's Congress. They should have listened to Senator Tom Harkin, who has been trying for years to curtail the abuse of the filibuster.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Harkin, Grassley split as Senate approves Chuck Hagel

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 16:50:00 PM CST

The U.S. Senate voted today to confirm Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense by 58 votes to 41. Although Hagel is a Republican, all of the votes against his confirmation came from GOP senators, including Iowa's Chuck Grassley. The entire Senate Democratic caucus, including Tom Harkin, voted to confirm Hagel, joined by four Republicans.

Earlier today, a cloture motion on Hagel's nomination easily passed by 71 votes to 27 (roll call). Just 60 votes were needed to pass the motion. Grassley was one of the 27 Republicans who tried to filibuster Hagel's nomination. Their effort failed because 18 Senate Republicans voted for cloture; most of them later voted against confirmation.

The 501(c)4 group American Future Fund, led by Nick Ryan of Iowa, was one of the big spenders in the effort to defeat Hagel's nomination. After the jump I've posted excerpts from a good piece explaining why the campaign against Hagel was a "win-win" for "dark money groups," even though they failed to prevent his confirmation. I'll update this post as needed if I see comments from Grassley and Harkin.  

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 409 words in story)

More details on how the sequester could affect Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 09:50:00 AM CST

Following up on Saturday's post about the possible closure of three Iowa airports air traffic control towers, the White House has released more details on how automatic federal spending cuts could affect Iowa, beginning on March 1, if Congress and President Barack Obama don't agree on a deal to replace the "sequester."  
There's More... :: (4 Comments, 212 words in story)

Braley, Loebsack join House Republicans on federal worker pay freeze

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:10:00 AM CST

Catching up on news from last week, all four Iowans in the U.S. House supported a bill seeking to "freeze the pay of federal workers for the third year in a row" as well as the salaries for members of Congress.
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1099 words in story)

Grassley, Senate Republicans block Hagel confirmation

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 16:55:00 PM CST

A cloture motion on the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel for U.S. Secretary of Defense failed by a single vote today.  
There's More... :: (5 Comments, 461 words in story)

State of the Union and Rubio response discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 18:43:08 PM CST

President Barack Obama delivers another State of the Union address tonight, and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is set to give the Republican response. I will miss most of the president's speech but plan to watch the replay later and will update this post with highlights. Meanwhile, feel free to comment on any topics raised during the speeches in this thread.

UPDATE: Highlights from the speeches and reaction from the Iowans in Congress are after the jump.

I find it depressing that when I came home to catch up on the news, the blogosphere and twitterverse were obsessing over Rubio taking a drink of water during his remarks. So sue him, he's not the most camera-savvy politician in Washington (yet). Who cares?

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 6830 words in story)
Next >>

Make a New Account



Forget your username or password?

Iowa Liberal Blogs
- Blog For Iowa
- Iowa .Gif-t Shop
- Iowa Independent (archive)
- Iowa Policy Points
- Iowa Starting Line
- Iowans for a Future That Doesn't Suck
- John Deeth
Iowa Conservative Blogs
- Hawkeye GOP
- The Bean Walker
- Caffeinated Thoughts
- The Conservative Reader: Iowa
- The Iowa Republican
Journalists' blogs and research
- 24-Hour Dorman
- Cedar Rapids Gazette government page
- Iowa Fiscal Partnership
- Iowa Policy Project
- Iowa Politics Insider
- Iowa Watchdog.org
- On Brief: Iowa's Appellate Blog
- On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts
- Politically Speaking
- Price of Politics, etc.
- O.Kay Henderson at Radio Iowa
Iowa Democrats
- Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
- Iowa Democratic Party
- Iowa House Democrats
- Iowa Senate Democrats

Powered by: SoapBlox