Federal government shutting down: Iowa political reaction

Congress failed to agree on a spending deal before midnight on January 20, setting a federal government shutdown in motion for the first time since October 2013.

House Republicans had approved a four-week continuing spending resolution on January 18, which met one of the key Democratic demands (a six-year reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program). However, that bill did not include a fix for the DREAMers facing possible deportation after the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ends on March 5. It passed on a mostly party-line vote, with support from Iowa Republicans Rod Blum (IA-01), David Young (IA-03), and Steve King (IA-04). Democratic Representative Dave Loebsack (IA-02) voted for short-term spending resolutions in December but drew the line this week, explaining in a written statement,

Continue Reading...

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.

Continue Reading...

So much for "carefully" considering tax reform

U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst joined all but one of their Republican colleagues to approve a $1.5 trillion tax cut and health care policy overhaul late last night. Whereas Ernst had told Iowans, “I look forward to carefully reviewing tax reform legislation in the Senate,” the final vote “came after Senate Republicans frantically rewrote the multi-trillion dollar legislation behind closed doors to win over several final holdouts,” Politico reported.

Continue Reading...

Tax bill backed by Blum, Young, King skewed toward wealthiest Iowans

Representatives Rod Blum (IA-01), David Young (IA-03), and Steve King (IA-04) joined most of their Republican colleagues in the U.S. House today to pass a tax bill that would greatly increase the federal deficit, conferring most of the benefits on corporations and people far wealthier than most Iowans. Tens of millions of low to moderate-income Americans would pay more in federal taxes if its provisions became law, because a number of tax credits and deductions would be scrapped or scaled back.

To cite just one example: ending a tax break for out-of-pocket medical expenses would have a “catastrophic effect on disabled people” as well as anyone who spends a substantial amount on chronic health conditions or fertility treatments.

Meanwhile, an estimated 203,000 Iowa children would be either fully or partially left out of the expanded Child Tax Credit included in the House bill. Repealing the estate tax, which applies “only to the value of an estate that exceeds $5.5 million per person ($11 million per couple),” would benefit about 70 Iowa families in 2018, some 0.2 percent of all estates.

House Republicans know their tax plan will cost many Americans more. For that reason, before bringing the bill to the floor–with no hearings–they waived a rule that “had been put in place to make it difficult to increase taxes.”

Continue Reading...
View More...