[Bleeding Heartland Logo]

About
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.
Author
- desmoinesdem
Highlights
- Iowa politics in 2008
- Iowa politics in 2009 (1)
- Iowa politics in 2009 (2)
- National politics in 2009 (1)
- National politics in 2009 (2)
- Iowa 2012 election coverage
- Who's who in the Iowa House for 2013
- Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2013
- Iowa wildflowers
2014 Election Coverage
- 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 13
- Senate district 15
- Senate district 17
- Senate district 27
- Senate district 39
- Senate district 41
- Senate district 47
- Senate district 49
- House district 25
- House district 28
- House district 33 (2013)
- House district 40
- House district 51
- House district 60
- House district 65
- House district 68
- House district 73
- House district 91
- House district 92
- House district 95
- House district 99
Search




Advanced Search


Paid Advertising


Bleeding Heartland
It's what plants crave.
ia-04

Lots of links on potential 2016 Iowa caucus candidates

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 14:16:13 PM CDT

It's been a while since Bleeding Heartland dedicated a thread to the potential 2016 presidential candidates. Please share any comments related to the next Iowa caucus campaign in this thread. Lots of links on various Democratic and Republican contenders are after the jump.
There's More... :: (2 Comments, 2135 words in story)

Iowa Congressional 2Q fundraising news roundup, with a few surprises

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 13:24:37 PM CDT

With all four U.S. House districts in Iowa targeted by one or both parties this year, and competitive primaries happening in three of the four races, I was eager to see where the nominees stood at the end of the second quarter.

Highlights from the Federal Election Commission filings are after the jump. After lackluster fundraising the last three quarters, six-term Representative Steve King finally managed to out-raise his Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer, but to my surprise, Mowrer retained a big advantage over King in cash on hand as of June 30.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1770 words in story)

All four Iowa Congressional districts to be targeted races in 2014

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 15:12:59 PM CDT

All four Iowa Congressional districts are being targeted by at least one of the major-party committees focused on U.S. House races. This week the National Republican Congressional Committee moved three Iowa candidates to the top tier of its "Young Guns" program: Rod Blum (IA-01), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), and David Young (IA-03). The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee moved IA-03 nominee Staci Appel to the top tier of the "Red to Blue" program in March and elevated Pat Murphy (IA-01) and Jim Mowrer (IA-04) to that status shortly after the June 3 primary.

So far the DCCC does not appear concerned about four-term Representative Dave Loebsack's race against Miller-Meeks, whom he defeated by a large margin in 2008 and a narrow margin in 2010. In contrast to the last election cycle, Loebsack has not been added to this year's "Frontline" program for vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Likewise, the NRCC has not put six-term incumbent Steve King in its "Patriot" program for vulnerable Republican House members, despite the fact that Mowrer has out-raised King for the last three fundraising quarters.

Not every candidate named to the "Young Guns" or "Red to Blue" program will receive the same level of financial assistance. I expect the DCCC and NRCC to spend more money in IA-03, generally considered the only "tossup" race in Iowa, than in the other three districts combined.

Any comments about this year's Iowa Congressional races are welcome in this thread. After the jump I've posted the latest voter registration totals for all four districts. Those numbers explain in part why various forecasters have categorized the seats in IA-01 and IA-02 as leaning or likely Democratic, while Republicans are favored to hold IA-04.

Next week, federal candidates must file financial reports for the second quarter. I'll be particularly interested to see how much Murphy, Young, and Miller-Meeks were able to raise between the June 3 primary and the end of the quarter. Although Young had to spend heavily and loan his own campaign $250,000 to get through the GOP primary, I expect his connections to Senator Chuck Grassley's network and multitudes of career lobbyists and Congressional staffers will allow him to keep pace with Appel, who has raised a lot of money and didn't have to spend much in her uncontested Democratic primary. I'm skeptical that Blum will be able to match Murphy in IA-01, even though Murphy wasn't the strongest fundraiser in the Democratic field there. I also wonder whether we'll see signs of King taking Mowrer's challenge more seriously than he has up to now.  

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 73 words in story)

Iowa reaction to the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 13:23:00 PM CDT

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today in favor of Hobby Lobby's right not to provide contraception coverage in its health insurance package for employees. The Obama administration had already exempted some religious organizations and non-profits from the contraception mandate in the 2010 health care reform law. Today's ruling allows a closely-held (that is, not publicly traded) for-profit corporation to claim religious rights that override the rights of their employees, not to mention the need to comply with federal law.

You can read the full text of the Supreme Court's decision and dissents here (pdf). Justice Samuel Alito wrote the "opinion of the court," joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony Kennedy. Strangely, Kennedy wrote a separate concurring opinion "in an attempt to show how narrow the Court's decision was." Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer dissented. The majority ruling appears to apply only to contraception health care services, as opposed to other medical procedures to which some groups have religious objections (such as vaccinations or blood transfusions). Still, Ginsburg seems on track when she warns that the court "has ventured into a minefield" by "approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation." Analyzing today's decision, Lyle Denniston predicted more litigation will be needed to clarify the limits of the new religious exemption for closely-held companies.

For background on the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case (formerly Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius) and the implications of the ruling, check the Alliance for Justice and SCOTUSblog websites.

After the jump I've posted comments from various Iowa elected officials and candidates. So far Iowa Democrats have been quicker to respond to the Hobby Lobby ruling than Republicans. I will update this post as needed.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 2740 words in story)

IA-01, IA-04: DCCC put Murphy and Mowrer in "Red to Blue" program

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 17:15:00 PM CDT

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included Pat Murphy (IA-01) and Jim Mowrer (IA-04) in the latest group of candidates promoted to the highest level of the "Red to Blue" program. (Staci Appel, the Democratic nominee in the open IA-03, was already promoted in the Red to Blue program earlier this year.) Mowrer is running in a tough district for any Democrat but raised more money than incumbent Steve King for the last three quarters. The DCCC had previously named IA-04 as an "emerging race."

Murphy just won a five-way primary in the Democratic-leaning first district. His opponent will be Rod Blum. Technically, IA-01 isn't a "Red to Blue" district because it's not Republican-held now; it's the open seat Bruce Braley is vacating in order to run for U.S. Senate.  

Red to Blue candidates are eligible for the highest level of support from the DCCC, although the committee won't necessarily spend much money in every named district. Last week the DCCC reserved television air time in IA-03 and IA-04, though ad buys are subject to change. Details are after the jump.

To my knowledge, the DCCC hasn't reserved any air time in IA-01 media markets. I doubt Murphy will need major independent expenditures to beat Blum. By the way, Murphy's four rivals in the Democratic primary endorsed him in statements released by the Iowa Democratic Party today. I've enclosed that press release below as well.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 563 words in story)

IA-Sen: One of these forecasts is not like the others

by: desmoinesdem

Tue May 06, 2014 at 20:02:00 PM CDT

Iowa Republicans are shouting from the social media rooftops about the Washington Post's new "Election Lab" forecast, which predicts Republicans have a 65 percent chance of winning Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat. You can read about the Election Lab methodology here; it includes metrics such as U.S. Senate election results from 1980 to 2012 and President Barack Obama's share of the vote in a given state in 2012. The Election Lab gurus are not factoring opinion polls into their model yet but plan to do so later. Candidate quality does not seem to be reflected in their model, although weak Republican nominees clearly blew several winnable Senate elections in 2010 and 2012. I'm sure the presumptive Democratic Senate nominee Bruce Braley would rather run against some of the Republicans candidates than others.

Over at the New York Times blog The Upshot, Nate Cohn, Josh Katz, and Amanda Cox compared Senate forecasts from six prominent websites or political analysts. Iowa was one of the few states where the Election Lab forecast was markedly different from the rest of the group. For now, the New York Times model gives Democrats an 83 percent chance of holding Iowa's Senate seat. Nate Silver's website 538.com has put those odds at 75 percent. The Cook Political Report, Rothenberg Political Report, and Larry Sabato's website all list IA-Sen as a "lean Democratic" race.

Granted, several of those projections came before Republicans made hay from Braley's comments about Senator Chuck Grassley, but a couple of public polls since then have suggested the Iowa Senate race will be very tight. I wouldn't give either party a clear advantage right now, certainly not a 65 percent advantage. (For what it's worth, Silver hedged his bets on whether Braley's gaffe will be a "game-changer.")

Incidentally, the Election Lab's forecast for Iowa's U.S. House races was even more strange. The Washington Post's analysts give Republicans a 60 percent chance of winning the open first district. I will eat my hat if likely nominee Rod Blum pulls that off. The Iowa Democratic Party and Braley's campaign will be pushing GOTV extremely hard in the key IA-01 counties. I believe any of the five Democrats running for that seat could beat Blum. Election Lab sees Republicans with an 80 percent chance of winning the open third district. To my mind, some of the GOP candidates in IA-03 would be much tougher opponents for Staci Appel than others. Election Lab gives four-term Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack a 90 percent chance of winning IA-02 and six-term Republican incumbent Steve King a 99.8 percent chance of winning IA-04.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

IA-04: Democracy for America endorses Jim Mowrer

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 08:55:00 AM CDT

Democracy for America announced this morning that it has endorsed Jim Mowrer, Representative Steve King's Democratic challenger in Iowa's fourth Congressional district. I've posted the official statement after the jump. The progressive advocacy group Howard Dean created after his 2004 presidential campaign has 1 million members across the country, including 9,589 members in Iowa. Some of them may be more likely to volunteer for Mowrer knowing he has DFA'a backing.

The group's endorsement should also help Mowrer raise more money from inside and outside Iowa--although he's done quite well in that department already, raising more money than King the last three quarters. Recognizing the strong campaign Mowrer is building, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee already flagged IA-04 as an "emerging race" despite the uphill climb for any Democrat in this district.

Democracy for America has previously endorsed five other Democratic U.S. House candidates, including Staci Appel in Iowa's open third district.

UPDATE: I missed this last week; Mowrer informed supporters that his three-year-old son suffers from a rare degenerative neurological disease. Healing thoughts to the whole family.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 276 words in story)

IA-04: Jim Mowrer out-raises Steve King for third straight quarter

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:55:09 AM CDT

If this has ever happened before in an Iowa Congressional race, I'm not aware of the precedent: Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer has raised more money than incumbent Representative Steve King for the third straight quarter in Iowa's fourth district. Not only that, during the first three months of 2014, Mowrer's fundraising eclipsed King's by even more than we saw during the third and fourth quarters of 2013.

Details from the reports both candidates filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission are after the jump.

UPDATE: The Iowa .Gif-t Shop weighs in. I really did laugh out loud.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 488 words in story)

DCCC flags Jim Mowrer in IA-04 as "emerging race"

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 14:34:00 PM CST

Jim Mowrer, the Democratic challenger to Representative Steve King in Iowa's fourth Congressional district, is one of twelve candidates the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considers to be "emerging races" in 2014. According to the statement from the DCCC, enclosed below, this category "highlights candidates and districts that are making themselves competitive by running smart campaigns which are becoming increasingly competitive." Mowrer's campaign out-raised the six-term Republican incumbent in both the third quarter and the fourth quarter of 2013. He is running as a "common-sense" candidate more in touch with the values of Iowans than King, who gets bogged down in "reckless partisan politics." Mowrer's official comment on today's news is after the jump.

Candidates in "emerging races" do not receive as much financial or logistical support from the DCCC as the top-tier "Red to Blue" candidates, but in past years a fair number of these races were bumped up to "Red to Blue" status during the general election period. IA-04 is an uphill climb for any Democrat, with 123,932 registered Democrats, 174,879 Republicans, and 174,235 no-party voters as of March 2014.

Speaking of King, he has long been one of the House Republicans progressives most "love to hate," and he is commonly quoted in fundraising appeals by a wide range of Democratic Party committees and Democratic-aligned organizations. But he does have limits. I noticed last week that someone came up with an anti-gay bill that was too stupid and bigoted even for King to co-sponsor. Some idiot lobbyist claims five House Republicans and one senator are interested in co-sponsoring a bill to stop gay athletes from playing in the National Football League. King commented,

"I don't support the idea that we advertise our sexuality, whatever it might be," said King. "So, therefore I don't support the idea of legislation addressing anyone's unidentified, unadvertised sexuality."

King presumably doesn't have a problem with heterosexuals "advertising" their sexuality by appearing in public with their spouses.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 825 words in story)

IA-04: Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer out-raises Steve King again

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 10:56:00 AM CST

In the past, I've pulled together highlights from Congressional candidates' quarterly financial reports in a single post, but with so many candidates running for Congress in Iowa, I've decided to separate the races. Year-end reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission show that for the second quarter in a row, Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer raised more money than six-term incumbent Representative Steve King (IA-04).

Follow me after the jump for details.

UPDATE: The Hill's Cameron Joseph and Alexandra Jaffe named King one of five Congressional incumbent "fourth quarter fundraising losers."

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 448 words in story)

2014 State of the Union discussion thread (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 19:48:27 PM CST

President Barack Obama addresses both houses of Congress tonight. The big policy news will be a new executive order requiring federal contractors to pay workers hourly wages of at least $10.10. The move could affect hundreds of thousands of workers. Last year the president proposed increasing the federal minimum wage to $9.00 per hour, but Senator Tom Harkin and other liberal Democrats argued for raising the wage to $10.10. Obama indicated his support for that wage level in November.

I will update this post later with highlights from tonight's speech and reaction from Iowa's Congressional delegation. Meanwhile, this thread is for any comments about the substance or the politics of the State of the Union address.

On a related note, I hope Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is right about the president refusing to negotiate with Congressional Republicans over raising the debt ceiling.

UPDATE: Click here for the full transcript of the president's speech, as prepared. I've added some Iowa reaction after the jump.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 3001 words in story)

House approves omnibus budget bill: How the Iowans voted

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 13:50:00 PM CST

In recent years, Congress has funded the federal government mostly through a series of continuing spending resolutions. But yesterday, the U.S. House approved an omnibus budget bill that would fund most federal agencies through September 30 (the end of the 2014 fiscal year). The massive bill passed by an overwhelming margin of 359 votes to 67. All but three Democrats present voted yes, including Iowa's Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-03). Republican Tom Latham also supported the bill, but Representative Steve King (IA-04) was among the 64 conservatives who voted no.

I've enclosed statements from Loebsack and King below. (I have not seen any public comment from Braley or Latham) Loebsack called attention to provisions he fought to include in the omnibus budget bill. King's statement on yesterday's vote is just one sentence long--the shortest comment I can ever remember receiving from his office.

Because the bill is so massive, it's hard to get a handle on the good news and bad news. Here's a summary of spending levels for various agencies. It looks like many domestic areas will be funded above "sequester" levels, including nutrition for Women, Infants and Children and some transportation programs. Some anti-environmental riders sought by Congressional Republicans were removed before the bill came up for a vote. Others made the cut, such as language supporting incandescent light bulbs and investments in overseas coal projects.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 553 words in story)

Braley, Loebsack back latest Republican anti-Obamacare bill

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:40:00 AM CST

As Republicans prepare to make "Obamacare" a central argument against any incumbents who voted for the 2010 health care reform law, many House Democrats are looking for political cover. So it was on Friday, when a third of the Democratic caucus voted for the latest Republican bill in the U.S. House targeting the law. Pete Kasperowicz reported for The Hill,

The one-sentence bill says that no later than two business days after any security breach on an ObamaCare site is discovered, "the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall provide notice of such breach to each individual." [...] The White House said it opposed the bill, arguing the government already has plans to tell people if their information has been compromised. [...]

Democrats said the GOP was trying to stir up fears about HealthCare.gov and the other enrollment sites by raising the idea that people's personal information could be stolen.

"There have been no successful security attacks on HealthCare.gov, and no one has maliciously accessed personal information," said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). "This is just another one of those scare tactics, and I just hope that my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, are not fooled by this."

The roll call on the "Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act" shows that Iowa Representatives Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) were among the 67 House Democrats who joined all the Republicans present to approve this bill by a large margin. Neither called attention to the vote with a press release. After the jump I've posted the statement from Representative Steve King (IA-04), who has long been one of the most vocal critics of the Affordable Care Act. I didn't see any statement from Tom Latham (IA-03), who also voted for this bill.

Like the last anti-Obamacare measure Braley and Loebsack supported, this bill will neither become law nor insulate the Democrats from attacks during this year's campaigns for U.S. Senate or Iowa's second Congressional district.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 215 words in story)

Iowans split on party lines over bill to weaken hazardous waste laws

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:34:00 AM CST

Talk about lousy timing: just before a chemical spill made tap water unusable for 300,000 West Virginians, the U.S. House approved a bill that would "weaken the nation's hazardous waste laws and place American communities at increased risk of toxic exposure." The Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act of 2013 (H.R. 2279) includes three bills House Republicans drafted last year. In a letter signed by 129 public interest groups, Earth Justice listed the key points of each bill and explained why the package would "threaten human health and the environment while protecting polluters from liability for the costs of toxic cleanups." I've posted an excerpt from that open letter after the jump. In a post for the Earth Justice blog last week, Lisa Evans called this bill "Kryptonite for Superfund" and "a con job of the highest order, allowing polluters to walk away without losing a penny, while taxpayers are left footing the bill."

Under its current leadership, the House has been called "the most anti-environmental House in our nation's history" because of the many bills passed that would curtail federal regulations and take power away from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Occasionally Iowa's two House Democrats have gone along with those efforts, but I was pleased to see that on January 9, Representatives Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) voted against the latest effort to hamstring the EPA and for the Democratic motion to recommit this bill with instructions (often a last-ditch effort to kill legislation in the House). Iowa Republicans Tom Latham (IA-03) and Steve King (IA-04) lived up to their abysmal voting records on the environment by voting for the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act and against the motion to recommit.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 392 words in story)

House wraps up work for the year: How the Iowans voted

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 07:40:00 AM CST

The U.S. House adjourned for the rest of 2013 yesterday after approving several major bills. By a surprisingly large 332 to 94 majority (roll call), representatives approved The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, a federal budget compromise worked out by Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan. Most of the House GOP caucus supported the budget deal, including Tom Latham (IA-03). Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) were among the 163 Democrats who voted for the budget deal. Steve King (IA-04) was one of the 62 Republicans who voted no because the agreement increased domestic discretionary spending. The 32 House Democrats who opposed the deal objected to the fact that it did not include an extension of unemployment benefits, did not reverse more of the "sequester" federal spending cuts, and increased federal worker contributions to their pensions.

Also yesterday, House members passed by voice vote a one-month extension to most federal agricultural programs, giving a conference committee more time to work out a deal on a long-term Farm Bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said the upper chamber won't pass any more short-term farm bill extensions, but he'll probably have to backtrack now to prevent farm programs from expiring on January 1.

Finally, the House approved by 350 votes to 69 a compromise on the defense authorization bill. All four Iowans voted for the National Defense Authorization Act, negotiated informally by House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders after the Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the defense authorization bill before Thanksgiving. I need more time to read up on what's in the final compromise, so will cover the details of the defense authorization bill in a future post.

After the jump I've enclosed comments on yesterday's votes from the Iowans in Congress and some of the candidates for U.S. House and Senate, where available. UPDATE: Added more comments below. However, Steve King has uncharacteristically not released a statement explaining his vote on the budget compromise. His office did not respond to my request for comment or to the Sioux City Journal's Bret Hayworth.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 2499 words in story)

Weekend open thread: Outrages of the week

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 08:05:00 AM CST

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread. Here are a few links to get a conversation started.

A Polk County district court ruling related to one of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz's pet projects called attention to the fact that Schultz was in Switzerland for the American Swiss Foundation's 24th annual Young Leaders Conference, a weeklong event. Whether the secretary of state should attend a foreign junket like this at any time is debatable. But it's ridiculous for him to have planned to be out of town when Iowa's 99 county auditors were gathering in Des Moines to discuss election-related issues. The Iowa Democratic Party and the only declared Democratic candidate for secretary of state blasted Schultz. I've posted their comments below, along with the official defense from the Iowa Secretary of State's spokesman.

Speaking of Schultz's pet projects, here's some important news from last month: the federal judge who wrote a key ruling upholding Indiana's voter ID law now believes he got that case wrong.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Friday that it is proposing to alter the Renewable Fuel Standard on how much ethanol must be blended into gasoline. The announcement upset Iowa elected officials from both parties. After the jump I've posted statements from Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, and all of the Iowans in Congress except for Representative Tom Latham (R, IA-03), who has not commented on this issue to my knowledge.

The Associated Press reported this week on how the push to produce corn-based ethanol has damaged the environment in Iowa and elsewhere.

One last outrage: Will Potter reported for Mother Jones about a case that "could make it harder for journalists and academics to keep tabs on government agencies." The FBI is going to court to prevent its "most prolific" Freedom of Information Act requester from accessing hundreds of thousands of pages of documents.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 2682 words in story)

IA-Sen, IA-02: Braley, Loebsack run for the hills on health care reform (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 18:50:23 PM CST

All four Iowans in the House of Representatives voted today for the Keep Your Health Plan Act "that allows insurance companies to offer health plans that were cancelled for not meeting new requirements under ObamaCare." Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) were among the 39 Democrats who crossed party lines to support the bill, joining Tom Latham (IA-03), Steve King (IA-04), and almost all the Republicans present.

Braley and Loebsack both voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and have opposed most of the Republican bills to repeal the health care reform law. For instance, Iowa's representatives split on party lines when the House voted in August a bill "to prevent the IRS from enforcing any aspect of ObamaCare," and when the House voted in July to delay the individual mandate to purchase health insurance.

However, occasionally Braley and/or Loebsack have gone along with GOP efforts to alter the Affordable Care Act. In 2012, Loebsack voted with Republicans to repeal a 2.3 percent tax on medical device manufacturers. In July of this year, Braley joined Republicans to pass a bill delaying the employer mandate to provide health insurance for one year. (President Barack Obama had already announced his decision to delay the employer mandate, despite the financial and political costs of doing so.)

Given the media firestorm over some Americans losing the health insurance plans Obama promised they could keep, I'm not surprised Braley and Loebsack ran for cover today. Both had narrow escapes in 2010 and may face tough election campaigns in 2014.

After the jump I've enclosed comments from some of the Iowans in Congress on today's vote and on the president's administrative "fix" that may allow some people to keep insurance policies that would have been cancelled for not meeting ACA requirements. (Few Iowans need this fix, because Wellmark and most other health insurance providers were already allowing Iowans to keep their individual policies for another year.) I also enclosed details on why Obama has threatened to veto the bill that passed the House today. Senator Tom Harkin is determined to prevent it from passing the U.S. Senate.

UPDATE: Added a statement from Latham below. Also, the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity wasted no time in signaling that they will attack Braley on "Obamacare" regardless of this vote. I doubt he's gained any political protection for the U.S. Senate race.

SECOND UPDATE: Added new comments from Braley.

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 2809 words in story)

Mid-week open thread, with belated Veterans Day links

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 19:45:00 PM CST

Iowa wildflower Wednesday is on hiatus, but here's an open thread. What's on your mind, Bleeding Heartland readers?

I didn't manage to post a Veterans Day linkfest on Monday, but I was interested in this article about the "long decline of veterans in Congress."

Military service was once almost a prerequisite for service in Congress. Veterans comprised more than three-fourths of both the House and Senate at one point last century. Since then, their membership has declined to about 20 percent of both chambers.

Of the Iowans now serving in Congress, only Senator Tom Harkin is a veteran. Several Iowa candidates for federal office have served in the military, though, including Steve King's Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer and Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls Sam Clovis and Joni Ernst.

The suicide rate among U.S. veterans has long been a national disgrace. The Military Suicide Research Consortium provides information on the problem and resources for those needing help.

Speaking of national disgraces, roughly 900,000 veterans who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) saw their food assistance benefits cut at the beginning of November. The SNAP cuts King and other House Republicans are demanding in conference committee negotiations over the farm bill would deny federal food assistance to approximately 170,000 low-income veterans.

Representative Tom Latham fell for some Veterans Day-themed satire about MSNBC host Chris Hayes. A good reminder that deleted tweets and Facebook posts never truly disappear.  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Iowans split on symbolic debt ceiling votes

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 18:55:00 PM CST

Little-known fact: the deal that ended the government shutdown in mid-October did not technically involve a Congressional vote to raise the country's debt ceiling. Rather, it allowed President Barack Obama to suspend the debt ceiling until February 7, unless both chambers of Congress passed motions disapproving of the action. The compromise enabled Republicans to put themselves on record opposing any further increase in the debt limit without pushing the U.S. into default. As Susan Davis explained in USA Today, even if a disapproval motion cleared the House and Senate, the president "would presumably veto it, putting the burden on Congress to find veto-proof majorities to override it - a near-impossible outcome [...]."

Last week both chambers considered identical disapproval resolutions, drafted by Republicans. Supporters of the resolution asserted that they were not voting for default, just trying to send a message that "We have to get our debt under control." When the Senate considered the resolution on October 29, all 45 Republicans present voted yes, including Iowa's Chuck Grassley. But it failed to pass as all 54 members of the Democratic caucus voted no, including Iowa's Tom Harkin.

The House took up the resolution the following day and passed it by 222 votes to 191 (roll call). Only a few representatives crossed party lines on the vote. Iowa's House members split as one would expect: Republicans Tom Latham (IA-03) and Steve King (IA-04) went on record against "the President's exercise of authority to suspend the debt limit," while Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) opposed the resolution. I have to laugh at Latham's faux-statesmanship, voting for the deal that averted default before turning around and voting against the presidential action that averted default.

I'm with those who would make this phony "disapproval" exercise a permanent replacement for Congressional votes to raise the debt ceiling. A symbolic gesture is a small price to pay to avoid future hostage-taking scenarios.  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Weekend open thread: Jefferson-Jackson Dinner edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 01:13:58 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread.

The Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner was an entertaining affair. I've posted some highlights after the jump. The "news" of the evening was Senator Chuck Schumer of New York endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, but for my money that wasn't the most interesting part of his speech.

There's More... :: (8 Comments, 1281 words in story)
Next >>
Menu

Make a New Account

Username:

Password:



Forget your username or password?


Iowa Liberal Blogs
- Ames Progressive
- Blog For Iowa
- Essential Estrogen
- Iowa .Gif-t Shop
- Iowa Independent (archive)
- Iowa Policy Points
- 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
- Newton Independent (Peter Hussmann)
- Politically Speaking
- Price of Politics, etc.
- O.Kay Henderson at Radio Iowa
Iowa Democrats
- Tom Harkin (U.S. Senator)
- Bruce Braley (IA-01)
- Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
- Iowa Democratic Party
- Iowa House Democrats
- Iowa Senate Democrats
Statistics


 
Powered by: SoapBlox