IA-01: Rod Blum trails generic Democrat, voters don't like tax bill

Voters in Iowa’s first district favor an unnamed Democrat over two-term Representative Rod Blum by 51 percent to 43 percent, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling. Respondents in the same survey opposed the tax bill U.S. House Republicans approved last month by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin.

The Not One Penny coalition, formed in August to oppose any tax cuts “for millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations,” commissioned the survey in IA-01 and five other Congressional districts. The group has also launched a new round of television commercials targeting Blum and Representative David Young in Iowa’s third district. Not One Penny previously ran television commercials in August in IA-01, IA-03, and six other Republican-held House districts.

Meanwhile, the End Citizens United political action committee confirmed yesterday that Blum is among the “Big Money 20” Congressional Republicans it will target in 2018.

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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.

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Seven more pitches for seven Iowa Democratic candidates for governor

To all the Democrats who want to hear directly from each contender in the Iowa governor’s race before deciding how to vote next June: this post’s for you.

Since Bleeding Heartland published seven pitches for gubernatorial candidates from a major party event this summer, Todd Prichard has left the race and Ross Wilburn has joined the field.

All seven Democrats running for governor appeared at the Progress Iowa Corn Feed in Des Moines on September 10, speaking in the following order: Cathy Glasson, Fred Hubbell, John Norris, Ross Wilburn, Jon Neiderbach, Andy McGuire, and Nate Boulton. I enclose below the audio clips, for those who like to hear a candidate’s speaking style. I’ve also transcribed every speech in full, for those who would rather read than listen.

As a bonus, you can find a sound file of Brent Roske’s speech to the Progress Iowa event at the end of this post. With his focus on single-payer health care and water quality, Roske should be running in the Democratic primary. Instead, he plans to qualify for the general election ballot as an independent candidate, a path that can only help Republicans by splitting the progressive vote.

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Our health care on the line

Ruth Thompson shares her remarks from the Our Lives on the Line health care rally in Des Moines on July 29. She has previously described how the Affordable Care Act saved her daughter from potentially severe medical complications and crushing debt. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I’m a person with lived experience with disability and I’m the vice-chair pro-tem of the Disability Caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party, I serve on the board of the Central Iowa Center for Independent Living and a very active member of the Polk County Democrats.

I’m speaking as a representative of those groups and as an individual who cares about health care.

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What no one is talking about in the "repeal and replace" debate

An Iowan with in-depth knowledge of the health care sector looks at lesser-known benefits that could be lost if Congress replaces the Affordable Care Act. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The debate on Republican efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care reform law has focused on the provision of health care and the repeal of some taxes. In particular, attention has been directed at the effort to reduce Medicaid coverage.

What isn’t being discussed: the Affordable Care Act (ACA) included many provisions aimed at addressing serious issues in the health care system, such as quality, safety, and workforce shortages. None of those can be found in the House-approved American Health Care Act (AHCA) or the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), proposed by Senate Republican leaders.

So, in addition to reducing (or eliminating) coverage for poor people and individuals with illnesses, the Republican bill would be a step backward in terms of efforts to improve the health care system, which accounts for 17 percent of our gross domestic product.

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Senate bill would break health care promises from Grassley and Ernst

Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst say they are “continuing to carefully look through the revised health care discussion draft” released by Senate Republican leaders last week. Iowans who have called the senators’ offices are likewise hearing from staffers that Grassley and Ernst have not decided whether to support the GOP alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

I suspect Iowa’s senators would rubber-stamp any GOP “health care” bill Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brings to the floor, for several reasons:

• None of the Washington-based reporters on this beat include Grassley or Ernst on their lists of Republican senators who may not support the bill.

• Reports speculating about special deals GOP Senate leaders may offer to lock down votes don’t refer to any additional spending geared toward Iowa.

• Neither Grassley nor Ernst made time to meet with Iowa hospital leaders who lobbied against the bill on a trip to Washington last week.

• Neither Grassley nor Ernst has bucked the party line on any important Senate vote that I can recall.

For now, let’s take Iowa’s senators at their word: they are still undecided and seeking input from constituents. If Grassley and Ernst intend to keep promises they’ve been making on health care policy, they need not spend any more time deliberating. They have ample reasons to vote against the Orwellian-named Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

Non-partisan analysis indicates that if this bill becomes law, tens of millions of Americans–including hundreds of thousands of Iowans–will have worse health insurance coverage or no coverage at all.

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