The 17 Bleeding Heartland posts I worked hardest on in 2017

Since I started writing for this website a decade ago, I’ve never worked harder than I did in 2017. This momentous year in Iowa politics provided an overwhelming amount of source material: new laws affecting hundreds of thousands of people, our first new governor since 2011, and a record number of Democrats seeking federal or statewide offices.

In addition, my focus has shifted toward more topics that require time-consuming research or scrutiny of public records. As I looked over the roughly 420 Bleeding Heartland posts I wrote this year, I realized that dozens of pieces were as labor-intensive as some of those I worked hardest on in 2015 or 2016.

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Repealing key health care provision could cost 125,000 Iowans coverage by 2025

Approximately 125,600 more Iowans would be uninsured by 2025 if President Donald Trump signs into law a tax bill repealing the individual mandate, according to new estimates from the Center for American Progress. The coverage losses would be highest in the fourth Congressional district, primarily due to far more people becoming unable to purchase more expensive policies on the individual market.

In fact, the Center for American Progress projects that 56,600 residents of IA-04 would become uninsured over the next seven years, more than twice as many people as in any of Iowa’s other three Congressional districts.

Follow me after the jump for Iowa’s statewide and district-level numbers.

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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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DCCC backing Abby Finkenauer in IA-01

The main political arm of U.S. House Democrats is officially promoting Abby Finkenauer as its preferred candidate to take on Representative Rod Blum in Iowa’s first district.

Finkenauer was among the initial group named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program for this election cycle, as first reported by Roll Call’s Simone Pathe on November 15. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Representative Jimmy Panetta were featured guests at a Cedar Rapids fundraiser for Finkenauer’s campaign on November 19.

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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.”

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