Iowa's suffering senator

I’ve had it with Iowa’s welfare queens. Wells Fargo. Rockwell Collins. Pioneer Dupont. Chuck Grassley.

Yes, Grassley. The senator announced this week that he’ll apply for federal farm bailout money. Despite being worth $3.3 million. Despite working full-time as a U.S. senator since 1981. Despite his criticism of government assistance for the poor.

In an October 4 Des Moines Register story, Grassley said, “I would brag to you, actually, that this experience of mine — not being an absentee landlord but suffering what farmers suffer and being joyful when they are joyful — is a good experience for a senator from an agricultural state to have.”

Continue Reading...

Big test coming up for Joni Ernst (updated)

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has cultivated an image as a politician who is deeply concerned about sexual assault. Her official website has a whole page dedicated to the issue.

But as Senate Republicans appear ready to ram through Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation for the U.S. Supreme Court, Ernst has not demanded any thorough investigation of the allegations against Kavanaugh. On the contrary: she is ready to reward his aggressive, evasive performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee with a lifetime seat on the high court.

Continue Reading...

Seven riveting passages from Politico's profile of Kent Sorenson

Anyone who has followed Iowa politics during the past decade must read Tim Alberta’s profile of former State Senator Kent Sorenson in the latest edition of Politico Magazine. “Kent Sorenson Was a Tea Party Hero. Then He Lost Everything” is fascinating from beginning to end, so I strongly encourage clicking through to read the whole piece.

Having covered Sorenson’s legislative career and intensely disagreed with nearly everything he stood for, I was genuinely moved to learn how his outlook has changed over the past few years. Some passages that caught my eye are after the jump.

Continue Reading...

Interview: What drives Senator Jeff Merkley

“We need to use every tool we have to reclaim our country,” U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley told me during his latest visit to Des Moines. “We are at the verge of a tipping point, and maybe we’re almost past it, in which the power of the mega-wealthy is so profound that we can’t tip the balance back in to we the people.”

The senator from Oregon spent much of Labor Day weekend in central Iowa supporting Democratic candidates for the state legislature. His fifth trip here since the 2016 election won’t be his last: he will be a featured speaker at the Polk County Steak Fry later this month. During our September 2 interview, I asked Merkley about the most important matters pending in the U.S. Senate, prospects for Democrats in November, and his possible presidential candidacy.

Continue Reading...

Grassley, Ernst join new GOP shell game on pre-existing conditions

Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are among ten U.S. Senate Republicans co-sponsoring a bill that purports to protect health insurance coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

There’s a catch: the legislation would require insurance companies to sell policies to people with pre-existing conditions, but it wouldn’t stop them from excluding coverage for those very conditions.

Continue Reading...
View More...