Senator Ernst's double standard on trade

Tyler Granger works for the National Wildlife Federation in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

Being in Iowa, it won’t take long to hear U.S. Senator Joni Ernst talk about the importance of trade.

While Ernst has made good points about the United States Mexico Canada Agreement and ongoing talks with China, the junior senator’s actions on another trade-related issue are a different story. She has dismissed and disregarded the Paris Climate Agreement and all its trade potential.

Continue Reading...

Steve King won't demand that Russia stop attacking Ukraine, other democracies

The U.S. House on December 3 passed a resolution disapproving of “Russia’s inclusion in future Group of Seven summits” until that country ends “its occupation of all of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, including Crimea, and halts its attacks on democracies worldwide.”

The measure easily surpassed the two-thirds vote needed under a suspension of usual House rules, with all 222 Democrats present and 116 Republicans supporting it (roll call). Iowa’s three Democratic members–Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Cindy Axne (IA-03)–all supported the measure. But U.S. Representative Steve King (IA-04) was among 71 House Republicans who voted no.

Continue Reading...

Joni Ernst won't cross NRA for deal on Violence Against Women Act

Months of work on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which lapsed in February, “came to a screeching halt” this week, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst announced on the Senate floor on November 7.

For 25 years, that federal law has supported “criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the United States.” Congress has reauthorized it three times, each time with improvements. By Ernst’s telling, “Democrats are putting politics ahead of people,” rejecting a bipartisan approach to revive the law in favor of “non-starter” legislation the U.S. House approved in April.

Some salient facts were missing from Ernst’s narrative. The House bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act was bipartisan: 33 Republicans voted for it.

Ernst also left out a few relevant words: guns, firearms, and National Rifle Association.

Continue Reading...

IA-02: A strange choice by Mariannette Miller-Meeks

Imagine you’re a newly-elected legislator. Your party leaders think highly enough of you to make you a committee chair right away. It’s a good committee, handling important bills on subjects you care about.

Would you walk away from that post, less than a year into a four-year term, to spend more time running for another office? State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks just did.

Continue Reading...

Iowa political reaction to U.S. House vote on impeachment

The U.S. House voted mostly along party lines (232 votes to 196) on October 31 to approve rules for an impeachment inquiry. Iowa’s four House members split as one would expect: Democratic Representatives Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted for the resolution, while Republican Steve King (IA-04) opposed it.

The New York Times explained that the resolution

authorizes the House Intelligence Committee — the panel that has been leading the investigation and conducting private depositions — to convene public hearings and produce a report that will guide the Judiciary Committee as it considers whether to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump.

The measure also gives the president rights in the Judiciary Committee, allowing his lawyers to participate in hearings and giving Republicans the chance to request subpoenas for witnesses and documents. But the White House says it still did not provide “basic due process rights,” and Republicans complain that their ability to issue subpoenas is limited. They would need the consent of Democrats, or a vote of a majority of members. That has been standard in previous modern impeachments. The majority has the final say over how the proceedings unfold.

I enclose below statements from Finkenauer, Loebsack, and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. I will update this post as needed with comments from the other members of the Congressional delegation. Grassley’s mind appears to be made up: “This entire process has been contaminated from the beginning and the Senate may have a difficult time taking seriously an impeachment founded on these bases.” That’s comical, given that Iowa’s senior senator voted to remove President Bill Clinton from office on charges stemming from an investigation into unrelated property transactions.

Continue Reading...

Joni Ernst locked into Trump's talking points on impeachment

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst repeatedly insisted today that she will evaluate any evidence about President Donald Trump’s wrongdoing as a “jurist.” But in her first conference call with Iowa reporters since mid-September, Ernst didn’t sound like a juror with an open mind about the case.

On the contrary, the senator expertly echoed White House talking points, from denouncing a “political show” and unfair process to using Trump’s derisive nickname for a key House committee chair.

Continue Reading...
View More...