59 senators defended the constitution. Not Chuck Grassley or Joni Ernst

President Donald Trump will soon cast his first veto. The U.S. Senate approved on March 14 a resolution disapproving of Trump’s declaration of emergency powers. All 47 members of the Democratic caucus and twelve Republicans voted for the resolution (roll call). Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst were among the 41 Republicans to oppose terminating Trump’s power grab.

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Steve King voted "present" on anti-bigotry resolution (updated)

Representative Steve King (IA-04) was the only member of the U.S. House to vote “present” on March 7, as the chamber passed a broad resolution condemning various forms of bigotry. Every Democrat, including Iowa Representatives Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Cindy Axne (IA-03) supported the measure, along with 173 Republicans (roll call). Another 23 Republicans voted no.

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U.S. House votes to preserve Iowa redistricting system

The U.S. House of Representatives amended a broad election reform bill today to exempt the state of Iowa from new rules on redistricting. Democratic Representative Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) offered the amendment, which House members adopted by voice vote. Her office said in a statement enclosed below that Finkenauer “worked tirelessly over several days to ensure the matter was addressed.”

Bleeding Heartland reported on March 4 that Iowa House Republicans were depicting H.R. 1 as an attempt by Congressional Democrats to “overturn nonpartisan redistricting in Iowa.” Finkenauer’s amendment stipulates that the bill’s section on independent redistricting commissions, which is designed to prevent gerrymandering elsewhere,

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Grassley, Ernst can show they're serious about executive overreach

The U.S. House voted on February 26 to terminate President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build a wall that Congress repeatedly declined to authorize or fund. All 232 Democrats present, including Iowa’s Representatives Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Cindy Axne (IA-03) backed the resolution, joined by thirteen House Republicans (roll call). Representative Steve King (IA-04) was among 182 Republicans who opposed the joint resolution.

In statements enclosed in full below, Finkenauer, Axne, and Loebsack highlighted the need to defend the checks and balances prescribed by the U.S. Constitution, which grants spending power to Congress.

The National Emergencies Act requires a U.S. Senate vote within eighteen days on any House-approved joint resolution to terminate a presidential declaration. Three Senate Republicans have already pledged to vote for the resolution. More than half a dozen others criticized Trump’s decision and seem open to formally rejecting it.

Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are not seen as potential supporters of this bipartisan effort. They have never defied the Trump administration and had little to say about the president’s power grab. But given their stature in the Republican caucus and their forceful denunciations of President Barack Obama’s executive actions, Iowa’s senators have an excellent opportunity to show some principles matter more to them than political loyalty.

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Iowa Congressional reaction to ending government shutdown

The federal government reopened as of 9:23 pm Eastern time on January 25. Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump retreated from his demand that any spending bill include money for a wall along the U.S. southern border.

Why cave now? For weeks, media around the country have been reporting on the hardship faced by some 800,000 federal workers and at least 1 million contractors going without pay. Trump changed course largely for two reasons: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied him permission to deliver a State of the Union address while the government was shut down, and several major east coast airports experienced delays on January 25 due to air traffic controller staff shortages.

Shortly after Trump announced his new position, the U.S. House and Senate approved by voice votes a continuing resolution to fund the government for three weeks. Congressional leaders and White House representatives will attempt to work out some kind of immigration compromise by February 15. The deal includes an extension and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which expired near the beginning of the shutdown.

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