Iowa Democrats split on latest COVID-19 relief bill

The U.S. House on October 1 approved a new version of a coronavirus relief package. The 214 to 207 vote split mostly along party lines, but Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03) was among eighteen Democrats to oppose the bill, along with all Republicans (roll call).

When the previous version of the so-called Heroes Act came before the House in May, Representative Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) joined Axne in voting no, while Representative Dave Loebsack (IA-02) supported the bill, as did most House Democrats. Today Finkenauer and Loebsack both voted with the majority of their caucus.

Statements from all three Iowa Democrats in Congress are after the jump. Republican Representative Steve King (IA-04) voted against the bill but didn’t post about it on his social media. His office has not put out a news release since a few days before King lost the June primary to State Senator Randy Feenstra.

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Chamber of Commerce backing Finkenauer in IA-01, Axne in IA-03

In the clearest sign yet that the business establishment is preparing for a Democratic administration in Washington, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will endorse 23 first-term House Democrats, including U.S. Representatives Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) and Cindy Axne (IA-03).

Alex Gangitano was first to report the planned endorsements for The Hill on September 1. Other political reporters soon confirmed the news.

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Iowa OSHA visits two more meatpackers; other plants cleared with no inspection

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) staff conducted on-site inspections of two more Iowa meatpacking plants this week, the Iowa Division of Labor confirmed to Bleeding Heartland on June 2.

Documents provided the following day show regulators closed at least four coronavirus-related complaints against Iowa pork processors with no inspection.

Inspectors toured the Tyson Foods turkey plant in Storm Lake and the Perdue Premium pork facility in Sioux Center on June 1. Both site visits stemmed from “media referrals” rather than complaints, meaning officials acted on unspecified news reports or information relayed to OSHA by a journalistic source.

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Axne, Finkenauer vote against latest Democratic COVID-19 relief bill

Iowa’s two first-term members of the U.S. House were among fourteen Democrats to oppose the latest bill drafted to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The so-called HEROES Act cleared the lower chamber on May 15 by 208 votes to 199 (roll call). It called for an estimated $3 trillion in spending, including “nearly $1 trillion in aid to battered states, cities and Native American tribes, and another round of bolstered jobless benefits and direct government payments to Americans.”

Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate oppose the bill, so its passage in the House serves primarily to communicate preferred Democratic policy.

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Iowa governor ensuring buck stops with her on shelter-in-place

Governor Kim Reynolds continues to resist calls from local government leaders to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order. She confirmed on March 30 she doesn’t plan to give cities or counties the authority to restrict public movements in their own jurisdictions.

Her stance ensures Reynolds will be held responsible if novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections spiral out of control in any part of Iowa.

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Ernst, Grassley sought lower payments for unemployed in new COVID-19 bill

Congress “expanded unemployment insurance by 250 billion dollars” to support laid-off workers, Senator Joni Ernst said during a news conference organized by Governor Kim Reynolds on March 29.

She didn’t mention that she and fellow Republican Senator Chuck Grassley had voted to reduce the amount millions of jobless people will receive over the next four months.

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