Iowa Republicans say little about voting to shut down government

The federal government will stay open until at least February 18, after the U.S. House and Senate passed a continuing funding resolution on December 2. Only one House Republican crossed party lines to support the resolution, which mostly maintains spending levels agreed during the Trump administration. Iowa’s Representatives Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), and Randy Feenstra (IA-04) opposed the bill.

In the upper chamber, nineteen GOP senators joined Democrats to send the legislation to President Joe Biden. Notably, Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst voted against the bill, even though they had supported resolutions setting federal spending at these levels while Donald Trump was president.

Continue Reading...

What the bipartisan infrastructure bill will spend in Iowa

The state of Iowa will receive approximately $5 billion from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill headed to President Joe Biden’s desk, according to calculations published by U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03). Axne, the lone Democrat in Iowa’s Congressional delegation, was among the 215 Democrats and thirteen Republicans who approved the bill late in the evening on November 5. (Procedural matters earlier in the day led to the two longest votes in U.S. House history.)

Iowa’s three Republicans in the chamber—Representatives Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), and Randy Feenstra (IA-04)—opposed the infrastructure legislation.

When the Senate approved the same bill in August, Iowa’s Republicans landed on opposite sides, with Senator Chuck Grassley supporting the infrastructure package and Senator Joni Ernst voting against it.

HOW FUNDS WILL BE SPENT IN IOWA

The bill involves about $550 billion in spending not previously approved by Congress. Axne’s news release estimated Iowa’s share of several large pieces. Our state stands to receive:

Continue Reading...

Seniors can't afford another six years of Chuck Grassley

Kay Pence highlights Senator Grassley’s double standards on the federal deficit, depending on which party controls the presidency.

I was 4 years old when Senator Grassley first entered elected office. I grew up, got married, raised a family, went to college, had a career and now I’m retired. Who knows, I may have even voted for Senator Grassley at one time. A lot has changed in the last 62 years though: namely, Chuck Grassley. 

Normally I would support a healthy senior continuing to work as long as they want. However, I’ve always believed we send Representatives to Congress to represent our interests. The Alliance for Retired Americans has been tracking Representatives’ voting records since it was formed in 2001 and Senator Grassley has only voted correctly on senior issues 11 percent of the time.

 

Continue Reading...

Catholic nuns to Cindy Axne: Tax the rich

Sister Jeanie and Sister Elaine Hagedorn, who co-authored this post, are Catholic sisters with the Congregation of the Humility of Mary. They live in Des Moines and are longtime advocates for Catholic social justice with groups like NETWORK.

No matter where we come from or what we look like, Iowans believe that working families deserve a fair shot. All work has value, and all working people have rights, from farmworkers in vibrant rural towns to factory workers in our bustling cities. But for too long, a greedy few corporations and CEOs have rigged the game in Iowa and across the world, taking from working people to make sure that a powerful few can get rich off the profit that working Iowans, particularly Black and Brown working Iowans, produce.

For years, wages in Iowa have stagnated for everyone, and the racial wealth gap has exacerbated inequalities embedded in our economic system. In particular, Black, Brown, and Indigenous workers have been pushed to the economic margins by systemic inequality in our tax code. Meanwhile, the climate crisis continues to put all Iowa families at risk as storms like the 2020 derecho devastate working neighborhoods.

As Catholic nuns with decades of ministry experience in Iowa, we have worked closely with those most impacted by Iowa’s inequities. Union workers, immigrant communities, hungry children, and houseless families have turned to social services, religious communities, and mutual aid efforts because of our state and federal government’s misplaced priorities.

Continue Reading...

Grassley touts infrastructure vote; Ernst quiet on opposition

Can you guess which Iowa senator is up for re-election in 2022, and which one won’t face Iowa voters for another five years?

In a rare gesture of bipartisanship on August 10, the U.S. Senate approved by 69 votes to 30 a bill that would spend $1.2 trillion on infrastructure projects. Iowa’s senior Senator Chuck Grassley was among nineteen Republicans who supported final passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, despite being unhappy with the amendment process. Senator Joni Ernst stuck with the majority of the GOP caucus in opposition; the no votes included potential 2024 presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

In a written statement enclosed in full below, Grassley said, “Iowa’s aging infrastructure risks slowing economic growth and eroding daily comfort and convenience. This bipartisan bill fixes potholes, rebuilds bridges, upgrades water systems and brings broadband to rural corners of our state. Investing in Iowa’s infrastructure will pay dividends for decades to come.” His news release highlighted reports showing Iowa has more structurally deficient bridges than any other state and many large roads in poor or fair condition.

Continue Reading...

Grassley votes to advance bipartisan infrastructure bill (updated)

Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst rarely land on opposite sides of any issue, but it happened on an important U.S. Senate floor vote on August 7. Iowa’s senior senator was among eighteen Republicans who joined Democrats on a procedural vote to advance a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Ernst was among the 27 Republicans who voted against the motion, which needed 60 votes to pass.

Grassley has not been among the 20 senators negotiating the bipartisan bill. He has spoken favorably of federal spending on projects like roads, bridges, airports, and broadband, but said this week “the big hold-up for me” on the infrastructure proposal is whether the “pay-for” provisions to cover the costs are real or just “gimmicks.”

A vote for the final version of this bill would be another data point suggesting Grassley intends to seek re-election in 2022.

Continue Reading...
View More...