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.

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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.

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Axne, Miller-Meeks support Violence Against Women Act

The U.S. House voted 244 to 172 on March 17 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with some new provisions. All Democrats present, including Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03), were joined by 29 Republicans, including Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), to send the bill to the U.S. Senate. Republican Representatives Ashley Hinson (IA-01) and Randy Feenstra (IA-04) opposed the legislation.

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Iowa governor objects to "biased" federal COVID-19 funding formula

Governor Kim Reynolds and 21 of her Republican counterparts complained on February 27 that the latest Democratic COVID-19 relief package “punishes” their states.

It’s a strange take on a bill that would provide $350 billion to state and local governments across the country, including more than $2.5 billion to Iowa. In contrast, a smaller coronavirus response proposal from Republican members of Congress would allocate zero new dollars to state and local governments.

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Under Trump, farm subsidies soared and the rich got richer

Anne Schechinger: President Joe Biden and Congress must reform a wasteful and unfair farm subsidy system. This report first appeared on the Environmental Working Group’s website. -promoted by Laura Belin

Taxpayer-funded farm subsidies have long been skewed in favor of the richest farmers and landowners. But under the Trump administration, even more money went to the largest and wealthiest farms, further shortchanging smaller, struggling family farms.

The Environmental Working Group’s analysis of records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that subsidy payments to farmers ballooned from just over $4 billion in 2017 to more than $20 billion in 2020 – driven largely by ad hoc programs meant to offset the effects of President Trump’s failed trade war.

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