# Joe Biden



Ernst votes for gun violence package

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst was among fifteen Republicans who joined the entire Democratic caucus on June 23 to advance a package designed to reduce gun violence.

Senator Chuck Grassley and 33 other GOP senators opposed the cloture motion to end debate (roll call), which under Senate rules needed 60 votes to pass.

Neither Ernst nor Grassley has released a statement on today’s vote or mentioned it on their social media feeds.

The bill includes:

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Iowa Democrats won't speak truth to ethanol power

The biofuels industry got a big win in the Iowa legislature this week, as the state House and Senate approved a bill requiring most gas stations in the state to dispense a higher ethanol blend known as E15 from at least half of their pumps.

All but a handful of Democratic legislators voted for the bill, and no Democrat spoke against the proposal during Senate or House floor debate.

It was the latest example of how Iowa Democratic politicians have embraced biofuels industry talking points and avoided challenging any policies seen as supporting ethanol.

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Three Iowans among first to have sentences commuted by Biden

President Joe Biden issued three pardons on April 26 and announced commutations for 75 people convicted of nonviolent federal drug offenses.

In a written statement, Biden said he was using his clemency powers during “Second Chance Month” to pardon “three people who have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation and are striving every day to give back and contribute to their communities.”

I am also commuting the sentences of 75 people who are serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses, many of whom have been serving on home confinement during the COVID-pandemic—and many of whom would have received a lower sentence if they were charged with the same offense today, thanks to the bipartisan First Step Act. 

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Tax Day 2022: The rich get richer while everyday Iowans struggle

Sue Dinsdale is the director of Iowa Citizen Action Network and leads the Health Care For America NOW campaign in Iowa.

Rising inflation and the escalating cost of everything from gas to houses made Tax Day 2022 more memorable for some Americans than in past years. Rising economic anxiety is bound to collide with middle class tax bills as families worry about the future and make plans to tighten their belts over the short-term. 

But the nation’s 700 billionaires face no such worries. Unlike the rest of us who struggled through the pandemic and are now trying to catch up in its aftermath, billionaires actually increased their wealth substantially during the last two years.

Yet, thanks to our skewed tax code, they won’t have to pay more in taxes like the rest of us do. 

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Russia sanctions Iowa members of Congress

All four Iowans serving in the U.S. House of Representatives were among 398 members of Congress the Russian Federation sanctioned on April 13. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the move as a reaction to the Biden administration’s sanctions against hundreds of Russian parliamentarians.

U.S. Representatives Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), Cindy Axne (IA-03), and Randy Feenstra (IA-04) have all voted for military assistance to Ukraine in recent weeks. And it’s unlikely any are bothered by the prospect of being denied entry to Russia.

In fact, Hinson tweeted that the sanctions were a “badge of honor,” adding,

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Why Iowa's senators voted against historic SCOTUS confirmation

The U.S. Senate made history on April 7 by confirming the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court, with the country’s first Black vice president presiding. Three Republicans joined all 50 members of the Senate Democratic caucus to confirm Appeals Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, prompting loud applause in the chamber.

There was never any doubt that Iowa’s two Republicans would vote against this confirmation. However, Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst laid out their reasons for opposing Judge Brown Jackson only this week.

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