Iowa reaction to aid plan for farmers hurt by trade war

“Tariffs are the greatest!” President Donald Trump tweeted today, adding that “All will be Great!”

A few hours later, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced “up to $12 billion in programs” aimed at helping farmers, “in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods.”

Trump will surely talk up the assistance at his joint event with Representative Rod Blum (IA-01) in Dubuque on July 26. But the escalating trade war isn’t just affecting farmers. Steel tariffs are hurting manufacturers too. “Whirpool shares plummeted Tuesday after executives blamed rising steel and aluminum costs for diminished quarterly earnings,” Michael Sheetz reported for CNBC on July 24. Whirlpool’s refrigerator factory in Amana is the largest employer in Iowa County.

While Democrats criticized the temporary response to a “self-inflicted wound,” top Iowa Republicans reacted to the farm aid plan in three distinct ways. Blum and Representative Steve King (IA-04) unambiguously praised the president. Their U.S. House colleague David Young (IA-03) was notably more critical of Trump’s policy. Iowa’s U.S. senators, Governor Kim Reynolds, and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig tried to thread the needle, depicting themselves as fighting for Iowa farmers and open markets without denouncing the president’s approach to trade negotiations.

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Iowa's Congressional delegation reacts to #TreasonSummit

Progressive political strategist and multimedia producer Greg Hauenstein takes on the astonishing events in Helsinki. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I jotted down some quick thoughts on the press conference between President Donald Trump and Russian Dictator President Vladimir Putin that has jaws dropping globally.

TL;DR version: Trump says he believes Putin & Co. didn’t mess with our elections.

This flies in the face of evidence from the CIA, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Trump’s own Justice Department who just moments ago announced the arrest of a Russian national for “infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation.”

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Grassley, Ernst confirm DOJ official with Russia ties, little experience

The new leader of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division has never prosecuted a case and recently represented a major Russian bank aligned with the Kremlin. Nevertheless, Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst joined every Republican present (plus one conservative Democrat) to confirm Brian Benczkowski on July 11 as assistant attorney general.

What could go wrong?

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Report from Senator Joni Ernst's town hall in Shenandoah

First-person accounts of political events are always fun to read. Thanks to Susie Olesen, a semi-retired former teacher and school administrator in southwest Iowa, for this write-up. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Senator Joni Ernst’s July 6 town hall at the high school auditorium in Shenandoah (Page County) was a well-attended, civil meeting. People who wanted to participate filled out a slip of paper, which were drawn out of a glass jar to determine who would be able to ask questions. Ernst sat at a table in front of the room.

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