New GOP commandment: Thou shalt have no gods before Trump

Herb Strentz: In practice, not speaking ill of any Republican means not holding one another accountable for what they advocate. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Republican Party continues its handiwork on the Ten Commandments Moses received from Jehovah some 3,500 years ago. First came the so-called eleventh commandment in 1966: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican.”

A new version of the first commandment emerged over the past five years: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Trump.”

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Joni Ernst voted against more than half of Biden's cabinet

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has voted against confirming twelve of President Joe Biden’s cabinet appointees, a majority of the 23 cabinet officials who are subject to Senate confirmation. Senators have confirmed 21 cabinet members; Eric Lander is awaiting a vote as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the president has yet to announce a replacement for Neera Tanden, who withdrew her nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

Only ten of the 50 Republican senators have voted against more of Biden’s appointees than Ernst: Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Hagerty, Rand Paul, Richard Shelby, Marsha Blackburn, and Tim Scott.

Iowa’s senior Senator Chuck Grassley has voted against five of the 21 cabinet members confirmed so far.

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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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Joni Ernst opposing more Biden nominees than Chuck Grassley

During their six years serving together in Congress, Iowa’s two Republican U.S. senators have rarely differed on matters that came to the Senate floor. But seven weeks into Joe Biden’s presidency, a pattern is emerging: Senator Joni Ernst is more inclined to reject the new president’s nominees than is her senior colleague Chuck Grassley.

In most cases, Ernst has not released any statement explaining her confirmation votes. Her staff have not responded to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries about why she opposed specific nominees or her general approach to evaluating prospective cabinet members.

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Now she tells us: Ernst finds "garbage" tweets disqualifying

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has voted against seven of President Joe Biden’s nominees so far: Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, United Nations Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

This week the junior Iowa senator announced her opposition to another Biden pick: Colin Kahl for undersecretary of defense for policy. Kahl’s more than qualified for the position. The sticking point for Ernst and many of her Republican colleagues was a surprising one for anyone familiar with former President Donald Trump’s social media presence.

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Revised GOP election bill would exclude thousands more Iowa voters

UPDATE: Governor Reynolds signed the bill on March 8. Top Democratic election attorney Marc Elias posted on Twitter, “This is the first major suppression law since the 2020 election. Expect litigation here and elsewhere GOP legislatures follow this path.” Bleeding Heartland covered the lawsuit Elias filed here. Original post follows.

On a party-line vote of 30 to 18, the Iowa Senate on February 23 approved Senate File 413, a new version of a bill that would restrict every aspect of the early voting process. The following day, the Iowa House approved the bill on a party-line 57 to 37 vote. Governor Kim Reynolds is expected to sign the bill; Republican Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley have each endorsed limits on early voting in recent days.

Although State Senator Roby Smith’s amendment addressed a few of the concerns raised by county auditors and advocates for vulnerable populations, the revised legislation would make it even harder for thousands of Iowans to have their absentee ballots counted. In a new twist, it shortens election-day voting hours as well.

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