Best of Bleeding Heartland's original reporting in 2020

My primary goal in running this website is to provide Iowa political news and analysis that’s not available anywhere else. I’m proud of what Bleeding Heartland accomplished in 2020 and want to highlight some of the investigative reporting and accountability journalism published first or exclusively here.

A forthcoming post will review the site’s most popular pieces from 2020, which included many I worked hardest on or most enjoyed writing.

As always, I’m grateful for readers whose appetite for this kind of reporting keeps me going.

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Steve King has skipped almost every U.S. House vote since the election

U.S. House members took two important votes on December 28. First, 231 Democrats and 44 Republicans approved a motion to increase direct COVID-19 relief payments for millions of Americans from $600 to $2,000, as President Donald Trump had demanded last week. About an hour later, 322 representatives voted to override Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act. Iowa’s three Democratic representatives (Abby Finkenauer, Dave Loebsack, and Cindy Axne) were part of both majority votes.

Outgoing U.S. Representative Steve King was not present for either vote. Since the November election, he has missed most of the House floor action.

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Most Iowans in Congress supported latest COVID-19 package

The U.S. House and Senate on December 21 approved a $2.3 trillion package to fund the federal government through September 30, 2021 and provide approximately $900 billion in economic stimulus or relief connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

No one in either chamber had time to read the legislation, which was nearly 5,600 pages long, before voting on it. Statements released by Iowans in Congress, which I’ve enclosed below, highlight many of its key provisions. The unemployment and direct payments to families are clearly insufficient to meet the needs of millions of struggling Americans. Senate Republicans blocked aid to state and local governments, many of which are facing budget shortfalls. President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to push for a much larger economic stimulus package early next year.

The legislation headed to President Donald Trump’s desk includes some long overdue changes, such as new limits on “surprise billing” by health care providers for emergency care and some out-of-network care.

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Steve King joined effort to toss Pennsylvania election result (updated)

Outgoing U.S. Representative Steve King was one of 23 Republican members of Congress who sought unsuccessfully this week to have the U.S. Supreme Court throw out Pennsylvania’s presidential election.

King and fellow House Republicans signed an amicus curiae brief supporting U.S. Representative Mike Kelly’s effort to block certification of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results. Kelly argued that “the state legislature’s provision of no-excuse absentee voting violated both the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions.”

Iowa has long had no-excuse voting by mail, and to my knowledge, King has never suggested that system is unconstitutional. Neither King nor his Congressional staff responded to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiry about the apparent inconsistency. In the past month, King has amplified false claims of election fraud on his social media feeds.

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I know both candidates in House district 16. Jen Pellant is the correct choice

Ann Wilson is the publisher of the Carroll Times Herald. -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m in the fortunate position of knowing two good people running for Iowa House District 16 in Council Bluffs. You are fortunate to have public-minded and bright people in your city willing to serve in these troubling times.

I like and respect both Jen Pellant and Brent Siegrist, but considering the issues and responsibilities and needs of our state, I humbly submit that Jen Pellant is the correct choice in this race — and, for the record, I filled my ballot out in this election with votes for both Republicans and Democrats. This is not partisan. It is about skill set.

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