Last Friday, I was at the Capitol until about 2 am voting on the $1,900,000,000,000 spending bill put forward by House Democrats. I could not support the House version of this legislation that was filled with pork spending completely unrelated to the pandemic--less than nine percent of the spending in this legislation would actually go to public health efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. This legislation is currently being revised and considered by the Senate.
Tucked into the House bill was a $140 million carve out to fund a subway project in Speaker Pelosi’s home state of California--what does that have to do with COVID-19 relief? When I found out about this, I introduced an amendment to redirect this funding to mental health resources for kids, which are desperately needed with increased rates of anxiety, depression, and even suicide attempts among our youngest and most vulnerable children.
While House Democrats rejected my amendment and opted to keep funding for Speaker Pelosi's subway in the bill, I am happy to report this funding was removed from the Senate version of the legislation. The $15 federal minimum wage mandate was also removed. That's two down and a lot more Washington pork spending provisions to go before this legislation meets the standard of targeted relief that Iowans are demanding. I will keep you updated as this legislation changes and advances--I am hopeful the final version will look more like the five bipartisan, targeted COVID-19 relief bills that have previously passed with broad support.
This week, the House voted on H.R. 1, legislation that would federalize our election system and take power away from states to administer their own elections. After the 2020 election, we should absolutely focus on improving faith in our electoral process. But this legislation would overrule states’ Constitutional authority over their own elections, make pandemic-style election changes permanent, and even send taxpayer dollars to political candidates. You can learn more about this legislation here and be sure to watch the Facebook live conversation I hosted to break down the provisions in the bill below.
I also worked with my fellow Iowans in a bipartisan way this week to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations in Iowa. Folks in rural Iowa have faced unique barriers in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, and I've heard from many Iowans who have been frustrated and worried about this process. The newly approved, single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a huge opportunity for rural communities. That's why all of Iowa's House Members wrote to the Biden Administration to ensure that the needs of rural Iowa are prioritized as this vaccine is distributed. We will keep working together to ensure that all Iowans who want a vaccine can receive one, regardless of where you live.