After spending the last few weeks traveling through Iowa, and visiting all 20 counties in the First District, the House was back in session this week and I was in Washington, D.C.
Iowa’s families, businesses, and communities are still struggling after nearly a year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. While traveling through the district, I heard directly from Iowans about the need to expand and extend critical lifelines like the Paycheck Protection Program that allowed small businesses across Iowa to keep their doors open, as well as direct assistance that helped families make ends meet during this difficult time.
I would have been the first to cross the aisle and compromise to help deliver this relief to Iowans and put our country back on the right track. However, the bill did not focus on COVID-19 relief, stopping the spread of the virus, or getting students and teachers back in the classroom. In fact, less than 9% of the money in the legislation would go toward public health measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Instead, the House version of the bill prioritized harmful and divisive provisions like a federally mandated $15-dollar minimum wage. Even though there is $1,000,000,000,000 from previous relief bills still unspent, this legislation contained no guardrails to ensure new money is used for pandemic relief this year. This is a flagrant abuse of taxpayer dollars.
As a Member of the House Budget Committee, I had the opportunity to try and make this bill better and direct resources to actual COVID-19 relief and mitigation efforts. I teamed up with my fellow Iowan, Representative Randy Feenstra, to offer a motion that would have stopped certain aspects of this bill from being implemented until a full and detailed report on how these policies would impact workers is made available to taxpayers. I also called on my colleagues to ensure frontline workers can get vaccines and offered a motion that would prevent schools that fail to reopen from receiving additional federal relief funding.
These attempts were ultimately rejected by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and despite our best efforts, the final bill they plan to bring to the House Floor tonight is unacceptable--it is a Democrat spending bill, not a COVID-19 relief bill.
In addition to my efforts to provide targeted COVID-19 relief to Iowans, I was also hard at work on priorities for Iowa's First Congressional District, including fighting for our farmers! Read on for more about my work for you this week.