DC Dispatch: Iowans work together on agriculture and health issues as Democrats pass spending bills


Welcome to the DC Dispatch. It has been a busy week in Washington as Democrats brought forward their two major spending bills, breaking month-long deadlocks. In the background, the Iowa delegation was working on bipartisan bills on transparency in livestock prices and aid to health care providers, and Republicans called for a vote on overturning the warrants of the vaccines.

There will be no DC Dispatch next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Biden signs infrastructure bill

President Joe Biden enacted the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure package on Monday, the first of two key policy priorities Democrats have been pushing for months.

The law provides money for traditional infrastructure, like roads and bridges, and for new projects, like expanding broadband, public transportation and more.

Representative Cindy Axne, Democrat, and Republican Senator Chuck Grassley were the only two members of the Iowa delegation to vote in favor of the bill. Axne attended the signing of the bill on Monday evening.

Axne highlighted several parts of the plan in a press release on Monday, including $ 65 billion for rural broadband. She predicted that at least $ 100 million would go towards expanding broadband in Iowa.

In total, Axne estimated that more than $ 5 billion from the plan would go to Iowa and that the law would create more than 770,000 jobs in the state.

Grassley maintained his yes on Tuesday, saying that “without a doubt, the policy is good for Iowa”.

House advances reconciliation bill along party lines

The other half of the spending program is a $ 1.85 trillion plan that creates new programs for child care, education, health care, taxes and more. The House I spent it on Friday morning along party lines, with the exception of a Democrat from Maine.

Axne voted in favor. Republican representatives from Iowa, Randy Feenstra, Ashley Hinson and Mariannettte Miller-Meeks voted against.

Read more: House Democrats adopt Biden’s $ 1.85 trillion plan to ‘build back better’

Entire Iowa Delegation Introduces Cattle Bill

There has also been bipartisan work this week: the Iowa delegation has partnered with a bill that increase price transparency in the livestock market. The four members of the House and the two senators are co-sponsors of the bill.

“Although the cost of beef continues to rise, independent beef producers have seen prices drop or stagnate for too long. It is clear that the current bargaining structure puts consumers and small beef farms at a disadvantage… ”Feenstra said in a statement.

Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst introduced an identical bill in the Senate. This bill also enjoys bipartisan support.

“This bipartisan bill is the best opportunity we have for real reform of the livestock market this year and I will continue to work with my colleagues to cross the finish line,” said Grassley.

Grassley Law Enforcement Bills Enacted

Three bills drafted or co-sponsored by Grassley became law this week. The laws extend and improve disability protections for law enforcement officers, introduce confidential peer counseling programs, and clarify the legal consequences of murdering an officer serving outside the United States.

“Supporting law enforcement is common sense,” Grassley said in a statement. “And this is especially important after ministries have faced ill-advised fundraising efforts, difficulties maintaining morale and the workforce, and an increase in crime.”

Republicans to force vote on vaccine mandate

Iowa Republicans in both chambers joined a resolution to challenge Biden’s vaccine and testing rules for big business. Using the Congressional Review Act, the House and the Senate will have to vote on whether or not to cancel the decree.

Republicans are unlikely to reverse the order, but the vote could be politically tricky for moderate Democrats.

Axne and Miller-Meeks Propose Changes to Health Care Assistance Funds

Axne and Miller-Meeks are co-sponsors of a new bill that more quickly distribute relief funds to suppliers. The bill would also allow vendors to use the funds to protect employees from rising violence rate.

“Having the flexibility to use whatever COVID-19 relief funds are available to them is a critical part of that goal,” Miller-Meeks said.


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