board argued that because a $1.9 trillion spending bill, filled with unrelated
and wasteful provisions, passed on a party-line basis, we turned our backs on
Iowa. Just one problem: We supported aid for Iowa
included in this bill. We
also supported aid for Iowans that Democrats stripped out of it. This is on top
of the $4 trillion in aid that Congress passed last year on a bipartisan basis,
hundreds of billions of which have yet to be spent.
the Register chose to ignore them, let’s take a look at the facts.
supported an amendment to President Joe Biden’s massive spending bill that
would have provided $650 billion in targeted pandemic aid — the very same
policies that the editorial board argues are so critical to delivering
real relief to Iowans. Based on pandemic relief in Biden’s own plan, the
proposal was offered by Republicans as a consensus approach to additional aid,
but Republicans were shut out of the legislative process at every stage.
Register alleges that we “rejected funding for coronavirus testing and vaccine
distribution.” In fact, the plan we supported provided $160 billion to support
vaccine distribution, expanded access to testing and protective medical gear
and restocked the Strategic National Stockpile. It also included $35 billion to
assist health care providers and hospitals, with an $8.5 billion set-aside for
rural hospitals like those that serve much of Iowa.
editorial board claimed that we “chose not to support families.” Wrong
again. We supported legislation that would have provided $12.4 billion in
nutrition assistance programs for families in need. This includes additional
funding for the WIC program, pandemic EBT and SNAP, including extending
increased SNAP benefits. It also would have provided $20 billion in
immediate assistance to support child care for families. Further, it included
$19 billion to help safely reopen schools so our children have the best
opportunity to succeed.
claims to the contrary, we voted for $50 billion in aid to small businesses, an
extension of $300-per-week supplemental unemployment assistance and $1,400
including much of the same COVID-related policies in Biden’s plan, it didn’t
earn a single Democrat’s vote. That’s because Democrats opted to leverage the
pandemic to force through a number of totally unrelated political priorities,
including an $86 billion bailout to mismanaged pensions without any reforms and
enough tax dollars to offset other states’ habitual mismanagement. Democrats rejected Sen. Chuck Grassley’s proposal
protect taxpayers and achieve long-term solvency for the multiemployer pension
system. Erasing New York’s deficit
might be welcomed news to
New Yorkers, but Iowans, whose state leaders routinely balance the budget,
should not have to send their hard-earned tax dollars to profligate states —
especially during a pandemic.
Register attempts to absolve the Democrats’ costly partisan pursuit by claiming
that Republicans refused to work with Democrats in the past but failed to
mention the $4 trillion in coronavirus relief passed in five separate broadly
bipartisan bills under Republican leadership. It also omitted a bipartisan amendment offered by Grassley and Rep. Randy
that would have extended disaster aid to Iowa farmers
impacted by last year’s derecho — a proposal every Democrat voted to remove.
Who’s really turning their backs on Iowans?
simple fact is that Republicans and Democrats largely agreed on additional
coronavirus relief. Had Democrats agreed to focus on the targeted COVID aid
that both sides supported, Congress could have delivered that relief weeks ago,
just as it did five times before. But the Democrats' partisan plan is about
much more than the current pandemic. Hundreds of billions of the $1.9 trillion
price tag have nothing to do with the pandemic, and billions of dollars in the
bill won’t be spent for years — well after the pandemic ends. The bill passed
in the House even included a number of pet projects that Democratic leadership
had to abandon because they were such blatant attempts to hijack tax dollars in
a time of national crisis. That’s something we certainly do not support.
Register editorial board would have you believe that opposing such a bloated
bill is equivalent to opposing any aid. We doubt the Register would feel the
same had Republicans inserted $800 billion for the border wall in last year’s
CARES Act and dared Democrats to vote against it. This paper would have
criticized such blatant political opportunism, and they’d be right to do so.
Republicans chose consensus over opportunism because it’s what the nation
needed then, and it’s what we still need today.
continue to focus on helping Iowans weather the challenges of this pandemic,
but we will not sell out Iowa taxpayers and saddle future generations with
wasteful spending that pays for partisan bloat.