Sen. Joni Ernst led a charge this week to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which expired in 2018. Iowa’s delegation also tackled issues of inflation, masks in schools, crime, the Beijing Olympics and the United States Postal Service.
Here’s the news about Iowans serving in the nation’s Capitol:
Ernst leads introduction of Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act
A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, a bill to strengthen legal protections and increase resources for violence and sexual assault survivors. Sen. Joni Ernst is one of two Republican senators leading the push.
“As a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, I know firsthand the horrific experience too many women face at the hands of a perpetrator,” Ernst said in a statement. “That’s why for three years, I’ve worked diligently and across the aisle to craft a bill that will modernize this important law to ensure my fellow survivors are supported and empowered.”
President Joe Biden applauded the effort in a press release, thanking Ernst and other leaders for their “ongoing leadership and commitment.”
“Combatting domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking should not be a Democratic issue or Republican issue,” Biden said Wednesday. “It’s a matter of justice and compassion.”
Republicans advocate for inflation estimates
Several members of Iowa’s delegation co-sponsored legislation to direct the Congressional Budget office to calculate how certain bills would cause inflation. This analysis would be provided to lawmakers before a vote.
Rep. Ashley Hinson cosponsored a bipartisan proposal to include inflation statistics.
Hinson said the change would give lawmakers and constituents “a clear understanding of how certain bills may make their daily lives more expensive.”
Ernst and Sen. Chuck Grassley cosponsored a similar proposal in the Senate.
“With inflation at a 40-year high, Democratic leaders ought to be transparent with the American people about how much their future spending proposals would fuel the flames of inflation,” Grassley said in a statement.
Rep. Randy Feenstra also spoke out against federal government spending this week. He issued a statement recognizing the U.S. national debt, which just surpassed $30 trillion.
“This massive number should scare us all,” Feenstra said. “Since 1990, our debt has grown tenfold and there is no indication that $30 trillion is the ceiling.”
House delegation joins together for post office transparency
All four of Iowa’s representatives in the House voted in favor of the Postal Service Reform Act, a bill to require the Postal Service to report more information about their performance. The bill will also change the way USPS funds employee health benefits.
“This bill will deliver much-needed financial relief to USPS while increasing public transparency and safeguarding the Postal Service’s future,” Rep. Cindy Axne said in a statement.
Miller-Meeks and Feenstra co-sponsor ‘GENOCIDE GAMES’ Act
Feenstra and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks are co-sponsors of a bill to impose sanctions on International Olympic Committee officials if any athletes, spectators or other Olympic participants are “detained, disappeared, or otherwise deprived of their freedom of speech” during the Beijing Olympics.
“With the Winter Olympics and Paralympics beginning in Beijing we must be able to ensure the safety of those involved,” said Miller-Meeks in a statement. “The human rights atrocities committed by the (Chinese Communist Party) are well documented and unacceptable of an Olympic host.”
Hinson introduces the ‘Unmask Our Kids’ Act
Hinson introduced a bill to require schools nationwide to offer in-person learning and make masking optional.
“This is about giving parents a voice and the final say when it comes to personal health decisions that impact their family,” Hinson said on the House floor. “This is about giving school-aged kids, who have endured so much over the last two years, a chance to finally just be kids.”
She commended Gov. Kim Reynolds for instating both policies in Iowa.
Miller-Meeks is a cosponsor of the legislation. Feenstra praised it on Twitter.
The facts are clear - virtual learning is bad for our kids.
Thankfully, under the leadership of @IAGovernor, Iowa students have been learning in-person for more than a year.
— Rep. Randy Feenstra (@RepFeenstra) February 8, 2022
Senators speak on rising crime rates
Grassley and Ernst gave remarks this week about rising crime rates in the U.S.
They spoke against proposals to defund the police, arguing the rhetoric led to an increase of attacks on police officers and low morale among law enforcement.
“I hear from Iowans all the time about the difficulty of recruiting people to be on the police forces – even in our good state of Iowa,” Grassley said. “What do you think you get when you talk for months and months about defunding police? You demoralize the police.”
Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.