OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat who represents western Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke with 3 News Now on Wednesday about the State of the Union address.
She addressed inflation and supply chain issues, including fuel costs, by suggesting that domestic energy companies increase production to pre-pandemic levels to meet demand and drop prices. She disagrees with arguments that the Keystone XL pipeline would have relieved gas prices.
“Well, I’m not sure what world they live in where a pipeline is going to up and running in two weeks. It's multi-years. I’m so done with the narrative, the false narratives quite honestly. Let’s talk about sensible solutions. Sensible solutions are actually having our suppliers step up and produce what they were producing. Plus, let’s get more blending of ethanol. A great, homegrown product right here in Iowa and Nebraska,” said Axne.
Axne also spoke at length about mental healthcare for students and teachers post-pandemic as well as veterans and farmers.
“We can literally pass elements of the build back better act that include that part on students and teachers getting the mental health they need. I wrote — and it got signed into law by the president — the Sgt. Ketchum’s Rural Mental Health Act, which is going to help states like Iowa and Nebraska — rural states — make sure our veterans come home stateside and get the support that they need. We have increased support for mental health in our general budget, which we hopefully will be approving this next week. So, I can tell you that the impetus is there and the support is there and it’s absolutely something that we will continue to push,” said the congresswoman.
The high costs of childcare and senior care are also on the democrats' legislative agenda. Axne said the median salary in Iowa is around $68,000 and the average cost for childcare in Iowa is a little more than $10,000.
“We need to pass the bill that limits childcare expenses at 7%, limits them at 7% of a person’s income,” said Axne.
She says that cutting those costs frees up parents’ income to be spent in the community on other goods and services for their children.
The cost of childcare, she said, is “keeping people out of the work market and keeping our kids out opportunities.”
Axne mentioned the importance of eldercare including in-home care and nursing facilities for seniors.
“Make sure that our children have opportunity, but not forget those seniors who have done so much for our country and who are literally just looking for a dignified retirement,” she said.
There is, according to Axne, a way to pay for it that won’t come out of the pockets of middle-class people.
“What’s going to happen is that the wealthy just need to pay their darn fair share of taxes,” said Axne. “If you make $400,000 or less, you’re not going to see any impact.”
The wealthy, she says, need to “step-up.”
“Let’s have Jeff Bezos, who hasn’t paid taxes many times over but can afford a rocket, actually pay some darn taxes.”
To view the four-minute discussion on improving mental healthcare, please watch our 3 News Now Web Extra.