Congresswoman Cindy Axne successfully pushed through Congress an additional $3 billion in disaster relief for Iowa and the Midwest. Both the House ($14.2 billion) and the Senate ($13.5 billion) passed hurricane disaster relief bills in January. However, the bills have been held hostage by Trump due to his objection to money designated for Puerto Rico. The relief package has been on hold for months while the negotiations over Puerto Rico funding have continued.
Axne promised in her campaign for Congress that she would use her sharp elbows to aggressively promote Iowa – a reference to her history of playing high school basketball in Iowa. She’s done just that with this additional flood relief funding.
Her success in getting an additional $3 billion added to the original $14.2 billion House appropriations emergency disaster bill proves she can deliver on her promises. Representative Nita Lowery, Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced the original disaster bill and gave credit to Axne for persuading the House to add additional funds for Iowa.
“I am proud to stand with Congresswoman Axne to bring immediate assistance to people in Iowa and across the country who have been affected by recent disasters. Thanks to her strong voice on this issue, we have included $3 billion to meet needs in the Midwest – including $500 million in emergency assistance for farmers. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join us in quickly advancing this commonsense legislation,” said Representative Nita Lowey.
Axne acknowledged Lowey’s help in procuring additional funding for Iowa.
“Amid Washington dysfunction, I’m proud to have stood up and fought hard to make sure Iowa wasn’t left out of disaster relief funding. Thank you to Chairwoman Lowey for hearing the concerns of our communities. I strongly urge my colleagues in the House and the Senate to immediately pass this bill for my district and for communities across the country,” said Axne.
It appears Republicans in the Senate are getting closer to convincing President Trump to accept Puerto Rico funding and passing a disaster relief bill. With Axne’s funding additions, the House bill stands at $17.2 billion with specific help for Iowans. The current Senate bill would authorize $13.5 billion.
If Senate Republicans can get Trump to accept the Puerto Rico funding, it will require negotiating the difference between the House and Senate bill. It will likely be very difficult for Republicans to strip out Iowa-designated funds Axne inserted since other Midwest disaster areas are included as a part of the package.
Axne was also successful in adding Iowa funding to another House bill she cosponsored, which was passed by the House yesterday. The Climate Action Now Act, House bill HR 9 seeks to reinstate the U.S. into the Paris Climate Accords agreement. The bill was improved by Axne’s amendments that will extend tax credits for Iowa’s biodiesel, second generation biofuels, and wind power industries.
Congresswoman Axne is proving to be an effective and aggressive advocate for Iowans with these and other bills. She is using those sharp elbows to leverage legislation that benefits all Iowans.
by Rick Smith