Feenstra declines to call Biden president-elect, eyes debt reduction to save Social Security

By: - December 18, 2020 3:01 pm

U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra appears on Iowa PBS’ “Iowa Press” show on Dec. 18, 2020. (Screenshot from Iowa PBS)

Congressman-elect Randy Feenstra declined to refer to Democrat Joe Biden as president-elect during a public-television appearance.

Feenstra is a Republican who will represent the 4th Congressional District in northwest Iowa. He said he looks forward to Jan. 6, when the House of Representatives will consider what in the past has been a largely ceremonial confirmation of the Electoral College results.

The Electoral College on Monday awarded Biden the votes needed to win the presidential election. Biden also won the popular vote. President Donald Trump has declined to acknowledge Biden’s victory and has challenged the results.

Asked if he would object to the election results, Feenstra didn’t directly answer. “I’ll tell you what, the great thing about our country is that we have this foundation of this electoral process and we saw that play out this past Monday when the Electoral College cast their votes and then we have the opportunity to do that on Jan. 6th and I look forward to that opportunity,” Feenstra told a panel of reporters at the recording of the Iowa PBS show that airs this weekend.

Feenstra acknowledged that he signed a letter asking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, to investigate the presidential election results. Trump and others have filed lawsuits contending the election was skewed by widespread use of absentee ballots. Courts generally have dismissed the cases, in part because of a lack of evidence.

Without presenting evidence, Feenstra suggested several Iowa counties had not abided by election laws while dealing with a deluge of absentee ballots, suggesting there might be problems in other states, too. 

Asked if he had any doubt Biden won, Feenstra said, “No, I just want to say, I want the processes all to be played out and I want to make sure that we have this foundation that we have to secure and protect and we’ll come out of that on Jan. 6th and look forward to saying, all right, what do we need to do?”

Feenstra noted that this is the first time the country has conducted an election primarily by mail-in ballots. “So I think we all want to protect what we have, and there is still some litigation out there. And for me it’s all about, all right, let’s make sure that litigation is done and let’s move forward,” he said.

Feenstra made his comments during the taping of “Iowa Press,” which airs Friday evening and Sunday on Iowa PBS.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, led a state panel that certified Iowa’s election results. Iowa cast its six electoral ballots for Trump, who easily carried Iowa. The state also has certified Republican Marianette Miller-Meeks as the winner by six votes in the 2nd Congressional District election, but Democrat Rita Hart appealed to a House committee.

Feenstra said Hart’s appeal should have been to the nonpartisan Iowa court system — her other option. “She has taken it to her political colleagues, her political arm and saying, ‘hey, Pelosi, help me out and seat me.’ I think that’s scary for our electoral process and the foundation of what we believe in a democracy.”

Feenstra defeated long-time Congressman Steve King in the GOP primary before topping Democrat J.D. Scholten in the general election. 

The congressman-elect addressed several other big topics:

Social Security: Feenstra said he would not vote to change the age limit to qualify for Social Security benefits to save the system or raise taxes, opting instead to balance the budget to sustain the program. “It’s an unfunded mandate right now. It’s unfunded because we have out-of-control debt right now. If you can start controlling your debt and getting to a point where you have a balanced budget, everything then falls in place … I am not a person who raises taxes.”

Broadband: Feenstra supported additional federal grants to expand high-speed internet access in rural Iowa. 

Big ag: Feenstra he wants to see legislation to lessen packers’ control over the agriculture economy. “We’ve got to change it. We’ve got to break up the monopoly.”

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Perry Beeman
Perry Beeman

Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.