Axne wants more biofuels, broadband funding in infrastructure compromise

By: - August 3, 2021 5:26 pm

Rep. Cindy Axne speaks to reporters at a DMACC event. (Photo by Katie Akin / Iowa Capital Dispatch)

U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne said Tuesday that passing an infrastructure proposal without biofuels funding would be “short-sighted.” 

A bipartisan group of senators came to a compromise proposal last week on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal. The deal includes $550 billion in new spending, but it’s still a far cry away from President Joe Biden’s initial $3 trillion proposal.

Axne, a Democrat who is currently serving her second term as Iowa’s 3rd District representative, said the compromise was lacking in several areas, including inclusion of funds for biofuels. In a statement last week, she called the lack of biofuel funding “unacceptable.”

Iowa is the nation’s top producer of ethanol. 

“The fact that this isn’t in there, honestly, I find it short-sighted,” she said. “It’s something that we absolutely should be pressing for.”

Axne did not say whether she would vote for the infrastructure package without additional funding for biofuels, saying she was still looking through the legislation. She also identified broadband as an area for improvement in the bill.

“I’d still like to see broadband (funding) higher,” she said. “They cut down our bill by about a third. That’s going to really impact some of the folks here in Iowa.” 

Other parts of the initial infrastructure package, like child care, were lost in bipartisan negotiations. Axne said she wants to see some of those pieces return in other bills. 

Axne still open to governor run

Axne told reporters Tuesday that she is still weighing a run for governor in 2022. 

“My number one job is to make sure that Iowa has the best representation possible, whether that’s at a state or federal level, for the issues that we need,” she said.

Axne had considered challenging Sen. Chuck Grassley in 2022, but removed herself from contention to endorse her former colleague Abby Finkenauer. That leaves just two possible avenues for Axne: a run for governor or a reelection campaign.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.