D.C. Dispatch: Government shutdown creeps closer; House passes abortion bill

By: - September 24, 2021 3:04 pm

Sen. Joni Ernst gave an UNO-themed presentation about the spending proposal. (Screenshot of Ernst Twitter video)

Welcome to the D.C. Dispatch, your round-up of what went on in Washington, D.C. this week. The focus remains on a few key priorities for the Biden administration: passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a not-bipartisan spending proposal, and avoiding a government shutdown over the debt ceiling.

House Democrats advance short-term spending bill to keep government open

The House passed a bill along party lines that would raise the debt ceiling — keeping the government from a shutdown this fall — and provide $28.6 billion for natural disaster recovery.

Iowa’s three Republican representatives voted against the proposal. Rep. Ashley Hinson called it “reckless and irresponsible.”

“America’s credit card is maxed out,” she said in a statement. “Suspending the debt limit until December 2022 is essentially ignoring the overdue balance in our already depleted bank account for over a year.”

Lawmakers need to raise the debt ceiling to pay for already-incurred expenses.

Lone Democrat Cindy Axne voted in favor, highlighting $10 million in the proposal to cover crop damage from disasters like the derecho.

“This funding is long overdue, and I hope my Senate colleagues follow suit and approve this measure as soon as possible,” Axne said.

The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate as Republicans hold firm against voting to raise the debt ceiling.

Abortion bill passes House, unlikely to pass Senate

House Democrats passed an abortion bill on Friday in response to a restrictive Texas law that took effect earlier this month. The federal proposal would create a statutory right to abortion, superseding state restrictions on the procedure.

Axne voted in favor of the proposal.

“When (legal) precedents are no longer enough to protect women’s rights, it’s time for Congress to act,” she said in a statement. “It’s my job as a member of Congress to ensure that these protections are explicit and undeniable by making them clear in federal law.”

Iowa’s three Republican representatives voted against the bill.

“My faith teaches me that every person is created for a purpose and a reason, and that all people — including the unborn — deserve to be treated with respect and dignity,” Feenstra said in a video statement.

The Senate is unlikely to pass the measure. All 50 Democrats and at least 10 Republicans would have to vote for the bill, but The Hill reported Friday that even some Democrats were still missing from the plan.

House Republicans ask Biden not to change biofuels requirements

Reuters reported this week that President Joe Biden is considering significant cuts to federal biofuels blending requirements.

Feenstra, Hinson and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks signed onto a letter urging Biden not to change U.S. biofuels requirements. The proposal would reduce blending mandates for 2021 and 2022 by several billion gallons.

“Given the challenges facing our famers from all sides on this issue, it is imperative that your Administration choose to stand with American farmers,” the letter reads.

Grassley announces re-election bid

After several months of anticipation, Grassley has announced he will run for re-election in 2022. If elected, he will be 89 when his term begins.

Coming up in D.C…

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin 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.

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