D.C. Dispatch: Axne pushes for rural police funding; GOP lawmakers blast ‘anti-law enforcement rhetoric’

By: - May 13, 2022 4:02 pm

Rep. Cindy Axne speaks on May 12, 2022, in favor of a grant program for small police departments. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Axne’s office)

It was National Police Week, and members of Iowa’s D.C. delegation took to social media to propose additional federal funding for rural police departments, thank law enforcement officers and criticize Democratic policy proposals.

Iowa’s representatives in the nation’s capital also condemned protests outside of Supreme Court justices’ houses, introduced legislation to address supply chain issues and approved additional aid to Ukraine.

Delegation recognizes police week with rural policy proposal, criticism of Democrats

Rep. Cindy Axne, the only Democrat in Iowa’s delegation, called on the House to pass the “Invest to Protect” Act, a bill that would provide more federal funding to rural police departments. Departments with fewer than 200 officers would be eligible for the new grant program.

“There’s no better way to honor #NationalPoliceWeek than passing my Invest to Protect Act, a bipartisan bill that will help equip small police units with the resources they need for de-escalation training, retention efforts, and mental health support,” Axne tweeted. “Let’s get it done.”

Republican representatives tweeted their thanks for police officers.

Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst lambasted Democrats for “anti-law enforcement rhetoric” at a Thursday press conference. Grassley said there was an increase in violent crime in Democrat-led cities due to “de-policing, progressive prosecutors and failed bail reforms.”

“The data show that blue cities in (Republican) states cause the crime, so set aside blue cities, and red states are much, much safer,” Grassley said.

USA Today fact checkers found that although homicide rates did rise in some major cities, it was too soon to determine if an increase in crime caused by policies like defunding the police, or if it was more directly tied to unrest and financial upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Grassley calls for protection of Supreme Court justices

Following the release of a draft Supreme Court opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade if adopted, abortion rights advocates protested outside the homes of conservative justices, rallying against the would-be decision.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki encouraged protesters to stay peaceful. She said Biden does not object to protests occurring outside a justice’s home.

“I know that there’s an outrage right now, I guess, about protests that have been peaceful to date, and we certainly continue to encourage that, outside of judges’ homes. And that’s the president’s position,” Psaki said Tuesday, according to The Hill.

Grassley wrote a letter to the Justice Department, asking them to condemn any efforts to “threaten and intimidate the justices.” 

“The president may choose to characterize protests, riots, and incitements of violence as mere passion,” Grassley wrote. “But these attempts to influence and intimidate members of the federal judiciary are an affront to judicial independence.”

Republican leadership in the House and Senate argued that it is illegal to protest Supreme Court justices, as it might qualify as intimidation.

House members introduce supply chain bill

Axne, along with Rep. Ashley Hinson and Rep. Randy Feenstra, co-sponsored a bill to create a dedicated task force to improve the American food supply chain. 

“By identifying and eliminating pinch points in our supply chain, we can lower the cost of groceries and other household goods for Iowa families and our rural communities,” Feenstra said in a statement.

The bill comes as the nation faces a shortage of infant formula.

Read more: Biden announces plan to address baby formula shortage

House approves additional Ukraine funding, Biden signs defense aid bill

Biden signed a bill Monday that makes it simpler for the U.S. to send military aid to allies around Ukraine. Ernst praised the measure. 

“Defending freedom in Ukraine is defending freedom everywhere, and we need to ensure we get the Ukrainians the lethal aid they need to defend themselves,” she said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the House passed a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, which includes military assistance, weapons and money to address food shortages. All four House members from Iowa voted in favor.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, stalled the passage of the bill through the Senate.

Hinson announces more FEMA money for derecho recovery

The City of Cedar Rapids will receive $13 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hinson announced Friday.

“Cedar Rapids is still recovering from the devastating 2020 derecho,” Hinson said. “As we continue to recover, I will continue to advocate for our community in Congress and work to bring federal resources back home.” 

Hinson also heralded $684,000 in grants headed to the 1st District, which she said would support affordable housing and derecho recovery efforts.

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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.