D.C. Dispatch: Iowa House members finally sworn in; Grassley becomes dean of the Senate

By: - January 7, 2023 10:34 am

Sen. Chuck Grassley, accompanied by his wife, Barbara, takes the oath of office for an 8th term in the U.S. Senate, administered by Vice President Kamala Harris. (Photo courtesy of Grassley’s office)

It was a long week in D.C. for members of the U.S. House as Rep. Kevin McCarthy took four days and 15 ballots before securing the votes early Saturday to be elected speaker.

Iowa’s four Republican representatives voted for McCarthy throughout the drawn-out process, but could not be sworn in or start taking action on bills until a speaker was elected.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks expressed a bit of frustration at the delay. She tweeted that McCarthy “has laid out a plan to address inflation, the crisis at our southern border, and to rebuild our nation but we can’t tackle any of these issues until we elect a Speaker of the House.”

Rep. Ashley Hinson tweeted congratulations after the California Republican was elected:

“We would not have a House Republican majority without the tireless efforts of Kevin McCarthy – he will make an incredible Speaker and ensure our Conference delivers on our historic agenda.”

Hinson also congratulated University of Iowa graduate and U.S. House Clerk Cheryl Johnson for doing “phenomenal job in a difficult situation” presiding over the House as the race for speaker dragged on. “Everyone is grateful for Cheryl’s dedication, knowledge, and poise,” Hinson tweeted.

Rep. Randy Feenstra posted a tweet early Saturday after he was finally sworn in.

“I was just sworn in for my second term serving #IA04 in the House of Representatives. It is an honor and a privilege that I cherish. In our new @HouseGOP majority, I promise that I will continue to deliver for our families, farmers, small businesses, and rural communities.”

Iowa’s newest House member, Rep. Zach Nunn, didn’t weigh in on social media about the speaker’s race but he penned an editorial in the Des Moines Register on Thursday discussing his vision for his work in this session of Congress. In it, he emphasizes the need for bipartisanship and unity and bringing Iowa values to D.C.

Grassley becomes longest-serving senator

Senator Chuck Grassley was sworn into his eighth term in the Senate by Vice President Kamala Harris on Jan. 3 with his wife, Barbara, at his side. Grassley has served in the Senate since 1981, making him the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, a record previously held by Utah’s Orrin Hatch.

Grassley also became the dean of the Senate, a position held by the longest-serving member of the current Senate. The position was previously held by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who retired this year.

In a tweet the same day, Grassley outlined his priorities for this session of Congress: “This term representing the ppl of Iowa I plan 2continue my legislative priorities: lower Rx drug prices + bring fairness to the cattle market + rein in Big Tech/stop censorship + strengthen public safety+ secure our southern border + balance our budget &more.”

Ernst elected to lead GOP policy panel

Sen. Joni Ernst started the week off with an announcement that she has been elected chair of the Republican Policy Committee, the primary policy and analysis wing of the Republican Party. The position grants Ernst greater influence in the policymaking of the Republican Party.

She tweeted: “I look forward to working with all of my Republican colleagues to craft commonsense, conservative policy on behalf of the American people!”

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Luke Clausen
Luke Clausen

Luke Clausen was a reporting intern with Iowa Capital Dispatch. He is a student at Drake University studying Multimedia Journalism, Magazine and Brand Media, and International Relations. Additionally, he helps to manage the Ambassador-in-Residence initiative at Drake with Ambassador Terry Branstad and Drake's Global Engagement team.