The leader of Democrats in the Iowa Senate says the election is over and he’s ready to begin working with Republicans on bipartisan solutions.
Key Republican legislators said earlier this week they’d like to cut “hundreds of millions of dollars” from the current year’s state budget, and Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal says he and other Democrats are willing to discuss it.
“If it’s all pure symbol, we’re not going to go along with it, obviously,” Gronstad says. “But if they are real cuts that save the state money and don’t jeopardize some of the important things we do in this state, we’re certainly willing to look at that.”
Republicans will have a 60-to-40 seat majority in the Iowa House, so the G.O.P. will control the House debate agenda. There will be 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans in the Iowa Senate, which means Democrats will control the Senate’s agenda.
“Now’s the time for people of good faith to set aside the campaign rhetoric, come to real accommodation of each other’s interests. We are certainly willing to look at the cuts they’ve talked about and cuts to the current year’s state budget,” Gronstal says. “That’s why we made the efforts last year to cut $250 million out of the state budget.”
Gronstal says there’s a “ton of common ground” between Democrats and Republicans, and, in particular, between Democrats and Governor-elect Terry Branstad, a Republican.
“You guys in the press all want us to fight. You want to keep the election going,” Gronstal says. “I say the election’s over. It’s time right now for people of good faith — and I believe Terry Branstad is of good faith — to sit down, work through our differences, compromise where we can compromise and agree to the stuff we’re going to disagree on.”
The Iowa Senate confirms the top managers in state government and Gronstal says unless there’s some “major” policy problem with one of Branstad’s picks, all of Branstad’s choices for state agency leaders should easily win senate approval.
Gronstal made his comments this morning during taping of the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press” which airs tonight at 7:30.