Two of Iowa’s four congressmen say there are things President Obama discussed during last night’s “State of the Union” address that could win bipartisan support, but the other two Iowa congressmen are harshly critical of Obama’s speech. Republican Congressman David Young of Van Meter says Obama seems “intent on playing politics in his final two years in office rather than working with congress to find solutions.”
“It seemed like within just the first couple of minutes he said the word, ‘Veto,’ and nothing has even gotten to his desk yet,” Young says. “And we’ve been passing some good, bipartisan legislation here so far in congress.”
Republican Congressman Rod Blum of Dubuque says he, too, is concerned by Obama’s veto threats, but Blum says he “definitely could get behind” major tax reform, and that includes Obama’s call to close loopholes that let major corporations significantly reduce their tax bills.
“It’s one of the things I campaigned on. We need to reform the tax code. I’d like to see us lower taxes overall for companies, because they’re highest in the world — lower taxes for everyone,” but let’s get rid of all the loopholes and the crony capitalism,” Blum says.
Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City is the only Democrat in Iowa’s congressional delegation. He says there are “opportunities” for bipartisanship and he sees both parties moving to increase federal support of job training programs.
“I think we have a chance at that, but I think the president also took the high road, if you will, and appealed to our better angels,” Loebsack says. “And that’s what people tell me — they want us to work together for them.”
Republican Congressman Steve King of Kiron took to Twitter before the president’s speech to blast Obama for having a “deportable” as a guest last night. A so-called “Dreamer” who was illegally brought into the U.S. by her parents when she was a child sat in the House balcony with First Lady Michelle Obama. King said on Twitter that the president “perverts prosecutorial discretion” by bringing the Texas college student into the prime time spotlight.
King told reporters in Washington that the president should “take heat” for his action to shield the young woman and others from deportation.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst delivered the Republican response to President’ Obama’s speech (find more about that here). Iowa’s other United States Senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, issued the following written statement after the speech:
“The President and I have major philosophical differences. Tonight’s speech made clear where and how we differ.
“What I hear from Iowa is that people want Washington to simplify the tax code, not make it more complicated. Taxpayers expect tax fairness, not tax increases that punish success and discourage innovation. Farmers are now scrambling to figure out how the President’s proposals would affect the transfer of the family farm from one generation to the next. Parents who budget carefully to save money for their children’s education are seeing the President’s attempt to scale back the tax benefits that encourage the savings. A speech that picks so many winners and losers leaves people wondering where they fall in the plan. It’s a demoralizing approach.
“Instead of tax increases and new federal education entitlements that might be redundant, Washington needs to look for ways to restore the promise of prosperity. Let’s foster opportunities that help all Americans get ahead. This means reducing tax rates, looking for ways to make U.S. businesses more competitive worldwide, expanding export opportunities for U.S. farmers and manufacturers, and avoiding new regulations and mandates that hurt job creation. It means worrying about an $18 trillion debt that future generations will inherit. It means focusing on the core functions of the federal government, like national security, instead of finding alternate ways to spend money. In the new Congress, I’ll continue working for fiscal discipline and holding government accountable. Americans want more good government and a whole lot less Big Government. They want the most bang for the buck. Washington should deliver on that.
“Iowans expect their elected representatives to look for areas for bipartisan agreement. Wherever I can, I want to continue to honor their expectation. Cyber security was a big part of the President’s speech, and I see that as an example of an area for potential strong bipartisanship. A previous proposal that I put together with several colleagues included information sharing, enhanced criminal laws, and research. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’m already working on legislation to create a fair national data breach notification standard. The cost to consumers, businesses and national security is too much for us to ignore.
“In closing, Senator Ernst is an ideal person to deliver the Republican response to the President’s speech. She brings a new perspective that’s welcome in Washington. I look forward to her leadership on military matters, farm policy, cutting wasteful spending, and everything else that’s shaped by her background and fresh approach.”