Congressman Rod Blum says if one of the Republican “outsiders” like Donald Trump or Ben Carson wins the White House, some of the legislation he’s co-sponsored that would get rid of congressional perks might become law.
“We keep charging the hill,” Blum says. “We keep planting the flag and I think if we have different leadership on Pennsylvania Avenue in the White House, things may change.”
Blum says his proposals have been blocked by the “ruling class” in congress.
“It’s kind of like asking turkeys to vote for Thanksgiving,” Blum says.
Blum supports term limits and he backs a permanent, lifetime ban on lobbying for members of congress.
“I’ve co-sponsored legislation to eliminate first class air travel for congresspeople,” Blum says. “I can fly first class back and forth to Washington every week and you all pay for it and I’ve often said most of the people in eastern Iowa I’ve met have never flown first class. Why should you pay for me to fly first class?”
Blum wants to eliminate the reimbursement members of congress get for renting or leasing a vehicle.
“Today I can go out and lease a luxury vehicle for $825 a month and you all pay for it. That’s bigger than most people’s house payments,” Blum says. “I think that’s wrong as well.”
Blum is also refusing to participate in what he calls the “Cadillac” congressional pension system and he’d like to see it eliminated.
“I don’t think people need to make six figures the rest of their life by cashing in on public service,” Blum says.
Blum, a Republican from Dubuque, won his first term in congress last November. Jim Nussle, a former congressman from northeast Iowa, also sought congressional reforms in the 1990s. Nussle famously put a bag over his head to argue it was time to publicly reveal which members of congress routinely got advance payments from their accounts or were overdrawn in the House bank.
Blum made his comments during an appearance on KGRN Radio in Grinnell.