All eyes were on Ukraine this week as Russia launched a military invasion into the country. The DC delegation from Iowa spoke about the crisis as they traveled through Iowa, visiting constituents when Congress was not in session.
Iowa delegation calls for sanctions and prays for Ukraine
Russia launched a military assault on Ukraine on Wednesday night, shortly after Representative Joni Ernst spoke at a foreign policy forum in Des Moines.
Iowa senators and representatives condemned Russia’s actions.
“Russia’s flagrant violation of international law and invasion of a sovereign democracy is unacceptable,” Rep. Cindy Axne tweeted Thursday. “The United States stands ready with our allies to ensure that there will be consequences for this terrible act of aggression.”
Republican members of the delegation called for tougher sanctions against Russia. Ernst criticized Biden for not issuing sanctions sooner or taking strong enough action.
“Putin does not deserve any pardon. It slaughters innocent people and attempts to overthrow a sovereign, freedom-loving nation and partner of the United States,” Ernst said in a statement Thursday. “The administration should not hold back; our adversaries are certainly not.
Rep. Randy Feenstra on Thursday called for “crippling economic sanctions.”
Please join my family in praying for the people of Ukraine. Putin has launched an unprovoked and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine that will cause untold suffering. Its aggression must be accompanied by crippling economic sanctions. Putin and his cronies need to be held accountable.🇺🇸🇺🇦
— Rep. Randy Feenstra (@RepFeenstra) February 24, 2022
Biden issued several rounds of sanctions over the week. White House staff confirmed Friday that Biden would directly sanction Putin, the latest in a series of actions against Russian leaders.
Republicans praise Reynolds and tax cuts ahead of national speech
GOP leaders announced that Governor Kim Reynolds would rebut President Joe Biden’s Republican State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Republicans from Iowa to DC celebrated the news on social media, praising Reynolds for his leadership and pointing to a tax cut passed Thursday night.
“Once again, @KimReynoldsIA’s leadership is second to none!” Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks tweeted on Friday. “With this bipartisan tax cut, Iowans will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money.”
Former Gov. Terry Branstad also had kind words for Reynolds after a forum Wednesday with Ernst. Reynolds served as Lieutenant Governor of Branstad from 2011 to 2017.
Branstad praised Reynolds for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, likening it to his leadership during the farm crisis of the 1980s.
“She kept our schools open, she kept people working and she kept the health of citizens safe,” Branstad said.
Senators weigh in on Supreme Court choice
Biden announced on Friday that he would nominate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. Jackson will need to be confirmed by the US Senate.
Iowa senators didn’t say much about Jackson on Friday.
Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he was looking forward to going through Jackson’s case.
“I will make my determination based on the candidate’s experience, qualifications, temperament and forensic philosophy,” he said.
Ernst said Jackson deserved “a fair, respectful, and thorough review.”
“Judges must be impartial, fair and dedicated to interpreting the text of the Constitution and upholding the rule of law – without bowing to the political winds of the moment,” Ernst said.
Read more: Biden taps Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court
Axne promotes police bill in Altoona
Axne held an event Thursday at the Altoona Police Department to tout the “Invest to Protect” proposal. The bill would create a grant program for small police departments. Grants would be available for security and de-escalation training, recruitment, mental health resources, body cameras and overtime costs.
“Across central and southwestern Iowa, our law enforcement officers go to work every day to protect Iowans and help keep our communities safe,” said Axne said in a statement. “These officers deserve the same access to federal grants as officers in big cities, but there is no dedicated way for our federal support to reach officers in our rural areas.”
The proposal has 46 bipartisan co-sponsors, including Axne. The House has not made a decision on the bill.
Grassley and Ernst call for leniency on pesticide bans
Ernst and Grassley joined Sen. Robert Marshall, R-Kansas, and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, in a letter asking the Environmental Protection Agency to be more lenient on some pesticide bans.
“If these growers lose the ability to use certain crop protection products, farms will be forced to forgo conservation practices, like no-till farming, and revert to full-tillage methods to combat pests”, reads the letter.
House Republicans: make trade with China “more balanced and reciprocal”
Iowa’s Three House Republicans signed on a letter calling on President Biden to strike a new trade deal with China.
“There has never been a reason to trust the Chinese Communist Party at its word and they should be held accountable for their failure to live up to their end of the trade deal,” Miller-Meeks said in a statement. “The administration is failing Iowa farmers by not holding the CCP accountable.”
Feenstra, Miller-Meeks and Hinson too signed a letter urging Biden to remain actively involved in negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.
Hinson and Miller-Meeks visit Israel
Miller-Meeks and Hinson joined a congressional delegation to Israel. The group met with political leaders and visited religious sites.
“The United States’ relationship with Israel is not about politics, it is rooted in our shared values and security interests and we reaffirmed our unwavering support for Israel during our discussions,” Hinson tweeted.
An incredibly instructive few days in #Israel! We had the opportunity to meet several Israeli leaders, including the Prime Minister @naftalibennettSpeaker @MKMickyLevyMinister of Foreign Affairs @yairlapidand former Prime Minister @netanyahu to discuss the importance of the US-Israeli relationship. pic.twitter.com/ubD1qA3QkC
– Rep. Marianne Miller-Meeks, MD (@RepMMM) February 22, 2022
The return of “you know what”
Grassley stopped by Windsor Heights Dairy Queen on Wednesday for “you know what” – ice cream.
He posted a tweet in reference to his 2014 viral post in which the senator cryptically said the Windsor Heights store was a “good place for you don’t know what”.
Well I’m back in Windsor Heights DQ you know what for pic.twitter.com/T0rtho79ej
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 23, 2022