A bill that would have provided disaster funding for Iowans along the Missouri River failed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday to my great frustration. |A bill that would have provided disaster funding for Iowans along the Missouri River failed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday to my great frustration. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle raised various objections to the legislation, but the bottom line is that the bill contained important resources for Iowa flood victims but was derailed by partisan politics. Families, farmers, small businesses and communities along the Missouri River have suffered for months due to historic floods, and they’re counting on Washington to show real leadership. On Wednesday night, however, the House turned its back on fiscally responsible legislation that contained help for long-suffering Iowans.
The legislation in question, known as a continuing resolution, would have provided the federal government with enough funding to continue operations past the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30. Included in the bill were important funds for disaster relief, of which $1 billion would have been made available immediately as “emergency” funding. The legislation also would have amounted to an across-the-board overall cut of 1.5 percent compared to spending in the current fiscal year and was in keeping with House Republicans’ mission to end the irresponsible spending that has plagued Washington in recent years.
The disaster relief funding that was included in the legislation was also offset by cuts to a taxpayer funded federal electric car loan program, representing an important departure from budgeting practices in previous years. Rather than just spend dollars on disaster funds today to be paid for by future generations, the legislation found cuts in unnecessary spending such as the electric car program and did not increase the deficit by a single penny.
Democrat leadership in the U.S. House publicly objected to the cuts in the taxpayer funded electric car program and urged their members to oppose the bill. In the end, these lawmakers decided that preserving taxpayer funding of a questionable electric car program was more important than helping Iowans and others dealing with flooding along the Missouri River and other natural disasters around the country.
The simple truth is that this was fiscally responsible legislation that contained crucial funding for Iowans who have been dealing with flooding along the Missouri River for months. Unfortunately, on this vote too many lawmakers put politics before people and partisanship before progress. Iowans have a long and proud history of helping neighbors in need. When disasters strike, we get to work and we don’t let anything stop us from getting back on our feet. Washington could learn a great deal from that attitude. On this vote ñ when Iowans needed help ñ Washington walked away from them in favor of the electric car.