Working for You: Capitol Solutions
Time goes by quickly, months have passed since the New Year has come in and it’s already Spring. As I travel around the Third District, folks share with me how they and their families are benefiting from the new tax relief law, how their businesses - small and large - are feeling freer from burdensome regulations, and how they are feeling optimistic about the future.
The first three months of 2018 have been busy and productive. I’ve been working hard on behalf of my bosses - the folks of Iowa’s Third District. I wanted to take a moment to report to you on some of my work so far this year.
Starting last September, I elevated our fight for an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and our Community Health Centers (CHCs). It was important for me to make sure the 85,000 children in Iowa who rely on CHIP for their health insurance could continue to get the care they needed. And parents needed the confidence and ease of knowing CHIP was there for their kids. Our CHCs serve around 50,000 Iowans in the Third District, many of whom do not have any insurance. I worked with my colleagues to secure extensions for both programs - CHIP was extended for 10 years and CHCs for two years. These health programs are so important to so many Iowans from Glenwood to Altoona.
In February, the President signed my bill, the Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act. This ensures folks living in rural Iowa get the same phone communication access as those in urban areas. Too many calls in rural areas are dropped or don’t even get connected. This helps level the playing field and make sure families and businesses can be connected to one another and those around the world.
In the recent funding bill, I secured a long-sought solution to the “grain glitch” - an unintended consequence in the tax code which gave an unfair advantage to coops over other independent businesses. I worked with coops, grain marketers, farmers, and other agriculture groups to solve the problem. With their help and a coalition of 85 other House members which I led, we made sure a solution was reached and the problem was fixed.
Just a few weeks ago, I joined a bipartisan group of colleagues and introduced the STRESS Act. This bill helps address farmer suicide. Folks working in agriculture take their lives at a rate higher than any other occupation. We must confront this problem. The STRESS Act will open the Farm and Ranch Stress Network which provides free and confidential mental health services to agriculture workers.
In February, I held two Veterans Care Fairs to attempt to pay back just a part of the debt we owe to those who stepped up to serve our country. The Care Fairs served as a one-stop-shop of crucial services, programs, and resources available to Iowa veterans, their families, and caregivers from all levels of government and various service organizations.
Legislation I introduce and the goals I set are driven by you - the people of the Third District. And that’s why I travel to every county every month, hold town halls, and sit down with you during my Open Office Hours. Last year, the non-partisan group Legistorm showed I ranked 6th in the number of public meeting events I held when compared to all 535 members of Congress. And I’m always trying to do better.
As we continue through this year, I will continue to work hard to bring Iowa commonsense to Washington, D.C., and fight to make sure your government is working for you – not the other way around.