Nearly two weeks ago most of Iowa’s congressional delegation voted in support of a terrible $1.5 trillion spending bill. Both Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst voted for it. Yes, the self-proclaimed “inflation fighter” threw in the towel and the one sent to “make ‘em squeal” instead got dirty with the rest of the pigs and rolled in the mud.
Congresswomen Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks threw up disappointing yes votes too.
At the time, it appeared Congressman Randy Feenstra was the lone Republican vote against the $1.5 trillion spending bill. I had typed up an article giving Feenstra credit for his vote, but then, serendipitously, I received an email from Family Research Council Action.
The email was an alert regarding how terrible the bill was. And it encouraged me to contact my lawmakers.
I saw what I expected with letters prepped to send to both Ernst and Grassley expressing my disappointment.
But then something strange happened. Something I did not expect at all.
It looked like this:
I read the subject line of the email three or four times. Then I read the body of the email. And after that, I sent a text message to Congressman Feenstra himself asking why FRC Action was criticizing his vote because he voted against it.
He did not send me a response.
After not hearing from the source himself, I turned to sources in Washington D.C. And I could not believe what I was told.
Leadership in the U.S. House — Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy — brokered a deal to break the spending bill into two parts. One part was a bill that Republicans could feel good voting for. The other was not. They did so with the understanding the bill would be put together as one bill in the Senate and then members could vote differently.
So I looked it up, and sure enough, Feenstra voted for the first portion of the bill. Confused, I looked to see what conservative members of the U.S. House did. And here were some of the Republican NO votes on the bill Feenstra voted FOR:
Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Kat Cammack, Jody Hice, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Thomas Massie, Bob Good, Chip Roy, Louie Gohmert and Jim Jordan.
There were more Republican NO’s, but that list gives you an idea of where actual conservative members of the U.S. House fell on the vote.
FRC Action wasn’t the only conservative group scoring against Feenstra. Heritage Action did the same.
The first vote broke out “security” funding and included military support for Ukraine. The second vote included all kinds of garbage.
It was an attempt to fool Americans, I was told. The conservative groups made clear they would consider a vote for either part of the bill to be a vote for the omnibus bill.
Not only does the bill increase the nation’s deficit and debt, it was loaded with Biden’s “radical progressive policies.”
*It fails to reverse the COVID emergency or the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates;
*It increases annual funding for the IRS;
*It doubles down on the Green New Deal-style government subsidies and climate policy;
*It includes more than $4 billion in Congressional Direct Spending (earmarks);
*Taxpayer funds flow to Planned Parenthood through the $286 million in funding to the Title X Program;
That doesn’t even get into the Violence Against Women Act provisions that are problematic.
So what happened? Feenstra followed the lead of failed leadership. He fell in line. He followed orders. He failed his constituents.
Unlike Grassley, Ernst, Hinson and Miller-Meeks, Feenstra tried to mask his terrible vote through political gamesmanship.
And now, it is reflected in his scorecard from Heritage:
While the votes thrown up by Hinson, Miller-Meeks, Grassley and Ernst represent really bad votes — they’re at least honest disagreements. What Feenstra did was worse.