Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) expressed deep disappointment with provisions included in the Heroes Act, the House’s latest coronavirus (COVID-19) response package, that transformed a much-needed COVID-19 relief package into legislation that she cannot support.
Despite Rep. Axne’s support for critical aid programs that will help Iowa’s families, farmers, small businesses, health systems, and local government services, superfluous language in the Heroes Act have made the relief in its current form politically charged and without a path to becoming law – denying Iowans much-needed assistance in the critical weeks and months ahead.
“While this legislation includes critical assistance for Iowa’s hospitals, schools, homeowners and renters, state and local governments, and families who are still feeling the burdens of this public health crisis – I am deeply troubled by numerous provisions in this bill that could see large amounts of taxpayer dollars allocated to helping those who are not hurting at all,” said Rep. Axne. “I could not in good conscience vote to accept this Washington gamesmanship, or vote to approve unrelated wastes of taxpayer dollars, while Iowa sees its COVID-19 case rates climbing and parts of my district become a national hotspot. I will always stand up to anyone – even my own party – when it comes to doing what’s right for Iowa.”
The Heroes Act includes changes to eligibility for COVID-19 aid that could allow lobbying groups to claim taxpayer dollars. It also includes changes to the tax code that would provide benefits largely to high-income earners, a provision that Rep. Axne rejected last year.
“Special interest groups and Americans already supported by massive incomes cannot be the priority in our continuing efforts to keep our country afloat,” said Rep. Axne. “I cannot support adding to our federal debt just to line the pockets of special interests and those who have the means to keep themselves healthy and financially stable.”
The Heroes Act includes two bills Rep. Axne introduced to help keep renters in Iowa’s rural communities and other Iowa families in their homes – the Protect Rural Renters Act and the Coronavirus Housing Counseling Support Act.
The legislation also includes $375 billion for local governments and $500 billion for states to help prevent cuts to public safety, education, and other essential services supported at the municipal level. Last week, Rep. Axne introduced bipartisan legislation that would provide direct aid to states and local governments to make up for lost revenue due to COVID-19.
“I do not vote against these provisions and the others that I have fought for lightly. As Iowa continues to endure outbreaks of COVID-19, we need to see these provisions maintained as negotiations move forward with our Senate colleagues,” said Rep. Axne.
In the past few weeks, Rep. Axne has written directly to Congressional leaders to advocate for specific aid to help Iowa’s hospitals and health systems, small businesses, rural communities, and vulnerable groups including retirees and children.