No Life Amendment.
No Education Savings Accounts.
Nothing to make sure school bathrooms are used based on science (biological sex).
Nothing protecting women’s sports.
Still no subcommittee on a religious freedom and restoration act.
Nothing reigning in the governor’s emergency powers.
And nothing that truly — TRULY — bans COVID-19 vaccine passports.
But the compromise bill that bans political subdivisions from using and creating COVID vaccine passports passed on Wednesday. And it sharply divided conservatives in the Iowa House from the conservative base in Iowa.
A political activist group of thousands of Iowans — Informed Choice Iowa — passionately defended their stance on the issue. They refused to budge.
Conservatives in the Iowa House settled for “the best they could get” with 51 votes. Well, Representatives Brooke Boden, Eddie Andrews, Mark Cisneros, Jon Jacobsen and Jeff Shipley did not settle — they voted against the bill.
But there are other conservatives in the House who bit the bullet and made the deal.
Now look at the ramifications.
Emotions run high on issues like this. And everyone emotionally invested leaves the battle wounded.
But you know who wins in this situation?
Moderate Iowa House Republicans.
Why? Because they were given the extremely easy way out. They weren’t forced to go on record as voting no on a stronger bill. A bill that would’ve actually banned COVID vaccine passports in Iowa.
Nobody knows for sure just who the Republicans are who refused to go further. Just like nobody knew for sure at the end of last session which Republicans refused to support the Life Amendment. Just like nobody knows for sure which Republicans refused to support Education Savings Accounts. Just like…well, you get the point.
A Republican House. A Republican Senate. A Republican governor.
And this is where we are.
I have no doubt that Rep. Steve Holt did all he could to make this bill the best it could possibly be and still receive 51 votes. Unfortunately, he is the one taking the arrows even though in reality he would’ve been comfortable with the bill going much further.
I hate — HATE — being critical of Rep. Holt because I genuinely, honestly believe he wanted more but he had to carry the water for the caucus.
Natural allies — conservative activists and Rep. Steve Holt — are turned against each other because the moderate Iowa House Republicans refused to do more.
That is the real shame in this instance. Misplaced anger and wrongly directed frustration will linger.
All so moderate Republicans are protected and leadership can say they did something about the hottest political issue in the country right now.
It’s a shame. But it keeps happening over and over and over.
How much more can conservative activists in Iowa take?