Welcome to the DC Dispatch. This week, the Iowa delegation weighed in on evictions, sexual assault, vaccinations and bacon.
What happens after the moratorium on evictions (again) ends?
The federal moratorium on evictions expired on Saturday, leaving Democrats in DC scrambling to extend the program. Ultimately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed a moratorium on evictions in areas where COVID-19 cases are spreading rapidly.
The lingering question for politicians in Iowa: What happens after this moratorium expires on October 3?
Senator Chuck Grassley told reporters on Wednesday that emergency COVID-19 assistance must end as the pandemic wanes.
“We have instituted a lot of things because of this (COVID-19) crisis,” he said. “And awhile the things you institute have to come to an end.”
Axne said she wanted to see Iowa hand out more rent assistance money. Iowa only gave one small fraction of federal rent assistance.
“While this new moratorium is in place, we need the State of Iowa to make full use of the rental aid I worked on in Congress to secure the people of Iowa and cut the red tape that prevent aid from helping the people of Iowa, ”Axne said in a statement. “Only then will we ensure this order does not simply postpone a deportation crisis until later this year because our families cannot get the help they need.”
Ernst proposes a “Cuomo amendment”
The New York Attorney General reported this week that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed several state employees. Legislators launched an impeachment inquiry and President Joe Biden called on Cuomo to step down.
In response, Senator Joni Ernst proposed an amendment to the infrastructure package that would prohibit federal funds from going to states where the governor sexually harassed employees while in office. Ernst is a sexual assault survivor.
“A sitting governor who harasses and abuses the women of his own staff and law enforcement officials should be held accountable and should not receive a dime of Iowa taxpayer money,” Ernst tweeted Wednesday.
Unrelated to Cuomo, Grassley introduced a bill that would ask states to pass federal protections for survivors of sex crimes. These include accessing a medical examination and then retaining those results for an extended period.
Senators work on the bacon bill
The Iowa senators both worked on a bill that would prohibit state and local governments from regulating out-of-state meat production. The bill targets a California animal cruelty law that restricts the sale of meat from producers who do not meet certain requirements.
“Iowa has an abundance of agricultural products to offer and people from coast to coast to coast should be able to take advantage of it,” Grassley said in a press release. “I am happy to sponsor this bill which will protect Iowa farmers and producers and allow them the freedom to operate their farms as they see fit.”
Representatives share video urging vaccination
Reps Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra shared a CBS interview with Rep. Julia Letlow, a Republican from Louisiana. Letlow’s husband Luke was elected to the House seat in 2020 but contracted COVID-19 and died in December.
“He cried on the way (to the hospital) because he was upset that he missed Christmas with his children,” Letlow recalls.
Luke Letlow was 41 when he died. Julia Letlow urged Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I would have given anything. I would have given anything to make this photo available to us, ”Letlow told CBS.
I encourage every Iowan to watch @repjulialetlowher husband’s interview on her husband’s death from COVID-19 and how the vaccine could have saved his life. I am honored to serve alongside Julia and I am inspired by her strength to share the tragedy with her family in the hope of saving lives. https://t.co/D27drae9yN
– Ashley Hinson (@RepAshleyHinson) August 4, 2021