D.C. Dispatch: House members appointed to committees; lawmakers take aim at China

After the week-long delay caused by the long speech election, members of the Iowa House have finally received their committee assignments, allowing them to begin their work in Congress.

On the other side of the Capitol building, Senator Joni Ernst joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to call for more interfaith relationships and Senator Chuck Grassley is gearing up for some big fights on agriculture.

House members meet with prominent committees

Typically, House members serve on only one or two committees, but Senators can serve on up to four or five committees.

President Marianette Miller-Meeks was appointed to serve on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, a committee that could allow greater influence on topics ranging from renewable energy to consumer protection.

“I am honored to have been selected to serve on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce,” Miller-Meeks said in a press release. “I am proud of my background as a surgeon, and I am confident that experience, combined with Iowa’s leadership in the clean energy space, make me uniquely qualified for this role.”

Representative Ashley Hinson was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, which controls government spending, a position she held in the last session of Congress.

“As the only Iowan on this committee, I will continue to watch your taxpayer dollars like a hawk, work to restore fiscal responsibility, bring critical investments back home, and ensure our state has a seat at the board,” Hinson said in a news release.

Representative Zach Nunn was appointed to the House Financial Services Committee, which regulates finance, banking and currency.

“With Des Moines as an important insurance and financial hub known around the world, I am honored to be selected to sit on the House Financial Services Committee and intend to be a leading voice for top employers and to their employees in our state,” Nunn. said in a press release. “On Financial Services, we will prioritize rebuilding our economy, combating China’s malign influence and working across the aisle to put Americans back in control of their personal financial data.”

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Representative Randy Feenstra was appointed to the House Ways and Means Committee, another influential House committee that oversees taxation and tariffs.

“From agriculture and trade matters to health care and tax policy, Ways and Means covers a wide range of legislative priorities that are important to our agricultural community and the rural way of life,” Feenstra said in a news release. “As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I will continue to be a strong voice for Iowa families, farmers, producers, taxpayers, and small business owners who deserve a seat at the table.”

In the Senate, Grassley will continue to serve on the Senate Budget, Finance, Judiciary and Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committees, along with the Joint Committee on Taxation, holding Iowa’s place in powerful committees.

Ernst will continue to serve on the Armed Services, Environment and Public Works, Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry committees this session.

Big votes, big questions

China was the main focus at the beginning of this session, along with abortion and the IRS.

The House voted to establish a Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, or colloquially, the Select Committee on China. Four members of the Iowa House voted to establish the committee.

“The United States is the strongest and most successful nation in the world, but China will stop at nothing to threaten our economy, to buy up American farmland and undermine our interests,” Feenstra said in a news release. “By establishing a select committee to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s alarming aggression, Republicans are sending a clear message to China and its sympathizers that we will not be intimidated by their reckless behavior. In Congress, I will continue my work to prevent China from buying our farmland and jeopardizing our national security.”

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The House, including all Iowa members, also voted to end the sale of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China.

“China is the biggest threat to our national, economic, energy and food security. From buying American farmland to stonewalling investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, China cannot be trusted,” Feenstra said in a statement.

More locally, Hinson and other House members are supporting a bill that would end foreign ownership of farmland. This comes after the purchase of farmland near a military base in North Dakota, which critics said raised security concerns.

Republicans also approved legislation to provide medical care to children who survived abortion and to refund new money made available to the IRS under the last session of Congress. Iowa House members voted in favor of both pieces of legislation.

Grassley also addressed foreign ownership of farmland by responding with proposed legislation.

“I plan to introduce my bipartisan bill that prohibits the federal government from allowing foreign persons to obtain credit and financial services through the Farm Credit System,” Grassley said.

Grassley, along with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, co-sponsored legislation to “prevent the Farm Credit Administration from underwriting foreign buyers seeking to purchase US farmland.”

Grassley said the bill would amend the Farm Credit Act of 1971 to “ensure that foreign nationals cannot obtain financing through financial institutions supported by the federal government to purchase American farmland.”

He will also be proposing changes to the Conservation Reserve Program that he said would make it easier for homesteaders to buy land.

Grassley makes oversight moves

Grassley, in his position as a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, announced that he is seeking a review of a program that allows employees of private companies to serve in federal government roles. He said he is trying to determine whether a nonprofit organization with ties to Google CEO Eric Schmidt was creating a conflict of interest for federal employees who work with the organization.

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Grassley said in a press release and in a letter that he wants to ensure that the Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignees who worked with the Federation of American Scientists were not in a conflict of interest because of the influence of Schmidt’s money. Schmidt has donated to FAS in the past.

Ernst encourages interfaith dialogue

Ernst, who co-chairs the Abraham Accords Caucus, sent a letter to US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain, pushing for increased inter-religious dialogue in the region where the Abraham Accords are in place, she announced in a press release. released. These countries include Israel, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan.

Also signed the letter Sens. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev.; Cory Booker, DN.J.; James Lankford, R-Okla., and Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.; Brad Schneider, D-Ill.; David Trone, D-Md.; and Ann Wagner, R-Mo.

The Abraham Accords Caucus was created to foster peace between Israel and its neighbors.

Supreme Court, balanced budget

Hinson was introduced Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota, at a press conference Saturday, where Johnson announced a bill that would ensure the number of Supreme Court justices remains at nine. The “Keep the Nine” amendment is a response to some Democrats demanding that there be an increased number of judges on the court due to overwhelming conservative influence.

In addition, Nunn introduced his first bill, one that would amend the Constitution to force the federal government to have a balanced budget and require a certain number of members to pass certain fiscal and monetary measures.

“It’s time to restore a sane, functioning government that works for the American people, not one that irresponsibly wastes money and taxes on us,” Nunn said in a news release. “Having a balanced budget is a step in the right direction to restore good public service to every single American regardless of party or background.”


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