DC Dispatch: House delegation sides with bill to improve National Weather Service

Following a series of deadly tornadoes in early March, Iowa’s four representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives this week co-sponsored legislation to improve the National Weather’s outdated communications system. Service.

The Iowa delegation also voted on the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice, called for more help for Ukraine and criticized President Joe Biden’s decision to end an immigration policy. in the age of the pandemic.

House delegation introduces bill to improve National Weather Service communications

Rep. Randy Feenstra and all Iowa House Reps this week introduced a bill to upgrade the communication network for the National Weather Service. The proposal comes after the NWS reported communication delays during a series of tornadoes that swept through Iowa in March, according to the Des Moines Registry.

“For too long, NWS Chat has failed our broadcasters, our emergency response teams and the general public,” Feenstra said. “This bipartisan legislation will finally ensure that local officials and emergency personnel receive accurate and timely information that saves lives.”

Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst co-sponsored a bill in the Senate last month to test and improve weather warning systems. This bill has not yet been voted on.

Grassley and Ernst vote no to Brown Jackson nomination

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court on Thursday, after the US Senate voted 52-47 to confirm her nomination.

Both Republican senators from Iowa voted against Jackson’s nomination, citing issues with his judicial philosophy and perceived leniency in criminal cases.

“Her record clearly shows that she does not believe or act in the limited and proper role of a judge, so I will be voting against her confirmation,” Grassley said.

Ernst also raised concerns that Jackson did not define “woman” when asked to do so during his confirmation hearing. Jackson replied that she was not a biologist.

“While I am grateful to Judge Jackson for believing that science is the basis for determining a woman, I am deeply concerned that another woman, who must define the contours of laws specific to women, must even think about answer. to this question,” said Ernst on the floor of the Senate.

Read more: US Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson, ‘America at its best,’ to Supreme Court

Grassley leads bipartisan mental health bill for first responders

Grassley introduced legislation this week to create mental health programs for police, firefighters and emergency medical responders.

“Beyond the physical scars, this essential service can also have mental and emotional consequences,” Grassley said. said in a statement. “This bill is an essential step in ensuring that courageous people who step up to critical situations have access to the mental health services needed to manage stress, stay healthy and continue to serve our communities.

The legislation has several Democratic co-sponsors.

Bill would expand rural Medicare hospital programs

Grassley also co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, to reauthorize certain rural hospital programs through Medicare.

“Small, rural hospitals provide good quality health care at a cost that compares well to the cost of urban hospitals,” Grassley said. “Congress should expand programs that help keep the doors open for rural Medicare beneficiaries.”

Several Iowa hospital leaders support reauthorizationaccording to a statement from Grassley.

Senators continue to mobilize in support of Ukraine

  • Grassley and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, proposed a bill to replace weapons and defense equipment supplied by low-income NATO countries to Ukraine. Under the bill, the US Department of Defense could transfer equipment to other NATO countries that have donated their supplies to Ukraine.
  • Ernst and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, offered to cut russia further international groups, suspending them from the UN Human Rights Council, Interpol and the G-20.
  • A Bill backed by Ernst to expedite military aid to Ukraine passed by the Senate.
  • Ernst and Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, met with Ukrainian officials to discuss the impact of war on agriculture.

Republicans say Title 42 still needed during ‘ongoing COVID-19 pandemic’

The Biden administration announced last week that it would lift Title 42, a pandemic-era immigration policy that allowed the United States to refuse more asylum seekers. Republican representatives in Iowa continued to criticize the idea, arguing that removing Title 42 would lead to a new wave of immigration and the spread of COVID-19 across the southern border.

Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks led Republicans in a letter, calling on the Department of Homeland Security to implement a new COVID-19 policy for immigrants when Title 42 is lifted.

“Title 42 is the most powerful tool available to deter illegal immigration to our country and keep our borders secure during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter reads. “Our U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and officers are already overstretched, and this decision will only exacerbate the current crisis.”

Feenstra and Rep. Ashley Hinson also signed the letter.

Also Miller-Meeks introduced a bill this would require border agencies to notify local governments and law enforcement agencies of “the impending release of migrants in their jurisdiction.”

Biden signs executive order to resolve Affordable Care Act ‘glitch’

Biden on Tuesday signed an executive order to address the “family problem” in the Affordable Care Act, a way to allow certain employees with large families to access ACA premium subsidies even if they have insurance through the intermediary of their employer.

Representative Cindy Axne witnessed the signingjust like former President Barack Obama.

“The president’s proposal would ensure that everyone who should be eligible for these premium subsidies can receive them,” Axne said. “This action will help thousands of Iowa families with affordable access to health care.”

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