Angry voters giving Congress mandate to cooperate, Loebsack says

'The American people have had enough. They want to see action.'

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DES MOINES — Upset voters are giving federal politicians a mandate to work across political party lines, says Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack.

Loebsack, Iowa’s lone Democrat in elected federal office, spoke Monday at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.

During his remarks to roughly 50 people at the fair, Loebsack, who represents eastern Iowa’s 2nd District, lamented what he described as an ineffective Congress and “ugly” election politics.

“It’s not a good thing for America,” Loebsack said.

“I think that when we go back (to Congress) in January there’s going to be such a critical mass of the American people who want us to do the right thing that I think most of the politicians, they know that that’s true,” he added. “But I have some optimism that we are going to be able to get things done.”

Loebsack said if Congress has the political will he thinks the body could pass significant legislation to hasten the sluggish economic recovery, improve the nation’s infrastructure, protect the middle class and strengthen national security against terrorism.

Loebsack said he thinks voters are angry about a Congress that has struggled to produce even basic legislation like budgets, and a presidential campaign that Loebsack said has become “ugly.”

“I just think that pretty much everyone in Washington, D.C. understands — whether they’re willing to act on that understanding is another question — understands that people are upset in this country, that they’re angry,” Loebsack said. “That’s part of why (Democratic presidential candidate) Bernie Sanders did so well. It’s part of why Donald Trump is the (Republican) nominee. (Politicians) get that. But it’s a question of then taking the next leap of faith, if you will, and actually working together. …

“I just think the American people have had enough. They want to see action.”

Loebsack is running for a sixth two-year term in the U.S. House. His opponent is Republican Chris Peters, a surgeon from Coralville.

The topic of a working Congress appears to be on upon which Loebsack and Peters agree. Peters made similar remarks during his appearance at the Soapbox on Thursday.

“I believe that partisan politics have greatly diminished our country and coarsened our public discourse,” Peters said. “I don’t believe a particular candidate is good or bad just because they have an R or a D after their name, and I don’t believe an idea is better or worse simply because one member of a party or another proposed it.”

During his remarks Monday, Loebsack also talked about federal energy policy and expressed his support for federal programs that boost the production of corn-based ethanol and wind energy. Both are prolific industries in Iowa.

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