Rod Blum: My first 90 days in Congress

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It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been over three months since I began serving as your Congressman for the First District of Iowa. My first 90 days in Congress have been a whirlwind: as an average citizen entering the realm of public service from a long career leading companies in the private sector, I am getting adjusted to a whole new world. There are countless things to learn, like navigating the underground tunnel system on Capitol Hill, grasping procedural rules like “Motions to Recommit” and “Queen of the Hill” (don’t ask), and balancing the demands of the job with spending time with my family. Overall, I couldn’t be more happy and honored to be working hard to restore our country on behalf of all Iowans in the First District.

Though I’ve only been serving for 90 days, it’s already very clear to me that Congress is in need of serious reform. Politicians in Washington are supposed to work for the American people, but far too often their focus is on enriching themselves and advancing their career in politics. While wages for working families are stagnant across America and the economy still is struggling to recover, career politicians are living large off your tax dollars with perks like six-figure salaries, first class flights, lucrative pensions, Cadillac health plans, and the promise of an even higher paying job as a lobbyist after they retire from Congress.

I’ve heard from many Iowans who believe it’s time that we change the culture in DC and finally force politicians to pay attention to the rest of America, not just the lobbyists and special interests, and I agree with them wholeheartedly. This is not a partisan issue: it’s about creating an environment in Washington where elected officials are incentivized to do what’s best for the country, not themselves and their career.

That’s why in my first three months as your representative, I’ve already made reforming Congress a top priority. Some of the highlights of my efforts so far include:

• Taking the Republican lead along with Democrat Representative Gwen Graham from Florida on a bipartisan bill to ban taxpayer-funded first class flights and long term luxury car leases. Our founders never intended for public servants to travel in luxury at the taxpayer’s expense.

• Co-sponsoring legislation to end pensions for Congress and freeze their pay. At a time when many Americans are still struggling to make ends meet, there’s certainly no reason Congress deserves Cadillac pensions and a pay raise.

• Creating and co-chairing, along with Democrat Representative Beto O’Rourke from Texas, the new Congressional Term Limit Caucus. I believe term limits are a must: serving in Congress should be a temporary sacrifice, not a long career. In addition I’ve also sponsored legislation implementing term limits for Congress.

In the coming months, I will continue to push for similar initiatives that reform Congress, including tying Congressional and federal bureaucrats pay raises OR PAY CUTS to the rise or fall of the wages of average Americans. If everyday citizens take a pay cut, Washington, D.C. should too. I am also excited about

introducing legislation that will close the revolving door between lobbying groups and Congress. Each of these reforms represent a piece of the puzzle to making Washington politicians public servants instead of a semi-permanent ruling class.

I’d ask you to please continue providing input on my work, whether you agree, disagree, or have ideas on policies that can move Iowa and America forward. As I remind the bureaucrats and party bosses in Washington — I report to the hard working folks in Eastern Iowa — NOT the special interests in Washington, DC.

• U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, a Republican, represents Iowa’s 1st congressional district. Comments: (319) 364-2288.

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