116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
President Joe Biden spoke for nearly two hours Wednesday at a news conference, but nothing he said led U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson to think he has solutions to the mounting pressures Iowans face.
“I think my take-away is that here we are one year into his administration and Iowans and Americans are worse off,” the 1st District Republican said Thursday on a call with reporters.
Inflation is at a 40-year high, and American businesses and consumers face supply issues, Hinson said. There is a workforce crisis, a border crisis and America’s standing the world is under attack.
“Yet we're hearing from President Biden that they want to double down on these priorities however they can,” Hinson said, calling Democratic control of the White House, Senate and House a “trifecta of trouble.”
Hinson, who voted against a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package earlier this year, defended her advocacy for “targeted infrastructure spending.”
On Wednesday, though, she joined fellow Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Illinois Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos in praising the Army Corps of Engineers announcement it would spend $829 million for modernizing locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River.
Hinson called the inland waterway system “crucial” to grain producers and the nation’s entire supply chain, with more than 60 percent of the nation's grain exports traveling through the lock and dam system.
“It's about access to markets, and our producers want to make sure that access is continued,” she said.
Democrats, including her challenger in this fall’s election, state Sen. Liz Mathis of Hiawatha, were quick to accuse Hinson of a flip-flop — supporting infrastructure spending, then opposing it and now claiming credit for it.
“By voting against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Ashley Hinson put Washington politics ahead of Iowans,” Mathis said Thursday.
“It's inexcusable that instead of doing her job and working to improve Iowa's roads and bridges, expand broadband access, and improve our supply chain on the Mississippi so our farmers and manufacturers can get goods to market, she's simply trying to mislead her constituents and cover up her vote against these critical priorities,” Mathis said.
“Northeast Iowa deserves a representative who will work across the aisle to get things done, not play partisan politics, then lie about it.”
Hinson, however, said she’s been consistent in her support of modernizing locks and dams, some more than 80 years old.
It was one of the priorities Hinson, a member of both the Appropriations and Budget committees, said she pushed for when the infrastructure package was being put together.
But she said she voted against the bipartisan infrastructure package because the funding wasn’t targeted and was tied to trillions of spending she couldn’t support.
After it passed, Hinson said she continued to fight for her priorities.
“If there's federal money on the table, do you think I'm going to sit back and let that go to states like California? New York? Hell, no, I'm going to make sure as much of it comes back to Iowa as possible,” she said.
Hinson also said she is going to continue to put names and faces on the challenges Iowans face as a result of Biden administration policies.
Inflation is more than a number to Iowa’s elderly on fixed incomes “worried about paying their energy bills, the mom who's putting less in their grocery cart because they're concerned about putting gas in the tank and the small business trying to get people to come to work so they can keep their lights on,” Hinson said.
For Democrats, “the solution to everything right now is just spending more money,” she said. “We need to make sure we're holding them accountable … and focus on the solutions that will actually help our working families.”
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