After spending the week meeting with northeast Iowans, 1st District U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson continued her call for targeted coronavirus pandemic relief and support for derecho recovery.
However, the Marion Republican warned that a COVID-19 relief package “full of liberal policy wish list ideas,” such as raising the minimum wage, is a non-starter for congressional Republicans.
“I can tell you that out in the district this week, I heard a lot about that,” Hinson said about a proposal from President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. “It would be a poison pill to many of our small businesses and the rural economy.
“I don’t think we need to go big for the sake of going,” she said. “We should be going targeted.”
Hinson also met with officials from Cedar Rapids and other cities about federal issues, including derecho recovery.
Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart and City Council member Dale Todd discussed the “extreme cost of the cleanup” for the city, where more than 1,000 housing units were deemed unlivable and hundreds of homes were damaged. More than half of the city’s trees were heavily damaged or destroyed. The city estimates cleanup may cost $100 million or more.
While city officials in Cedar Rapids and other communities are confident they will get federal assistance for derecho recovery, “obviously, they’re not going to get everything reimbursed from FEMA,” Hinson said.
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“The city of Marion has a similar concern about the amount of debt that they’re going to have to float and what they’re going to have to do to be able to absorb that cost,” she said.
Hinson will take their concerns back to Washington, where she sits on a subcommittee of House Appropriations that funds the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Hinson also is on the Budget Committee, “which gives Iowans a seat at the table during that entire spending process,” she said.
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