Government

It's not the Washington you see in the news she's working on, Rep. Abby Finkenauer says

Rep. Abby Finkenauer arrives for the inaugural swearing-in ceremony for Gov. Kim Reynolds at Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Rep. Abby Finkenauer arrives for the inaugural swearing-in ceremony for Gov. Kim Reynolds at Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s as if there are two Washingtons — one fixated on whether the president will be impeached and another where senators and representatives are going about the routine business of Congress, says U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer.

“I keep telling folks back home that the things I’m working on day-to-day here are so different from what you see on the nightly news,” the freshman congresswoman representing Iowa’s 1st Congressional District said Wednesday.

Members of the Houser Judiciary, Intelligence and Oversight committees “are doing their jobs looking into questions that have come up and answers that they need to be looking into,” the Dubuque Democrat said during a phone interview.

“Then you’ve got folks sitting on committees like me on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Small Business, Agriculture and dealing with health care, and we’re all just trying to get things done after the last few years,” said Finkenauer, who arrived in Washington as part of the new House Democratic majority.

It shouldn’t be surprising that both are happening at once, she said.

“We should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Finkenauer said.

And she’s found it’s not uncommon for Democrats and Republicans to work together.

“We actually joke about it,” she said about her colleagues on the Small Business Committee. “We’re so bipartisan it would shock you. It’s a different Washington than folks are seeing on television because there are so many opportunities where we are actually trying to work together.”

That includes breakfasts with Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.

“We talk about the need for infrastructure and for rural broadband. These are things we can find common ground on, and we are,” she said.

As an example, she pointed to working with Grassley to extend the Biodiesel Tax Credit to help Iowa corn and soybean farmers. The extension is needed, they said, because biodiesel production supports over 60,000 jobs across the United States and generates over $11 billion for the economy.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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