Republican U.S. Rep. Rod Blum has long been a critic of how Washington, D.C., works but is drawing criticism himself for a comment he made on Twitter — twice — advocating a “recession” in the nation’s capital.
Labor leaders and politicians in Iowa and Washington scolded him for a tweet the 1st District congressman posted along with a photograph of construction cranes working on the $2 billion redevelopment of Washington’s Southwest waterfront,
“Washington, D.C. is booming. Tower cranes everywhere. Being built on the backs of US taxpayers. DC needs a recession,” he wrote.
He sent the tweet under his personal account, and then again under his congressional account.
The Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building Trades Council, which is supporting 1st District Democratic candidate Monica Vernon, demanded an apology from Blum.
“We better hear an apology for this outrageous statement, and it better come fast,” Rich Good, vice president of the trades council, said in a statement.
Good said Blum’s statements ignore the effect a recession has on families.
“I have seen a lot of out-of-touch statements from Rod Blum throughout his short career in Washington, but I honestly never thought I would see him — or any reasonable human for that matter — actually call for a recession,” Patrick Loeffler, president of the trades council, said in the statement.
Pat Murphy, another 1st District Democratic congressional candidate, also was critical of Blum’s message.
“I know one person in Washington, D.C., who desperately needs to be out of a job: Rod Blum,” Murphy said in a statement. “I’ll fight for an increase in wages, equal pay and good benefits for all Americans instead of dividing us, Donald Trump-style.”
Blum dismissed the criticism as “fake outrage from D.C. Democrats” and part of what’s wrong with politics.
He noted the district’s metro area has six of the 10 richest U.S. counties.
“Our huge and ever-growing federal government that’s taking in a record amount of tax revenue from Americans is out of control and needs to be reined in. I want those jobs and tower cranes in eastern Iowa instead of Washington, D.C.,” Blum said in a statement.
He added, “Of course I’m not popular with the entrenched ruling class in Washington, D.C..”
Blum had posted a similar tweet in October saying, “EIGHT tower cranes in 6 block radius. We need to cause a recession … in Washington DC.”
U.S. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-Washington, D.C., was asked about Blum’s recent comment on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”
“It has nothing to do with the federal taxpayers. It’s our own taxpayers. It’s because we pay taxes and don’t have representation in the House and Senate that we are treated as second-class citizens,” Norton said.
The district was mostly spared the brunt of the last recession, and D.C. is teeming with new condos, restaurants and investments, the Washington Post reported. But its poverty rates are still above the national average.
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Technically, the Post reported in an article about the issue, D.C. funds are considered federally appropriated dollars. That’s because the district is not a state, and local tax dollars and the local budget go through the federal appropriations process.
But D.C. property owners pay local taxes and D.C. residents, who do not have voting representation in Congress, pay federal taxes.