Guest Columnist

A commitment to clean up Washington

House members are sworn in the Capitol's House chamber on the first day of the 117th Congress in Washington on Sunday, J
House members are sworn in the Capitol's House chamber on the first day of the 117th Congress in Washington on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Iowans sent me to Washington to help end the chaos and dysfunction that runs rampant in Congress and hurts working Americans.

We saw this on full display in December, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted to holding up a COVID-19 relief package for months until her preferred candidate was elected President. This prevented millions of Americans, struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic through no fault of their own, from putting food on the table and paying their bills — and brought us to the brink of yet another government shutdown. In truth, people on both sides of the aisle have played political games at the expense of doing what is right for their constituents. Enough is enough.

That is why I am getting straight to work to clean up the corruption in Washington and bring some much-needed transparency to how Congress operates. As your representative, my mission is simple: make the best use of taxpayer dollars to serve Iowans. There needs to be more accountability to taxpayers from their representatives in Washington. During my first weeks in office, I have co-sponsored several bills to help reform Congress and return our focus to serving taxpayers. This includes legislation to prohibit Members of Congress from using taxpayer dollars to fly first class, to require Congress to consider the cost of servicing the debt when advancing legislation, and to prevent Members of Congress from receiving a pay raise if the U.S. is running a federal deficit.

It is appalling these common-sense measures are not already the law of the land — my work in Congress is clearly cut out for me.

I also will have a unique opportunity to help fix our broken government spending process from my post on the House Appropriations Committee. I have heard from many Iowans about their frustrations with our current government spending process, and I share those frustrations.

Americans watch this play out the same way, year after year. Big spenders in Congress advance massive, wasteful funding bills at the very last minute. Often, the bills are thousands of pages and Members do not have the opportunity to read what is included before casting their vote. As a result, the bills are full of Washington pork — taxpayer dollars are thrown into the abyss and our debt grows astronomically without as much as a second glance from Congress. We need more Iowa pork products, and less Washington pork spending.

Funding the government is an essential duty of Congress. But it is past time to change the way we do it. This process needs transparency and accountability — taxpayers should be able to follow the money and see where and how their dollars are being spent. Congress needs to stop spending big just for the sake of spending big; the government spending process should be undertaken in the light of day, not out of view of the American people who have entrusted us with their hard-earned money.

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Additionally, with Democrats controlling the White House, Senate, and House, I am on high alert to ensure your tax dollars are not directed to liberal wish list items. Rest assured, I will be watching like a hawk.

There is no doubt that cleaning up Washington will be an uphill battle. But it is a battle I take seriously, and a battle I am committed to fighting for the good of Iowans.

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson represents Iowa’s 1st District.

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