Republicans in the Iowa DC delegation took aim at President Joe Biden on Friday, criticizing the administration’s decision to end a Trump-era policy that allowed Customs and Border Patrol to turn back asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border.
Delegation members also continued to ask for help from Ukraine, advocated for summer use of biofuels and were divided on insulin price caps.
Republicans criticize end of Title 42 border policy
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday that it would end Title 42, a border policy that turned back migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. The policy was enacted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and will expire at the end of May.
Several Republican Iowa lawmakers criticized Biden for the move.
“Just when you think the president’s border policies couldn’t get any worse, they do… Ending Title 42 will exacerbate the crisis on our southern border and further incentivize illegal immigration,” Rep. Ashley Hinson said.
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks tweeted that lifting Title 42 could “create one of the biggest border crises we’ve ever seen.” Her too introduced a bill to make it easier for people to become border agentseliminating the requirement for a polygraph test for certain applicants.
“Our (Customs and Border Patrol) officers and agents need more support, not more barriers,” Miller-Meeks said in a statement. “A record number of illegal crossings and job shortages have left them in a difficult position and they are doing their best.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley tweeted multiple times on Friday, saying lifting Title 42 would be a “BIG MISTAKE.”
Biden’s policies have already created the worst illegal immigration crisis on the southern border in US history. Now, the Biden administrator wants2 to end Title 42, a COVID-19 public health order from the Trump administrator that allows border agents to deport illegal immigrants caught crossing the border. BIG MISTAKE
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) April 1, 2022
While Republicans decried the lifting of Title 42, some Democrats criticized the Biden administration for not scrapping the policy sooner, reports The Hill. Nearly 90 immigrant rights advocates sent a letter to Biden and other administration leaders last week, writing that the continued use of the 42 title “undermines (their) confidence in the administration.”
Read more: Biden administration to end pandemic policy blocking migrants seeking asylum
Axne and Miller-Meeks vote for insulin price caps
The Affordable Insulin Now Act sets the maximum monthly cost of insulin at $35 for people with Medicare Part D or other health insurance. The House passed the bill with bipartisan support, 232-193.
Representative Cindy Axne and Miller-Meeks voted for. Hinson and Rep. Randy Feenstra voted against.
“I’ve heard so many heartbreaking stories from Iowans living with diabetes about the crippling costs of insulin,” Axne said in a press release. “Many have skipped meals or risked their lives rationing their insulin to be able to afford it, and this is unacceptable.”
The bill is heading to the Senate for consideration.
Ernst and Grassley push for Ukraine info, support
Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst were strong supporters of sending weapons and humanitarian aid to Ukrainians resisting the Russian invasion. Ernst lsent a letter this week ask the Biden administration for more information on the amount of aid that had been provided and what additional equipment might be needed or available for the fight.
“We need him to clearly outline what these dollars are for and how are we achieving our goals in Ukraine,” Ernst told a news conference. “The administration hasn’t done that yet.”
Grassley also signed the letter requesting additional information.
Ernst met on Wednesday with Ambassador Oksana Markarova and members of the Ukrainian parliament. Ernst said the leaders had asked the United States for more weapons, including the transfer of Polish fighter jets and additional sanctions against Russia.
“The Ukrainian military is successfully pushing back Russian forces on the ground, but they need the capabilities to stop the aerial bombardment of hospitals, schools and homes right now,” Ernst said.
Axne leads the letter on biofuels and demands E15 all year round
Axne and the House Biofuels Caucus have called on Biden to allow year-round sales of 15% ethanol (E15) fuel to help combat rising gas prices. Miller-Meeks, Hinson and Feenstra also signed the letter.
“Ethanol, biodiesel and renewable diesel are adding to the nation’s fuel supply, lowering prices at the pump for nearly every consumer good that moves along the supply chain,” says the letter.
Under current law, E15 cannot be sold in the summer due to concerns about additional air pollution in hot weather.
Lawmakers in Iowa and other corn-growing states have pushed for more federal funding and support for ethanol. Feenstra asked Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young this week about why Biden’s latest proposed budget does not include more money for biofuels.
“We’re all paying an awful lot for gas at the pump right now, which affects every family and every business,” Feenstra said. “So my question is, being from Iowa, why don’t we have American-made biofuels in this budget?”
Biden’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022 included $1 billion for biofuels, spread over four years, according to Biomass Magazine.
Miller-Meeks and Axne propose opioid treatment changes
Miller-Meeks and Axne co-sponsored a bill this week to change federal guidelines for treating opioid addiction. Under current rules, patients must be addicted to opioids for a full year before receiving certain treatments.
“Opioid addiction has no timeline and does not discriminate,” Miller-Meeks said in a press release. “Patients should be able to start treatment for opioid addiction as soon as possible.”
Axne also introduced a bill to reauthorize opioid treatment programs and provide more funding for suicide prevention programs for young adults.
“”The worsening mental health crisis in our country is having devastating effects on young people, and the need to invest in youth mental health and suicide prevention efforts couldn’t be more dire” , said Axne.
Ernst leads bill to study brain damage in domestic violence survivors
Ernst and Senator Catherine Cortez Matso, D-Nevada, introduced a bill to demand that the Department of Health and Human Services investigate traumatic brain injury in survivors of domestic violence. Ernst, who is a survivor of domestic violence herself, said the bill would help “improve reporting and therefore find more effective ways to treat and support survivors.”
Hinson and Feenstra introduce bills to prevent abortions
Feenstra introduced a bill this week banning doctors from performing a “forced, forced or intentional abortion” of a fetus diagnosed with Turner syndrome. Under the bill, medical professionals cannot accept or solicit payment to perform an abortion because of Turner syndrome or help women find another state or country to have the procedure. Doctors would face criminal penalties under the proposal, but women could not be held liable.
“My faith teaches me that each person is created for a purpose and a reason, and that each person – both born and unborn – deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” Feenstra said. said in a press release. “The Girls with Turner Syndrome Protection Act is a critical step as we fight to end abortion in our country.”
Hinson introduced the “Pregnant Student Rights Act,” a bill to provide more information to pregnant students “about their rights, resources, and support(s) on campus.”
“Students who are pregnant or who could become pregnant unexpectedly deserve to know about all the resources available to them, and it is unacceptable that so many are being told that abortion is their only option,” hinson said. “Young women should feel empowered to choose life and create the best future for themselves and their child.”
Both bills are unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled House. There are no co-sponsors on either bill.