OTTUMWA – Senate Democratic leaders’ decision to go on recess and delay action on flood relief legislation for Iowa and other Midwest states until at least September reflects “an outrageous lack of leadership and caring,” congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks said today.
Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa Republican, said incumbent David Loebsack’s willingness to quietly accept such inaction while thousands of Iowans struggle to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of devastating floods is “further proof that his ‘follow-the-leader’ mindset is hurting Iowa’s Second Congressional District.”
“Dave Loebsack’s appearances in Iowa’s hard-hit communities will amount to nothing but grandstanding if the leadership he follows so diligently decides to wait until September to help the families and businesses that have lost so much or, in many cases, everything,” Miller-Meeks said. “Where is his outrage? Where is his leadership?”
She continued, “Congressional Democrats fell all over themselves to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina – and they should have. Next to providing a strong national defense, the federal government’s most important role is to help people who have lost everything in natural disasters,” Miller-Meeks said. “For Congress to even consider coming home to campaign after 25,000 residents of Cedar Rapids, the people of Iowa City, Columbus Junction and so many other communities have been displaced from their homes and businesses after the biggest natural disaster in this state’s history is down right shameful. Are Iowans no less deserving of prompt and effective natural disaster assistance?”
Robert Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee said Tuesday that his committee and the full Senate would not have enough time to consider an emergency spending bill before starting its next recess in early August. While Congress has initially approved $2.65 billion in flood relief for Iowa, Governor Chet Culver has argued more than $1 billion in additional relief is needed.
“This is the time when we need someone in Congress who will go toe-to-toe with the leadership to get things done for Iowans who need their government to work for them more than ever before,” Miller-Meeks said. “The last thing we need is ‘Follow-the-Leader Loebsack’ who is missing in action when we need him most.”
Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist and former University of Iowa faculty member, has more than 24 years of service in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve. The Second Congressional District includes 15 counties: Appanoose, Cedar, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Johnson, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Muscatine, Van Buren, Wapello, Washington and Wayne.