After Months of Delay, Congress Passes Flood Relief; Miller-Meeks Asks, Why Does Loebsack Put Politics Over People?

September 25, 2008

OTTUMWA — Second Congressional District Republican candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks commended Congress for finally acting to deliver flood relief to Iowans. The Senate is expected to pass the bill today, and Iowans devastated by June flooding will be able to rest easier knowing they will eventually receive relief.


“While it’s important that Congress finally acted, it’s clear David Loebsack had little to do with the relief package and he has not been a leader. There’s a big difference between action and leadership,” Dr. Miller-Meeks said. “He followed the failed leadership of a Do-Nothing Congress that chose to play politics before delivering aid to Iowans as soon as possible.”


In July, Rep. Tom Latham, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee pleaded with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass a stand-alone flood relief bill because it was clear the $2.65 billion Congress initially appropriated in June was inadequate. So far, only $1 billion in flood assistance has been allocated to Iowa, according to the Rebuild Iowa Office.


Not wanting to risk losing a potential vote on offshore drilling and using flood relief as a political bargaining chip to pass the $600 billion catch-all government spending bill, Pelosi secured adjournment in July. The current bill has $22.9 billion in aid for disasters, and Iowa is expected to receive about $5 billion.


Congressional action comes almost four months after the floods devastated Southeast Iowa. Federal and congressional officials said Iowa communities, homeowners and small businesses might have to wait until after the first of the year for flood relief to be allocated in a best-case scenario. The Des Moines Register reported today that it might be 2009 until Iowa knows how much money it will receive and months more before the aid trickles down.


“When Democratic leaders in Congress decided Iowans could wait, where was Dave Loebsack’s leadership?” Miller-Meeks asked. “He was AWOL – absent without leadership — choosing a go-along-to-get-along strategy instead of standing up for the people of his district, and now wants to take single-handed credit for disaster relief that is long overdue” she added.


Media accounts prove that Congressman Loebsack, ranked only the 332nd most influential member of Congress, had questionable involvement, and Democrats used the bill as a political tool to force their spending package through Congress.

“The legislation is coming together in a remarkably secretive process in which decisions are concentrated in the hands of just a few lawmakers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis.,” according to a Sept. 22 Associated Press story.


“Families are scrimping to pay basic bills like gas and groceries while wondering how their homes will be rebuilt,” Miller-Meeks said. “Thousands of Iowans have left devastated areas. Small businesses and farms are still struggling and every day of inaction by the “Do Nothing Congress” has prolonged suffering. Congressman Loebsack failed to lead by not putting the people of Iowa before partisan politics.”


“While Congress has finally taken steps to provide essential help to disaster victims, there’s no excuse for Dave Loebsack to continually put partisanship over people,” Miller-Meeks said.  “It’s time for the Second District to elect a real leader in Congress who believes in change that delivers.”


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