DC Dispatch: Iowa lawmakers tackle inflation and access to birth control

Lawmakers from Iowa to Washington are pressuring Democratic majorities in the House and Senate to take action on inflation.

Inflation in the United States hit a 40-year high in June as gasoline, food and rent prices rose on the consumer price index. Some studies show that rising prices are hitting Iowa the hardest. Rural households are more vulnerable to the impact of high gas prices and lagging wages, according to a study by the Iowa Small Towns Project.

The Federal Reserve plans to raise interest rates next week in an attempt to combat the impact of inflation. The move would raise interest rates on consumer loans, which can be used for home loans, cars and student debt. During a House Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Randy Feenstra said the move would hurt American families.

“In Iowa, families are sitting around the kitchen table trying to figure out how they are going to make ends meet as inflation soars. groceries are at record highs while paychecks are shrinking in real terms,” Feenstra said during the committee meeting.

US Senator Chuck Grassley also called on Congress to help families struggling with the rising cost of living. Grassley introduced a proposed Family and Community Inflation Relief Act to the Senate on Thursday to help middle- and low-income families through tax credits.

The legislation would adjust the thresholds currently required for families and students to receive certain tax benefits and assistance from government programs based on rising costs. The proposed legislation would impact people applying for benefits through programs such as the Child Tax Credit, the Student Loan Interest Deduction and the U.S. Opportunity Tax Credit.

Grassley said the proposal responds to challenges families are facing due to rising costs.

“Although President Biden has failed to find meaningful solutions to the economic crisis he created, I will continue to work on common sense policies that will help Americans weather this runaway inflation,” he said. -he adds. Grassley said in a press release.

Alternatives to billing contraceptives

U.S. Representatives Marianette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson did not vote for legislation guaranteeing people the right to use contraception without government interference that passed the House on Thursday. But the two Iowa Republicans on Tuesday introduced legislation to make U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved oral contraceptives available over the counter.

This law would not affect people’s legal access to contraceptives. The House bill passed this week was in response to Associate Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in the case overturning Roe v. Wade in June, in which Thomas called on the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider other rulings, including those that established same-sex marriage rights. and access to birth control.

U.S. Representative Cindy Axne voted for the measure, which would prevent states from imposing restrictions on access to birth control.

“People deserve the right to decide when they want to have children, and the ability to access contraceptives is essential for that,” Axne said in a press release. “Last month’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson unfortunately threatens that right, which is why it’s so critical that Congress act to ensure that Iowans and all Americans can access birth control if they so choose. .”

The House also this week passed legislation that would codify the right to same-sex marriage in response to Thomas’ opinion. Miller-Meeks and Hinson voted in favor of the measure.

Hinson said she and Miller-Meeks’ bill would expand access to birth control.

“I have long advocated for greater access to birth control, and today I am proud to introduce legislation that will make birth control pills available without a prescription for adult women,” she said in a press release. .. “Millions of American women safely use birth control pills and allowing women to access birth control pills at their local pharmacy is a common sense policy.”

Miller-Meeks spoke about the passage of a similar bill while she was in the Iowa State Senate in a press release.

“As a woman and a physician, I recognize the need for increased access to contraceptives and believe this bill is an important step in promoting women’s health,” Miller-Meeks said.

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