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April 30th, 2011

Ground to a Halt

By Sen. Paul McKinley

The Iowa Senate left town early this week.

Unfortunately, it was not because the Legislature had adjourned for the year.

In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Lawmakers have now exhausted their 110 days of per diem and there is a strong possibility that the end of session may still be several weeks away.

Hardworking Iowans have rightfully been asking, “What’s the hold up and why the inaction?”

As you know, it takes 26 votes to pass a bill in the Iowa Senate.  The current make-up of the Senate is 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans.

All session long, with very few exceptions, Senate Democrats have taken the approach that if they do not have 26 votes in their own party to pass a bill, they will not allow a debate on it.

Now as the session wanes into the 11th hour, Senate Democrats are finding it increasingly difficult to even find the 26 votes in their own caucus to do much of anything.

So instead of working out compromises with Senate Republicans and finding bi-partisan agreement to benefit the people of Iowa, action just grinds to a halt.  Very little significant progress is being made on the budget for the next fiscal year.

Additionally, hundreds of bills sponsored by Senate Republicans, passed by the Iowa House or asked for by Governor Branstad – designed to promote and accelerate private sector job creation, cut taxes, reduce spending, remove rule and regulatory barriers to job growth, provide more clean energy, reform education, protect life and provide Iowans with a greater say in their government – have largely been killed by Senate Democrats.


Senate Democrats have demonstrated that they would rather play partisan political games than allow good bi-partisan public policy to become law.

Many of these Senators in the majority party have told their constituents they are supportive of various issues of importance when they are back home in their districts, only to experience a weekly reoccurring bout of amnesia as soon as they walk through the doors of the Capitol.

Is it any wonder why Iowans become disenchanted and shake their head in disapproval at the partisan shenanigans that too often rule the day at the Capitol?

While Senate Republicans have had a much greater influence than in recent years past, the partisan games and uncompromising tenor of the Senate continues to hold up the progress that Iowans voted for just months ago.

We have said from day one that we are anxious to work with our House colleagues, Governor Branstad and our Democratic counterparts across the aisle in order to help move this state forward.

There is no reason Iowa cannot be a shining example to Washington and the rest of the nation of what it really means to truly find common cause.

In these final weeks, let us not miss our chance to once again showcase this great state.

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The Iowa Republican

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