Marshalltown Times-Republican: Incumbent congressman Blum pushes policy, experience

“U.S. Rep. Rod Blum wants to earn two more years representing Iowa’s First Congressional District in November. He faces fellow Dubuque native and state Rep. Abby Finkenauer in a heated race.

Blum was first elected to Congress in 2014 and has a background as a businessman and software developer. He said voters want several issues addressed in Washington, D.C.

Health care and health insurance

Blum said his philosophy on health care is to lift up the marketplace and bring down the costs.’ He said America has stellar health care, but some people struggle to afford that care, and the government and private sector can work hand-in-hand to improve access.

Blum said the federal government has a responsibility to do things like provide health care or buy down premiums for certain groups, such as low-income earners, veterans, people with special needs and people who receive Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

‘On the other side of the equation, most people in this country get health insurance through their employer,’ Blum said.Let’s get rid of these insane regulations and let’s get a lot more competition into health care.’

He said he supports health insurance sales across state lines because it would give customers more options and increase provider competition, driving costs down. Blum said the Affordable Care Act didn’t drive down costs but shifted them to other individuals, increasing premiums.

Trade

Recent trade disputes with several countries, primarily China, have been a hot-button topic. Blum said any short-term headaches caused by a trade war will eventually be resolved.

Iowa farmers have been particularly concerned with Chinese tariffs on soybeans, but Blum said he and U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have informed U.S. leaders about the seriousness of the situation.

‘In a six-month window, it may be out-of-balance a little bit, but over time it balances out … Next year at this time, we won’t be talking about China,’ Blum said.

After conversations with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Blum said he thinks the trade war with the U.S. is going to break China.’

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, designed as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), was something Blum expects he will vote yes’ on when it reaches the U.S. House of Representatives.

The congressman also touted the recent Trump administration announcement of year-round E-15 fuel availability.

Service

Blum said he’s gotten a lot accomplished in his years in Congress.

‘The economy five years ago wasn’t so great,’ he said.

Blum said he’s been effective at the U.S. Capitol, sometimes voting against his party — he voted against former House Speaker U.S. Rep. John Boehner and various spending bills.

Blum said he has worked well with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) both with getting a flood wall put up in Cedar Rapids and getting public assistance funding to Marshalltown for tornado relief.

Blum also cited his business background, saying he has employed hundreds of people in his decades as an entrepreneur. He said his experiences make him a better candidate for the First District seat than Finkenauer.

‘My opponent has only been in the public sector,’ Blum said.

Other issues

Blum said he is co-sponsoring a bill to make the individual tax cuts passed in 2017 permanent. They are set to expire after nine years.

‘I fought hard when the bill was in conference … to make the corporate tax cuts temporary and to make the individual tax cuts permanent,’ Blum said.

Blum also said he wants walls along both U.S. land borders. He called current immigration rules a ‘mishmash of laws that have not been effective enough. Blum also said Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients should be given legal status, though not necessarily citizenship.’

The congressman said he supports work requirements in the 2018 Federal Farm Bill stating people between the ages of 19-59 who are able to work should work at least 20 hours a week.

That section of the bill includes exceptions for those attending community college, people with children under 6 in the home, and people unable to work for physical or mental health reasons.

Blum will face Finkenauer and Libertarian Party candidate Troy Hageman for the First District seat on Nov. 6. The district covers northeast and parts of east-central Iowa, including the cities of Marshalltown, Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Dubuque and Cedar Rapids.”

Author: Adam Sodders

Full article here.