BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa 2nd) said programs such as Community Development Block Grants and federal historic tax credits are under attack and called on the President and the conservative elements of Congress to get back to real discussions on a multitude of issues.
Loebsack was in town touring the upper apartment projects that are currently in full mode at the old Lee County Bank and former Cattermole Library buildings in downtown Fort Madison.
“Those programs are under assault now in Washington D.C. I think they more than pay for themselves and they’re great for economic development and I’m gonna do all I can to make sure we continue those programs and continue to fund them,” he said Friday afternoon.
He said Congress is extremely polarized right now and real conversations need to be taking place not morning updates via Twitter.
“The first thing that would be really wonderful would be for the President not to tweet. Not to get up every morning and attack one person, one institution or another. It makes no sense,” Loebsack said with palpable frustration. “I think that his incessant tweeting is driving this country politically into the gutter.”
The congressman said he feels the climate can change and he believes in some ways it is, but high level dialogue needs to take place to get the country back on the right track.
“We’ve got to have constructive dialogue,” he said. “Look, it has to happen between leaders of the parties in Congress and the president. A lot of this is done on a daily basis. We cooperate with one another on some of the smaller issues of the day.”
The sixth term democrat said despite being targeted every two years by republicans for his seat he can still have dialogue and work across the aisle with his counterparts.
“I’m in a situation where I have a competitive race every two years. They target me and would like to get rid of me. But they still cooperate with me on these issues and we try to get things passed,” he said. “That’s what it’s going to take. Our constituents are telling us this is a lot of nonsense and that we have to talk to each other and we need to keep the ball moving forward and that’s the bottom line.”
Loebsack still thinks there is energy in Congress to get things turned around and is seeing movement in that area, specifically with Affordable Care Act.
“I see it, I do, on health care. We’ve seen it recently when repeal and replace attempts in the Senate failed. A number of people were are already working on that behind the scenes. That has been happening,” he said. “But now what we need is the president and the most conservative elements of Congress to say we’re done trying to repeal and replace – it failed. We need them to do that because we have to move the ball forward and fix the Affordable Care Act and do it on a nonpartisan basis.”