DC Dispatch: Iowa Reps Include Immigration, Homelessness Policy In Defense Spending Bill
Representatives from Iowa in the U.S. House were able to push some of their own policy goals on issues like immigration and homelessness into this year’s military defense spending plan. .
The House of Representatives passed this year’s National Defense Authorization Act in a vote of 329 to 101 on Thursday, providing $839 billion in funding to the Pentagon.
The amendments that the Iowa delegation passed through the NDAA were not all defense policies. US Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks was able to speak out to protect the Dreamers, or people who entered the country as children with undocumented parents.
Although there are some protections for people who came to the United States as minors, the path to citizenship is still difficult. Miller-Meeks said his amendment would protect minors from deportation if they entered the United States with a guardian on a temporary visa but did not have a permanent residence.
Today the House passed my amendment that will protect over 200,000 documented dreamers. These dreamers grew up in the United States and live there. Unfortunately, due to a broken immigration system, many of them are forced to leave. This amendment will solve this problem.
– Rep. Marianne Miller-Meeks, MD (@RepMMM) July 15, 2022
U.S. Representative Cindy Axne successfully added measures to provide job training and employment assistance to National Guard members transitioning to civilian life. The legislation also includes her proposed amendment to a Rural Homelessness Relief Act, which she says gives communities more flexibility in how they spend federal funding to help people find housing.
“Homelessness in rural areas is different than in urban communities because there are often few or no places to seek shelter,” Axne said in a press release. “My legislation will give rural communities more flexibility in how homelessness funding can be used to ensure the money is used in the way that makes the most sense for each community.
US Representative Randy Feenstra also added measures to the package, providing funding for weather radar detection research and biofuel cell development.
He praised the NDAA for increasing both service member pay and overall military funding — steps necessary to maintain national security in an “increasingly unstable” world.
“China and Russia will stop at nothing to usurp our position as the most powerful economic and military superpower in the world,” Feenstra said in a statement. “In the interest of our national security and our economic vitality, we can never let this happen.”
The NDAA now awaits debate and approval in the Senate.
Grassley asks the general to submit to questioning
US Senator Chuck Grassley called on Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley to answer questions about whether he broke the statutory line of command when former President Donald’s term ended Trump.
In remarks to the Senate Thursday, Grassley called on Milley to answer questions about his actions. U.S. Representative Jim Banks, a Republican from Indiana, asked the House for the same.
Milley was one of Trump’s top military advisers. The book “Peril,” written by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa about the Trump presidency, alleged that Milley told senior military officials to check with him before carrying out any orders directly from the president.
“These brazen words and actions, if accurate, strike at the heart of our democracy — civilian control of the military — and show utter disregard for the commander-in-chief,” Grassley said in a speech Thursday.
This isn’t the first time Grassley has tried to bring Milley in for further questioning. In January, he and fellow Republicans Sens. Rand Paul and Marsha Blackburn sent a letter to Milley about another passage from “Peril” which alleged that he told members of the Chinese military that he would contact them if the president planned to attack China.
Milley was questioned by the Senate Armed Services Committee about his actions during the Trump administration in September 2021. During the hearing, he said he was instructed by the then Secretary of Defense , Mark Esper, to make calls to China.
Outside of this hearing, the general neither confirmed nor denied the accuracy of these reports. Milley said he’s been interviewed by reporters for books about the Trump administration, but hasn’t read any books like “Peril” that make those accusations.
Grassley said Milley has a duty to clarify whether the book’s claims are true.
“General Milley, honor your word,” Grassley said. “Answer questions. Be candid with the American people. We are all ears.
Ernst joins the border wall tour
US Senator Joni Ernst traveled to the US-Mexico border in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley this week with a delegation of fellow Republicans.
She spent Thursday night with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the National Border Patrol Council doing a night tour. A press release says the senator spent Friday meeting with landowners along the border, law enforcement and border security officials to discuss what action Congress should take.
“Month after month, we continue to see utter chaos on the southern border under this administration,” Ernst said in a press release. “With our Border Patrol agents more overstretched than ever, we need serious action to restore law and order to the border. I look forward to meeting the men and women on the front lines of this crisis. and to report potential solutions to my colleagues in the Senate.
Ernst supports the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border. Earlier this month, she sponsored legislation that would require the federal government to provide building materials to states along the southern border. Miller-Meeks proposed in the House a supplemental bill to the Border Unused and Dormant Inventory Transfer (BUILD IT) Act.
Biden issued an executive order to halt construction of border barriers early in his presidency.