KIMT News 3 – Lawmakers in Washington are now switching gears after the House voted to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, and following that, the Senate passed the bill as well.
Unlike past votes, this time around there was no “deadline drama” or “shutdown showdown” that we have seen and dealt with over the past several years.
With 2014 being an election year both on a state and national level, lawmakers are concerned about what won’t be accomplished this legislative session.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R) Iowa, spoke with us about Rep. Steve King’s comment following the House’s vote last night.
King said, “The debt ceiling is now off the table and we can focus on something that we might possibly be able to accomplish, and I’m hopeful that the candidates for senate will be able to stand on solid ground and win the majority of the senate next year.”
Grassley says he always heads into a session with a full agenda, but this year, he’s taking a different approach.
“The last six months of last year, only four republican amendments got roll call votes and that’s not the way the senate is supposed to function. Any senator, Republican or Democrat, that ought to be able to offer amendments,” Grassley said.
Iowa lawmakers say that federal campaigns and state campaigns differ and that things on a state level have already taken off for the 2014 legislative session.
“Being an election year, some people are wanting to get out and start knocking doors and things they like to do,” said Iowa Rep. Sharon Steckman, (D) Mason City.
She says that many people have campaign trails on their minds, but that it isn’t stopping them from having a productive session.
Already, in the education committee, Steckman said they have moved forward on more than 40 bill and that several of them have already been passed.
Given the amount of work state officials are already knee deep in Steckman says, “I don’t believe that anyone campaigns hard when their down here working, I mean, there’s just no time.”
Grassley agrees with being able to balance agendas and campaigning, but says that it takes a special kind of politician to do both, and succeed with both.
“You’ve got to remember, that this isn’t a case of ‘can you walk or chew gum’, this is a case where you have to walk and chew gum,” Grassley said.
U.S. Rep. Steve King’s press secretary said they had no comment following last night’s interviews.