Iowa Republicans refuse special session
Weeks after Gov. Terry Branstad issued a line-item veto to close 36 Iowa Workforce Development field offices statewide, Republicans are sending a message to their Democratic counterparts who wanted to hold a special session to override the veto.
No thanks, they’re saying.
Today was the deadline for lawmakers to send their resolutions back to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines) to reconvene for a special session. Democrats have said unemployment is too high to let the offices close, and funding was a bipartisan allocation.
“The Legislature worked together to keep our local workforce offices open and it’s extremely disappointing that Republicans have refused to help Iowans,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said in a release. “In tough economic times, we should not be closing doors on Iowans looking for work and on small business looking to hire more workers.”
No Republicans sent back their resolutions, according to House Democrats.
“We extended a bipartisan olive branch to the Republicans. They took it and instead broke it over the backs of the middle class, delivering yet another blow to the 100,000 Iowans currently out of work,” McCarthy said.
Republican lawmakers interviewed by The Iowa Independent have said it’s not that they aren’t disappointed by the veto — they are. But they also remained unconvinced a special session was the correct way to go, particularly after hammering out the third longest legislative session in Iowa history.
Rep. Chip Baltimore (R-Boone) said if a special session was called, lawmakers would have to agree to be unpaid. Others, like Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) said Republicans would only compromise if other matters, including property tax reform, was brought to the forefront for discussion. None of the Republicans interviewed by The Iowa Independent said they were in support of a special session, though some who will see the field offices close said they mulled it over.
Third party grassroots and labor union groups have blasted Branstad for the veto, vowing to enter the fray.