Iowa’s senators rank well on bipartisanship

Both Grassley and Ernst partner across the political divide

The partisan divide in Congress has resulted in a near stalemate on many important issues that require government action. There is fierce disagreement between the political parties on many policy matters. There was a time when members of the House and Senate made a strong effort to craft legislative solutions that were acceptable to as many members of both parties as possible. Today partnering across the aisle is far from the norm in Washington.

Fortunately, there are some politicians in both political parties who still work hard to find ways to cooperate and collaborate. This bipartisanship prevents decision-making in Congress from coming to a standstill. Iowa’s two Republican United States senators — Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst– are strong champions of this approach.

A recent study by Georgetown University’s Lugar Center ranked the bipartisanship of 250 U.S. senators who had served during the last quarter century. It concluded that both Grassley and Ernst were far more inclined to work in harmony with senators of the opposite party than was typical of their colleagues. In terms of bipartisanship, Grassley ranked 14 out of 250, putting him in the top 5 percent. Ernst ranked 39, placing her in the top 16 percent. (Ernst’s record may well move her up this ranking the next time it is calculated because she had only served in the Senate a short time when the most recent study was conducted.)

It would be possible to cite many examples of the bipartisan efforts of both of Iowa’s senators. A couple recent ones, however, help illustrate their commitment to putting the public good ahead of partisan posturing.

Grassley is currently co-sponsoring with Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act. This legislation strengthens the antitrust capabilities of the U.S. Justice Department and seeks to make the fee structure for merger filings fairer to small businesses. An extreme partisan might have avoided collaborating with a Democrat who was campaigning for the presidency on the grounds that legislative accomplishments would make her a stronger contender. Iowa’s senior senator put the nation’s interests ahead of narrow partisan interests.

Similarly, Ernst collaborated with Democratic senators earlier this year to sponsor Closing the Law Enforcement Loophole Act, which would make federal sexual abuse laws stronger. One of the co-sponsors was Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., also a Democrat seeking the White House. Just this month Ernst paid tribute on the floor of the Senate to the one-year anniversary of the presidential signing of VA MISSION Act, which improved the support for veterans by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Ernst worked hard with both Republican and Democratic senators to get that law enacted last year.

Iowans should be proud that Grassley and Ernst regularly work in partnership with colleagues in both parties. Our nation would be better-served if more of their colleagues in Congress emulated that approach.


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