Opponent Blasts Loebsack on Flood Response
By James Q. Lynch
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's tour of Eastern Iowa flood damage only served to highlight the ineffectiveness of Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack in helping flood victims, his Republican challenger has charged.
Second District Republican candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks said that, rather than take prompt action as Congress did after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Democratic-controlled Congress has "waited months now to do anything for Iowans who have suffered at least as much." "Three months is a long, long, long time for Nancy Pelosi to do something," said Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist.
Pelosi toured Iowa flood damage Monday with Loebsack and other Iowa Democrats, three months after the worst natural disaster in Iowa history. She promised more aid for Iowa flood victims. Pelosi expects Congress to begin work on that aid next week.
In addition to questioning Loebsack's effectiveness, Miller-Meeks wondered whether he's even relevant in the debate.
Rather than be a leader on getting aid to Iowans, MillerMeeks said, Loebsack has chosen "the go-along-to-getalong path of least resistance so that the House leadership and its special interests will keep pouring money into his re-election campaign." Loebsack defended his record on flood aid, pointing out that Congress approved a $2.65 billion emergency supplemental appropriation June 19. And, he said, he voted against Congress adjourning for its August recess because he wanted to see more flood aid approved.
"Iowans need our help, and I am disappointed that Congress is looking to adjourn be fore passing a second disaster relief package," he said in late July.
Despite that, Loebsack has been missing in action in terms of obtaining Iowa disaster relief and has been "lackluster and lazy" since the initial appropriation, Miller-Meeks said.
"Loebsack has gone AWOL Absent Without Leadership when Iowans needed him most," Miller-Meeks said. "He has now devolved to the level of a bureaucratic paper-pusher, sending letters and pointing the blame elsewhere even as damage estimates now top $7 billion." Bringing Pelosi to Iowa for a firsthand view of the damage should help get action on flood relief, Loebsack said Monday.