With most members of Congress heading home for a long weekend, the government shutdown is essentially guaranteed to enter its second month. In the midst of this continuing shutdown, Iowa Congressman Steve King has come under fire for his racist remarks and faces calls for resignation.
On this News Buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to IPR's Western Iowa Reporter Katie Pikes about how King's constituents in the 4th district are reacting to the recent controversy. Then, Aaron Lehman, president of the Iowa Farmer's Union Board, and Lindsey Greiner, president of the Iowa Soybean Association Board, discuss how the shutdown is impacting Iowa farmers and share their perspectives on King's recent removal from the House Agriculture Committee.
With no end to the government shutdown in sight, Iowa farmers continue to face a number of challenges. The trade assistance program put in place to support farmers through Trump's tariffs is on hold, and farmers do not have access to the USDA marketing information that they use to make marketing and production decisions over the winter season.
"The timing really couldn't be worse. There are a lot of farmers out there meeting with their creditors, their landlords, with their imput suppliers, trying to find ways that they can just make ends meet," Lehman says. "This uncertainty and the trade problems that we're having couldn't have come at a worse time."
In terms of King's removal from the House Agriculture Committee, Lehman is conscious of the negative impacts of losing an Iowan voice at the table. However, he believes that King's controversial rhetoric has negatively impacted Iowa's agricultural community.
"It's much harder to get to fundamental issues for agriculture when you have to look around these comments that are not only embarrassing but they're very damaging. It keeps us from doing the real work that we need to do in rural Iowa," Lehman says.
Also on the program, we hear from IPR's State Government Reporter Katarina Sostaric on Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady's Condition of the Judiciary address, and John Pemble joins the conversation with a preview of Under the Golden Dome.
Later in the hour, Pranav Chhaliyil, a high school senior at the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment in Fairfield, talks about his recent award from the nation's most prestigious science and math competition. Then, Alan Czarnetzki, Professor of Meteorology at the University of Iowa, gives us an update on the winter storm heading into Iowa this weekend.