By Molly Hunter and Madeline Neal
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, applauded the executive order signed by President Donald Trump at the end of February that repealed the Waters of the United States rule. Many members of the agriculture community viewed the rule as a federal overreach because, they believed, it allowed the national government to regulate areas used by farmers for drainage and irrigation. Agriculture is exempt. Agricultural runoff and water quality have been important issues in Iowa.
2. A 2018 budget proposal, which was released by the Trump administration in March, recommended reductions to the U.S. Department of Agriculture budget. The cuts would reduce the budget by $4.7 billion, and would largely affect agriculture-support agencies in rural areas. Support agencies in Iowa could be forced to close offices and lay off staff.
3. On Jan. 25, Trump signed an executive order which held the potential to strip sanctuary cities across the U.S. of federal funds. A federal judge in California blocked the order last week, but at an event he attended on Sunday, Trump reiterated his commitment to continue fighting the efforts of sanctuary cities. Some cities, such as Iowa City, are careful to craft policy that makes them a sanctuary city in everything but name in order to avoid scrutiny.
4. Last year, Trump nominated Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing over Branstad’s nomination on Tuesday. Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to take Branstad’s place as governor.
5. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue was confirmed as U.S. secretary of Agriculture in an 87-11 vote in the Senate. Trump chose Perdue as his USDA pick in January. Perdue told the Senate he would be an advocate for rural America, which has gained him bipartisan support in the Iowa Legislature.
6. The Trump administration approved the continuation of the Keystone XL Pipeline in March. The administration’s approval allowed TransCanada to construct the crude-oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Trump’s approval led to anti-pipeline protests across Iowa.
7. In March, Trump signed an executive order that would deny members from six Muslim-majority countries entrance to the United States (since blocked by the courts). The original order included Iraq, which was removed based on the advice of Defense Secretary James Mattis. The travel ban affected international students at the University of Iowa, which resulted in the UI releasing an emailed statement to all students ensuring their place on campus.
8. Last week, Trump announced plans to begin negotiations with Canada and Mexico about the United States’ renegotiating NAFTA. If the U.S. jeopardizes its relationship with Mexico, there could be major consequences for Iowa’s agriculture industry. Iowa is a major producer of corn, soybeans, pork, and eggs, all of which depend on foreign trade. In particular, Mexico is a large importer of Iowa’s corn.
9. In March, Trump signed an executive order aimed at rolling back regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The order works toward Trump’s campaign promise to eliminate the EPA. Iowa, a leader in wind energy and clean energy, is expected to lose the millions of dollars it uses for pollution control if the Trump administration follows through with its EPA cut.
10. Sunday morning, Trump released a tweet from his personal Twitter account announcing his upcoming health-care plan. House Republicans recently delayed their vote on the plan to repeal Obamacare. Polls have shown Iowans to be relatively split on Obamacare, but residents could lose more than $200,000 in coverage, according to a study done by the Urban Institute.