Rod Blum Article

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Rod Blum
Rod Blum 114th congress photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Bruce Braley
Succeeded by Abby Finkenauer (Elect)
Personal details
BornRodney Leland Blum
(1955-04-26) April 26, 1955 (age 63)
Dubuque, Iowa, U.S.
Political party Republican
Children5
Education Loras College ( BA)
University of Dubuque ( MBA)

Rodney Leland Blum ( /ˈblʌm/; born April 26, 1955) is an American businessman and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Iowa's 1st congressional district since 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he was first elected in 2014 and won a second term in the 2016 elections. Congressman Blum was defeated for reelection in 2018 by Democrat Abby Finkenauer. He has described himself as a member of the Tea Party movement.

Career

Blum attended Loras College, where he earned a degree in finance, and the University of Dubuque, where he earned a master's degree in business administration.

Blum is the former CEO of Eagle Point Software (1990–2000). He has owned Digital Canal, a software company, since 2000. [1] [2]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

After winning the Republican primary in June 2014, Blum defeated Democrat Pat Murphy with 51% of the vote in the November 4, 2014, general election. This was considered a surprise Republican victory, as the seat had a D+5 Cook PVI Score. [3] Blum succeeded Democrat Bruce Braley, who vacated his U.S. House seat to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate. [4]

Map showing the results of the 2016 election in Iowa's First congressional district by county

Blum ran for reelection in 2016. [5] He was unopposed in the Republican primary. He faced Democrat Monica Vernon in the general election. [6] Blum defeated Vernon with 54% of the vote. [7]

Electoral history

Iowa's 1st congressional district election (2016)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rod Blum (incumbent) 206,903 54%
Democratic Monica Vernon 177,403 46%
( Write-ins) Others 671 0.2%
Total votes 384,977 100.00%
Iowa's 1st congressional district election (2014)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rod Blum 145,383 51%
Democratic Pat Murphy 138,335 49%
( Write-ins) Others 348 0.12%
Total votes 284,066 100.00%
Republican gain from Democratic

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Blum describes himself as a "Tea Party Republican," and has said that "the Tea Party is what the Republican Party should have always been." [12] [13]

As of October 2017, Blum had voted with the Republican Party in 90% of votes in the 115th United States Congress and voted in line with President Trump's position in 94% of the votes. [14] [15]

Environment

Congressman Rod Blum

Blum has described himself as "skeptical" of the scientific consensus that human activities are a primary contributor to climate change. [16] He said that the scientific community used to support the conjecture of global cooling and that "most scientists' paychecks come from the federal government, and so right away that makes me a bit skeptical." [16] Blum opposes federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. [17]

As of February 2017, he had a 3% score with the League of Conservation Voters. [18][ non-primary source needed]

Health care

Blum favors "fully repealing" the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). [17] [16] In 2017, Blum did not support the initial version of the American Health Care Act of 2017, the Republican Party's bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, saying that it "doesn't do enough to lower premiums for hardworking Americans". [19]

On May 4, 2017, Blum voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and pass the revised version of the American Health Care Act. [20] [21] Blum said that the bill had been improved to his liking. [22] He described the bill as "Trumpcare" but also as "Obamacare 2.0" because "We've probably changed 10, 20 percent of the bill is all." [22] Blum said that "AHCA will stabilize the market, lower premiums for Iowans, increase choices, reduce taxes, and protect people who have pre-existing conditions." [23]

Asked why he voted for the legislation before the impact of the bill had been assessed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Blum stated that there was an urgent need for a fix to Obamacare. [24] [25]

During his town halls in May 2017, Blum falsely claimed that if the current version of AHCA became law that coverage would not change for those on Medicaid. He also told his constituents, "If you're getting your insurance through the group health care marketplace — your employer — nothing changes." This was found to be partly false when fact checked by National Public Radio, as whether someone's insurance would change under the GOP bill depends on whether an employer is based in and purchases its insurance in a state that gets a waiver. [26] Blum also said that AHCA would take care of the same people as the ACA; the Telegraph Herald wrote that under the AHCA, "Insurers still would be prohibited from setting premiums based on health status and denying coverage to someone with a pre-existing condition. However, those who do not maintain continuous coverage could be charged higher premiums for a pre-existing condition" and that states that seek waivers from the federal government would be allowed to charge older individuals up to five times as much as young people and to exempt insurers from a list of essential health benefits mandated by the ACA. [27]

In May 2017, Blum walked out of a local television interview after being asked why his staff was pre-screening constituents who planned to attend his town hall meetings. [28] [29]

Economic issues and tax reform

Blum favors "a constitutional amendment to balance the budget and limit spending." [16]

In 2015, Blum voted against legislation that would have averted a government shutdown. [30] Discussing the government shutdown, Blum said, "I think the Founding Fathers are smiling right now for the first time in a long time". [31]

In March 2016, in light of a $2 billion redevelopment of D.C.'s Southwest waterfront, Blum said that Washington D.C. "needs a recession." [32] [33]

Blum opposes a mandatory increase in the federal minimum wage. [16]

Blum supports tax reform and voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. [34] After the vote passed, Blum tweeted that "families...will see their tax home pay increase." [35]

Government structure

Blum cast his first vote in Congress against John Boehner's speakership, [5] saying, "I was elected by Iowans to stand up to the status quo in Washington, D.C., and I refuse to turn my back on them with my first vote... With congressional approval ratings at historic lows, it's time for our elected officials to listen to the people and rethink business as usual so we can move our country forward together." [36]

According to USA Today, Blum has "made it his central focus to change the way Congress treats itself by supporting efforts to strip away the trappings of elective office." Blum and Democrat Beto O'Rourke started the Congressional Term Limits Caucus. He co-sponsored legislation to end lawmakers' access to first class travel and luxury car leases, he supports ending the congressional pension system, and he has introduced a bill to institute a lifetime ban on lawmakers ever becoming lobbyists. [37]

In 2015, Blum returned $102,000 of his unspent 2015 office budget to the United States Treasury to help pay down the national debt. He did not confirm whether he planned to donate half of his congressional salary to charity, which he had pledged to do on his campaign website. Blum said: "I'm not saying I didn't. I very well may have. But it's not something I'm going to comment on." [38]

Blum supports a constitutional amendment to enforce term limits for congressmen. When asked how many terms he was going to seek in an April 2015 interview, Blum responded, "I'm not going to term limit myself. I definitely believe in term limits, but I don't believe in unilaterally disarming...Do I see myself being in the House of Representatives 10 years from now? No, I don't." [39]

Immigration

Blum supported President Donald Trump's first 2017 executive order. The order temporarily curtailed immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen until better screening methods are devised. Blum stated that "...The bottom line is they can't properly vet people coming from war-torn areas like Syria and Iraq. If we can't vet people properly, then we shouldn't be allowing them into our country. I'm supportive of that." [40]

Abortion

Blum opposes abortion. [17] He has voted to defund Planned Parenthood. [41] He supported creating a select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood for allegedly selling fetal tissue. [41]

Drug policy

Blum has a "B" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Blum supports veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence. He has voted in favor of federally funded programs regarding medical marijuana research. [42]

LGBT issues

Blum believes that same-sex marriage should be determined by states. [43] In 2016, he voted against an amendment aimed at upholding an executive order barring discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors. [44]

Donald Trump

In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the U.S. House to request ten years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session. [45]

Blum supported Trump's May 10, 2017, firing of FBI Director James Comey, saying "it's probably time for Comey to go." [46] The FBI was at the time conducting a criminal probe into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia. [47]

Trade

In June 2018, amid a brewing trade war between the United States and China, Blum urged the Trump administration "to avoid a trade war". [48] In July 2018, Blum thanked Trump for "having political courage to renegotiate these trade deals." [48]

Ethics inquiry

In February 2018, the Associated Press reported that Blum had "violated House ethics rules by failing to disclose his role in a company that he formed." [49] Blum was listed as a director of internet marketing company Tin Moon Corp. when it was incorporated in May 2016. Tin Moon's address is listed in the same Dubuque office as a construction software company Blum owns, Digital Canal, and Blum's chief of staff was featured in online testimonials for Tin Moon. Blum said he made an oversight in failing to disclose his ties to the company on his personal financial disclosure, and that the company was "basically worth less than $1,000 and not doing business in 2016." [50] In March 2018, Tin Moon removed Blum from its website. [51]

In July 2018, the Office of Congressional Ethics referred an ethics investigation case into Blum to the House Ethics Committee. The House Ethics Committee announced that it would release its findings prior to December 17, 2018. [52] Blum described the inquiry into him as a "crusade of personal destruction" waged by the "radical left". [52]

Personal life

Blum was born and raised in Dubuque, the son of Celeste M. (Van Der Meulen) and Wallace Lee Blum, a World War II veteran. [53] He resides in Dubuque with his wife, Karen, and their five children. [54]

References

  1. ^ DES (May 9, 2014). "Iowa Election 2014". Des Moines Register.
  2. ^ "Rod Blum Announces Campaign for Congress in 1st CD | The Iowa Republican" Archived November 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.. theiowarepublican.com.
  3. ^ "Cook PVI website" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Rod Blum wins 1st Congressional District race". Des Moines Register. November 5, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Cahn, Emily (June 12, 2015). "Blum Says Others Will Support Him If Republicans Don't". Roll Call. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  6. ^ Barton, Thomas (June 8, 2016). "After conceding, Murphy endorses Vernon in effort to unseat Blum". Telegraph Herald. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  7. ^ "Iowa U.S. House 1st District Results: Rod Blum Wins". The New York Times. November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  8. ^ "Member List". Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Lynch, James (June 1, 2015). "Blum joins Congressional Slovak Caucus". The Gazette. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  10. ^ Marcos, Cristina (April 2, 2015). "Lawmakers form Term Limits Caucus". The Hill. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  11. ^ Bialik, Carl; Bycoffe, Aaron (September 25, 2015). "The Hard-Line Republicans Who Pushed John Boehner Out". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  12. ^ Ericson, Jon. "Rod Blum thinks economy is key". Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  13. ^ "Blum, Lange expound on telling topics". telegraphherald.com. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  14. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (January 30, 2017). "Tracking Rod Blum In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  15. ^ Willis, Derek. "Represent". ProPublica. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d e Perkins, Lindsey Moon, Katherine. "Candidate Profile: Rod Blum". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  17. ^ a b c "The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  18. ^ "Check out Representative Rod Blum's Environmental Voting Record". League of Conservation Voters Scorecard. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  19. ^ Noble, Jason. "King lone 'yes' vote on health care bill among Iowa's House members". Des Moines Register. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  20. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  21. ^ Staff, C.N.N. "How every member voted on health care bill". CNN. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  22. ^ a b "Iowa congressman walks out of a TV interview and into an angry town hall meeting". Washington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  23. ^ "Iowa Reps. Young, Blum and King vote 'yes' on Obamacare replacement". Des Moines Register. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  24. ^ Barton, Thomas. "Blum faces hostile crowd during town hall in hometown". Telegraph Herald. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  25. ^ Bobic, Igor (May 9, 2017). "Iowa Republican Congressman Feels Heat Over Health Care Vote". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  26. ^ Kodjak, Alison. "Fact-Checking Republicans' Defense of The GOP Health Bill". NPR. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  27. ^ thomas.barton@thmedia.com, THOMAS J. BARTON. "Blum faces hostile crowd during town hall in hometown". TelegraphHerald.com. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  28. ^ O'Keefe, Ed (May 8, 2017). "Iowa congressman walks out of a TV interview and into an angry town hall meeting". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  29. ^ "Rep. Rod Blum quickly ends interview with reporter Josh Scheinblum". YouTube. May 8, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  30. ^ Crippes, Christinia. "Blum, King vote against resolution to keep open government". Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  31. ^ Courier, CHRISTINIA CRIPPES Waterloo. "Rod Blum discusses House Freedom Caucus". Mason City Globe Gazette. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  32. ^ Stein, Perry (March 23, 2016). "Iowa congressman says D.C. needs a recession because it has 'cranes everywhere'". Washington Post. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  33. ^ Freed, Benjamin (March 23, 2016). "This Iowa Congressman Really Hates the Wharf in Southwest DC'". Washingtonian. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  34. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  35. ^ V, Scott (December 20, 2017). "Northwest Iowa Congressional Delegation Supportive Of Tax Plan". KIWA. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  36. ^ "In first vote, Blum rejects Boehner as speaker". Des Moines Register. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  37. ^ Davis, Susan (May 7, 2015). "Freshman Rod Blum flies solo on his mission to change Congress". USA Today. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  38. ^ Garbe, William. "Blum returns office money, mum on salary promises". THonline.com. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  39. ^ Garbe, WilliamG. "Rod Blum still above water with Republican Party, despite votes". THonline.com. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  40. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  41. ^ a b Crippes, Christinia. "Blum supports defunding Planned Parenthood". Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  42. ^ "Iowa Scorecard". norml.org. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  43. ^ Caffeinated Thoughts (October 10, 2013), Rod Blum Interview, retrieved February 26, 2017
  44. ^ "David Young among those who switched vote on LGBT measure". Des Moines Register. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  45. ^ "These are all the Republicans who don't want you to see Donald Trump's tax returns". indy100. February 28, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  46. ^ CNN, Eugene Scott. "Father of child with disabilities confronts Blum at town hall". CNN. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  47. ^ Fessenden, Audrey Carlsen, Kenan Davis, Jasmine C. Lee, K. k Rebecca Lai, Ford; Pearce, Adam (May 10, 2017). "How Every Lawmaker Has Reacted to Comey's Firing So Far". The New York Times. ISSN  0362-4331. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  48. ^ a b "Trade War Worries Iowa Republicans in a Close House Race". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  49. ^ Foley, Ryan (February 21, 2018). "Rod Blum didn't disclose that he was a director for an internet company — which posted a testimonial from his current chief of staff". Des Moines Register. Associated Press. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  50. ^ Foley, Ryan (February 22, 2018). "Rod Blum says undisclosed firm wasn't 'doing business'". Des Moines Register. Associated Press. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  51. ^ "Company linked to Iowa congressman scrubs any mention of him". ABC 9. Associated Press. March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  52. ^ a b Tully-McManus, Katherine; Tully-McManus, Katherine; Tully-McManus, Katherine; Tully-McManus, Katherine (2018-09-04). "Vulnerable Rod Blum Under House Ethics Inquiry". Roll Call. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  53. ^ HERALD, TELEGRAPH. "Celeste M. Blum".
  54. ^ "Project Vote Smart – The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart; accessed May 11, 2017.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bruce Braley
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st congressional district

2015–present
Incumbent
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Bishop
United States Representatives by seniority
318th
Succeeded by
Mike Bost