DES MOINES, Iowa — Statehouse standoff? Stalemate? Showdown? Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley describes the disagreement over several issues between his Republicans in the house and Republicans in the senate as “actually healthy.”
Most house members stayed home over the past week instead of debating proposals. Grassley acknowledged progress has stalled as leaders in the two chambers determine if there can be compromise on Governor Kim Reynolds’ plan to use tax dollars to help up to 10,000 public school students switch to private schools.
The governor tried a similar idea last year but failed to get enough legislators from her own party to support the plan. This year the senate passed a new version of the plan but the house has resisted.
Much like last year, some rural Republican legislators have been hesitant to support the plan as some do not even have private school options within a reasonable drive of their community. “I think some of the house has been a little bit more guarded in their approach to this because of that (public schools) being one of the last pieces of the community that rural Iowa still has in their district,” Grassley.
Others are concerned that the plan could take tens of millions of dollars per year out of the public school system. The governor said the vouchers are “common sense” and a “fairness issue.”