Washington, D.C. — Representatives from the Pella area are on their annual trek to Washington, D.C., this week. Sen. Chuck Grassley recently shared what they discussed with him.
According to Grassley, there were three topics that the representatives discussed with him. The first was in regard to a new Center for Medicare Services rule, known as the 96-hour rule, that requires Critical Access Hospitals to have a patient admitted, surgically treated and released within 96 hours. Either that or moved on to another hospital, within the same time period. Pella Regional Health Center and Knoxville Hospital and Clinics are both Critical Access Hospitals. The Pella representatives believe that this rule would be detrimental to local hospitals.
Pella's direct connection to Interstate 80 was mentioned, as certainty of making the connection is dwindling. The greater transportation item of concern for Pella is the future of the South Central Regional Airport, the proposed new airport the Cities of Oskaloosa and Pella, as well as Mahaska County, have joined to build. Grassley said the representatives believe more progress has been made on the airport since the last election.
The new hydroelectric power plant, which may be built at Lake Red Rock, was mentioned as well. As reported, Missouri River Energy Services, the firm who wants to build and utilize the plant, is scheduled to have a major announcement regarding the plant on Thursday, March 27.
During the telephone conversation with reporters, Grassley reported on the planned unveiling of a statue of Iowa native Norman Borloug on March 25. Borloug is credited with saving one billion lives through his efforts to improve food production. March 25 would have been Borloug's 100th birthday.
When Grassley was asked about any new efforts to reduce the deficit, he reported that the federal government is in a two-year pattern, in which spending is being done at levels from 2009. He reiterated his support for a Constitutional Amendment that would require the federal government to balance its budget.
As of the time of this post, the US national debt stood at $17.541 trillion and the deficit was at $632 billion.