OSKALOOSA — Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks made a stop at Oskaloosa on Thursday to meet with employees from the local Farm Credit Services of America Office.

Miller-Meek’s stop was a part of her 24-county tour in Iowa. While sitting down with everyone else around the roundtable, the Congresswoman spoke about issues involving agriculture, infrastructure, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miller-Meeks touched on the unemployment rate in the United States and how previous spending habits could lead to inflation. Miller-Meeks brought up how the administrative decisions, such as canceling the Keystone Pipeline, could contribute to the problem.

“Personally, I think it was not a surprise to many of us who looked at the spending proposals of the current administration — almost 7 trillion over a period of four months — and thought that that would lead to inflation,” Miller-Meeks said.

One of the employees from Farm Credit Services mentioned concerns over the tax policies and if it’s incentivizing other people to work. Miller-Meeks said she spoke with business owners who pay their employers above $15 an hour, but still struggle finding people to work.

“We're benefiting from the fact that vaccines came out in December, and we knew there would be pent up demand once vaccines were available, and people were able to start going back to more normal activity,” Miller-Meeks said. “But, as you already said, there's a supply problem. When you're paying people not to work, and incentivizing non-work, people stay home and don't work.”

Although the numbers were unsupring for Miller-Meeks, she went on to say she felt other political figures “on the other side of the aisle” were more taken aback.

“Looking at what they wanted to do on tax policy, I think that they got a cold shower, if you will,” Miller-Meeks said. “I think the enthusiasm has dampened a little bit for where they wanted to go on tax policy because of what happened with the unemployment numbers that came out.”

In terms of her work at the United States Capitol, Miller-Meeks talked about her discussions regarding wearing a mask. Since the CDC announced their guidelines explaining how fully vaccinated individuals don’t need to wear a mask in most spaces, Miller-Meeks said she has not worn her mask outside of the House floor.

Despite this, members of the House of Representatives are still required to wear masks on the floor.

Miller-Meeks said she noticed the number of new COVID-19 cases in Iowa decrease since then. According to the Iowa COVID-19 dashboard, the positivity rate within the past 14 days has been 2.7 percent.

She said she thought one way to encourage people to get vaccinated is to let them know the benefit of not wearing a mask anymore. Despite this, Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has previously said Americans may need to continue wearing a mask until 2022, according to his interview with CNN.

“I actually talked about this back in April, I was wearing a mask that said ‘vaccinated’, and I kept pushing this issue and talked about it, that we should be the role model for the rest of the country to be able to go without our mask,” Miller-Meeks said. “It's ‘follow the fine, not follow the science.’”

Around the end of the discussion, Miller-Meeks said she experienced previous name calling the day after she was previously sworn in the Iowa Senate. Despite the work environment for both the Iowa Senate and U.S. Miller-Meeks said what’s most important to her is helping the people.

“Some wise person told me it's a bubble here, no one back home is going to talk about these rules,” Miller-Meeks said. “I think you have to remember that there's all this kerfuffle in Washington D.C., but what's really important is what you do and how it affects the people you serve.”

Sarah Stortz can be reached at sstortz@oskyherald.com.

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