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'We can't continue to abuse taxpayers:' Ashley Hinson named to House Budget Committee
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'We can't continue to abuse taxpayers:' Ashley Hinson named to House Budget Committee

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It was no secret U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson was gunning for a seat on the U.S. House Budget Committee.

Hinson, a Republican just starting her first two-year term for Iowa's 1st District, said in her election night acceptance speech in November she was hoping to be named the committee that oversees the federal budgeting process.

On Wednesday morning, she was one of 12 House Republicans named to the committee, with additional members to be named later. House Democrats named 21 members Tuesday.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is a longtime Senate Budget Committee member.

"It's a stellar committee assignment," Hinson said in a phone call with The Courier Wednesday morning.

Last week Hinson was named to the House Appropriations Committee, a prestige assignment political experts say shows House Republicans are positioning Hinson for success.

"That's significant that she's on both of those," said Christopher Larimer, associate professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa. "By putting her on those two committees, it immediately raises her profile within the party. That's something she can use on the campaign trail."

U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra of Iowa's 4th District was also named to Budget. He and Hinson are two of eight freshmen on the Republican side of the committee. 

"What I think it speaks to is the strength of our freshman class," Hinson said, adding she thought the new voices would "add perspective to that committee."

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Hinson also is one of seven Republicans on the committee who won their election with less than a 60% majority. She beat former U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer with 51.2% of the vote, the tightest electoral margin of those seated on Budget.

Hinson said she believed she was named to the committee because of her background on an appropriations subcommittee in the Iowa Legislature.

"The number one reason I ran for office was to be a hawk for taxpayers. That seems to have gotten lost in Washington, D.C.," Hinson said. "We need to remember who we work for and really consider all these decisions right now."

In a news release from her office, Hinson said she would work through both Budget and Appropriations committees to "reform our broken spending system," and has criticized some spending proposals by President Joe Biden.

"I will use this position to help rein in Washington's out-of-control spending habits and check Democrats' efforts to fund a liberal wish list on the taxpayers' dime," Hinson said in the release. "Iowans are tired of the way Washington overspends their money with no accountability or transparency."

She said in a phone call that's true even as the national economy continues to reel from the economic downturn caused by the yearlong coronavirus pandemic.

"My number one job is to get them the relief they need, but I think it's important we're cognizant of the spending on the bottom line," Hinson said. "We can't continue to abuse taxpayers this way."

She noted the U.S.'s $3.1 trillion deficit in fiscal year 2020, which was more than triple that of 2019, largely due to the $2 trillion CARES Act passed last year. The amount is the greatest national deficit as a share of gross domestic product -- more than 15% -- since World War II.

"One of the priorities I have is to look at some of these programs on autopilot, and we need to be asking more questions," she said, though she declined to name any programs in particular. "We need to make sure we're prioritizing the needs of people over pet projects."

Most-read stories from the 2020 campaign trail

From the Iowa Caucuses to the run-up to the presidential election, 2020 was a big year for politicians on the campaign trail. Here were the top five most-read political stories, by staff writer Amie Rivers in 2020.

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Reporter covering Waterloo, Black Hawk Co. and politics

UNI political communications/journalism grad. Alum of The Calumet (MCC), The Northern Iowan (UNI), Fergus Falls (Minn.) Daily Journal and KWWL. 4-time award-winner while at The Courier. Interested in exposing wrongdoing and holding power to account.

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