After participating in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate as one of 20 candidates, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Min.) stopped in Adel on Monday, July 1 for a potluck during her campaign's latest leg to pass through Iowa.
The event was hosted by the Dallas County Democrats who previously brought Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke and Elizabeth Warren to the county and expect more before the February caucuses.
Klobuchar is currently nationally polling at 0.7 percent and 3.5 percent in Iowa.
Connecting urban to rural communities
Serving in the Senate since 2007, Klobuchar said she's spent the “last decade” helping close the rural-urban divide and would continue to mold that relationship to bridge flyover and coastal states.
“Bridging that rural-urban divide means understanding Rural America,” the senator said, referencing her experience visiting all 87 counties in her state. “It's about a strong Farm Bill, having a safety net for farmers, and making sure that [companies] don't grab a bunch of oil waivers.”
In December 2018, she helped enact a new Farm Bill as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. She did not discuss plans for future amendments.
Farming was not the only gap Klobuchar said she'd like to bridge. She was also insistent on improving technological and socioeconomic standards.
“Rural broadband. A kid cannot email their grandma right now in this town if you don't have high-speed internet. And it is about rural housing,” she added. “It is about making sure that people understand that food doesn't magically appear on your table.”
She also was insistent on helping improve the affordability of healthcare, citing the bipartisan bill she and Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa-R) introduced in 2017 to help rural emergency rooms. In January 2019, the two also introduced a bill to bring down the price of prescription drugs.
Fact Check: Oil waivers
Mostly true - According to Reuters, the EPA granted 29 exemptions for 2017 to oil refineries, including Chevron Corp's Utah location. That number of waivers is up from 19 in 2016 and seven in 2015 according to EPA data. In March, Reuters reported 39 small refineries were “likely” to be awarded for 2018.
Taking on rising pharmaceutical prices
Continuing her crusade for healthcare, Klobuchar took target at pharmaceutical companies which she said have unfairly profited $100 billion due to the tax cuts from the current administration.
Klobuchar further criticized President Donald Trump who as a candidate said he would bring down the price of prescription drugs “so much it'll make your head spin.” She added that “thousands of drugs have gone up astronomically since he became president” including insulin, something that has Jane Hammarlund of Waukee worried because her husband is diabetic and she needs heart medicine.
“It's really scary right now because I don't know what [Republicans] are doing,” she said. “They keep talking about slashing everything and they call it a 'giveaway.'”
Before moving to Iowa, she lived in Minnesota and had seen Klobuchar's work as a county attorney, and said she appreciates her “Midwestern values” and mentality for farmers as well as her fight for stronger healthcare plans that would help her family and others.
As a member of member Congress, Klobuchar said she has been leading negotiations for Medicare.
“This is a bill that lifts the ban so that all of the nation's 43 million seniors can get a better deal, bringing in less expensive drugs from countries like Canada,” Klobuchar said, further adding that she is not “owned” by the registered pharmaceutical lobbyists that outweigh Congress 2:1.
Fact Check: Pharmaceutical profits
Mostly True - The claim of $100 billion in profits appears to stem from an October 2018 report from Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in the Senate Finance Committee. This is not immediate. Companies will receive that profit through cuts over the next 10 years according to the report.
Pushing back the economy to more Americans
Beyond healthcare, Klobuchar spent more time discussing the need to shift the economy back for the majority of America.
“We have an economy right now where not everyone is sharing in the prosperity of this economy, right? They pass that tax bill, right? You know what that meant for most of America? It meant a trillion dollars in debt,” she said.
If elected to office, she said she plans to roll back the “incredibly regressive tax changes” made under Trump, changes that not only profited pharmaceutical companies but $150 billion went to people storing money overseas.
“We need to make sure we've got a fair tax system for everyone that rewards job in America, that make sure that we have the money that we need to do these really big things that need to get done,” Klobuchar said. “It means that we have shared prosperity 'cause if people can't buy stuff, then you don't have a strong economy. It's really that simple. It's about economic justice.”
Fact Check: Overseas accounts
Misleading - The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported $305.6 billion returned to the U.S. from overseas accounts following the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. An estimated 12 percent of overseas American accounts returned.