Iowa US Senator Chuck Grassley (R)

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The Iowa Department of Public Health is still investigating the state’s eight presumed cases of COVID-19, and officials say they don’t yet see a need to share details of where those people have been. 

Seven people in Johnson County and one person in Pottawattamie County tested presumptively positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The Johnson County cases are in people who all went on a recent cruise in Egypt. The Pottawattamie case is in someone who traveled to California. 

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Governor Kim Reynolds says the state has contacted all 21 Iowans who went on a cruise in Egypt a few weeks ago, after seven of them tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

She says the 14 others who went on the cruise are self-isolated, and ten of them are awaiting test results.

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Iowa’s senior senator took part in what he says was a “top secret” briefing in a congressional chamber this morning to discuss the impact of the coronavirus, according to Radio Iowa.

In a conference call with Iowa reporters, Senator Chuck Grassley didn’t want to reveal many details of the briefing but did say he met with officials from several federal agencies involved with public health. 

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Democrat Cory Booker today has dropped out of the presidential race after failing to qualify for the December primary debate.  The U.S. senator from New Jersey had struggled in polling and fundraising since launching his bid last February. Booker was unable to hit 5% support in a single qualifying poll required to make it on the January debate stage. 

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Corn growers and ethanol producers are concerned about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed fix for ethanol demand.  The ethanol industry wants the federal government to account for dozens of ethanol exemption waivers it issued to small refineries.

Iowa’s Republican elected officials say they are confident the President is on their side, though the EPA  proposal disappointed many. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says intends to submit comments asking that the legally required number of gallons be met.

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The United States and China are set to resume trade talks this week and Iowa’s senior senator wants to see some progress. Republican Chuck Grassley praised President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure China to comply with World Trade Organization expectations. And Grassley says if the talks succeed at securing ways to enforce those rules, the whole world will benefit.

I think this uncertainty of the trade settlement is affecting world trade, slowing down the world economy.

AUGUST 20, 2019

A two-day presidential forum attracted about a dozen candidates to Sioux City’s Orpheum Theatre.

The event focused on Native American issues and was named for activist Frank LaMere who died in June.

Vermont Senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was the final person to hit the stage.

More than 250 people cheered Sanders as he talked about the need for attention to global warming and sustainability.  

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This afternoon, former Vice President and Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden was in Le Mars talking about his approach to improving health care and insurance coverage for all Americans.