In October, less than a year into his congressional career, Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) raised a curious complaint: the economy in and around the nation’s capital, he said, was simply too good. After taking a picture of several DC-area construction cranes, the Iowa Republican said via Twitter, “We need to cause a recession … in Washington DC.”
This week, the same congressman repeated the same call, complaining about the excessive health of inside-the-Beltway economic development. “DC needs a recession,” Blum said on Monday, alongside another picture of construction cranes. (The congressman sent this from both his personal Twitter account and his congressional account.)
To put it mildly, it’s extremely unusual for an American official to want a recession inside a major American city, and as Roll Call reported, the GOP freshman’s comments have drawn some attention.
The Iowa City Building Trades Council said Blum’s wish was “out of touch.”Jerry Hobart, business manager of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 125 said, “Rod Blum further clarified how little he understands about working people. Cranes are operated by workers. Walls of buildings are constructed by workers. New construction creates service jobs for workers. I would be happy to give Rod Blum an Economics 101 lesson, but it seems more appropriate that he take a class in Common Sense 101.”The backlash on Twitter included blaming him for the reasons Americans don’t approve of Congress and questioning why anyone would call for a recession.
An ABC affiliate in Blum’s Iowa district talked to Mike Sadler II, a business agent for the Cedar Rapids Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 125, who said it’s “hard to believe anyone, let alone an elected official, would call for a recession anywhere in the country.”
The Cedar Rapids Gazette, a newspaper in Blum’s congressional district, talked to the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building Trades Council, which called for an apology from the Republican lawmaker.
“We better hear an apology for this outrageous statement, and it better come fast,” Rich Good, vice president of the trades council, said in a statement. Patrick Loeffler, president of the trades council, added. “I have seen a lot of out-of-touch statements from Rod Blum throughout his short career in Washington, but I honestly never thought I would see him – or any reasonable human for that matter – actually call for a recession.”
It’s worth noting that if Blum is irritated driving around the DC area and seeing so much economic activity, voters may relieve him of this burden in the fall. The Republican congressman barely won his 2014 race in Iowa’s most Democratic congressional district, and he’s considered one of the House’s more vulnerable incumbents in 2016.
Blum’s pro-recession rhetoric probably won’t improve his odds of re-election.