Business & Economy
National Entrepreneurship Week is Upon Us PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Elisha Smith   
Friday, 24 February 2012 14:41

By Elisha Smith, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Center for Rural Affairs

This week, the week of February 18-25, is National Entrepreneurship Week. It was so named in recognition of the contributions of entrepreneurs and to celebrate and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit.

Entrepreneurs create many jobs and economic opportunities in America, especially in our rural communities. They take the biggest risks to capture opportunity where others fear to tread.

Revitalizing rural America requires us to encourage entrepreneurship, stimulate innovative community development, and open up new opportunities for farming and ranching enterprises.

One program that thousands of small business owners across the country have benefited from is the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, which provides loan capital and training grants to organizations, like the Center for Rural Affairs, who work with small business owners in rural areas.

Perhaps a business in your community has been helped by this program.

Unfortunately, Congress cut this crucial investment in November, citing the need to decrease spending. However, programs like the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program generate new economic activity for businesses that otherwise may not be able to get started or grow.

We need investment in our rural communities, and we need to fight for rural development programs within our government. In the coming year, the Center for Rural Affairs will be fighting for both to be adequately represented in the Farm Bill. We’ll let you know about ways to take action and opportunities for your voice to be heard.

Visit for more information.

Editorialist: GOP guarantees another debt ceiling vote before election PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Robert Romano   
Friday, 24 February 2012 09:39

By Robert Romano

One of the political rationales for giving the Obama Administration what it wanted on the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits extensions — which will add $101 billion to the debt this year alone and is not paid for — was to avoid another showdown in Washington, D.C.

Previous battles between the House and Obama — on continuing resolutions, on the debt ceiling, on the payroll tax in Dec. 2011 — have not boded well for Republicans, so the thinking goes. Therefore, to take the issues off the table, House leaders agreed to a conference report with their Senate counterparts, thereby avoiding controversy. Right?

Wrong. Ironically, in the process, House Republicans may have guaranteed that another controversial issue comes up before the election — the $16.394 trillion debt ceiling.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, by Sep. 30, debt subject to the limit was going to total about $16.334 trillion.

However, with the additional $101 billion being added to the debt thanks to extending the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits, and the "doc fix," that means debt subject to the limit would be $16.435 trillion by the end of the fiscal year.

That makes another vote to raise the debt ceiling virtually assured before the election.

So, to avoid one controversy, Republicans have created another one that may be more problematic politically.

Republicans could have opposed extending the payroll tax holiday on the basis that it would hasten the bankruptcy of Social Security, and the unemployment benefits because welfare does not create jobs, does not prevent foreclosures, and is only adding to the debt.

By supporting it, now the House GOP stands to dispirit their conservative base of voters not once, but twice this year by their failure to rein in the debt.

Get full story here.

Braley Statement on House Passage of Yearlong Middle Class Tax Cut Extension PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 09:38

Braley supports Republican bill to extend tax cut

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after voting to support a Republican-written bill to extend the middle class payroll tax cut for a full year:

“The middle class tax cut extension passed today will keep $1,000 in the pocket of the average Iowa family.  Extending the tax cut for the rest of the year is a common sense step that will help strengthen the momentum of the economy.


“I’m disappointed that Speaker Boehner brought the tax cut up for a vote without finding a way to pay for it.  I’ve now voted twice for bills that would extend the middle class tax cut without adding to the deficit.  I wish I could have vote that way a third time.


“I’m encouraged that partisan politics didn’t stop this tax cut extension from getting done.  Congress now must immediately turn its focus to working in a bipartisan way on other measures to help create jobs and grow the economy.”

Braley has consistently worked across party lines to pass a yearlong middle class tax cut extension.  In December, he was one of only 10 Democrats to support a Republican bill to couple a yearlong extension of the middle class tax cut with other provisions.  Later that month, Braley also supported the compromise Senate bill that extended the middle class tax cut for two months.

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Schilling Statement on House Passage of Economic Relief Agreement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 09:35

Washington, DC – Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) released the following statement after the House today passed the payroll tax cut conference agreement: a package that extends the payroll tax holiday, blocks a major pay cut to physicians that treat Medicare patients, and includes reforms of unemployment benefits – all through the end of 2012.  Schilling, who supported a 12-month extension in December, again voted in supported of the extension of benefits.

“In December, the House of Representatives passed a responsible, bipartisan package to protect American workers and job creators from tax increases for a full year, provide for a two-year extension of the Medicare ‘doc fix,’ and extend and reform the Unemployment Insurance Program.  If I could have had my way, that package would have become law,” Schilling said. 

“But we control one-half of one-third of the federal government.  We don’t control the Senate or the White House – we don’t control Washington.  Government still must govern, even if it is divided.  So although I would have preferred to avoid the uncertainty of the last two months, December’s two-month extension was better than nothing.  I am grateful the President and the Senate have finally agreed to the certainty today’s full-year extension provides.

“Today marks three years since the president’s failed near- trillion dollar stimulus package was enacted, and my vote today is a compromise in the name of economic relief.  We have a responsibility to help folks in the short term with the passage of this package, and we have a responsibility to continue our focus on long-term, pro-growth economic policies to help businesses create jobs.  The House has passed more than 25 jobs bills that would help Americans get paychecks, not unemployment checks.  I urge the president and the Senate to work with us in enacting measures that will create long-term private sector jobs.”

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CWA: Reps. Braley and Loebsack Stand with Iowa’s Working Families, Refuse to Give in to GOP Union-Busting Extremism on FAA Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Chuck Porcari   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 09:34

WASHINGTON D.C. –The Communications Workers of America (CWA) today announced their thanks to Reps. Braley and Loebsack for not yielding to extremists’ union busting demands by standing up for Iowa’s working families and voting against the FAA Reauthorization bill and its damaging impact on working families.

Despite the efforts of Reps. Braley and Loebsack, the FAA legislation passed both chambers of Congress last week.  CWA members had been engaged for over a year in the fight for the passage of a clean FAA bill, calling for FAA legislation that would advance the important infrastructure and modernization components, but not include unrelated and unfair provisions dealing with union organizing and elections.  However, a backroom “compromise” in name only moved the legislation forward while including completely unrelated provisions damaging to union elections and working families in Iowa and throughout the country.

Now that the legislation has passed, CWA members and allies are reaching out to their members of Congress to thank them, or to express their displeasure at their vote.  CWA members in Iowa and across the nation will make sure their voices are heard by visiting district offices, sending letters, and making phone calls directly to their members of Congress.

Unfortunately, the FAA legislation creates new roadblocks for employees seeking union representation, takes away secret ballot rights, increases the threshold needed to call for a union election, makes collective bargaining more difficult, and limits the safeguards provided by the National Mediation Board (NMB). It also sets a dangerous precedent for those who prefer to hold critical transportation jobs and projects hostage rather than allow democracy on the job.

The bill passed despite strong opposition by organized labor.  Eighteen international unions, representing over 10 million members, signed a letter calling for passage of a clean FAA Reauthorization bill and the United Steelworkers, Service Employees International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) and National Education Association sent individual letters of opposition to Congress.

CWA also released a full-page ad in the Washington paper POLITICO noting that Reps. Braley and Loebsack were two of 157 House members and 15 Senators who stood with workers and said no to the egregious union-busting in the FAA bill.


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