Business & Economy
Free Trade Agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 14 October 2011 10:08

The topic of the day is jobs.  The question gets asked a lot: What policies can we implement to create jobs?  With more than 9 percent unemployment in this country, we should be talking about how to create jobs.

The truth is, for years we have known one clear and simple way to create jobs and stimulate growth in our economy.  It would create and support thousands of jobs, possibly even hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Of course I am talking about implementing the trade deals reached with Panama, South Korea, and Colombia that we entered into back in 2006 and 2007.  I have pushed for passage of these deals for nearly five years.

Yet, congressional Democrats and, later, President Obama, continued to put up barriers that prevented their consideration and passage.  There is no clearer and easier way of creating jobs in the near term than passing the implementing bills now before us and sending them to the President.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, 100,000 jobs will be created by the implementation of these trade deals.  There are estimates from other sources that suggest the number of jobs created may be even higher.

The Obama administration estimates the Korea trade deal alone will create 70,000 additional jobs for the U.S. work force.

Not only do these trade deals expand opportunities for U.S. workers, but they also present tremendous opportunities for American farmers.  It is estimated the Korean deal could increase the price farmers receive for their hogs by $10 per hog

The Colombian deal will level the playing field for U.S. corn farmers so they can begin to reclaim some of the market share they lost due to high tariffs.

The agreement with Panama will bring about better opportunities for a variety of agriculture products including beef, poultry, and pork, just to name a few.

I came down to the Senate floor today to express my support for these trade deals and urge passage.  We have been waiting a long time to get to this point, and I am eager to cast my vote in support of all three deals.

But as the finish line nears on these deals, the American people should be asking why President Obama has dragged his feet on these for so long.

The President has wasted time and tax dollars with stimulus programs, which did not produce any measureable amount of jobs.  The stimulus plan failed to do what President Obama promised Americans.  Now he wants to try it again with yet another costly stimulus program.

We don’t need more government spending to create jobs; we know that doesn’t work.  Rather, we should be doing what we know works.

We need to continue opening markets for U.S. exports.  I could go into the other ways to stimulate our economy such as providing businesses with more certainty by reining in unnecessary regulations, but I will save that for another time.

We need to pass these trade deals, and we need to do it now.  American workers need them now.  But let’s not stop there.

The President can provide certainty to businesses, farmers, and workers in this way; he can renew his commitment to expanding trade opportunities.

In January 2010 the President said he wanted to double exports by 2015, which was welcome news.  But actions speak louder than words, Mr. President.  You have repeatedly delayed these trade deals, your administration has routinely dodged the question of when you will request trade promotion authority, and you have not laid out a clear strategic plan for in fact reaching the trade goal you expressed at the beginning of 2010.

We are now nearly two years further down the road.  While it may be tough to reach the goal of doubling exports by 2015, we can still push on toward that goal.  The more we do to open new markets and then get out of the way, the more it will help this struggling economy.

I have three steps to continue helping U.S. businesses, farmers, and most of all workers.  First, we pass these three trade deals now, with no more political gamesmanship by this administration.  Second, Congress passes trade promotion authority so the administration can responsibly seek out opportunities for greater market access for U.S. products.  And finally, the administration makes it a top priority to actually seek out more opportunities for opening foreign markets for U.S. products.

We live in a global economy.  We once led the way in forming trade agreements and expanding trade relationships.  But we have lost our way under the Obama administration.  We need to re-establish our position as the world leader in opening and expanding markets.  Passing these trade deals is a crucial, and long overdue, first step.

I urge my colleagues to help U.S. businesses, farmers, and workers by voting in support of the Panama, Colombia, and South Korea trade deals.


News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Travis Korson   
Friday, 14 October 2011 10:06
Washington, DC October 11, 2011- At a panel discussion on October 5, 2011- “Providing for the Common Defense: The First Duty of the Super Committee” - four prominent grassroots and tea party leaders, several members of Congress, and defense policy experts joined the ‘Coalition for the Common Defense’ to launch a grassroots national public education campaign to prevent defense budget cuts against an already hollowed out military.
Congressional speakers included Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-4), Representative Trent Franks (AZ-2), Representative Paul Broun, MD (GA-10), and Representative Doug Lamborn (CO-5).
Grassroots and Tea Party leaders included Scott Cooper (Virginia Tea Party Federation), Joel Arends, Chairman and Founder, Veterans for a Strong America, and Jim Martin (chairman, 60 Plus Association with over 5 million supporters).
Crucial polling data on the Tea Party’s support for a strong defense was presented by Colin Hanna, founder of Let Freedom Ring.  A large majority - 55% - of tea party supporters believe defense spending should be maintained at current levels, based on a nationwide poll of 1000 likely voters.  Only 34% of tea party supporters would cut the defense budget.
That polling data was reinforced by the Virginia Tea Party Federation’s Scott Cooper, who stated that “We’re going to have a cycle where we turn back and we make our common defense a priority. Providing for the common defense is the primary issue that is laid out in the preamble of the Constitution.  The Tea Party’s support for the common defense is three fold: we're for constitutionally limited government. Then we're for financial/fiscal responsibility. And then we're for free markets.”
Congressional speakers emphasized the threat to national security if greater cuts are made to the U.S. defense budget, which has already received $465 billion in cuts over the next ten years.
Representative Randy Forbes (VA-4) stated that “I would suggest to you for American to be great, we've got to have a strong economy and a strong military. We begin to unravel one and we begin to unravel the other. Now, is there anything that we can do? Do we just sit back and wring our hands? Well, let me just suggest to you there is something we can do. We will have a resolution. It's called Strong Defense, Strong America. All of the subcommittee chairmen for the Armed Services Committee have endorsed this resolution today. We will be moving it on the floor to try to get signatures on it and try to get it brought up before the Armed Services Committee.  It recounts how important defense is for the United States of America and if I could just paraphrase, it says, enough is enough. No more cuts to the military. We cannot balance this crisis on their backs. If you want to do something over the next few weeks, and we only have about a month, you can get as many people as you can to call as many people as they can and say sign on to this resolution so we can send a message to the super committee that we are going to make sure that America continues to have the strongest military in the world.
Representative Trent Franks (AZ-2) expressed concern about the Congressional Super Committee: “I'm convinced that if this so-called Super Committee fails and sequestration is triggered, it will mean undoing the greatest military force in the history of humanity. And potentially the beginning of our financial ruin as well, because the military creates all kinds of ripples in our economy and the high paying jobs that result. If there is any true stimulus that the government can make, it is to keep this country strong and to invest in the men and women who give everything they have for all of us. Not only do these cuts jeopardize our national security, of course they endanger our economy.”
Representative Paul Broun (GA-10) noted: “We don’t have enough Marines.  We don’t have enough brigades in the Army. We don't have enough ships in the Navy. Or enough wings in the Air Force. We need to be building our military, not tearing it down. Our military is stretched to the limits. Families are being destroyed because of multiple deployments and our military is tired in the personnel, tired in the equipment. We need to be spending more on the military - which is the constitutional function of the federal government under the original intent."
Representative Doug Lamborn (CO-5) stated: “The Armed Services Committee expects at least twenty-five percent of the civilian workforce to be furloughed if this sequestration takes place. And according to Secretary Leon Panetta, at least a million jobs would be lost. He calls this a doomsday mechanism. So in closing, deeper cuts to our military would be so detrimental to our national security it's horrible to contemplate. There's no doubt that we can find efficiencies in a large budget like the Department of Defense has. And I am a fiscal conservative. But we don't want to cut capabilities. That's what I'm concerned about.”
The full list of speakers for the program included (in order):
  • Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., President, Center for Security Policy, Moderator
  • Representative J. Randy Forbes (VA-4)
  • Representative Trent Franks (AZ-2)
  • Tom Donnelly, Director, Center for Defense Studies, American Enterprise Institute
  • Rear Admiral Jim Carey, Chairman, Flag & General Officers' Network
  • Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring
  • Cord Sterling, Aerospace Industries Association
  • Representative Paul Broun, MD (GA-10)
  • Representative Doug Lamborn (CO-5)
  • Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness
  • Joel Arends, Chairman and Founder, Veterans for a Strong America
  • Jim Martin, Chairman, 60 Plus Association
  • Scott Cooper, VA Tea Party Federation
Transcripts and videos of the event can be located at
Yesterday’s panel also served as the formal launch for the ‘Coalition for the Common Defense.’ The Coalition for the Common Defense announced its ‘Statement of Principles,’ already supported by a significant group of nationally reknowned signnatories who have joined the effort to ensure that our military retains the needed capabilities to meet its Constitutionally required duties.
The Coalition for the Common Defense is an alliance of like-minded individuals and organizations who believe that without provision for the “common defense,” as articulated by the Founders, the freedom that has allowed unprecedented opportunity and prosperity to flourish in this country would soon be imperiled. In this new age of budgetary cuts, the Coalition rejects the false choice between military strength and economic health contending that economic prosperity depends on a strong national defense. Through a series of events and strategic partnerships, the coalition is calling on elected officials, candidates for office and others who share our commitment to the common defense to uphold these principles.  We must return the United States to sensible fiscal principles without sacrificing our national security.
A full statement of principles can be located here. The Coalition of the Common Defense can be found online at

Senate vote on President Obama's stimulus proposal PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 14 October 2011 09:54
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Senator Chuck Grassley issued the following comment about his vote against President Obama’s proposal to spend $447 billion for economic stimulus.

“Since the 2009 stimulus bill was enacted, it’s unclear that anything’s been done to better safeguard the taxpayer dollars that would be pumped out in a second massive government spending bill like this one, despite the wasteful spending we saw with the first stimulus bill.  My own oversight pinpointed money for housing assistance squandered by gross mismanagement, funds going to contractors and grantees who owed the government hundreds of millions of dollars in tax debts, stimulus dollars directed to school districts known for poor fiscal management, big spending for electronic records conversion in a health technology system not yet prepared to handle it, programs to create green jobs that didn’t result in any jobs, and trouble even defining what qualified as a green job.  Weatherization grants funded by the first stimulus program even created safety hazards because monitoring, testing and tracking the work fell by the wayside.

“What’s more, President Obama’s first stimulus bill didn’t keep the unemployment rate down, and it’s unclear how this one would create and sustain jobs.  Beyond that, whatever the details of the tax increase, there’s plenty of evidence that raising taxes in a struggling economy only makes things worse.  Plus, since World War II, every dollar in new taxes has resulted in $1.17 in government spending.  We need to reduce government spending, not increase it.  Growing deficits and debt get in the way of economic growth and opportunity.

“Instead of a proposal that emphasizes higher taxes and more government spending, it’s time for a new approach in Washington for economic recovery.  Private-sector employers need more certainty.  They need to know that higher taxes and more burdensome regulations are not just around the corner.  They need an international trade agenda that opens up new opportunities to sell U.S. manufactured products and services.  Affordable energy is needed, too.  It’s time to ramp up production of traditional energy sources here at home and to expand alternative and renewable energy sources.   Above all, Washington needs to do what it can to give employers confidence and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of big and small businesses nationwide.”


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Stresses Importance of the American Jobs Act for Iowans PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by USDA Communications Office   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 13:46

DES MOINES, Iowa., Oct. 10, 2011 – Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined business and community leaders to discuss the Administration's strategy to strengthen the U.S. economy and to highlight what passage of the American Jobs Act will mean for Iowans.


"The American Jobs Act provides common-sense steps we can take right now to put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans, without adding a dime to the deficit," said Vilsack. "In Iowa, this Act will provide a tax cut for over 60,000 businesses, support the jobs of 4,100 teachers and first responders and immediately provide over 5,000 construction workers a job improving highways and other critical infrastructure. Iowa families will receive a tax cut of around$1,580.”


Secretary Vilsack also highlighted the need for quick passage of the pending trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea. The agreements were sent to Congress this week and are awaiting approval.


“Full implementation of all three agreements will help farmers and ranchers add more than $2.3 billion a year to the American economy, which will support nearly 20,000 jobs, said Vilsack. “The Korean agreement alone will increase agricultural trade by $1.9 billion and have a greater economic impact that the last nine trade agreements combined.”


Full details on the three trade agreements and comprehensive fact sheets on how the agreements will benefit Iowa are available at:

  • U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement Iowa Fact Sheet
  • U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Iowa Fact Sheet
  • U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Iowa Fact Sheet

The Obama Administration is calling on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act immediately. The Act has five components that will create jobs and strengthen Iowa’s economy:

Tax Cuts to Help America’s Small Businesses Hire and Grow

  • 60,000

Putting Workers Back on the Job While Rebuilding and Modernizing America

  • $385,900,000 in Iowa that could support a minimum of approximately 5,000
  • $287,200,000 in funds to Iowa to support up to 4,100
  • $132,600,000 in funding to support as many as 1,700
  • $56,700,000


Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs.

  • 34,000
  • Alongside these reforms, the President is reiterating his call to extend unemployment insurance, preventing 7,300
  • 800 adults and 2,300


Tax Relief for Every American Worker and Family

  • $51,000, will receive a tax cut of around $1,580.



Governor Quinn Breaks Ground on University of Illinois Electrical and Computer Engineering Building PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 11:48

$95 Million Illinois Jobs Now! Project Will Create More Than 620 Jobs; Energy-Efficient Facility Will Help Develop New Technologies

URBANA – October 7, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today joined University of Illinois President Michael J. Hogan to break ground on the school’s new Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Building. The $95 million facility will enhance educational opportunities, support research breakthroughs in computing, communications, nanotechnology and biotechnology, and set a new standard for energy-efficient buildings. The Illinois Jobs Now! project will create approximately 620 construction jobs, building what is projected to be the most energy-efficient engineering structure in the nation.

“The University of Illinois is home to some of the best and brightest minds in our state and we want to make sure they have the most cutting-edge technology available to them,” Governor Quinn said. “Updated and energy-efficient higher education resources are vital to the success of our state’s innovation and economic development.”

The 232,000-square-foot building will include state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and equipment. The facility will consolidate programs now spread across the campus, creating an environment for cross-disciplinary innovation and expanding the University’s potential for breakthrough discoveries. The advanced energy features are projected to make the facility the most energy-efficient engineering building in the nation. The combined structure is projected to reach zero net energy consumption on an annual basis, and would become the largest such structure in the United States.

“Great minds working together can plant seeds of innovation that may never take root when those same people work alone,” President Hogan said. “The ECE department has a rich legacy of achievement – from transistors and medical imaging to LED lighting, communications and computing – and this new facility is an investment that will pave the way for new generations of breakthrough technology.”

Design work on the facility is complete, and bids will be opened October 12. Construction is expected to start in November, with completion expected by August 2014. The ECE Building will be built to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest designation for a structure’s energy efficiency and environmental impact. In addition, a solar energy component is planned from separate funds.

The ECE Building construction will be overseen by the Illinois Capital Development Board, which administers all non-road, state-funded construction projects. The $95 million facility will be built with $47.5 million in state capital funds and $47.5 million in private funds from university donors.

Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! program includes $1.5 billion for higher education, including $788 million for public universities and $400 million for community colleges. The $31 billion program is expected to create more than 400,000 jobs over six years.


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