Business & Economy
Grassley urges President to re-establish U.S. leadership on trade PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 12:34

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today joined a group of Republican senators in urging President Obama to submit the pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea to Congress for a vote.  Grassley said the United States has fallen behind other countries in implementing trade agreements and negotiating potential new trade agreements, calling that unacceptable when so many Americans need jobs and trade supports jobs in the United States.

“Nothing has been done and the United States is losing its leadership in what we’ve done for 60 years in world trade, leading the rest of the world,” Grassley said.  “The status quo has to end.  The United States has to re-assume its leadership.  And that’s not only for the benefit of the United States.  That’s for the benefit of expanding the world economic pie.”

Just a few years ago, under a different White House, the Senate passed implementing legislation for free trade agreements with 13 countries (Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Singapore, Peru), Grassley said. The current White House has not initiated any new trade agreements.  While this White House is engaged in negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that’s a carryover from the prior Administration, he said.

Grassley is a senior member and former chairman and ranking member of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over international trade.

Video of Grassley’s remarks at today’s news conference is available here.


Iowa Army Ammo Plant jobs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen Charles Grassley   
Thursday, 08 September 2011 07:44
Senator Chuck Grassley issued the comment below about the determination announced today by the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command that no additional review is needed in order to move production work from Milan, Tennessee, to Burlington, Iowa.

Senator Grassley has worked with others in the Iowa congressional delegation for the last three years to help prevent legislative roadblocks to implementation of this positive development for the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant.  The decision to consolidate the work to Iowa was made by the U.S. Army based on a competitive process.

Grassley comment:

“This decision is tied to more than 100 new jobs at the ammunition plant in Burlington.  The Army’s decision is a tribute to the Iowa workforce and the legacy of the Iowa plant.  At this point, there shouldn’t be any more red tape to clear for the production line to start running, and that’s very good news in Southeast Iowa.”



Braley Calls on Obama to Invest in Nation’s Infrastructure PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Mark Noble   
Thursday, 08 September 2011 07:43

Populist Caucus Members Urge Obama to Include Infrastructure Bank in Job Creation Plan

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) called on President Obama to invest in our nation’s infrastructure by developing a National Infrastructure Bank.  In a letter to the President, Rep. Braley urged the President to include the development of an Infrastructure Bank as part of his job creation plan he will be unveiling next week.  Four other members of the Populist Caucus signed the letter to the President.  The Populist Caucus has been advocating for the development of a National Infrastructure Bank for over a year and a half.  In February 2010, the Caucus endorsed legislation introduced by Vice Chair Rosa DeLauro to create a National Infrastructure Bank.

“A National Infrastructure Bank would create jobs and improve our country’s aging infrastructure” said Rep. Braley.  “This plan would leverage both public and private dollars to improve our roads, bridges, tunnels and watersystems, creating jobs all across the country.  The plan also has a diverse coalition of support that includes both the business and labor communities.  It makes sense for the President to include this public-private partnership as part of his job creation plan.”

A copy of the letter, which was signed by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Peter Welch, is pasted below and available here:

Labor Day Report – America’s Middle Class Needs Our Help PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Tuesday, 06 September 2011 10:59

As the nation prepares to honor America’s workers this weekend, I wanted to share a report I released today on the decline of America’s middle class and its long-term consequences for our economy.  As you’ll see in the report, the problems plaguing the middle class and the broader economy were not brought on just by this recession, but rather through a series of systematic policy decisions put into place over the past 40 years.  I believe that rebuilding the middle class needs to be the primary focus of the Congress and that it can only be done by reversing these policy choices.

All the talk in Washington about deficits and spending cuts ignores one simple truth: there will be no sustainable economic recovery without the recovery of the American middle class.  Without good-paying jobs with reliable benefits, families will continue to fall behind, and the economy will lag as consumers struggle to survive on shrinking budgets.

As Congress finally turns its focus to how to create jobs and rebuild our economy, we must understand that as the middle class goes, so goes our economy.

Today’s report follows a series of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearings I’ve convened to examine the state of the middle class.  We’ve solicited input from economists, the business community, and everyday Americans struggling to maintain a middle class lifestyle.  In Iowa, members of my staff have been visiting all 99 counties to gather testimony and insights into the challenges facing middle class families, and I have followed up by holding forums this August in Newton, Mason City, Cedar Rapids, and Council Bluffs.

To read my report, entitled “Saving the American Dream: The Past, Present, and Uncertain Future of America's Middle Class,” and learn more about my HELP Committee hearings and my forums in Iowa, click here:

The report shows that the middle class is facing stagnant wages while household costs continue to rise:

  • Average hourly wages declined by 1% from 1970 to 2009, while home prices have increased 97%, gas prices by 18%, health costs by 50%, and public college by 80% after adjusting both wages and costs for inflation.
  • The average family of four needs an annual income of $68,000/year just to cover basic costs, but in 2010, half of all jobs paid less than $33,840, and 9 of the 10 fastest-growing sectors in the American economy pay less than $35,000/year on average

While there is no silver bullet to repair the damage done to the middle class by 40 years of poor policy choices, I believe there are several steps the federal government should take to create jobs in the short term and restore our middle class and economic vitality in the long term:

  • Help 25 million unemployed and underemployed Americans get good jobs and become taxpayers again by investing in education, innovation, and a national program to rebuild our nation’s schools, highways, bridges, and water infrastructure.
  • Restore balance to the tax code by removing the tax benefits received by the very wealthy and large corporations from the 2001 and 2003 tax bills.
  • Remove the provisions in the tax code that encourage American companies shifting jobs overseas.
  • Raise and index the minimum wage to improve wage standards throughout the economy and ensure working people aren’t left out when our economy grows.
  • Give workers the same rights as corporate CEOs to negotiate their salaries and benefits from a position of strength, not weakness.
  • Update the federal laws governing the pension system so that they can once again provide the basis for a secure retirement.

Governor Quinn Convenes Budget Reform Commission PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Tuesday, 23 August 2011 10:25

Group of Budget Experts Will Recommend Steps to Implement Budgeting for Results; Bring Greater Accountability and Transparency to Budget Process  

CHICAGO – August 22, 2011. In a key step in reforming the state’s budget process, a commission named by Governor Quinn held its first meeting Friday in Chicago to help guide the implementation of Budgeting for Results. Enacted last year by the General Assembly, Budgeting for Results (BFR) is a tool to help government agencies set priorities, meet goals, deliver excellent services and achieve the best value possible to taxpayers.  

“Budgeting for Results represents a major step toward smarter, more transparent government and greater accountability across all agencies,” Governor Quinn said. “This commission will help Illinois deliver essential services in the most efficient, effective way possible, and ensure that taxpayers are getting the results from government they expect and deserve.”  

Private business has long employed a similar management model to improve performance through clearly defining and aligning objectives across organizations. Rather than setting budgets for each agency separately and based on historical funding levels, BFR allocates scarce resources based on government-wide goals. BFR calls on every agency of government to make the case for its budget each year measured in terms of its success delivering results and value to the people of Illinois. The budgeting shift will encourage innovation and performance among agencies, and allow taxpayers to see the true impact of their tax dollars.   

For the fiscal year 2012 budget, the first year of BFR, agencies and departments were required to justify budget requests based on results achieved in the following priority areas set by the Governor:  

 1.     Quality education and opportunities for growth and learning for all Illinois students;  

 2.     Enhanced economic well-Being of citizens;  

 3.     Protection of citizens’ lives and property;  

 4.     Protection of the most vulnerable of our citizens;  

 5.     Improved quality of life of citizens; and  

 6.     Improved efficiency and stability of state government.  

The commission will make recommendations on the Governor’s priority areas and proposed outcomes, propose a percentage of the overall budget to be assigned to each results area, and review current spending mandates.

The commission is composed of Illinois legislators, executive staff, outside experts and stakeholders. Senator Dan Kotowski (D–Park Ridge) serves as chairman of the commission and was co-sponsor of legislation enabling Budgeting for Results.

“I am honored to be appointed chairman of the Budgeting for Results commission,” Sen. Kotowski said. “This bipartisan commission will implement a framework to cut, eliminate, reform and fund agencies and programs based on performance, not politics and self-interest. Illinois families live by these principles every day and now the state government will as well.”

The other commission members are:

Hon. Sheila Simon, Lieutenant Governor;

State Senator Tony Munoz (D – Chicago);

State Senator Pam Althoff (R – Crystal Lake);

State Representative Will Davis (D – Hazel Crest);

State Representative Kent Gaffney (R – Lake Barrington);

Hon. Will Burns, Alderman, City of Chicago;

John Bouman, President, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law;

Carole Brown, Managing Director, Barclays Capital;

Larry Joseph, Director, Budget and Tax Policy, Voices for Illinois Children;

Jim Lewis, Senior Program Officer, Chicago Community Trust;

Lyle Logan, Vice President, Northern Trust Bank;

Dr. Roger Myerson, Glen A. Lloyd Professor of Economics, University of Chicago;

Maria de Jesus Prado, President, Prado & Renteria;

Alex Rorke, Co-chair, Illinois Economic Recovery Commission;

Jose Sanchez, CEO and President, Norwegian American Hospital;

Steve Schnorf, Budget Consultant;

Kevin Semlow, Director of Legislative Affairs, Illinois Farm Bureau and;

Donna Sims Wilson, Executive Vice President, Castleoak Securities.

“It is a privilege to serve the state of Illinois on the new Budgeting for Results Commission,” Roger Myerson, Noble Prize winning economist said. “This commission reflects a broad commitment by Governor Quinn and the legislature to improve the process by which this state makes tough fiscal choices. We will work to develop better measurements of government performance and budgetary transparency.”

"The appointed Commissioners are a good cross-section of private and public sector individuals,” Rep. Kent Gaffney (R-Lake Barrington) said. “The task ahead will become more difficult as we work towards a plan to allocate scarce state funds in a manner that will improve the business climate and overall economic situation of our state, while also improving the quality of life for Illinoisans.”

Appointees from the Governor’s executive staff are Cristal Thomas, Deputy Governor, and John Kamis, Senior Advisor to the Governor.

The commission will issue a report the Governor and the General Assembly by Nov. 1 each year, starting in 2011.



<< Start < Prev 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 Next > End >>

Page 224 of 288