Business & Economy
Grassley taking concerns of U.S. agriculture to EU, Russia PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 15:00

Also to participate in discussions about NATO missions, anti-corruption efforts and immigration

WASHINGTON – May 29, 2011 - Senator Chuck Grassley is traveling this week to participate in meetings in Brussels and Moscow.  He said the trip provides an opportunity to address market access problems for soybean and pork producers in the United States and the need to protect intellectual property rights.  He also will receive a briefing on NATO-led efforts in Libya and Afghanistan, discuss anti-corruption efforts of Russian law enforcement in cooperation with U.S. authorities, address human rights and press freedoms, and discuss U.S. visa requirements for Russian travelers.

Of the trade issues for American agriculture, Grassley said, “Both the European Union and Russia are imposing non-tariff trade barriers against soybeans and pork produced by U.S. farmers for the export market.  The European Union’s position on soybeans has created uncertainty for farmers, traders, co-ops and processors in the United States.  American farmers need the EU to engage in a dialogue to try to resolve an unfair situation.  Likewise, Russia’s unjustified position against U.S. pork has delisted plants that account for 60 percent of U.S. pork production capacity.  I look forward to taking on both of these issues in meetings this week.”

Grassley said he will deliver a letter on the soybean export dispute addressed to European Union Commissioner Karel De Gucht, the Directorate General for Trade.  The Renewable Energy Directive of the European Union relies on a faulty Brazilian model to establish emission savings and applying directive guidelines all the way down to the farm level.  Grassley said aggregate certification is needed as a fair trade matter for U.S. oilseed producers, along the lines of the sustainability requirement in the U.S. renewable fuel standard.

Separately, Grassley plans to deliver a letter about Russia’s unjustified limits on U.S. pork addressed to First Deputy Prime Minster of the Russian Federation Igor Shuvalov and Aide of the President of the Russian Federation Arkady Dvorkovich.  Pork products from the United States face an array of sanitary phytosanitary restrictions by the Russian government.  Grassley said that if Russia is to gain membership in the World Trade Organization, which it is currently seeking, then Russia needs to abandon import restrictions, like this one, which are unscientifically based.  The United States was able to obtain commitments from China and Vietnam to overcome similar obstacles as part of those countries’ accession to the World Trade Organization.  Twenty-five percent of all U.S. pork is produced in Iowa.

Grassley said that Russia’s desire to join the World Trade Organization also should help to encourage Russian officials to improve enforcement efforts to protect intellectual property rights, which are important to promoting innovation, creating jobs and advancing economic growth.  He said the Senate-passed PROTECT IP Act that he sponsored this year with Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont provides a model for working to stop online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods.

In other meetings, Grassley said he will seek more information about possible outcomes for the NATO-led effort in Libya and how military operations have shaped those possibilities.  He also wants to ask for a NATO assessment of support from the Afghan people for the Karzai government, progress in eliminating government corruption, the capability of Afghan security forces, and the outlook for the strength of the Afghan National Army.

In Russia, Grassley said he is concerned about human rights abuses and efforts by government authorities to restrict media coverage and allow political pressure in the judicial system.

Grassley and others senators on the trip left Washington yesterday and will return on June 4.  Grassley is Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.  He is a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  He is a senior member and former Chairman and Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over international trade.

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Braley “True Cost of War” Amendment Passes House PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 13:33

Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed Congressman Bruce Braley’s (IA-01) “True Cost of War” amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Braley’s amendment would require a full accounting of the human and financial costs of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya from the Departments of Defense, State and Veterans Affairs.

“In the last 10 years, Congress has appropriated over a trillion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and most recently in Libya,” said Rep. Braley. “But what we don’t account for in that figure is the more than 5,800 U.S. Service members who’ve been killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Or the more than 40,000 who’ve been wounded and who will spend the rest of their lives treating injuries like PTSD, severe burns and amputated limbs. These are not just costs that our troops and their families bear – these are also significant costs for the Department of Veterans Affairs and all American taxpayers. As a nation, we have a right to know what these conflicts will actually cost us.

Earlier this year, Rep. Braley returned from a Congressional fact-finding mission in Afghanistan where he met with General David Petraeus and discussed the cost of the Afghanistan war.

“With our neighbors currently deployed to Afghanistan with the Iowa National Guard, these wars are incredibly personal for me and the people of my district,” said Rep. Braley. “I’ve met with dozens of my constituents – young men and women and their families – who have sacrificed a great deal in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And when I meet injured soldiers and I see the hardships – physical and financial – that they and their families will endure for the rest of their lives, it becomes crystal clear that the true cost of the war is not being accurately reported. With this amendment, we can change that.”

The amendment, similar to Rep. Braley’s bipartisan True Cost of War Act, requires the President to work with the Secretaries of Defense, State and Veterans Affairs to submit a written report to Congress on the long-term human and financial costs of the war inIraq and Afghanistan.

Rep. Braley has beenfighting for a true accounting of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since he came to Congress.

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Braley Calls On Branstad to Reconsider Support for Job-Killing FTA PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 14:32

Washington, DC – May 24, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) sent a letter to Governor Branstad warning that the Governor’s support for pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), including the Korea FTA, would lead to major job loss and economic downturn in Iowa. Rep. Braley’s letter was a response to a letter Governor Branstad sent to Congress on Monday, calling on them to support the upcoming FTAs.

“Estimates show that the Korea Free Trade Agreement could lead to the loss of more than 5,000 manufacturing jobs and hurt the agricultural industry to the tune of $173 million in the First Districtalone. That’s simply unacceptable,” said Rep. Braley. “Iowa has already lost tens of thousands of good-paying jobs in the past decade. We just can’t afford to send thousands more of our jobs overseas. Middle class families all over our state and our country are counting on jobs being created here, not abroad.”

A copy of Rep. Braley’s letter is available here: http://go.usa.gov/jJ0

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Treasurer Fitzgerald Cautions, This Isn't the Wild West PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Michael Fitzgerald   
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 12:58

DES MOINES, IA (05/24/2011)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald responded today to Governor Branstad's claims of being the "new sheriff in town." "This isn't the Wild West, we aren't looking for Wyatt Earp to come in and have a shoot out," Fitzgerald said. "We are looking for a leader that can compromise and do what is in the best interest of all Iowans."

"The state of Iowa is in a strong financial position," Fitzgerald stated. "Governor Branstad is trying to convince Iowans there is a fiscal mess to clean up. I've been sending the same message for over a year – Iowa is fiscally sound." Fitzgerald pointed to a balanced budget, a projected $400 million dollar surplus, $600 million in the reserves, and a AAA credit rating as indicators to counter Branstad's claims.

"Mohandas Gandhi once said, "I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people" Fitzgerald quoted. "I urge the Governor to take off the sheriff's badge, roll up his sleeves and work on a compromise for all Iowans."

 
Braley Calls for Assessment of Proposed Delta-US Airways Deal PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 12:51

Washington, DC – May 24, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) called on Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to provide a state-by-state assessment of the impact of the proposed Delta Airlines-US Airways slot swap deal. Rep. Braley sent a letter to LaHood raising concerns about the possible effect of this deal on states like Iowa, which have limited flight options and depend heavily on a few carriers such as Delta.

“Iowa families and businesses have long expressed frustration at the lack of options when it comes to air travel and I don’t want to see our choices limited even further,” said Rep. Braley. “Delta is a major carrier in Iowa and numerous communities across the country. I strongly believe that we should assess the possible effects of a deal like this and we should know what impact this would have on personal and business travel to and from our communities.”

A copy of Rep. Braley’s letter is available here: http://go.usa.gov/jzV

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