Business & Economy
Braley Works to Give Americans Choice, Lower Prices at the Gas Pump PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Thursday, 02 June 2011 08:32

Introduces bill that would require county of origin labeling at gas stations

Washington, DC – June 1, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill that would require "country of origin labeling" (COOL) at gas pumps. The COOL for Fuels bill would let American consumers see where their gasoline is coming from and would help create more jobs by encouraging consumption of American-made fuels and alternatives.

“Most Americans fill up their cars with gas a few times a week, but they have no idea where that gas is coming from,” said Rep. Braley. “This bill would give American consumers more information at the pump and the choice to vote with their wallets. By showing people exactly where their gas is coming from, we can lower costs, increase demand for American-made fuel and create more jobs in this country instead of overseas.”

The COOL for Fuels bill will require the Department of Energy to conduct a study and implement its recommendations to ensure American consumers have the ability to decide at the gas pump whether they want to purchase domestic fuels, such as biofuels produced in Iowa, or gasoline produced in foreign, hostile nations.

Earlier today, General Wesley Clark joined Rep. Braley on a press call to express his support for the legislation.

“Our addiction to foreign oil is one of, if not the greatest, immediate and long-term threats to America's national security,” said General Clark. “And without incremental steps toward breaking our addiction to foreign oil, we'll not only be pumping billions of dollars to foreign nations that are known to sponsor terrorism, but also taking a huge step away from building a strong and sustainable green economy. Americans need to know what this addiction is costing us in real terms, and Congressman Braley’s country-of-origin labeling legislation is a commonsense way to get that message across.”

Currently, 11 percent of America’s oil imports come from Saudi Arabia, 10 percent from Nigeria and another 10 percent from Venezuela. By giving Americans a chance to see where their gas comes from and support homegrown products, the COOL for Fuels bill will help create jobs in Iowa and across the country. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every one billion gallons of ethanol produced, 10,000 to 20,000 jobs will be created.

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STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR ON THE PASSAGE OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION REFORM PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Laurel White   
Thursday, 02 June 2011 07:58

Months ago, the Governor called for a major overhaul of Illinois’ broken workers compensation system. Reforms to this overwhelming burden on our businesses were crucial to maintain Illinois’ economic competitiveness, which is why he made it one of his top legislative priorities this session. The Governor brought everyone to the table with a proposal to save our business over $500 million, while protecting injured workers. And today, after months of work, we have seen these reforms come to fruition.

The legislation approved by the General Assembly today will also achieve significant saving for the State of Illinois, as well as attacking fraud and abuse. We have fundamentally changed our system, allowing Illinois to become more competitive and a better place to do business.

We want to thank the members of the General Assembly – especially sponsors Rep. Bradley and Sen. Raoul – for their commitment to Illinois’ businesses and workers. They have passed a package of true reforms that will have a profound effect on our state.  We also express our appreciation to Director McRaith for his tireless work on this reform.  This is a proud day for the State of Illinois, and, especially, for Illinois’ business community and workers. The Governor looks forward to signing it into law.

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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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