Business & Economy
Schilling, Loebsack Applaud Senate Efforts to Workload the Rock Island Arsenal PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Friday, 08 June 2012 15:00

Will work to preserve the Arsenal and regional defense manufacturing in final proposal

Washington, DC – Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) and Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA-02), both members of the House Armed Services Committee, today applauded the Senate Armed Services Committee’s advancing of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has provisions similar to report language Schilling and Loebsack included in the House Armed Services Committee version of the NDAA.  Complementing H.R. 5706, the Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act introduced by Schilling and Loebsack last month, the Senate language would support the Rock Island Arsenal’s manufacturing capabilities while continuing to support the advancement of public-private partnerships.

The House of Representatives passed its version of the defense authorization on May 18, 2012.  Schilling and Loebsack's report language directs the Department of Defense to identify the critical manufacturing capabilities provided by the industrial base in the public and private sectors and determine the amount of work that is required to maintain them in peacetime.

“With the Rock Island Arsenal’s 150th birthday approaching, the best gift we can give its hard-working employees is the certainty of continued workload,” Schilling said. “I’m pleased that the Senate Armed Services Committee acted promptly on their version of the defense authorization, and am looking forward to a final package with the strongest possible protections for the Arsenal and our area’s defense manufacturing capabilities – a package that I hope the full Illinois and Iowa Delegation can support.”

"This is another positive step forward for the arsenal, the people of the Quad Cities and our nation's defense," said Loebsack. "Rock Island Arsenal is central to our region’s economy and it’s highly skilled workforce and advanced manufacturing capabilities are critical to our national security and to our ability to supply our troops with the equipment they need, when they need it.  I look forward to working with the entire bistate, bipartisan and bicameral delegation to move forward and continue the work we started last year."

Schilling and Loebsack were joined by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) in introducing the bicameral Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act on May 9, 2012.  This legislation would help to keep arsenals like Rock Island warm and employees’ skills sharp by requiring that the Army produce a plan to ensure they are properly workloaded.  Though the Army creates such plans for some of its divisions, it currently does not for arsenals.

This legislation builds on Schilling’s and Loebsack’s efforts on the House Armed Services Committee to include in last year’s defense bill the landmark provision lifting the cap on the number of public-private partnerships arsenals are able to enter into, maximizing the possibility for private-sector job growth at installations like the Rock Island Arsenal.  Schilling and Loebsack also included in last year’s bill the provision designating the Rock Island Arsenal as a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence, further improving its ability to enter into public-private partnerships, provide for our men and women in combat, and strengthen the Arsenal’s core skills and manufacturing abilities.  These provisions were included in last year’s comprehensive defense bill and signed into law by the President.

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To send Congressman Schilling an e-mail, click here

 
Iowa/Illinois Senators Announce that Senate Committee Approves Provisions from their Bill to Increase Workload at Rock Island Arsenal PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:58

Report language in Defense Authorization bill directs Defense Secretary to create a strategic workload plan for arsenals including Rock Island

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Mark Kirk (R-IL)  announced that major portions of their bill to help increase the workload and help ensure the long-term health of Rock Island Arsenal were included in report language that is part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

Similar to the Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act of 2012 introduced by the four Senators last month, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s report builds on last year’s bipartisan effort to authorize arsenal Centers of Industrial and Technical Excellence by directing the Secretary of Defense to create a strategic workload plan for arsenals – including Rock Island Arsenal – and report back to Congress no later than February 28, 2013.

“As U.S. military operations overseas wind down, it is imperative that the military maintain its capability to manufacture equipment at facilities like Rock Island Arsenal,” said Harkin. “These facilities are essential to our national security and with the number of Americans they employ, important to our national economy as well. With this report language, we will ensure that the Rock Island Arsenal continues to do what it does best: manufacture the best equipment possible for our military.”

“The Rock Island Arsenal has proven effective in meeting urgent wartime needs,” Grassley said. “Our effort here is to get a plan put in place to make sure this sort of capability is maintained during peacetime so that it can be tapped when needed.”

“The provisions included in today’s report language ensure that the Rock Island Arsenal’s dedicated and highly-skilled workforce is able to continue to serve this country’s economic and national security interests by developing and manufacturing critical weapons, parts and materiel.” Durbin said. “Not only is the Rock Island Arsenal a major employer for the Quad Cities region, it is a recognized source of some of the most sophisticated engineering and manufacturing in the entire country. I am committed to seeing that this measure is fully implemented, and I commend my colleagues for their work in this bipartisan effort to help secure the Arsenal’s future.”

“This measure compliments the efforts of Representatives Bobby Schilling and David Loebsack to protect the Arsenal in Rock Island,” said a spokesperson for Senator Kirk. “It is essential that the Arsenal remains both a local asset to Quad Cities and a strategic defense asset to the nation. The language reflects the importance of maintaining Rock Island's critical manufacturing capability while at the same time ensures critical public-private partnerships move forward to keep the Arsenal healthy long-term.”

On May 9, the Senators introduced the Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act of 2012 which would require the Army to create a strategic plan to ensure arsenals, including Rock Island, receive the workload they need to keep workers’ skills sharp. The Army does this type of systematic planning for some of its components but not for arsenals. The bipartisan bill would also promote the use of arsenals defense-wide.

The bill builds upon a bipartisan effort last year by the Illinois and Iowa Congressional Delegations to expand the Arsenal’s ability to enter into public-private partnerships which are necessary for Rock Island to maintain and improve its workload. Specifically, they secured – as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012 – an unlimited number of public-private partnerships for the Arsenal and the opportunity for the Arsenal to be designated as a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence, which will permit the Army to automatically assign work to Rock Island based on its expertise.

The Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act of 2012 is cosponsored by Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Mark L. Pryor (D-AR) and Senator Charles E. Schumer.


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H.R. 4297 Neglects America’s Workforce While Unemployment Increases PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ayrianne Parks   
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:45
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs Denounces Efforts to Eliminate Targeted Job Training for America’s Farmworkers and Other Vulnerable Jobseekers
June 7, 2012, Washington, D.C. —Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to mark up the Republican-sponsored “Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012” or H.R. 4297. Education and job training experts from around the country are joining together in opposing the proposed bill, which seeks to completely restructure the federal job training programs and abolish those programs targeted at serving the most vulnerable groups of jobseekers. H.R. 4297 also effectively eliminates competition by simply doling out federal money to state governors in a fashion similar to a block grant.
“Proposals to consolidate workforce programs in the name of reducing the public sector’s role would leave Latino workers, such as farmworkers, not to mention veterans, the disabled, and other groups in need of specialized services, stuck in low-skill and low-wage jobs,” said Emma Oppenheim, Associate Director of Workforce Development Policy Initiatives at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). “These proposals ignore the job openings going unfilled, ignore the industries unable to take new products to market, and ignore the American workers who, with the right investments, could make our economy hum.”
The goal of H.R. 4297 is to create one system, relying on a one-size-fits all model of service. If implemented, it would likely act as a disincentive to training hard-to-serve individuals whose training will likely require more resources and money.  Farmworkers are among the lowest paid workers in the country, earning an average of just $17,500 per year for a family of four, well below the national poverty line, according to the Department of Labor.  They are also subject to frequent unemployment and underemployment as a result of the unpredictability of weather and, consequently, crop failure. Finding more stable, higher paying positions, both in and outside of agriculture, is difficult due to a lack of training and education (farmworkers have a median 8th grade education level), transportation, work history, and access to other industries in rural locations.  Accordingly, the federal job training program for migrant and seasonal farmworkers authorized under the current Workforce Investment Act, is an essential service to many farmworkers who, without it, may not be able to access the resources and opportunities it provides.
The bill would also impact agricultural and local business sectors that benefit from having a well-trained workforce pool.
“This is the worst time to eliminate targeted programs that serve farmworkers and the most in-need of our country’s jobseekers. It is the most awful recession most of America has experienced in their lifetime,” notes David Strauss, Executive Director of Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs. “H.R. 4297 just doesn’t work if our goal is to get Americans employed. Our economy and our workers require a greater investment in job training in order to get the skills they need to compete in this tough employment market.”
The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs is the national federation of non-profit and public agencies that provide training and employment services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers. For additional comment or interview, please contact Ayrianne Parks at (202) 828-6006 x140 or Parks(at)AFOP(dot)org.
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Vice President of Midland Communications Invited to Convention Reserved for Industry Leaders PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Janet Dufour   
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:06
Jason Smith, Vice President of Midland Communications, to Share His Vision on the Future of Unified Communications

DAVENPORT, IA - June 5, 2012 - Midland Communications, a leading provider of unified communications, announced today that Vice President, Jason Smith, has been invited by Technology Assurance Group (TAG), an international organization representing nearly $350 million in products and services in the industry, to share his vision on the future of unified communications with some of the industry's top manufacturers, vendors, suppliers and resellers at TAG's national convention. The 12th Annual TAG Convention will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 9th-12th.
With more and more businesses headed to the cloud, networking and IT infrastructure has grown substantially more complex in the past year. Today's unified communications providers require unprecedented levels of technical expertise, industry foresight and customer service in order to remain competitive. Midland Communications has been invited to attend this year's convention due to its superiority in each of these areas.
"Midland Communications has dominated their marketplace for quite some time," states Brian Suerth, Executive Vice President & Partner of TAG. "They are continually striving to stay on the leading edge of technology, and that's why no one can compete with them. Midland Communications knows what's coming down the pipeline and how it's going to ultimately affect their customers. That's why they are able to proactively support their customers and implement powerful technologies before their competitors even realize that they're behind the curve."
Several industry topics will be covered at the convention and best business practices will be revealed in areas ranging from cloud technologies, virtualization, hosted solutions, managed IT services to customer service. "The only constant in life is that it never stops changing. It's no different in our industry," commented Jason Smith, Vice President of Midland Communications. "That's why we continue to remain active in the industry and share our views at these kinds of events. We always come back to the office with something new and valuable that we can pass on to our customers. We're passionate about what we do and we feel that it's our duty to our customers to find out what's on the horizon. We're often able to leverage new developments and find ways to boost our customers' productivity, and more importantly, their bottom line profitability."
Midland Communications is among the top unified communications providers in the nation and its success is due largely to its innovative approach to business.

ABOUT MIDLAND COMMUNICATIONS

Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit www.midlandcom.com.


ABOUT TECHNOLOGY ASSURANCE GROUP (TAG)

Technology Assurance Group, LLC (TAG) is an international organization of leading independently owned unified communications companies. TAG provides its members with the competitive advantages necessary to achieve a dominant position in their marketplace. Members benefit from programs including strategic partnerships with communication solution providers, best business and management practices, and advanced sales training programs.  TAG's mission is to increase its Members' sales and profits through education and to ease their introduction of new technology to the marketplace by leveraging their combined intellect and purchasing power. For more information on TAG, please call 858-673-5800 or visit www.tagnational.com.



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Q&A on a Budget Framework with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen. Chuck Grassley   
Friday, 08 June 2012 11:59

Q:        What is required of Congress in making a budget plan?

A:        The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 says Congress should annually adopt a budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year and at least the following four fiscal years.  The annual budget is to be adopted as a concurrent resolution, so it is not presented to the President for his signature and doesn’t become law.  Rather, when adopted by Congress, the budget resolution is as an agreement between the House and Senate on a congressional budget plan.  It provides the budget framework for subsequent legislative action during each congressional session.

Q:        Is there an annual deadline?

A:        The congressional budget timetable sets April 15 as a target date for completing action on the annual budget resolution.  Before 1986, the date was May 15.  According to the Congressional Research Service, budget resolutions have been adopted, on average, almost 37 days after the target date.

 

Q:        How is it that the Senate hasn’t passed a budget for more than three years?

A:        The Senate last adopted a budget resolution on April 29, 2009.  Since then, the majority leadership of the Senate has not produced even a proposal for consideration.  The only conclusion a person can draw is that the Democratic leadership either doesn’t have a plan or doesn’t want its fingerprints on one.

 

Q:        The President proposed a budget; why not just use that?

A:        The President’s budget proposal has been unanimously rejected.  In April, the House of Representatives voted 414 to 0 against President Obama’s budget.  In May, the Senate voted 99 to 0 against the President’s budget.  President Obama’s proposal would do little to change the nation’s dangerously unsustainable debt path.  And, rather than reduce spending, President Obama proposed $2 trillion in tax increases to increase government spending above current levels.  The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the President’s policies would lead to a fifth consecutive year of $1 trillion deficits, 2009 to 2013.  In addition, under the President’s plan, after 10 years, the national debt would be 76.5 percent of America’s gross domestic product.  The historical average since World War II is just 43 percent.

Q:        What are the repercussions of the Senate’s not passing a budget?

A:        As President Obama has said, the annual budget is “an economic blueprint for this nation’s future.”  A budget blueprint would lay out priorities for deficit reduction, economic growth or a path to balance.  Today, along with having now gone more than three years without a budget, America is in the midst of the fourth consecutive year of trillion-dollar deficits.  Yet, there is no one in the Democratic leadership, which controls the U.S. Senate, willing to take charge, even while our nation continues on a path of deficits and debt.  Republican senators offered three alternative budgets for consideration this year, yet all were rejected by the Democratic majority.  The President has refused to get involved in a serious way to provide moral and political leadership.  Instead, a commitment to solutions is needed for today and future generations.

Monday, June 4, 2012

 
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