Civic News & Info
Analysis of House Budget Cuts on Law Enforcement in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 18 February 2011 12:31

Washington, D.C. - February 18, 2011.

This week, the U.S. House is considering a budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2011.  The current funding proposal expires on March 4, 2011.  Analysis released today shows that the budget proposal will have a detrimental impact on law enforcement in Iowa.

Harkin’s full statement on the budget proposals before Congress can be found here.

“Cutting essential law enforcement funding is not the answer,” said Harkin.  “Iowa continues to face a meth problem, with the number of meth labs up 50 percent since 2007.  And, drugs and crime continue to impact our communities.  Cuts to law enforcement will make our streets less safe and our nation less secure.  

“There is no question that the time has come for tough budget decisions, but the smart way to bring down the deficit is for Congress to pursue a balanced approach of major spending cuts and necessary revenue increases.”


Below are some specific cuts Iowa will face in law enforcement if the House budget is enacted.

State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance by the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

The House proposal cuts $250 million from State and local law enforcement assistance by the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP). If enacted, this will result in significant cuts to essential programs that are critical to ensuring Iowa’s cities and towns are safe and drug free.  Most significantly, this would inadequately fund the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) program.

One of the most important uses of this funding is for multi-jurisdictional drug task forces, which help local law enforcement reduce drug-related violent crime and gang activity in our communities.  Nationally, Byrne/JAG funding leads to over 200,000 arrests, over 50,000 weapons seized, and the breakup of over 9,000 methamphetamine labs each year.

Last year over $24 million in OJP grants came to Iowa, supporting jobs for over 90 Iowans who are directly responsible for making our state safer.  In Iowa, Byrne funded drug task forces:

•    Were responsible for over 2,400 felony arrests;
•    Dismantled 275 gangs;
•    Seized over 8,200 illegal firearms;
•    Seized nearly 20,000 kilograms of illicit drugs, like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine;

These successes show we need to continue to support this program, not cut it back.

Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities

The House proposal would cut $50 million for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities. This includes funding for 14 state counter-drug plans and five regional counter-drug training centers, to include the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center (MCTC) at Camp Dodge.  Without this funding, MCTC would be forced to close its doors, and thousands of law enforcement officials would go without necessary training.  Additionally, federal funding for the Iowa Counterdrug Task Force would be cut, effectively shutting down the program.

If this cut were enacted:

•    Nearly 7,000 Iowa law enforcement officials would not receive necessary counterdrug training at MCTC.  
•    State and local law enforcement officials would not receive support such as intelligence analysis and aviation support from the Iowa Counterdrug Task force.  
•    Thirty jobs would be lost at the Iowa Counterdrug Task Force.  
•    Twenty-three jobs would be lost at MCTC.

 
Harkin Announces $5 Million for Iowa Public Transportation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 18 February 2011 12:17

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced today that the Iowa Department of Transportation received $5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Transit Administration’s State of Good Repair Grant Program. Harkin is a senior member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds transportation initiatives.  The funds will be allocated to local transit agencies across the state as listed below based on a mileage formula.

“These funds will help transit agencies provide safe and efficient transportation for people, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, get to work and around their communities,” Harkin said.

Individual grant recipients are listed below.

Des Moines ($161,020)
2 buses

Fort Dodge ($526,220)
3 buses

Iowa City ($777,150)
3 buses

Sioux City ($345,600)
1 bus

Waterloo ($896,400)
3 buses

Region 1 (Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties; and Sioux counties) ($107,900)
1 Minivan
1 bus

Region 4 (Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Plymouth, Woodbury, and Southern Union Counties; and South Dakota counties) ($112,847)
2 buses

Region 5 (Calhoun, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Webster and Wright counties) ($353,580)
4 buses

Region 6 (Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama counties) ($204,180)
1 Minivan
3 buses

Region 9 (Cedar, Clinton, Muscatine, and Scott; and the Illinois Quad Cities area) ($302,950)
5 buses

Region 10 (Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties) ($95,450)
1 Minivan
1 bus

Region 11 (Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story, and Warren counties) ($434,090)
6 buses
1 Minivan

Region 12 (Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie, and Sac counties) ($62,665)
1 bus

Region 13 (Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties) ($255,640)
4 buses

Region 14 (Adair, Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Ringgold, Taylor, and Union counties) ($125,330)
2 buses

Region 15 (Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Lucas, Mahaska, Monroe, Van Buren, Wapello and Wayne counties) ($195,880)
4 buses

Region 16 (Des Moines, Henry, and Louisa counties) ($73,040)
1 bus

 
Analysis of House Republican Budget Cuts on Employment and Training in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 18 February 2011 11:49

February 17, 2011

This week, the U.S. House is considering a budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2011.  The current funding proposal expires on March 4, 2011.  Analysis released today shows that the budget proposal will have a detrimental impact on job training and assistance to workers who are trying to lift up their families in the fragile economy.

Harkin’s full statement on the budget proposals before Congress can be found here.

“Imagine the struggle of a worker facing a layoff who then learns the job training or assistance he needs to recover is not available.  The same can be said of at-risk youths who are looking to improve their opportunities.  Under the House budget proposal, the door is closed to both of them,” said Harkin.  “There is no question that the time has come for tough budget decisions, but the smart way to bring down the deficit is for Congress to pursue a balanced approach of major spending cuts and necessary revenue increases, while continuing to take steps to strengthen the Iowa economy.”

Below are some specific cuts Iowa will face in job training if the House budget is enacted.


Job Training Programs.
The House plan would eliminate Federal funding – currently totaling $3 billion – for Adult Training, Dislocated Worker Assistance and Youth Training programs.  These programs provide job training and reemployment services to about 8 million Americans every year, including workers who have lost their jobs as a result of plant closings or mass layoffs, and disadvantaged youth, particularly those who have dropped out of school.   

•   Estimated Impact on Iowa:
Under current funding levels:
Funding Available in 2010: $13,967,648
Participants: 35,985
One-Stop Centers: 50

Under the House Proposal:
Funding Available: $0
Participants: 0
One-Stop Centers: 0


Dislocated Worker National Emergency Grants (NEGs).
The House plan provides $29 million for NEGs – a cut of $200 million (87 percent) below the current level of funding.  NEGs are used to respond to significant dislocation events such as industry wide layoffs and disasters by offering targeted training, affordable health insurance and income supports to displaced workers.  For example, when the John Morrell plant closed in Sioux City, an NEG assisted the 1400 workers and their families impacted by the closure.

•    Estimated Impact on Iowa:
Under current funding levels:
Funding Available in 2010: $16,367,015*
Estimated Participants: 4,685

Under the House Proposal:
Estimated Funding Available: $1,318,360
Estimated Participants: 377

*This includes $6 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act


Job Corps.
The House plan provides $1.02 billion for Job Corps – a cut of $691 million (41 percent) below current levels.  These cuts would mean the closure of more than half the 125 existing Job Corps centers and the loss of about 27,000 training slots nationwide.  Iowa has one Job Corps center currently and is slated to have a second open in Ottumwa in 2011.  The cuts proposed in the House bill make the continuation of either center uncertain.


Youthbuild.
The House’s proposal would eliminate Youthbuild – terminating the education and job training opportunities the program offers to about 6,500 disadvantaged students nationally each year.  Youthbuild is currently funded at $103 million.

•    Estimated Impact on Iowa:
Under current funding levels:
Funding Available in 2009-2010: $1,388,669*

Under the House Proposal:
Funding Available: $0

*This includes funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act


For more information, please call Kate Cyrul or Bergen Kenny in Senator Harkin’s press office at (202) 224-3254.

 
In Iowa’s Interest: How My Office Can Help You PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 18 February 2011 11:32
When Cliff, a veteran from the Vietnam War, sought assistance from my office, his claim had been pending with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for more than three years.  He was suffering from cancer, yet the VA had not approved him for service-connected disability benefits from exposure to Agent Orange.  Due to his declining health, my office asked the VA to expedite his claim.  Cliff received a significant back-payment and was approved for monthly benefits as well.   

Debbie contacted my office because her son Jason was experiencing difficulty getting on the Section 8 housing assistance program waiting list in Des Moines.  Jason lives with a disability and unfortunately applied for the wrong housing program during the application period.  The housing authority told Debbie that Jason must wait until the next year to get on the list.  My office inquired with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – the agency that provides the funds for the Section 8 program – and asked them to consider Jason for their waiting list.  HUD contacted the housing authority, which determined it would be reasonable to add Jason to the waiting list because, due to his disability, he may have been confused about the application packet he picked up.

For nearly 200 years, members of the Senate have been assisting constituents like Cliff and Debbie when they need help dealing with the federal government.  I believe this is one of my most important duties as your Senator.  During my time serving Iowa in the Senate, my office has worked to resolve more than 90,000 cases for Iowans.  The importance of this role cannot be overstated.  

If you are seeking information from the federal government and have not been able to find an answer, my staff may be able to help.  Members of my staff can answer common questions that arise when fellow Iowans apply for benefits or seek services from our government.

Keep in mind, a U.S. Senator and staff cannot force a federal government agency to decide an issue in one’s favor or overturn a decision that is within the law and final.  In both the examples above, the outcome was favorable not because my office intervened, but because these Iowans were due the benefits and services they sought.  My office helped facilitate the processes involved in these cases and thankfully a favorable outcome was reached.  It is also important to note that a U.S. Senator cannot intervene in a matter before the courts, or any decision made by a judge.  If you are experiencing legal difficulty, consulting with an attorney is the best way to assure that your interests are well-represented.   

In most cases, my office will need a signed privacy release form from anyone seeking assistance with a federal agency.  Once the appropriate caseworker on my staff has been engaged and this privacy statement is signed, my office can begin to work on your case.

For more information, or to access a privacy release form online, visit my website at harkin.senate.gov .

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Harkin, Grassley Announces Nearly $775,000 in Funding to Support Driver Safety in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Iowa Senators Grassley & Harkin   
Thursday, 17 February 2011 08:25

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 15, 2011 - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that the State of Iowa will receive $773,175 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The funds are a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) State and Community Highway Grants to support state highway safety programs.  Harkin is a senior member of the Senate panel that funds transportation initiatives.

“Iowans should feel safe when they travel on our highway system,” said Harkin.  “These funds will allow Iowans to continue to drive comfortably and safely across our state.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a division of the U.S. DOT and oversees all safety initiatives on the nation’s highways.  Their mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity.

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WASHINGTON – February 15, 2011 - Senator Chuck Grassley said today that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded a $773,175 grant to the Iowa Department of Transportation.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the funds will be used to support state highway safety programs

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 to carry out safety programs previously administered by the National Highway Safety Bureau.  The agency is charged with improving motor vehicle and highway safety.

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