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House committee plans for contempt of Congress vote PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 11 June 2012 09:16
Monday, June 11, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, issued the comment below about the announcement by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa that the House committee will vote next week on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents subpoenaed in October 2011 regarding the government’s Fast and Furious operation.  The House investigation stemmed from Senator Grassley’s inquiry into whistleblower allegations that the government had allowed the transfer of illegally purchased weapons found at the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.  The Department of Justice denied the allegations to Senator Grassley for 10 months before being forced to withdraw its denial in face of evidence to the contrary.

Grassley statement:

“This action is straightforward and necessary.  Contempt is the only tool Congress has to enforce a subpoena.  The Department of Justice can avoid the action by complying with its legal obligation.  It’s not about personalities.  It’s a procedural mechanism in our system of checks and balances.  If Congress is afraid to pursue answers to questions, it’s not doing its job.  People deserve transparency from their government.  Transparency leads to the truth about what’s going on.  It puts people in a position to defend their rights.  It protects our freedoms.

“The only constitutionally viable exception to the Department of Justice’s obligation under the subpoena would be executive privilege.  The President hasn’t asserted that privilege, presumably because the vast majority of the documents at issue aren't related to communications with the White House.  Because the documents don't fit the category of executive privilege, the department is obligated to turn over the documents.  To date, the Department of Justice has refused even to provide a privileged log describing what it wants to withhold and why.  The House committee can't make a judgment about whether there are valid arguments for withholding documents if the department refuses to provide such a log.  That kind of fundamental refusal to even participate in any sort of a process of negotiation is what forced the House committee to move toward contempt to require the Justice Department to respond in a meaningful way.”

 
Animal Rights activists in Davenport today with giant inflatable dog on a bun PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Gary Smith   
Monday, 11 June 2012 08:52
10-FOOT PUPPY IN HAMBURGER BUN SERVES MEATY MESSAGE AT ANIMAL RIGHTS PROTEST IN DOWNTOWN (CITY)
Demonstration Questions Why We Call Some Animals Pets and Others Dinner

CITY, State - Lunchtime commuters in downtown (city) today will be served some serious food for thought - in a thought-provoking demonstration by the national animal rights organization Mercy For Animals that features a massive, 10-foot-long inflatable puppy crammed inside a hamburger bun and topped with ketchup, mustard, cheese, and lettuce. This provocative display will be joined by activists wielding signs with images of an adorable puppy and lovable piglet sitting side-by-side and reading, "Why Love One but Eat the Other?" Other activists will hold signs with images of pigs and chickens abused and confined on factory farms that read, "Boycott Animal Abuse - Choose Vegetarian." 

Date: June 11, 2012
Location:  2nd St between Main and Harrison in downtown Davenport

The demonstration is part of a new campaign, which includes billboards, bus ads, and a national protest tour, and aims to spark debate over why we call some animals pets, and others dinner. Far from receiving the kindness and respect afforded most dogs and cats, the billions of cows, pigs, and chickens raised and killed for meat in America lead lives filled with misery. On today's factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy sheds and cages where many are unable to even fully extend their limbs, walk, turn around, or engage in other natural behaviors. Animals killed for food are routinely burned, castrated, dehorned, tail docked and debeaked without any painkillers. Before slaughter, frightened animals are often electrically prodded onto crowded transport trucks and hauled through all weather extremes to the slaughterhouse, where many will have their throats slit while still alive and conscious.

Although farmed animals are every bit as capable of feeling pain and suffering as dogs and cats, not a single federal law provides protection to them from abuse on factory farms. Undercover investigations by Mercy For Animals at factory farms, hatcheries, and slaughterhouses nationwide have exposed workers beating animals with metal pipes, stabbing them with pitchforks, and bashing in their skulls with pickaxes. MFA's hidden-camera investigations have also exposed farmed animals suffering from untreated infections and wounds, live chicks being thrown into grinding machines, and dead hens left to rot in cages with birds still laying eggs for human consumption.

"If you wouldn't eat your dog, why eat other animals? Cows, pigs, and chickens are just as intelligent, sensitive, and worthy of our respect as the animals we consider companions," said MFA's National Campaign Coordinator Phil Letten. "If meat producers subjected dogs and cats to the array of standard abuses they inflict on farmed animals, they could be jailed on grounds of animal cruelty. The most powerful action we can take to prevent egregious animal abuse is to adopt a compassionate vegetarian diet."

About Mercy For Animals (MFA)
Mercy For Animals is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies. Founded in 1999 and over 75,000 strong, MFA has become a leading voice for farmed animals through undercover cruelty investigation, corporate outreach efforts, legal advocacy, and consumer education campaigns. MFA's work exposing animal abuse in the nation's factory farms, slaughterhouses and hatcheries has triggered international outcry as well as legislative reforms, corporate animal welfare policy changes, and criminal prosecutions of animal abusers. The organization is headquartered in Los Angeles. For more information, see www.MercyForAnimals.org.

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Loebsack: Congress Once Again Skirts Responsibility to American People PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 11 June 2012 08:31

Majority passes funding bill with no cut to Congressional office budgets

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after House Republicans passed legislation to provide funds for Congress in FY 2013 that did not include a reduction in member office budgets.  Loebsack voted to cut Members’ of Congress’ budgets in both FY 2011 and FY 2012.  Members of Congress’ budgets were cut by 13.5 percent over those two years.

“Once again, the House majority missed an opportunity to do its part to have a personal stake in our nation’s recovery and help reduce the budget.  I have voted in the past to cut the budget to congressional offices because it was simply the right thing to do.  When families and small businesses are making tough decisions about their finances, it is important that Congress do the same thing.  Unfortunately the House Majority declined to make the same sacrifices in this year’s bill that families and employers across Iowa are making every day.”

Since coming into office, Loebsack has set out to change the culture of Washington.  He has worked to pass the biggest ethics reform since Watergate, ended insider trading by members and helped get Congress’ own fiscal house in order.

He has also pushed to cut member’s pay, which hasn’t been done in 77 years, end the revolving door between lobbyists and Congress, get budgets passed on time, and fought to hold members of Congress accountable for actually doing what they were sent to Washington to do.

Additional information on Loebsack’s work is included below.

Loebsack’s Work to Ensure Members of Congress Have a Personal Stake in the Nation’s Recovery 

No Budget, No Pay

Loebsack was the second Member of Congress to cosponsor the No Budget, No Pay Act. This bill would stop Members of Congress’ pay if a budget is not enacted on time.  Members of Congress would not receive this pay retroactively; it would be permanently cut.  Given Washington’s track record of partisan gridlock, measures must be put in place to ensure Congress does its job. If Congress doesn’t do its job, it shouldn’t get paid.

Stop the Revolving Door 

Loebsack was the second Member of Congress and first Democrat to co-sponsor the Stop the Revolving Door in Washington Act, which would more than double the length of the lobbying ban for former Members of Congress.  However, he supports going even farther and was the first Member of Congress to co-sponsor legislation, HR 3491, that would impose a lifetime ban on lobbying by former Members of Congress.  Violators of the ban would be subject to penalties of up to $50,000 in fines and a year in prison.

End Insider Trading by Members of Congress
Members of Congress work for their constituents – they are not elected to make money and trade on the information they get as part of the work they do for the American people.  Congressman Loebsack was the fourth Member of Congress to co-sponsor the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which prohibits Members of Congress and their staff from profiting from non-public information they learn as part of their official positions by requiring them to play by the same rules as everyone else.  He has also urged House Leadership to get the strongest possible final STOCK Act to the President’s desk as soon as possible.

Cut Congressional Pay
Members of Congress should demonstrate a personal commitment to getting the Nation’s fiscal house in order.  That is why Congressman Loebsack and former Congresswoman Giffords co-introduced the Congressional Pay Cut Act, which would cut Members of Congress’ salaries by 5 percent and would end the automatic pay increases that occur unless Congress votes to stop them.  This pay cut would mark the first time in 77 years that Congress’ salaries will be reduced.  Loebsack also co-sponsored legislation in 2010 and 2011 that successfully blocked the congressional pay raise.

Shrink Congress’ Budget
Loebsack has voted to cut Members of Congress’ budgets, including his own office’s budget, by 11% over the last year.  Loebsack helped pass legislation to cut Members of Congress’ budgets by 6.4 percent for FY 2012.  That bill also cut the budget of Congressional Leadership offices, the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office, among others.  He also voted to cut Congressional office budgets in FY 2011, and they were reduced by 7.1 percent. Small businesses throughout Iowa are struggling to make it through this downturn, and this was a small step toward restoring common sense and discipline to congressional spending.

Raise Age Congress Can Draw Pensions
Congressman Loebsack was the first Democrat to join Congressman Schilling (R-IL) in introducing legislation that would tie the eligibility for Members of Congress to draw their pension benefits to their Social Security retirement age.  Currently, Members of Congress can access their full pension benefits at age 62 after five years of service, but can be eligible at age 50 if they have served long enough.  This bill would tie Members’ eligibility for their pension to their Social Security retirement age (65 or 67 depending on when they were born).

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Schilling Opposes Legislative Branch Spending Bill PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Monday, 11 June 2012 08:26

Washington, DC - Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) released the following statement after voting against H.R. 5882, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 2013:

“This House has changed the conversation in Washington from ‘how much can we spend?’ to ‘how much can we save?,’ but we can’t let up.   As our national debt speeds toward $16 trillion, every dollar we can save counts.

“My parents taught me to lead by example, which is why I rejected the Congressional pension, any Congressional pay raises, and brought my own health care to Washington.  The House also voted to lead by example and reduce our own office budgets by 5 percent in 2011 and 6.4 percent in 2012.  On top of that I still managed to return $110,000 – an additional 8 percent – of my 2011 budget to taxpayers, and expect to return a portion of my 2012 budget to taxpayers at the end of this year as well.  Today’s legislative branch spending bill however, doesn’t cut our office budgets further, instead keeping it level from last year.  Simply put, I believe today’s bill could have and should have gone further. 

“For years, Congress voted to increase their own office budgets, but this Congress has stopped that trend while still proving you can provide strong constituent services.  We have four offices in our area so you can conveniently keep in close contact with us, and host regular mobile office hours throughout the district so folks don’t have to drive long distances to have their concerns addressed or their questions answered.  We have also hosted roundtables with business leaders and health care professionals throughout our area, forums to help our veterans get information on benefits available to them, and had both Democrat and Republican Members of Congress choose to visit our area for field hearings to see the national treasures we have here in our own backyard.

“My staff and I stay in close contact with folks and provide them with high-quality constituent services while reducing our overall expenses, doing more with less, and remaining mindful of taxpayer dollars.  This sort of service hasn’t happened in our area for a long time.  I will continue leading by example, providing high-quality yet fiscally responsible constituent services, and working to save the American dream for our kids and grandkids.”

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To send Congressman Schilling an e-mail, click here

 
Home Food Preservation 101 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amanda Heitz   
Friday, 08 June 2012 14:49
Home Food Preservation 101 will be offered on June 21, 2012 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Freight House, 421 W. River Drive in Davenport.

The workshop, taught by ISU Extension and Outreach specialist, Vera Stokes, is intended for those wanting to learn how to safely preserve food. It will also serve as a refresher for those who have experience preserving food.

Since 2006, there have been new canning recommendations that everyone should be aware of when canning at home. Participants will receive current Iowa State University Extension food preservation publications and learn about a new program, Preserve the Taste of Summer.

The workshop is $10.00 and participants need to register by June 15 by calling the Extension Office at 563-359-7577 so there are enough materials available.

“People are ‘rediscovering’ the joy and economies and fresh taste of home gardening and want to preserve that bounty to enjoy throughout the year by freezing, drying or canning those foods,” says Stokes. The program will touch on canning, both hot water bath and pressure canning, freezing, equipment needed and a review of resources available.

Food preservation information and answers to your questions are available by calling the Iowa State University toll free Answer Line 1-800-262-3804 or 1-800-735-2942 (Relay Iowa phone linkage for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals). The Answer Line is staffed Monday through Friday from 9 am – 12noon, 1 pm to 4 pm.

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