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Concerns with Providing DHS More Authority Given Track Record PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 08:35

Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee

Executive Business Meeting

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Mr. Chairman,


On the agenda today are three nominations ready for committee action – Curiel, Shea, and Shelby.  I believe a roll call may be requested for Mr. Shea’s nomination.


Before we consider the nominations, I would like to speak about yesterday’s hearing and a serious matter I raised with Secretary Napolitano.  I asked Secretary Napolitano about the Department of Homeland Security’s failure to approve a single chemical facility site security plan under the Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Standards (CFATS).


The CFATS program was passed by Congress in 2006 to provide baseline security for chemical facilities that store certain types of dangerous chemicals.  Regulations were issued in 2007 that required sites to submit security plans for approval.  To date, 4,200 sites have submitted plans to DHS.  However, DHS has not approved a single one despite operating the program for more than five years and spending nearly a half-a-billion taxpayer dollars.  As implemented, this program is a disaster.


Secretary Napolitano admitted that the program is not operating as they would like.  I think that is a major understatement and an internal review of the failures of the program underscores how this is an understatement.


This memorandum, dated November 10, 2011, is one of the most candid assessments of an agency’s failure I’ve ever seen. The authors found, among other things, that no site plans have been approved and that even if they were, DHS is not prepared to conduct compliance inspections.


Additionally, the memorandum paints the picture of an agency that has lost control.  Specifically, the authors found:


·         The Department had hired “people who do not have the necessary skills to perform key mission and essential functions.”


·         “While the vast majority of employees are talented, hardworking people, there are numerous exceptions.”


·         “There is a catastrophic failure to ensure personal and professional accountability” among agency employees.


·         The “lack of focus and vision has resulted in problems with how we have spent our money, and how we are managing those funds.”


There are other major problems, including car fleet management problems, lack of oversight and accountability for purchase cards, travel cards used for unauthorized expenses, property management issues, and records management.


While I appreciate the candor in this memorandum and the significant detail included by those tasked with completing this analysis, it raises serious questions about how DHS uses taxpayer dollars.  It also raises questions about DHS’s ability to implement the policies Congress has entrusted it with.


I’m also concerned with what this entails for those who are currently seeking to give DHS more regulatory authority and hundreds of millions more in taxpayer money to oversee cybersecurity.


For example, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy last night on the cybersecurity legislation the House is currently addressing.  One of the major reasons the statement was allegedly issued was that the bill “fails to provide authorities to ensure that the Nation’s core critical infrastructure is protected.”  In other words, the President won’t sign the bill into law because it doesn’t give DHS the power to regulate the private sector.


I’ll admit I have been skeptical of giving DHS the power to regulate cybersecurity from the outset.


But, I do believe the threat to our country from cyber-attacks is real.  That is why I have cosponsored S.2151, the SECURE I.T. Act.  This legislation will enhance cybersecurity without creating a new bureaucracy at DHS and without stifling innovation in the private sector with burdensome new regulations.


After reading this DHS memorandum, my initial skepticism against DHS’s role in cybersecurity has turned into outright concern.  Based upon the failures of CFATS to date, such an approach would surely lead to more wasted taxpayer dollars with nothing to show for it.  Given the fiscal situation we face, this is an unacceptable option.


Despite the failures outlined by DHS’s own internal review, Secretary Napolitano did her best yesterday to say the program is moving forward.  I have my doubts, given the level of failures cited in this memorandum.  I’d be surprised if DHS has been able to turn this program around overnight.  So, I’ll be requesting a briefing from DHS to find out what is being done to fix these problems.


Regardless of what DHS has done to address these problems, the fact remains that the American taxpayers are out nearly a half-a-billion dollars with nothing to show for it.  We have a duty to conduct oversight on the failures and problems mentioned in this memorandum.  We have a duty to our constituents and all taxpayers to ensure these problems are fixed and that they don’t continue.


Absent proof, and not just assurances, that the problems are fixed, we should not even consider giving DHS another ounce of regulatory authority or additional layers of bureaucracy to deal with Cybersecurity.  I believe Cybersecurity is an important topic that we need to address, but not at the expense of throwing more taxpayer dollars at an agency with the sort of problems this internal review details.


Thank you.

Braley Urges Congressional Panel to Renew Adoption Tax Credit PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 30 April 2012 10:27

Republican subcommittee chair endorses adoption tax credit after Braley testimony


Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today urged a Congressional panel to include an extension of the adoption tax credit in a tax extension package being considered by the House Ways and Means Committee.  If Congress fails to act, the adoption tax credit will expire at the end of 2012.

“Deciding to adopt a child is one of the most compassionate decisions a couple can make,” Braley said.  “Unfortunately, it also carries with it significant financial costs.


“Renewing and expanding the adoption tax credit will help remove a barrier to more families deciding to adopt.    It’s a small investment that provides a big return: getting more children into loving homes and out of the costly foster care system.


Rep. Pat Tieberi (OH-12) endorsed the adoption tax credit after Braley delivered his testimony, speaking of his experience with the Dave Thomas Foundation in Ohio.


Two weeks ago, Braley introduced the Making Adoption Affordable Act, legislation that would permanently expand the federal adoption tax credit to $13,360 and make it refundable -- allowing more families to take full advantage of it.  More information on Braley’s bill can be found at the following link:

YouTube video of Braley testifying before the committee can be viewed here:

720p high-definition video of Braley testifying before the committee can be downloaded here:

# # #

Think You Know World Word II? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 30 April 2012 10:22
The Unknown Brutality & Savagery

In 10 countries, men, women and children are being killed as part of systematic “genocide, ‘politicide’ or mass atrocities,” according to Genocide Watch’s recently updated list.

In Syria, pro-democracy protesters and civilian bystanders are being bombed, shot and starved by their government’s security forces; in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 3 to 5 million civilians, mostly women and girls, have been raped and murdered; and in North Korea, labor camps house 500,000 domestic and political prisoners, and non-party members are starved and undergo forced abortions.

“Many people don’t realize that genocide is occurring every day all over the world,” says Renata Reinhart, author of In the Course of My Life (, an account of the little-known Soviet genocide of 2 million Eastern Germans in 1945, committed with the complicity of England and the United States.

“It’s something we should all be deeply concerned about – any of us can become the next victims,” Reinhart says.

One hallmark of genocide is that the perpetrators deny it, says Dr. Gregory Stanton, president of Genocide Watch and the International Association of Genocide Scholars. They use tactics such as questioning and minimizing the statistics; blaming renegade forces; claiming self-defense; and/or claiming deaths were inadvertent and not intentional.

Allowing the killers to deny the massacres ensures future slaughters, Stanton says.

“Studies by genocide scholars prove that the single best predictor of future genocide is denial of a past genocide coupled with impunity for its perpetrators,” he says. “Genocide deniers are three times more likely to commit genocide again than other governments.”

In the case of the 1945 ethnic cleansing of Eastern Germany, Russian soldiers were given license to launch a “Revenge without Mercy” on the civilian populations of East Prussia, Silesia, Pomerania and other parts of Eastern Europe, Reinhart says.

“It’s documented; it’s just been ignored, concealed and forgotten,” she says, noting Nobel Prize-winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a captain in the Red Army who witnessed the atrocities and recounted them in his poem, “Prussian Nights.” A survivor of the slaughter, Margot Serowy, tells her story in paintings at

Anticipating Germany’s defeat in World War II, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin considered the territories he would eventually claim and decided they should be cleared of all Germans, Reinhart says. Soldiers in the Red Army were encouraged to burn, loot, pillage, rape and kill to drive the Germans out of those areas beginning in January 1945.

“England’s prime minister, Winston Churchill, was informed of the plan and referred to it – approvingly – in 1944 as ‘these population transferences,’ ’’ Reinhart says.  “Churchill personally ordered the massive bombing and destruction of East Prussia’s capital Konigsberg for no justifiable strategic reason and a few months later, the British bombed and leveled Dresden, killing 30.000 to 40.000 civilians. These attacks helped pave the way for Stalin’s genocide.”

The “revenge” soldiers, she added, were supplied with food, trucks, Jeeps and other vehicles by the United States.

“Because the victims were German, it was all right to rape children and murder women. No one tried to stop it,” Reinhart says. “And, apparently, it’s all right to kill men, women and children in  Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Burma – the rest of the countries on the Genocide Watch list.

“We need to hold the perpetrators accountable. That’s the first step to stopping these atrocities.”

About Renata Reinhart

Renata Reinhart is the pen name of the author, a scholar of World War II history who spent years researching the Red Army’s march across Eastern Europe in 1945. While the book is fictionalized as a memoir, the historical elements are accurate and based on numerous documented sources.

Arbor Day Foundation Offers Tree-Care Booklet for $3 Donation PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Arbor Day Foundation   
Monday, 30 April 2012 10:08

The Arbor Day Foundation is offering a handy tree-care booklet designed to help people plant and care for trees.

Anyone can receive the Conservation Trees booklet simply by making a $3 donation to the Foundation.

Conservation Trees is a user-friendly booklet that features illustrations, colorful photos and easily understood descriptions.

"Conservation Trees is an ideal resource for tree planters throughout the country," said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. "It is important that people know how to properly plant and care for their trees.

"Taking care of existing trees is just as critical as planting new ones," Rosenow continued. “Trees clean the air, keep our water sources pure and conserve energy. Trees provide so many benefits to a community, and that’s why it is so vital to take care of them."

The booklet provides details about the right way to plant and prune trees. It also includes tips on using shade trees and windbreaks to save on energy costs, attracting songbirds and creating a living snow fence.

To receive the Conservation Trees booklet, send a $3 check along with your name and address to: Conservation Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410, or order online at


Loebsack Statement on President Obama’s Speech at the University of Iowa PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 30 April 2012 09:51

Washington, D.C. Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after the President spoke at the University of Iowa about the need to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, on July 1st.  Loebsack is a cosponsor of H.R. 3826, which would ensure the increase does not occur.  Loebsack welcomed the President to Iowa at the Eastern Iowa Airport and attended his speech at the University of Iowa Field House.

“I was pleased President Obama chose the University of Iowa to highlight the looming rate increase if Congress does not take action.  This issue truly impacts many Iowans.  In fact, over the past year more than 3,900 people have contacted me with their concerns about the cost of college and student loans.  This is not all that surprising given that college grads in Iowa leave school with some of the highest debt load in the country.  They cannot afford a rate increase.

“I grew up in poverty, worked my way through college and relied on financial aid to pay for tuition.   I know firsthand the difference that a college education can make in a student’s life.  No student should be turned away or lose out on attending college because their family can’t afford to pay tuition.  Congress must act to avoid this rate increase.”

During his time with the President, Loebsack also raised the need for bipartisan support in passing a long-term transportation bill.

“I talked with the President about an issue central to job creation and economic development in Iowa – transportation.  Iowans are sick of the bickering and partisan politics and are demanding that the work get done, which is why I have crossed party lines time and again to try and pass a Highway Bill.  I strongly urged the President to engage on a bipartisan basis to finally move a long-term transportation bill so projects critical to Iowa’s families, businesses and farmers can move forward.”


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