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Grassley works for permanent, loving homes for kids facing the foster-care system PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 12:01
WASHINGTON --- September 20, 2011 - Legislation authored by Senator Chuck Grassley today won unanimous approval of the Finance Committee as part of a larger proposal to extend federal child and family services programs.

Grassley’s initiative involves regional partnership grants which are competitively distributed by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The grants are used to improve the safety, permanency and well-being of children who are not in their homes or are likely to be removed from their homes because of substance abuse by their parents.  The proposal advanced today by the Finance Committee reauthorizes the grant program for five years along with Grassley’s provision that would allow current grant recipients to pursue a two-year grant extension.  He said this would help to prevent any lapse where the program is making a positive difference.

“In the many years that I’ve been working on child welfare issues, especially for children in the foster care system, so many young people have told me what they want most of all is a mom and dad and a permanent, loving home,” Grassley said.  “These grants help to keep families together, when possible, so that children are not subjected to the many difficulties that they face in the foster care system.”

Since the regional partnership grant program was last reauthorized in 2007, 53 grants have been awarded to partnerships covering 29 states and six tribes.  More than 8,000 adults and 12,000 children have been served by the grants.  The grants support family treatment drug courts, better system-wide collaboration, family-centered treatment, evidence-based practice approaches, parent advocates, and drug treatment monitoring.

The Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families has said that the grants help to discharge children from the foster care system at a faster rate because families are more likely to be reunified within 12 months and are more likely to stay that way after 12 months.

Grassley said his legislation this year also includes a five percent cap on administrative expenses for the grants.

“These grants have helped to bring back together families torn apart by substance abuse,” Grassley said.  “Substance abuse is one of the leading reasons why children are forced into the foster care system.  Long term, those kids benefit tremendously if foster care can be avoided or, at the very least, be a short-term detour, with family reunification and, when necessary, adoption.”

The legislation included in the overall package passed in the Finance Committee today was part of a bill that Grassley introduced in June, the Partners for Stable Families and Foster Youth Affected by Methamphetamine or Other Substance Abuse Act (S.1234).  The regional partnership grants were created by legislation Grassley authored and moved through the Finance Committee as Chairman in 2006, the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Act.

“Passage of the law in 2006 was a big step forward in efforts to help the young people in the foster care system,” Grassley said.

 

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News from Governor Quinn's office PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katelyn Tye   
Monday, 19 September 2011 09:15

Governor Quinn Announces $345 Million Mortgage Assistance Program in Illinois

“Illinois Hardest Hit” Program Leverages Federal Dollars to Help
Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure

CHICAGO – September 15, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a program to help approximately 15,000 Illinois homeowners threatened by foreclosure. The Illinois Hardest Hit program utilizes $345 million in federal funds to support working families having trouble making mortgage payments due to unemployment or under-employment.

“The economic downturn has left too many Illinois families at risk of losing their homes,” Governor Quinn said. “Everyone suffers when a home goes into foreclosure. The Illinois Hardest Hit program will help keep families in their homes, help them regain economic stability and keep our communities strong.”

The program allows eligible participants to receive up to $25,000 over 18 months as a 10-year loan to keep mortgages current and make ongoing payments, including fees and penalties. The loan is forgiven over the last five years of the 10-year term, and carries zero interest. Funds for the program are supplied by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Illinois is among 18 states and Washington, D.C. that received funding for the program earlier this year. The Illinois Hardest Hit program will be administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA).

“The best way to stabilize our neighborhoods is to prevent foreclosures before they happen,” said Mary Kenney, IHDA executive director. “This program will make a difference in people’s lives and in our communities.”

Free applications for the program are available exclusively through IHDA’s Illinois Hardest Hit website: www.IllinoisHardestHit.org. Applicants will be matched with a local review agency that will answer questions, pre-screen applicants for eligibility and assist homeowners in preparing the application and assembling the required supporting documentation.

Eligibility criteria for the program include:

  • Property must be located in Illinois;
  • Household must have a documented income reduction of at least 25 percent due to unemployment or under-employment through no fault of their own;
  • Household income must be at or below 120 percent of the area median income;
  • Principal loan balance of a mortgage must not be more than $500,000;
  • Household liquid assets cannot exceed 3 months of mortgage payments;
  • Property, which can be a 1-4 unit building, must be the primary and only residence of all borrowers/owners;
  • Homeowners must carry a fixed or adjustable rate loan; negative amortization or interest-only loans are not eligible;
  • The delinquency and forward payments must fall within available assistance and program guidelines;
  • Applicants must not have been convicted of a mortgage-related felony in the last 10 years.

"The Hardest Hit Fund provides Illinois and other states that were hit hardest in the housing market downturn the funds to implement local programs to assist struggling homeowners," said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. "With these funds, Illinois can provide critical support to homeowners impacted by unemployment so they can remain in their homes and avoid foreclosure."

Governor Quinn has long been a strong advocate for affordable housing, and his administration has championed important legislation and housing initiatives, including:

  • $100 million in federal Hardest Hit funds to form public-private partnership to modify loans to affordable levels
  • $130 million in the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program for affordable and supportive housing, including a development in Springfield for transitional and permanent supportive housing for Veterans and residents facing homelessness;
  • $53 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds to enable communities to revitalize neighborhoods by returning foreclosed or abandoned properties to use through rehabilitation or new construction;
  • Passing the Homeowner Protection Act;
  • Extending the Affordable Housing Tax Credit through 2016 to stimulate additional affordable housing development;
  • Establishing the Illinois Anti-Predatory Lending Database;
  • Creating the Foreclosure Prevention Program;
  • Launching www.ILHousingSearch.org, a bilingual website to match residents with specific rental housing and resources;
  • Partnering with local housing agencies for IHDA’s Mortgage Relief Project outreach events;
  • Creating a loan modification program for homeowners who borrowed under the state’s first-time homebuyer program;
  • More than $8 million in National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) funds targeted toward foreclosure and mediation through partnerships with local governments and not-for-profits.

The Illinois Hardest Hit program is funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury and does not have a fee for applying. Applicants should be aware of the prevalence for mortgage assistance fraud; no mortgage assistance program requires a fee. The official Illinois Hardest Hit website (www.IllinoisHardestHit.org) is the only website for applications.

About IHDA

The Illinois Housing Development Agency (www.ihda.org) is an independent bonding authority that finances the creation and preservation of affordable housing throughout Illinois. Since 1967, IHDA has allocated more than $10.6 billion to finance more than 215,000 affordable housing units for the residents of Illinois. IHDA sells bonds independently, based on its own good credit, to finance affordable housing in Illinois.

 

Governor Quinn to Lead Trade Mission to China

Trip Will Focus on Exports, Foreign Direct Investment, Education and Supporting Emerging Technologies  

CHICAGO – September 15, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn will travel to the People’s Republic of China tomorrow in an effort to increase economic opportunities between Illinois and China. The Governor will arrive in China Sept. 17 for an eight-day trade mission designed to strengthen Illinois’ exports and foreign direct investment. With Illinois already leading the Midwest in exports and foreign direct investment, the trade mission will build on the state’s prior successes as part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs in Illinois.

“Illinois’ relationship with China and with Chinese businesses is an extremely important part of not only helping our economy grow but also making sure Illinois continues to be a strong competitor in today’s global marketplace,” Governor Quinn said. “Trade and investment in China are essential to growing our economy and during this trip, we will promote Illinois’ exports and encourage Chinese companies to invest in Illinois.”

For his first visit to China, Governor Quinn will lead an Illinois delegation made up of officials representing Illinois businesses and educational institutions, as well as state and local governments. The group will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in an effort to strengthen the state’s exports, foreign direct investment and tourism between China and Illinois.

During his trip, Governor Quinn will preside over the signing of new Illinois export contracts in the agriculture and telecom industries worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Governor Quinn will also meet with Chinese officials in an effort to boost investments in Illinois businesses.

While in Shanghai, the Governor will serve as the keynote speaker at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (AMCHAM). Nearly 30 Chinese companies have already invested in Illinois, including automotive parts and solar panel producer Wanxiang Group and Shenhua International, China’s largest coal producer.

Governor Quinn will also sign memorandums of understanding to foster future business exchanges in emerging fields such as biotechnology, clean energy and education. The Governor will also meet with graduates of the University of Illinois now living in China. During the trip, the Governor will sign a sister river agreement to promote pollution control and clean water technology.

Illinois currently leads the Midwest in exports and foreign direct investment. Last year’s exports totaled nearly $50 billion, with China as the state’s third largest export destination. In recent years, Illinois has seen a 35 percent increase in exports to China. Last year alone exports to China totaled $3.14 billion, with the top products exported ranging from machinery, electronics and appliances to chemicals, plastics and agricultural products.

Overseas visitation from China to Illinois is showing strong growth, up from Illinois being the sixth top overseas market in 2009 to fourth in 2010. Illinois hosted 97,000 visitors from the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong in 2010. The Chinese visitors stayed on average 7.2 nights in Illinois, with the top activities being shopping, dining in restaurants, sightseeing and visiting historical sites, museums and art galleries.

The state of Illinois opened its Hong Kong office in 1983 and later established an office in Shanghai in 2000. Many Illinois cities have established sister city relationships with Chinese cities. Governor Quinn will sign new sister agreements to promote further economic development and tourism during his visit to China.

For updates on Governor Quinn’s trip, visit www.Illinois.gov or follow him on Twitter at @GovernorQuinn. More information about Illinois trade and business opportunities can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website at www.illinoisbiz.biz.


 
Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald Urges Women to Register Today for the 5th Annual Iowa Women & Money Conference PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Michael Fitzgerald   
Monday, 19 September 2011 09:02

DES MOINES, IA (09/14/2011)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is urging women not to miss out on a valuable experience. He's talking about the 5th Annual Iowa Women and Money Conference, scheduled for October 8, 2011 at the Polk County Convention Complex. This one-day event is expected to draw a large group of women who are interested in finding financial success and improving their financial security. The conference, including lunch, is free to attendees.

This year's keynote speaker is Certified Financial Planner and financial educator Dee Lee. Lee has been consulted as an expert for TV and radio stations across the country and has been quoted as a resource in many respected publications such as USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. Her keynote presentation is sure to motivate and inspire any woman looking for financial guidance.

The Iowa Women and Money Conference is specifically designed to address the unique financial challenges women face in their work and personal lives. "Our goal in hosting this special event is to empower women by providing them with information that will aid them in getting their financial houses in order," stated Fitzgerald.

Conference sessions will focus on money management for women of all ages, economic backgrounds, and levels of financial knowledge. An impressive line-up of speakers and financial experts will provide sessions like Financial Freedom for Women, Avoiding Identity Theft, Financial Management during Economic Uncertainty and more. Space is limited, so visit www.iowawomenandmoney.com and register today.

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News from Senator Grassley's Office PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 19 September 2011 08:53

Friday, September 16, 2011

Grassley, Franken Win Passage of Common SenseAmendment to Curb Over-Criminalization

WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley and Al Franken won approval of a common sense amendment that would clarify that the definition of “exceeds authorized access” in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act does not include violations of internet terms of service agreements or non-government employment agreements restricting computer access.

The amendment was accepted by voice vote to the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act that is being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“When we sit down at home or at work, we check our email, read the news and generally go about our routine.  What we don’t know is that we may be in violation of federal criminal law based upon a violation of internet terms of service agreements or employment agreements for misusing computers,” Grassley said.  “This is a common sense solution that helps clean up some of the expansive provisions of our criminal code and ensures that innocent computer users are not federal criminals.”

“Our laws should protect people—not turn them into criminals for doing something as basic as checking Facebook or their Fantasy Football scores,” said Franken. “The amendment I introduced with Sen. Grassley does something very simple: it makes sure that if the only thing you’ve done wrong is violate a website’s Terms of Service or your employer’s computer use policy, you can’t be charged with a crime or sued in federal court.”

Under a reading of current law argued in federal court by the Department of Justice, something as simple as checking your personal email account at work may be against the law.  By extension, this reading could also make it a federal felony for a father to use his son’s Facebook password to log into the son’s Facebook account and check messages and photos; for a 17 year-old to claim she is 18 in order to sell goods in certain online marketplaces; or even for using instant messenger on a computer at work.

Two recent criminal prosecutions brought by the Justice Department in California that have argued breaching terms of service on websites is a violation of federal law.  Legal commentators have criticized these prosecutions as an overreach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  They point out that this expansion of the law could lead to criminalizing any misuse of an internet website terms of service agreement.

 

 

Q&A:  Federal Regulations

Q:        What specific steps can Congress take to reduce federal regulations that undermine job creation?

A:        I’ve co-sponsored several bills aimed at the growing regulatory burden and its negative impact on job creation. One would require Congress to give final approval to major, new federal regulations before those regulations could take effect.  It’s called the REINS Act, or Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny Act (S.299).  The Constitution vests all legislative power in the Congress yet, year after year, Congress passes legislation that delegates more power to the executive branch without really assessing the full impact of those laws and how that power is used.  As a result, federal agencies are increasingly bypassing Congress by imposing new regulations that Congress never intended.  The REINS Act would establish greater accountability for major regulations handed down from the executive branch and restore checks and balances in our system of government that have been eroded.

I’ve co-sponsored another bill – the Regulation Moratorium and Jobs Preservation Act of 2011 (S.1438) – that would prohibit federal agencies from taking any significant regulatory action until the unemployment rate falls below 7.8 percent.  The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent the day the President took office.  Today, it’s 9.1 percent.  The moratorium in this proposal would apply to any federal rule or guidance with an effect of $1 million or more on the economy.  There were 144 rules with this sort of significant impact proposed in the first six months of 2011.

I’ve also sponsored a bill to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating dust in rural America while maintaining the protections to public health under the Clean Air Act.  I’ve brought the EPA Administrator to Iowa and argued for years now about the ridiculousness of the EPA’s trying to regulate the dust kicked up by a tractor in the field or a car on a gravel road, but the EPA hasn’t given up its effort to regulate rural dust.  The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act (S.1528) says that the EPA can’t lower the level of dust allowed under what it calls a particulate standard without showing there is a substantial health risk caused by farm dust, and that the lowering of the level allowed has a benefit that’s greater than the economic harm it would cause.  The Clean Air Act does not currently differentiate between urban and rural dust, so the bill provides the EPA with a distinction between the two for implementation of air quality standards.  It’s unfair and excessive for the EPA to put the kind of expensive, stringent standards it’s been pursuing on rural America.

Q:        Why is there so much frustration at the grass roots right now regarding federal regulations?

A:        A tidal wave of new regulations is hitting the private sector, especially in health care, energy and the financial areas.  In 2010 alone, 3,573 new federal rules were finalized.  Unlike taxes and spending, the costs that the private sector pays to comply with federal regulations are not accounted for in the federal budget process.  For employers, the uncertainty about what the real impact and cost of these regulations will be – on top of uncertainty about how taxes could go up -- makes it much harder to move forward with investments and the kind of economic activity that retains and creates jobs.  In January, the President announced a comprehensive review of government regulations that are outdated or just don’t work.  There was hope that concrete action by the administration could make a difference.  Unfortunately, the regulatory rollback based on the review, announced in August, might be too weak to make a dent, especially in the face of emerging regulations, such as those stemming from the 2010 health care law.  Congress needs to stay on top of the regulatory process in the executive branch, meeting its responsibilities for congressional oversight, and take legislative action to make the regulatory system less burdensome on America’s economy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

 

 

Prepared Statement of Ranking Member Chuck Grassley

Senate Committee on the Judiciary Committee

Executive Business Meeting, Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mr. Chairman,

Both S.1151, the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act and S.1408, the Data Breach Notification Act will have a major impact on the way private sector businesses operate.  I’m concerned that given over 9 percent unemployment and a renewed focus in Washington on creating jobs, this legislation may have the opposite effect.

While we’ve focused on protecting information, we’ve not focused on protecting jobs.  This bill will likely drive up costs through even more burdensome regulations.  A company that hasn’t even suffered a breach may find itself unable to afford compliance with this bill’s new requirements.  Small businesses, which create most of the jobs in this country, may end up closing, or at least not hiring, when they’ve done nothing wrong.  We need to be smart with new regulatory burdens to ensure that consumers are truly protected, while fostering economic growth and not stifling it

To address these concerns, there are a number of amendments filed to both bills, including several that I have filed.  My amendments to S.1151 impact both the criminal and data breach portions of the bill.

Before discussing the bills, I want to reiterate a concern I raised last week regarding the Committee’s approach to Cybersecurity legislation.  Specifically, both Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell have committed to a working group approach to deal with cybersecurity legislation.  The approach is designed to allow the various committees with overlapping or concurrent jurisdiction to work together and develop bi-partisan cybersecurity legislation.

So far, the working group approach has worked, with various committees agreeing to meet and discuss issues.  However, in staff discussions with other committees, like Commerce, there was some surprise that the Judiciary Committee was already marking up cybersecurity and data breach legislation, since we’ve all agreed to take part in the working groups.

I just want to say that while I respect this committee’s jurisdiction to discuss these matters, I—like Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell—want a comprehensive bipartisan cybersecurity bill.  I’m concerned that by marking-up this bill that touches on areas that may overlap with other committees, we could hinder the working group approach.

That said, on the criminal side of this bill, I have two amendments I intend to offer.  The first was circulated last week and involves the mandatory minimum sentence for violations of aggravated damage to a critical infrastructure computer.  This 3-year mandatory minimum penalty was requested by the White House as part of President Obama’s cybersecurity proposal.

Second, I circulated a new amendment this week and am pleased to have Senator Franken as a cosponsor.  This amendment would modify the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to address concerns raised by two recent criminal prosecutions brought by the Justice Department.

I think many Americans would be shocked to hear that every day, they may be violating federal criminal law without knowing it, simply by violating website service agreements or employee computer access agreements.

The Grassley-Franken amendment we’ll be offering today simply clarifies that the definition of “exceeds authorized access” in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act does not include violations of internet terms of service agreements or non-government employment agreements restricting computer access.    It’s a common sense amendment that helps clean up some of the expansive provisions of our criminal code.

I also have amendments to the data breach portions of S.1151.  We must protect the personal and financial information of individuals collected in company databases.  I stated last week that solving this problem is something everyone supports.  However, determining how to do this in a way that balances the interests of both consumers and businesses makes for a difficult task.

We must work to not overburden small and large businesses with new, costly regulations.  Notice requirements must be constructive.  Notice should not include burdensome requirements where there is little or no risk of identity theft.

The enforcement and liability provisions shouldn’t create the potential for abuse from overzealous prosecution.  The provisions in this bill run the risk of abuse and inconsistent enforcement.  These and other issues need to be resolved.

Today, the bill we consider has in some ways improved over previous versions.  However, it has expanded in other areas and this gives me concern.

I am pleased to see that the manager’s amendment has removed the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to modify the definition of sensitive personal information.  However, problems still remain.

A broad definition will impact small businesses, which are subject to the same strict liability requirements and high penalties as large businesses, but without the same large resources.  At a time when we’re working to create jobs, these burdensome requirements will be a step in the wrong direction.

This bill requires notice when there’s a significant risk that a breach may or has resulted in “identity theft, economic loss or harm, or physical harm.”  There’s enough vagueness and breadth to cover situations that may not encompass what the drafters intended.  Given the penalties at stake, the incentive will be to err on the side of over-notification.

Thus, it is not unreasonable for me and others to be alarmed at the possibility of consumer over-notification that becomes counterproductive to what we seek to accomplish.

I’m also concerned that the safe harbor is in name only.  An over-worked Federal Trade Commission may find the easiest thing for a company to do in most instances is issue notice.

Further, I think it is troubling that this bill takes a “one size fits all” approach in requiring businesses to implement data security programs.  What works for one large company will not necessarily work for a small company.

I also have amendments to S.1408, the Data Breach Notification Act and many of my concerns with that bill are similar to those with S.1151.  I hope we can come together on these amendments and ensure that we aren’t unduly burdening American businesses with further unnecessary regulations that will hinder job growth by stifling innovation.

We have a lot of work to do.  Thank you.

 

Johanns, Grassley Seek EPA Support of Farm Dust Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today asked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson to provide certainty and put action behind her words of support for farmers and ranchers concerned about the potential regulation of farm dust. Johanns has introduced, and Grassley has co-sponsored, a bill that would prohibit EPA farm dust regulation. In a letter to Jackson, the senators outlined conflicting statements made by EPA and requested her support for the bill as a way to provide clarity to the agency's position.

"EPA won't hesitate to tell farmers not to worry about farm dust regulations, but when pressed further, all we hear are intentionally vague statements and mixed signals," Johanns said. "Their claims that they have no plans to regulate farm dust conflict with their statements that they're not able to distinguish farm dust from other regulated dust. If regulation of farm dust truly is a myth, as Administrator Jackson has suggested, she should debunk that myth once and for all by supporting my bill. Farmers and ranchers would applaud her for providing this certainty."

"The EPA has been giving conflicting answers and having it both ways on the dust issue for long enough. It's time for Administrator Jackson to set the record straight and put the word out to the employees of the EPA that agriculture dust is off the table," Grassley said. "When soybeans are at the right moisture level, they need to be combined, and if God determined that the wind is going to blow that day, there’s absolutely nothing a farmer can do. Dust happens."

The letter to Administrator Jackson can be found here.

EPA's April 2011 Policy Assessment for the Review of the Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards recommends doubling the severity of dust regulation. Despite this, Administrator Jackson has been reported as telling farmers any contention that EPA plans to regulate farm dust is a "myth."

However, EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy stated in an April letter that EPA's air quality standards are "not focused on any specific category of sources or any particular activity (including activities related to agriculture or rural roads)."

The Johanns-Grassley bill would thus enable EPA to consider the source of particulate matter and prohibit the agency from regulating farm dust.

 

Grassley Presses the IRS on Whistleblower Program After Report Outlines Challenges

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today wrote to the IRS commissioner, asking a series of questions designed to help the agency improve its whistleblower operation to encourage people with information about big-dollar tax cheating to come forward and lead to the substantial recovery of tax dollars for the U.S. treasury.  Grassley’s letter came after the Government Accountability Office released a report describing the barriers to complete success for the whistleblower program.

“The GAO has done a good service by providing a road map for how the IRS can improve the IRS whistleblower program and go after big-dollar tax cheating,” Grassley wrote in his letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman. “Now the challenge is for the IRS and Treasury to make the changes needed to provide assurance to existing and future whistleblowers so they’re not discouraged by the time needed to process their claims or by the issuance of rules that contradict well-established rules for compensation of non-tax whistleblowers.  The vast majority of taxpayers are honest.  They’re the ones who benefit from a successful whistleblower program.  More tax compliance means more fairness for hardworking families who pay what they owe.”

Grassley wrote the 2006 law improving the IRS whistleblower office.  He modeled the whistleblower improvements after the successful 1986 whistleblower amendments to the federal False Claims Act, which have brought back more than $27 billion to the federal treasury and deterred even more fraudulent activity.

The text of Grassley’s letter is available here.  The text of Grassley’s comment on the GAO report is available here.

 
News from Congressman Braley's Office PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Kira Ayish   
Monday, 19 September 2011 08:46

Braley Congratulates Blue Ribbon Schools 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement congratulating Greene Elementary in Butler County, St. Columbkille in Dubuque and St. Paul in Davenport for being named Blue Ribbon Schools.

“I am honored to congratulate the faculty, students, staff and parents at Greene Elementary, St. Columbkille and St. Paul for this incredible achievement,” Braley said. “These schools demonstrate the best of education in Iowa. They have set themselves apart by creating well-rounded students who excel in the classroom and are dedicated to having a positive impact on their communities.”

The Department of Education, Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools that are either high performing or have dramatically improved student achievement levels.

 

Braley Statement on Constitution Day 

Washington, DC – September 16, 2011 - Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement on Constitution Day:

On Saturday, we will celebrate the 224th anniversary of our Founding Fathers’ signing of the Constitution.  Constitution Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past success of our founders in the forming of the Constitution, the two centuries of progress since, and the future promise of the United States under the guidance of the document given to us in 1787.

Constitution Day reminds us to review the whole document and what it means to our country, and shows that support for the Constitution requires more than chanting slogans at a political rally.  Calling yourself “strict constitutionalist” means nothing if you don’t bother to read the entire Constitution and fight for everything it includes, not just the portions that fit neatly with your personal political philosophy.

As an Iowan, and a student of the Constitution for more than 30 years, I take pride in repeating our state’s motto: “Our Liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”  Constitution Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the document that prizes our personal liberties and preserves our rights in a system of laws that recognize the individual spirit of every American, and has made our nation a shining beacon in the world.  The development of the Constitution has recognized the rights of all men and women, and created a system of equality that has helped our nation move past prejudice and discrimination in some of our darkest hours.

Constitution Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the system of justice for all by creating an impartial judiciary and a system of law that recognizes the rights of every citizen to file a grievance against their government or fellow man.  It lets us reflect on the goals of a responsive executive, a representative legislature, and a responsible judiciary working on behalf of all citizens to preserve their rights, respect their liberties, and allow for progress.  It reminds us to all work harder to support the progress of the United States.

 

Populist Caucus Chair Braley Condemns Bill that Would Outsource American Jobs

Washington, DC – September 15, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) called on members of Congress to vote against a bill that would outsource American jobs to other countries.  Current law gives the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) the ability to block companies from outsourcing or transferring their work to other countries.  The bill being voted on today would strip the NLRB of its authority to block the outsourcing of American jobs.

“It is irresponsible for Congress to be voting on this job killing bill today,” said Rep. Braley.  “When our unemployment is still hovering around 9%, Congress needs to pass legislation that creates jobs.  This bill will send more American jobs overseas and put more Americans out of work.  I urge my colleagues to vote against this job-killing legislation.”

Congressman Braley and the Populist Caucus have been strong supporters of proposals to create jobs in America.  The Caucus has supported various job creation legislation including bills that would reinvest in American manufacturing, rebuild our aging infrastructure and encourage more products to be made in America.

 

Braley Announces Over $6.5 Million for Lead-Based Paint Removal in Iowa Communities

Funds will make homes safer for Iowa families

Washington, DC – September 15, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced $6,655,557 in grant money for Davenport, Waterloo and Polk County. These grants will provide funding for lead-based paint removal in homes and promote healthy homes initiatives.

“Every Iowan deserves to live in a safe and healthy home,” Braley said. “It’s critical that Iowa communities have the tools to help residents make this happen, and this money will ensure that many more Iowans have a safe place to raise their families.”

These grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Lead Based Paint Hazard Control Grant program.

 

Braley Demands Answers from Post Office on Possible Closures

“Rain, snow and sleet haven’t stopped postal workers, but bureaucrats in Washington want to.” 

Washington, DC – September 15, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) demanded answers from the United States Postal Service (USPS) on the possible closure of four mail processing facilities in Iowa.  In a letter to the Postmaster General, Rep. Braley asked how many jobs would be lost as a result of these closures.  Rep. Braley also urged the USPS not to close any post office facilities until a full analysis of job losses are complete, and Iowans have had a chance for public comment.

“This action by the US Postal Service could mean hundreds of Iowans will soon be unemployed,” Braley said.  “I have called on the Postal Service to provide an analysis of how many jobs will be lost and have asked that this decision not be made until Iowans have an opportunity to weigh in.  Now is not the time to lay off Iowa workers. I will fight this bad decision.  Rain, snow and sleet haven’t stopped postal workers, but bureaucrats in Washington want to.”

The USPS announced today that mail processing facilities in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Carroll and Creston will be studied for possible closure.  Rep. Braley is a member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has legislative authority over the USPS.

 

A copy of the letter is copied below and a link is available here: http://go.usa.gov/0FY

 

Braley Announces $240,000 for Eastern Iowa Housing

Washington, DC – September 14, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced $240,000 in grant money for the Eastern Iowa Regional Housing Authority. This grant will provide funding for programming to help public housing residents work towards economic and housing independence through empowerment activities and support services.

“This money is crucial for many residents of Eastern Iowa,” Braley said. “As we continue to rebuild our economy, it is critical Iowa’s communities have the tools they need to help working families get back on their feet and provide necessary support services.”

The grant is awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) ROSS Service Coordinators Program.

 

Braley Greets Eastern Iowa Honor Flight

Thanks World War II veterans for their service

Washington, DC – September 13, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) welcomed the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight from Cedar Rapids. Braley greeted Iowa veterans at the National WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, a Cedar Rapids non-profit organization, is dedicated to sending local veterans to Washington D. C. to visit historical sites and war memorials. The organization serves  veterans of Linn, Jones, Benton, Tama, Iowa, Johnson, Washington, Marshall, Jasper and Poweshiek Counties.

HD video of the event can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9O-VdhcEeE

1080p HD Video can be downloaded here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21501138/Eastern.Iowa.Honor.Flight.Braley.09.13.2011.mp4

Hi-Resolution photos of the event can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/repbraley/sets/72157627664043646

 

Office of Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01)

1727 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

(P) 202.225.2911

(F) 202.225.6666

 
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