Politics & Elections
Braley: An Effective Iowan in a Do-Nothing Congress PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 08:58

The past year has brought about a recurring theme of the ‘Do-Nothing Congress,’ a historic lack of legislation with even greater lack of House leadership. Washington is having trouble getting along, even more trouble passing laws, and the public has certainly taken notice.

But that isn’t the case for Rep. Braley - he’s busier than ever because he is working hard with both sides of the aisle to get things done for the people of Iowa.

Braley has been compiling quite a few accomplishments in the last year that may not garner the overwhelming attention of the ‘Do-Nothing Congress,’ but he is leading the way to make a real difference for veterans, families, and Iowans. Braley has been successful in passing legislation that will help veterans, prevent military sexual assault and domestic violence, keep kids safe, change how government communicates with the public, and protect Iowa jobs.

With that, here are Bruce Braley’s Top 10 Legislative Accomplishments of the past year:

BRALEY’S TOP 10 LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE PAST YEAR:

-Andrew Connolly Veterans’ Housing Act passed into Law: The bipartisan H.R. 1627, including Braley’s Andrew Connolly Veterans’ Housing Act, was signed by President Obama on August 6, 2012. The bill will extend the adaptive housing grant program for disabled veterans for ten years, through December 31, 2022.  The legislation also increases the adaptive housing grant limit for temporary housing to $28,000, and increases the total adaptive housing grant limit from $63,780 to $91,780. The legislation was inspired by Andrew Connolly, a veteran from Dubuque whose family benefited from a VA housing grant program through Braley’s help, who lost his battle with cancer last year. http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Andrew-Connollys-Widow-Talks-About-New-Vet-Housing-Act-165222236.html

http://iowaindependent.com/56570/u-s-house-gives-unanimous-backing-to-connolly-bill

-“Kadyn’s Amendment” passed out of House: In June 2012, Braley added an amendment to a transportation funding bill requiring the federal government to devote at least $10 million to helping states enforce traffic laws that punish reckless drivers for illegally passing stopped school buses. The amendment was named for 7-year-old Kadyn Halverson, who was fatally struck by a pickup truck in May 2011 as she crossed the street to board her school bus near Northwood, Iowa.  The provision devotes $10 million of federal funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to strengthening the enforcement of existing state laws prohibiting drivers from passing stopped school buses that have warning lights flashing and stop arms extended. http://www.thonline.com/blogs/tri_state_politics/article_142c7ffe-777d-11e1-ba3d-0019bb30f31a.html

http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2012/06/27/kadyns-amendment-passes-u-s-house/

-Combat Veterans Back to Work provisions passed into Law: In August 2011, Congressman Braley introduced the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act.  The bill was incorporated into two new tax credits that were signed into law by President Obama in November 2011.  The first, known as the Returning Heroes tax credit, provides up to $5,600 in tax credits for every unemployed veteran hired by an employer.  The second, called the Wounded Warrior tax credit, doubles the existing tax credit for firms that hire unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities.  Iowa businesses are currently taking advantage of these credits and hiring Iowa veterans and National Guard Members. http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/New-Incentives-Help-for-Veterans-to-Find-Work-134288473.html

-Implementation of Payments to Underpaid Iowa Hospitals: Braley has continued to work on the implementation of his Geographic Equity payments for Iowa hospitals, which he passed in 2010.  Twenty different Iowa hospitals have now received payments in 2011 and 2012 to account for long-term underpayments by Medicare.  As of April 2012, Braley had secured over $33 million in additional Medicare reimbursements for these Iowa hospitals, which will help improve access to care for Iowa patients.  These Iowa hospitals have historically been underpaid because Medicare bases payments largely on geography. http://thegazette.com/2012/04/17/affordable-care-act-helps-iowa-hospitals-receive-medicare-reimbursement/

-Preventing Closure of Iowa Post Offices: Braley successfully amended the Postal Reform Act in October 2011 to require the Postal Service to report on the number of jobs eliminated by their proposed post office closures, including the number of veterans jobs affected. Then, Braley helped to prevent the closures of many of Iowa post offices by opposing such efforts to close them, and working with the Postal Service on behalf of Iowa post offices. http://qctimes.com/news/local/postal-service-offers-plan-to-keep-rural-post-offices-open/article_87e35c52-9a5e-11e1-a2bd-0019bb2963f4.html

http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/braley-waterloo-cedar-rapids-mail-processing-operations-staying-open/article_fbe986c2-5e44-11e1-a3c7-001871e3ce6c.html

-Holley Lynn James Act protections passed into Law: Braley has championed reforms in the Department of Defense to protect victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. In April 2011, Braley introduced the Holley Lynn James Act to strengthen the legal process for preventing and addressing claims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military. Since then, Braley has passed a number of these provisions into law, including: 1) the bill’s improvements on oversight of the DOD’s sexual assault policy; 2) ensuring that victims have access to counsel; 3) implementation of the bill’s “elevated disposition requirements,” requiring sexual assault cases be considered by senior officers with greater experience; and 4) supporting victims of sexual assault in filing disability claims with the VA by requiring retention of documentary evidence. The bipartisan bill is named after Holley Lynn James, a Dubuque native who was killed by her husband while both were in the service.  James had filed complaints against her husband, who was supposed to be restricted to his barracks the night he murdered her. http://go.usa.gov/GGK

-Marshalltown Jobs Amendment passed out of House: In June 2012, Rep. Braley passed a bipartisan amendment that would remove burdensome government regulations on refrigerated deli-style display cases that threaten the future of their manufacture in the United States.  Lennox Industries, Inc., which makes the deli-style display cases covered by the regulation, has a manufacturing facility in Marshalltown, Iowa, that employs about 1,000 people.  The adoption of the amendment will help protect Iowa manufacturing jobs. http://www.timesrepublican.com/page/content.detail/id/550541/Braley-helps-remove-red-tape-impeding-manufacturing.html?nav=5005

-Implementation of Plain Writing Act; Report Card Released: In July 2012, Rep. Braley joined the Center for Plain Language to unveil the Center’s first-ever “Plain Language Report Card,” a letter-grading of federal agencies’ implementation of the Plain Writing Act. The Plain Writing Act, authored by Braley and signed into law by President Obama in 2010, requires government agencies to write forms and other public documents in simple, easy-to-understand language.  Braley continues to ensure its full implementation to change the way government communicates with citizens and businesses. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120719006341/en/USDA-VA-Plain-Writing-Act-Report-Card 

-Cost of War Amendment passed out of House: In May 2012, the House of Representatives passed Congressman Braley’s “True Cost of War” amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Braley’s amendment would require a full account of the human and financial costs of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya from the Departments of Defense, State and Veterans Affairs. http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=background.view&backgroundid=554&stoplayout=true&print=true

-Housing for Blinded Veterans passed into Law: Braley introduced HR 5999, the Housing for Blinded Veterans Act, that will apply the American Medical Association and federal government’s 20/200 standard for blindness to the VA’s adaptive housing program.  Before Braley’s bill, veterans could be considered “legally blind,” but not blind enough to apply for the VA adaptive housing program.  Braley’s law will expand eligibility for the program to more blind veterans and create a more uniform standard for blindness across federal agencies. This fix was signed into law on August 6, 2012. http://nlihc.org/article/housing-blinded-veterans-act-introduced

 --- John Davis, Chief of Staff, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01)

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Obama to travel to Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Obama for America   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 14:27

DES MOINES – Obama for America announced today that President Obama will take a three-day tour of Iowa next week. On Monday, August 13, the President will travel to Council Bluffs, and Boone for campaign events. On Tuesday, August 14, he will hold campaign events in Oskaloosa, Marshalltown and Waterloo. On Wednesday, August 15, First Lady Michelle Obama will join President Obama for campaign events in Dubuque and Davenport.

Additional details on the President’s campaign events are forthcoming.

 
Small Business Owners and Middle Class Families From Across Iowa React to Romney’s Tax Plan That Would Raise Taxes on the Middle Class PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Stephanie Palla   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 11:07

Des Moines, IA -- Today, small business owners and middle class families in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque and Sioux City respond to an independent report, which found that in order for Mitt Romney to pay for his $5 trillion in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, he’d have to raise taxes by $2,000 on middle class families with children.

“We are a typical middle class family. We work full-time to provide for our son, Cooper, and a second child on the way. We had the opportunity to talk to President Obama about the $4,900 in tax relief we have received over the course of his first term. We told him the tax relief is vital to supporting our family whether it’s finishing our basement for more space for our growing family or putting money towards Cooper’s college education fund. That’s why we are disappointed to hear about an independent, non-partisan report finding Mitt Romney’s plan would hike taxes for families who have children and make less than $200,000 would see their taxes go up an average of more than $2,000. And Romney is raising taxes on middle class families to pay for a $5 trillion tax plan skewed to the wealthiest. To some people, $1,000 or $2,000 might not seem like that much. But to us, that’s a big deal. A thousand dollars is a big deal. Five hundred dollars is a big deal. Our family literally can’t afford Mitt Romney.” --Jason and Ali McLaughlin, middle class family in Cedar Rapids

“President Obama plans to extend middle class taxes that would prevent a tax increase for 97 percent of small businesses.  As a small, independent business owner in Iowa, that’s music to my ears. The President is looking out for the best interests of the middle class (many of whom are my regular customers), while Mitt Romney tax hike plan for the middle class gives huge tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. The President believes that relieving millions of American families by extending middle-class tax cuts is the best way to grow our economy. That’s why I will be backing the President in the fall.” --Kevin Perkins, independent business owner/Clean Sweep QCA LLC in Davenport

“As a middle class Iowan and a Republican, I am standing by President Obama again this election. We tried Mitt Romney’s formula for the past decade, and it crashed our economy and punished the middle class. The President,  meanwhile, believes that relieving millions of American families by extending middle-class tax cuts is the best way to grow our economy. President Obama has provided the necessary health care for us, and the tax cuts will allow savings for education and funds for purchasing American goods and services. Working families just can’t afford Mitt Romney and neither can America. ”  -- Keith Uhl, lawyer in Des Moines

“My husband and I are proud to have had the opportunity to grow our small business and support our family right here in Iowa, and we couldn’t have done it alone. From support from my family and friends, to help from the Small Business Administration to write my small business plan, that support has helped my business succeed. Meanwhile Mitt Romney is looking to hike taxes on the middle class, while giving away more tax breaks for the wealthy. President Obama understands that, and that’s why he has helped small businesses like mine. He’s cut taxes for small businesses, helped them invest and grow, and his jobs plan will help them keep creating two out of every three new jobs. And the President has made it easier for small businesses to access credit, which is vital to adding small businesses to our economy. I know President Obama has my business’s back.”    --Anne McDonough, owner of Plane Art Designs in Dubuque

“Romney’s tax breaks for the wealthy are so large that to pay for them, he’d have to cut some of the most important tax benefits for the middle class. That could force my family to pay higher taxes on my home mortgage. President Obama’s plan reduces the deficit in a balanced way while Mitt Romney’s tax hike on the middle class would be detrimental to my family. That’s way I am supporting the President this election season.” --Andrew Emanuel, father/husband/small business owner in Sioux City

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Who Wins the White House Doesn’t Matter – the System is Broken, Pundit Says PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 08:25
She Offers 5 Amendments to Fix It

A recent Gallup poll shows 81 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the governing of the country, a historic number.

With the ongoing discussion among experts, pundits, politicians and the general public on whether or not America has lost its way, citizens are looking for solutions. They are out there, says Dixie Swanson, former TV personality, former Beltway insider and author of The Accidental President Trilogy (www.dixieswanson.com), a series of novels about an apolitical physician who stumbles into a Senate seat.

“Problems in our country are moving faster than solutions,” says Swanson. “Whether we elect Mitt or Barack, we are going to be facing the same gridlock that’s jamming and corrupting the process today,” she says.

To get the nation back to duly elected government officials who spend their time leading and making decisions in the best interests of the entire country, Swanson suggests the following five amendments:

• Abolition of Electoral Voting: The U.S. electoral process is as antique as a powdered wig. It has already failed three times, electing presidents who did not win the popular vote. As the system stands now, if a candidate wins by one vote in a state with a few people, like Wyoming, he gets three electoral votes. If he wins in California, he wins 55. This violates the idea that every vote counts equally. Romney could get “Gored” this year and win the popular vote but lose the electoral vote. All Americans want their votes to count equally.

• Single Six-Year Term for Presidents: Our country has enormous problems and the president and vice president need to be on the job full-time, not running for reelection beginning on Day 2. No one in the highest levels of the federal government is looking 20 and 30 years down the road. We need to lengthen the term to build in an opportunity for focus and visionary thinking.

• A Balanced Budget: The budget shall not exceed the previous year for which fiscal revenues are known. In the event of a national catastrophe, this can be overridden with a two-thirds vote of each house and the president’s signature. This should be gradually implemented throughout the next decade to reduce economic whiplash. This should include an income surtax that goes directly toward paying down the national debt.

• Constitutionally Mandated Campaign Reform: The big money of PACS and Super PACS is corrupting. Let’s return power to the voter. Only voters can donate, and then only to one candidate in each race for whom they can vote: his or her choice for representative, senator and one presidential ticket. Congress may set a limit on donation amounts. No entity of any kind may give money to the candidate or give it to an individual to donate. Any violations are a federal crime punishable by five years in prison with no parole. Just as your ballot is secret, your donations will not be published on the internet (with your address) as they are now, but will be reported daily to the Federal Election Commission by the campaign treasurer. All donations are to be made by check, credit/debit card or electronic funds transfer. No cash donations are acceptable and there are no in-kind donations. Lobbyists can still exist and do advocacy, they just can’t bring money, or anything of value, to the conversation. During an election, any advertising is to be paid for by the candidate and by no one else.

• The Line-Item Veto: Congressional attempts to give the president line-item veto power have been shot down by the courts as unconstitutional, so the only way to provide this is by amending the Constitution. As is stands now, the courts can throw out a part of a law, but the president cannot. That is inequitable.

About Dixie Swanson

Dixie Swanson was a pediatrician for 10 years and the Family Health Reporter for NBC’s Houston affiliate. She also spent time working for a Washington lobbyist with access to the White House.  Dixie is the author of “The Accidental President Trilogy – a Political Fable for Our Time.”

 
Braley Campaign Announces Jeff Giertz to Serve as Campaign Manager PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:50
WATERLOO, IA – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced that Jeff Giertz will serve as his campaign manager for the 2012 campaign, effective today.

Giertz will take an unpaid leave of absence from his position as Communications Director in Braley’s congressional office.  Molly Scherrman will remain the campaign’s Senior Advisor.

“Jeff is a smart and capable leader with deep Iowa roots and years of campaign experience,” Braley said.  “He’s an excellent addition to my growing grassroots campaign.”

Giertz will be based out of the campaign’s headquarters in Waterloo. 



 
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