Politics & Elections
Tom Harkin Rallies Iowa State Students to Vote Early PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Sam Lau   
Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:09
Harkin Points to Bruce Braley’s Proven Record Supporting Iowa Students

Ames, IA – U.S. Senator Tom Harkin today rallied students at the Iowa State University to vote early on campus. In addition to highlighting the importance of voting early, Senator Harkin pointed to Bruce Braley’s proven record of supporting higher education and Iowa’s students.

“Voting early on campus is the easiest way for Iowa students to make their voice heard in this election,” said Senator Harkin. “Bruce Braley is the clear choice for Iowa's students because he will work to expand opportunity for more Iowans to achieve a quality, affordable education. The opponent's ideas of abolishing the Department of Education and jeopardizing funding for education, is bad for Iowa's students and is bad for Iowa's middle class."

Iowa State University Students can vote early on campus, Monday-Friday from 9AM to 4PM at the Memorial Union Building. Additionally, students can vote early this Wednesday from 9:30AM to 3:30PM in Carver Hall and this Thursday from 9:30AM to 3:30PM at the Parks Library.

In Iowa:
  • 111,000 students receive Pell Grants.
  • 228,000 federal loans have been distributed to Iowa students.
  • Iowa State University:
  • 6,271 students received Pell Grants to attend Iowa State University
  • ISU graduates with student loan debt owed on average $24,300 in federal obligations

Iowans across the state can vote early in person from now until November 3, and can find their early voting location at vote.BruceBraley.com.

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Tom Harkin: “Bruce Braley is on the side of Iowa’s Seniors” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Sam Lau   
Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:06
While meeting with seniors in Davenport and Iowa City, Senator Harkin contrasts Braley’s support for strengthening Social Security with proposals to privatize the crucial program

Davenport, IA –U.S. Senator Tom Harkin today met with seniors in Davenport and Iowa City to discuss Bruce Braley’s proven record of protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare. As Harkin detailed, Bruce Braley understands the importance of protecting the promise made to Iowa’s seniors, and that is why he will fight to strengthen Social Security--so it can pay full benefits long into the future.

“Bruce Braley is a champion for seniors and ensuring that their retirement security is never gambled away with risky privatization schemes,” said Harkin. “While he will work to strengthen Social Security for generations of Iowans to come, his opponent would put Iowans’ earned benefits at risk. There’s a clear choice in this election –Bruce Braley stands with Iowa seniors, while his opponent favors Wall Street and special interests.”

Harkin’s stops today were at The Good Samaritan Society in Davenport and The Hamburg Inn in Iowa City.
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Seniors Question Anderson’s Campaign Promise PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Amanda Ginther   
Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:55

Seniors and Nursing Home Providers Concerned about State Senate Candidate Neil Anderson’s Pledge to Cut Medicaid

QUAD CITIES, ILL. October 14, 2014– The Health Care Council of Illinois (HCCI), a leading voice for nursing home communities, brought together State Representative Patrick J. Verschoore (D-Milan), seniors, and nursing home residents and providers today to fight for adequate Medicaid funding. The news conference at Rock Island Nursing & Rehabilitation Center urged State Senate candidate Neil Anderson to answer why he plans to cut Medicaid funding to care for frail, vulnerable seniors living in nursing homes.

“In 2011, the state legislature restructured the entire Medicaid program, including funding for nursing home residents.  ” Pat Comstock, executive director of Health Care Council of Illinois, said. “Any arbitrary cuts to Medicaid, like those promised by Neil Anderson, means our residents will suffer. Illinois can’t balance the budget on the backs of nursing home residents with Medicaid. We can’t stand by when frail, elderly nursing home residents are at risk of being denied critical, life-sustaining medical services.”

HCCI and other nursing home provider associations have worked with Representative Verschoore and State Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) during the last several years to create policies that support quality care for nursing home residents. Both know cuts to Medicaid lead to job losses in the community. More than 1,700 people are employed at nursing homes in Rock Island, Mercer and Henry counties full time, and many more than that work part time. Neil Anderson’s campaign promises puts those jobs in jeopardy.

“When I heard Neal Anderson say he wants to cut Medicaid, I was stunned. It shows a lack of understanding and knowledge of the issues, and his lack of experience in issues important to our community,” State Representative Patrick J. Verschoore said. “Nursing home residents are our most valued citizens. They built our community, raised families, worked hard and served our county. If we arbitrarily cut Medicaid before looking for other ways to cut costs, we would be abandoning senior citizens in their time of need. It’s simply unconscionable.”

Nursing home residents and other senior citizens in the community attended the event, as well as staff from Rock Island Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. They are concerned about State Senate candidate Neil Anderson’s campaign promise to make cuts to the state’s Medicaid program.

“We have people who come here for a few months for rehab before they return home, and we have residents who will spend the rest of their lives here. Regardless of the length of their stay, our residents consider this place their home,” Elizabeth Webster, administrator at Rock Island Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, said. “Many of our residents who currently have Medicaid originally entered our nursing home with insurance or as private pay. After their personal resources were exhausted, they transition to Medicaid to make sure they continue to get the care they need. We can’t kick them out on the street when they can no longer pay for their care.”

There are approximately 1,500 nursing home residents in this area. More than 50 percent of those residents rely on Medicaid to pay for their care. Of those who call Rock Island Nursing and Rehabilitation Center their home, 91 percent have Medicaid. Cuts would affect the whole nursing home community. It impacts our ability to have quality food, quality staff and quality surroundings. All these elements are key to quality care and to create a home-like environment.

Candidate Neil Anderson must explain his campaign pledge to arbitrarily cut Medicaid. We must have elected officials like Representative Verschoore and Senator Jacobs who understand the issues important to nursing home residents.

The Health Care Council of Illinois (HCCI) is an association of more than 270 skilled nursing and rehab facilities committed to quality residential health care in Illinois through a productive and responsible partnership between the private and public sectors. 

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Sen. Jacobs, Enterprise Zones Created Quad Cities Jobs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Mark Denzler   
Thursday, 16 October 2014 07:57
Negative Ad Distorts Truth About Jobs Program
SPRINGFIELD - The latest ad Neil Anderson (R-Moline) against State Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline), is an attack on jobs across Illinois.
Anderson’s latest attack falsely accuses Jacobs of supporting Senate Bill 3616, bi-partisan enterprise reform legislation for his own political benefit.
“The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association championed SB 3616 because enterprise zones are our state’s most valued incentives to boost local economies and create jobs,” said Mark Denzler, Vice President & COO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. ”This negative ad does not accurately describe the Enterprise Zone program and the important reforms contained in the legislation.”
In 2012, the Senate created a bi-partisan committee to hold four legislative hearings across the state to gather input from business and community leaders. Community stakeholders agreed enterprise zones create and retain jobs for the citizens of Illinois. The bill passed with unanimous bipartisan support in the Illinois House and Senate.
The enterprise zone legislation included a number of important reforms including (1) creation of a new Enterprise Zone Board to ensure fairness in awarding zones, (2) expanding the program so that every community in Illinois can compete for a zone; (3) eliminating three tax incentives to make the program more affordable, and (4) extending the program for 25 years to create stability and certainty.
There was an overwhelming response from local leaders from the 36th Senate District that attended hearings and publicly supported the enterprise zone extension:
•                  David Blanton, Mayor of Rock Falls (2005-2013)
•                  Skip Lee, Mayor of Sterling
•                  William M. Foy, Mayor of Silvis
•                  Former Republican State Rep. Jerry Mitchell, 90th Legislative District
•                  Betty Steinert, Whiteside/Carroll Enterprise Zone Administrator
•                  Sandy Henrekin, Executive Director of Rock Falls Community Development
•                  Heather Sotelo, Executive Director of Greater Sterling Development Corp.
•                  Andrew Moore, President and General Manager for Sterling Steel Co.
As of 2012, enterprise zones promoted an investment of $50 billion and the creation or retention of more than 900,000 jobs in Illinois.   Tens of millions of dollars were invested in the Quad Cities and surrounding communities along with the creation or retention of thousands of jobs according to the Annual Enterprise Zone Report published by the Department of Commerce & Economic Development.
The benefits of enterprise zones were highlighted in the 2014 Republican Jobs Plan introduced by Illinois’ highest-ranking Republican leaders- Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin calling on DCEO to create an additional 50 enterprise zones to grow job opportunities in Illinois.
“Perhaps Mr. Anderson is unaware of how enterprise zones are set up. Elected officials approve enterprise zones locally before final approval is granted by the state’s economic development agency.  The new law created a third tier – a new EZ Board – to ensure that politics don’t factor into the decisions of who gets awarded an enterprise zone,” said Denzler. “We’re pleased the unemployment rates in the 36thdistrict are declining and we need more pro-business leaders like Senator Jacobs.”
According to a 2014 published report in the Quad City Times, Tyson Foods (Joslin) took advantage of the Rock Island enterprise zone to expand their plant and hire additional employees.  The company directly influences Quad Cities’ economy - Tyson purchases $3.9 million in goods and services a year from local vendors; about 85 percent of Tyson’s employees live in Rock Island County; and 50-60 percent of cattle processed at the plant are purchased from Illinois suppliers.
According to public information, local businesses in the 36th Senate District that have taken advantage of this job creation program include L&L Properties (Sterling), Menard Inc. (Sterling), Wahl Clipper Co. (Sterling), Hynd Farm (Silvis), Deere & Co. (Moline), and Tyson Foods (Joslin).
About the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA)
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is the only statewide association dedicated exclusively to advocating, promoting and strengthening the manufacturing sector in Illinois. The IMA is the oldest and largest state manufacturing trade association in the United States, representing nearly 4,000 companies and facilities.
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While Bruce Braley Campaigns on Strengthening Program and Increasing Benefits, Joni Ernst Wants to Privatize Program and Cut Benefits PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Sam Lau   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 08:01
Clear contrast in this campaign: Bruce Braley stands with Iowa seniors and families, Joni Ernst stands with millionaires and special interest groups
Experts: Seven in Ten Workers Would See Benefit Cuts from Privatization Proposal

Des Moines, IA – As Bruce Braley travels across the state to talk about his plans to strengthen Social Security and increase benefits for seniors, Joni Ernst is desperately trying to hide the fact that she supports privatizing this critical program and reducing benefits for Iowa seniors.

Today, Bruce will be in Cedar Rapids talking to seniors about Social Security while Joni Ernst is campaigning with Outsourcer-in-Chief Mitt Romney.

This latest push comes as Iowa voters are increasingly focusing on the campaign, and the more they learn about Joni Ernst’s plans that would hurt Iowa families, the more they support Bruce Braley and his plans to fight for all Iowa families, not just the wealthiest few.

Watch Joni talk about her plans to privatize Social Security: http://youtu.be/dMYYFKAJEI0

Joni Ernst may try to hide her positions, but here are the facts:

FACT: ERNST SUPPORTED PRIVATIZING SOCIAL SECURITY

Ernst Said She Has “Talked About Privatizing Social Security As An Option.”Ernst said: “First, yes, I have talked about privatizing social security as an option. Again, that is one solution. So what I’d recommend is we look at a number of solutions because we really don’t know which way is the best way to go yet.” [Des Moines Senior Roundtable, 9/03/14] (video & audio)

Ernst Said That Privatizing Social Security Is “An Option” And “One Solution.” Ernst said: “First, yes, I have talked about privatizing social security – as an option. Again, that is one solution. So what I’d recommend is we look at a number of solutions because we really don’t know which way is the best way to go yet.” [Des Moines Senior Roundtable, 9/03/14] (video & audio)

Ernst Said She Supports “Personal Savings” Accounts For Young People In Place Of Entitlements, Said It Could Be Either “Interest Bearing Or Its Tied To The Market.” “Ernst supports a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget and reductions to entitlement as well as discretionary spending. ‘We need to look at younger workers, workers that are entering the workforce and we need to find a solution there. Something I am willing to look at is a personal savings account. It would be one that, whether it's interest bearing or it's tied to the market, I would need to look at the details, but that is something we need to consider." [Des Moines Register, 5/9/14]

FACT: PRIVATIZING SOCIAL SECURITY COULD ENDANGER CURRENT BENEFICIARIES

Expert: Privatization Poses Risks to Current Beneficiaries As Well. Said Kenneth Apfel, a former Social Security Commissioner, “The Bush Social Security plan poses a major threat to the economic security of future generations of older Americans. And it also poses major risks for current beneficiaries. At its heart, the proposal destabilizes the financing base of Social Security, which could over time threaten benefit commitments to current beneficiaries -- maybe not in 2005, but very possibly within a decade. To “save” Social Security, we don’t need to weaken Social Security’s financing base -- we need to strengthen it.” [Campaign for America’s Future, 10/21/04]

FACT: PRIVATIZING SOCIAL SECURITY WOULD CUT BENEFITS

Privatization of Social Security Increases Risks, Would Cut Benefits, Increases the Debt. According to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, “privatization is not a plan to save Social Security; it is a plan to dismantle Social Security. Privatization means increased retirement risks, severe cuts in Social Security benefits, and a multi-trillion dollar increase in the federal debt. “Privatization diverts money out of Social Security into individual accounts leaving an even larger solvency problem. Privatizers fill this funding gap by dramatically cutting Social Security benefits. They cover the rest by borrowing money, thereby increasing the debt burden on all taxpayers by trillions of dollars over the next half century. With market-based accounts, the risk of an adequate retirement is placed entirely on the individual.” [National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare website]

CBPP: Seven in Ten Workers Would See Benefit Cuts from Privatization Proposal. In a 2005 report, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that seven of ten workers would have their benefits cut. They wrote, “All workers with income above $20,000 today would be subject to benefit reductions. Seven of every ten workers would be affected.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/29/05]

FACT: ERNST’S PLAN TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY WOULD BE A WINDFALL FOR WALL STREET

Privatization Would Risk Retirement in the Market, While Creating Billion in Windfalls for Wall Street. According to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, “Privatization will replace Social Security’s guaranteed defined benefits with individual investment accounts. In other words, privatization would take money out of Social Security and have workers invest instead in Wall Street.” According to MSNBC, even plans to partially privatize “Social Security could be a windfall for Wall Street, generating billions of dollars in management fees for brokerages and mutual fund companies.” [National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare website; MSNBC, 12/28/04]

Privatization a “Windfall for Wall Street,” Worth Billions of Dollars. According to MSNBC, even plans to partially privatize “Social Security could be a windfall for Wall Street, generating billions of dollars in management fees for brokerages and mutual fund companies… because of the massive size of Social Security, with its 154 million covered employees, Mills estimated that even a simple program of individual accounts comparable to the TSP might generate $39 billion in fees, in present-value terms, over 75 years… a more complex menu of options, which might be offered to participants whose accounts grow beyond, say, $5,000, might generate $279 billion in fees over 75 years, boosting projected industry revenues by about 8.5 percent.” [MSNBC, 12/28/04]

2004 Report Estimated $940 Billion In Fees From Privatization, “The Largest Windfall Gain In American Financial History.” According to a report by prominent economist Austan Goolsbee, “Creating individual accounts in the social security system would lead to a massive increase in payments of financial fees to private financial management companies. Under Plan II of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security (CSSS), the net present value of such payments would be $940 billion…The fees would be the largest windfall gain in American financial history. The $940 billion payment to financial companies would be an increase more than 8 times larger than the decrease in revenue from the 2000-2002 collapse of the bubble.” Plan II was the initial proposal that would create optional private retirement accounts, which the Bush administration favored. [The Fees of Private Accounts and the Impact of Social Security Privatization on Financial Managers, September 2004; Omaha World Herald, 12/28/04]

Ernst Acknowledged That “It Might” Cost More To Privatize Social Security And “There May Be A Few Years Where It Is Difficult.” In a May 2014 interview with the Des Moines Register, The Registerasked, “You’d take social security pay roll taxes out of the mix and let young people invest that, then that money isn’t going to pay the seniors that you’ve promised -- That’s gonna cost you more in the long run, isn’t it?” Ernst replied, “Well, it might, and that’s why I said we need to take a look at this. This is something I’m willing to take a look at. But there may be a few years where it is difficult, but we have to change it.” [Des Moines Register, 5/9/14]

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