Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced that Dubuque, Iowa will receive a new intercity passenger train set from the $268 million in passenger rail funds awarded to six Midwestern states earlier this year.

"This train set will provide better service for thousands of passengers on the Dubuque to Chicago line," said Rep. Braley. "Passenger rail is critical to the continued economic development of the region. This is one more step to create jobs in the short term and put Iowa's economy back on track."

The award allowed for the purchase of 7 train sets for 8 corridors in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin.  These new trains sets will be able to travel up to speeds of 125 mph to comply with the PassengerRail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. The new equipment is set to replace aging Amtrak equipment and increase capacity, improve operational reliability and reduce operating costs.


Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after House leadership said there would be no votes this weekend:

"Earlier this week, the Republican leadership informed us that we would be working this weekend. Now, they're sending us home for the weekend after all. That's disappointing when we have less than two weeks to keep our nation from defaulting on its debt. Why aren't we working through the weekend to come to an agreement? Why aren't we debating the details of the Gang of Six proposal, or any other attempt to compromise? I miss my family as much as anyone here, but I know that our economy and our nation's future must be our top priority right now."


Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced a $131,100 grant for the City of Independence. The grant will go towards buying new snow removalequipment for the Independence Municipal Airport.

"This grant money will help the Independence airport ensure the safety of passengers and employees," Rep. Braley said. "Whether traveling for business or family vacation, Iowans rely on their community airports to be safe, secure and reliable. It's critical we give Iowa's airports the tools they need to prepare for all weather conditions and provide the safest and most efficient service to their customers."

The federal grant isdistributed through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found serious problems with oversight of U.S. aid efforts and funds in Afghanistan in a new report:

"This report is very troubling and it underscores the need for us to get out of Afghanistan now. We're blindly spending billions in Afghanistan while our own economy is teetering between an anemic recovery and the brink of a default. I've called for a true accounting of the cost of the war in Afghanistan since I came to Congress. Now, after almost a decade in Afghanistan, thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars misspent, it's clear that the cost is too high. We need to end this quagmire immediately."

The report released today found that American funds in Afghanistan are likely to be misspent, embezzled and funneled to insurgents unless a far-reaching policy change is implemented.

"U.S. agencies...still have limited visibility over the circulation of these funds, leaving them vulnerable to fraud or diversion to insurgents. We found that agencies have not instituted sufficient controls over U.S. funds, limiting their oversight," the staff of acting Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction Herbert Richardson wrote in the report released on Wednesday. The U.S. has spent more than $70billion on security assistance and development projects in Afghanistan since 2002.



Members questioncost savings as Army awaits task force recommendations

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) and the bipartisan delegation that represents the Rock Island Arsenal made clear to General Ann Dunwoody, the Commanding General of the Army Materiel Command, that any proposal to close or relocate Rock Island Arsenal's Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC) would be met with strong resistance in Congress. In a meeting in Washington, Dunwoody reassured the Iowa and Illinois delegation that the Army currently has no plans to close the JMTC, but could not disclose the work of an internal task force that was rumored to have been considering JMTC closure as a cost-savings measure.

Members of Congress in today's meeting - U.S. Representatives Bruce Braley (D-IA-01), Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17), and Dave Loebsack (D-IA-02), U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and representatives from Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)'s office - vowed to continue working with General Dunwoody and the Army to secure the long-term future of JMTC at Rock Island Arsenal.

"The Rock Island Arsenal is crucial to the Quad City economy," said Braley. "There are 1,700 jobs on the line at this facility and none of us are willing to jeopardize them. I'm confident that we made that clear to General Dunwoody, and I was reassured by her praise for the Arsenal and its workers. I will continue to monitor this process and work to make sure that we find ways to save and cut back in places where it makes sense ? but not at this crucial facility."

"General Dunwoody understands this delegation's commitment to defending the livelihood of the highly skilled men and women who make up the Rock Island Arsenal," said Durbin.  "It is important that every level of government work to find savings and efficiencies within system, but I firmly believe that closing or relocating the JMTC would be the wrong way to do it.  I am glad we were alerted to this task force early in the process so that we can continue to keep a close eye on it as it moves forward."

"As the Defense Department's only integrated metal manufacturer, the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center at the Rock Island Arsenal is essential to American troops abroad and to the Quad Cities community," Senator Kirk said.  "Given the importance of the JMTC to arms and armor production, as well as to veteran employment, I firmly believe in defending its position and purpose."

"We made clear to General Dunwoody that any proposal to move the work that is currently so expertly done at the Rock Island Arsenal JMTC to other facilities would contribute nothing to the Army's savings target, but would undermine the unique skills and capabilities that have served our war fighters.  We'll have to keep an eye on this task force, but I was pleased to hear the General affirm that the Rock Island Arsenal is a national treasure and express support for our delegation's efforts to ensure more stable workload in the future," Grassley said.

"Though today's meeting was productive, it is of utmost important that we as a delegation remain vigilant as the task force continues its work," Schilling said. "The Rock Island Arsenal is a national treasure and is of huge economic importance to the Quad Cities. I will continue working to ensure that work or functions at the JMTC and the Rock Island Arsenal are neither reduced nor eliminated as thisprocess continues."

"This was an important opportunity to sit down with General Dunwoody and the Arsenal delegation todiscuss the Army Material Command's review and reiterate that we will fight any efforts to close or reduce work at the JMTC or RIA to ensure jobs stay in the Quad Cities," said Loebsack. "I also believe it was critical that we discussed the need to develop a proactive strategy to keep work at the Arsenal as thedrawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan continue.  The good jobs, economic development and contributions to our national security provided by the Arsenal and its workforce must be protected."

General Dunwoody wastasked by Army Secretary John McHugh to find savings and efficiencies within the Army Materiel Command as part of an Army-wide review to find $3 billion in savings.  A task force within the Army Materiel Command was asked to perform a review and report its findings to General Dunwoody, likely by the end of the summer.

According to the members in today's meeting, it would be difficult to find savings by closing JMTC as the facility is funded through the Army's Working Capital Fund which derives most of its funding from sales revenue on its contracts, and not through regular congressional appropriations.  The members argued that the cost of moving or replicating the many unique capabilities at Rock Island Arsenal would be extensive.

The Rock Island Arsenal JMTC is a one-of-a-kind U.S. Army facility which manufactures critical equipment for our troops around the world. The more than 1,700 highly-skilled individuals - at least half of whom are veterans - employed at JMTC specialize in manufacturing artillery, armor, small arms, and mobile maintenance kits for use on the front lines. The JMTC, perhaps best known for howitzer production, operates the Army's only foundry and since 2003 has produced half of all armor for Army tactical wheeled vehicles. Rock Island Arsenal, the region's largest employer with a 8,600-person workforce anchored by the JMTC, injects $1.3 billion dollars directly into the local economy each year.

In May, after learning that an internal task force at the Army Materiel Command was considering relocating Rock Island Arsenal's JMTC, the bipartisan group of seven lawmakers from both the Illinois and Iowa Congressional Delegations called for a meeting with McHugh, as soon as possible to discuss their concerns about the cost associated with conducting such a move as well as the impact it would have on the Rock Island Arsenal.  A few weeks later, the members received assurances from McHugh that the Army currently has no plans to close the JMTC.  Today's meeting was in response to a similar request sent to General Dunwoody in May.


Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced that several provisions of his Plain Writing Act of 2010 are going into effect.

Today is the deadline for agencies to designate a Senior Official for Plain Writing. This individual will be responsible for overseeing each agency's implementation of Braley's law, including:

·         creating a plain writing section of the agency website;

·         training agency employees;

·         ensuring full implementation of the law; and

·         publishing a public report on progress towards meeting the plain writing requirements.

"The Plain Writing Act requires some simple changes to business-as-usual that'll make a big difference for anyone who's ever filled out a tax return or received a government document," Rep. Braley said.  "Today, some of those changes go into effect and begin the process of making our government agencies moreaccessible. In the long run, writing government documents in plain languagewill increase government accountability and will save Americans time and money."

The Plain Writing Act, authored by Rep. Braley, requires the federal government to write documents, such as tax returns, federal college aid applications, and Veterans Administration forms in simple easy-to-understand language, making government more transparent and saving the government millions of dollars. President Obama signed Rep. Braley's bill into law last October.


Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced that 20 Iowa hospitals will receive $12.5 million in additional Medicare reimbursements. The payments will be delivered to the hospitals tomorrow, and come as a result of a provision Rep. Braley authored and passed into law during the health care negotiations last Congress.

"For decades, Iowa's doctors have been punished for no reason other than geography," said Rep. Braley. "These payments are the first step toward ending these geographic disparities and reforming our Medicare system so it finally rewards quality of care instead of the number of procedures performed."

The following Iowa hospitals will receive the funds:

Hospital Name  


Estimated Payment  

Broadlawns Medical Center  



Grinnell Regional Medical Center  



Iowa Lutheran Hospital  



Iowa Methodist Medical Center  



Lakes Regional Healthcare  



Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center  



Mary Greeley Medical Center  



Mercy Hospital  



Mercy Medical Center - Cedar Rapids  



Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines  



Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa  



Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City  



Skiff Medical Center  



Spencer Municipal Hospital  



St Anthony Regional Hospital  



St Luke's Hospital  



St Luke's Regional Medical Center



Trinity Regional Medical Center



Unity Hospital



University Of Iowa Hospital & Clinics





Rep. Braley secured the funding during late night negotiations with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Obama Administration officials before the final health care votelast spring. Tomorrow, Iowa hospitals will receive $12.5 million in additional Medicare reimbursements, or 8.3 percent of the available funds. Under Rep. Braley's provision, Iowa receives the 4th-highest amount of payments of any state.

Last Congress, Braley negotiated a compromise adding language to the health carereform bill that provides an immediate $800 million to address geographic disparities for both doctors and hospitals, as well as written guarantees from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for further action toreform Medicare reimbursement rates. Iowa doctors and hospitals have long suffered from an unfair Medicare formula which reimburses them at a lower rate than providers in other states - all while offering some of the highest quality, lowest-cost care in the nation.


Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released thefollowing statement after reports came out that Governor Branstad and his staff have continuously pressured Iowa's Workers' Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey to resign his independent office:

"Historically this has been a non-partisan agency whose focus has been putting Iowans back to work. Chris Godfrey is highly qualified. He was first appointed in 2006 and re-appointed in 2009 to fulfill a six-year term after being confirmed 49-0 by the Iowa Senate. He serves in a capacity that is independent of the Governor and the political climate. The Governor has injected politics into this, leaving workers and employers hanging in the balance. It's highly unusual for the Governor to pressure a Commissioner of this type into resignation. It's one thing to surround yourself with staff of your choosing, it's another to conduct a clearly political witch hunt against a qualified and competent employee."


Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released a statement after participating in a joint-chamber forum with Holly Petraeus on alleged mortgage-related violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Holly Petraeus serves as the Director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Following the forum, Rep. Braley said:

"More and more, it seems our veterans are returning from combat only to face new challenges here at home. Whether it's an injury or a financial crisis caused by long deployments and time off from their civilian jobs, our veterans deserve to know that we're standing up for them. This forum identified serious problems and issues with the way banks and lending institutions currently treat our soldiers and their families - and we need to take action to protect them from this abuse. That's why I introduced the Protecting Veterans' Homes Act earlier this year. My bill will give our soldiers enough time to get back on their feet and get their finances in order before being kicked out of their homes. This is the least we can do for the brave men and women who serve this country."

In May, Rep. Braley introduced the Protecting Veterans' Homes Act to protect veterans from being foreclosed upon by big banks. The bill would give returning soldiers time to get their finances in order after long deployments. Currently, similar protections for veterans are set to expire in December of 2012. Rep. Braley's bill would make these protections permanent and would extend the grace period from nine months to a full year for veterans returning from deployments.


Washington, DC -- Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after officials reported the death of Iowa National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker of Cedar Rapids:

"My heart goes out to Terryl's family and friends. This is a tragedy and a difficult time for all Iowans and the entire National Guard family. Terryl, and all the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation, are in my thoughts and prayers at this time."