Fights to create Iowa jobs, energize renewable fuels industry

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill to end tax breaks for big oil companies. The Clean Energy Jobs Act will use the savings from these tax breaks to create jobs in Iowa, boost the renewable fuels industry and pay down the national deficit. Ending oil industry tax breaks will save about $43 billion over the next ten years.

"Big oil companies are making record profits and at the same time, they're collecting tax breaks from the government," said Rep. Braley. "If we end just a few of these tax breaks, we can create good-paying jobs in Iowa and still have funds left over to reduce our national deficit by billions."

The Clean Energy Jobs bill repeals oil industry tax breaks and extends ethanol and biodiesel tax credits through 2016. The current tax breaks for these renewable fuels expire at the end of 2011.

"For years, oil companies have raised prices at the pump, made Americans pay for their record profits and threatened American security by making us more dependent on foreign oil," said Rep. Braley. "But instead of investing in renewable fuels, Republicans are funneling taxpayer dollars right back into the pockets of big oil. This bill is a chance for Congress to break that cycle and do something responsible for our nation, while also creating good jobs in Iowa."  


Washington, DC - March 3, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) voted to help small businesses by repealing the burdensome "1099" provision of the health care law, which was added by the Senate. The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Rep. Braley, passed with a vote of 314 to 112 in the House today. Rep. Braley released the following statement:

"Small business owners need to focus on running their businesses and creating jobs - they don't need additional burdensome regulations," said Rep. Braley. "I've heard from business owners in my district in Iowa and they've told me that the 1099 provision increases the cost of doing business and puts an unfair burden on them. I'm glad the House took action today to repeal this provision and help small businesses in my state and across the country."


Washington, DC - February, 16, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) offered an amendment to save thousands of Iowa jobs supported by the ethanol industry. Rep. Braley introduced the amendment to safeguard the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and to make sure fuel standards could be properly set for 2012. The House Republican leadership blocked the amendment with a procedural maneuver.  

"Some 50,000 Iowa jobs depend on renewable fuels and the ethanol industry," said Rep. Braley. "And I am deeply disappointed that my Republican colleagues would pass a budget bill that would threaten to kill off this industry and the livelihoods of thousands of families that depend on it."

The RFS promotes clean, renewable, homegrown fuel and boosts American security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. The Republican budget continuing resolution puts the RFS program at risk by preventing the Environmental Protection Agency from setting renewable fuel standards for 2012.

The American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association and the Renewable Fuels Association came out in strong support of the Braley amendment earlier today.  

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Washington, DC - February 16, 2011 - Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) met with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki last night to discuss his new leadership role on the House Veterans Affairs committee. Rep. Braley talked about legislation to help Iowa veterans and brought up his concerns about the slow implementation of a law passed last year to help disabled veterans and the people who care for them.

"Secretary Shinseki and I had a great conversation and a productive meeting," said Rep. Braley. "I look forward to working with him and the Veterans Affairs department to ensure that our veterans get the very best care and the benefits they deserve."

Rep. Braley gave Secretary Shinseki a letter detailing his concerns about the delayed implementation of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act - a part of that law was meant to provide financial assistance and counseling to help people taking care of wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Rep. Braley supported the bill in the House last year.

According to media reports, the Department of Veterans Affairs missed the January 31, 2011 deadline for fully implementing the new law, leaving families of wounded veterans without the promised assistance.

A high-resolution photo of Rep. Braley and Secretary Shinseki is available here:
Caption for the photo: Congressman Bruce Braley tells VA Secretary Eric Shinseki about Andrew Connolly of Dubuque, IA - an Iowa Army National Guard soldier who served in Iraq.

A copy of the letter is available here:

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Washington, DC - February 15, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced an amendment that would force offices in the Legislative branch to buy American-made products when using taxpayer funds. Rep. Braley offered the "Buy American" amendment to the Republican budget that is being debated and voted on this week.   

"Every day, I hear members in the House chamber talk about supporting American workers and the products they make. This amendment makes us put our money where our mouth is," said Rep. Braley.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that there will be no additional costs from this amendment.

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Calls for repeal of health care law provision that hurts businesses

February 10, 2011

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) signed on to a bill that would help small businesses across the country by repealing a burdensome provision of the health care law, which was added by the Senate. The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act will repeal the unpopular "1099" provision.

As a result of the so-called "1099" provision in the health care law, starting in 2012 small businesses will be required to submit 1099 forms for vendors that provide basic day-to-day operations, including office supplies, phones, shipping and other minor expenses. The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), will repeal this provision to make sure small businesses can focus on creating jobs.

"Small business owners are making touch choices every day, fighting to keep their businesses afloat. This is no time to hit them with new burdensome regulations," said Rep. Braley. "This provision increases the cost of doing business and puts an unfair burden on business owners when they can least afford it. I know that small businesses are the engine of our economy - they are the job creators in so many communities in Iowa and around the country. And I want to make sure they can stay focused on creating jobs."

Last year, Rep. Braley supported a similar provision to repeal the "1099" requirement as part of the Small Business Tax Relief Act. The "1099" provision was not included in the House version of the health care bill that Rep. Braley supported last Congress, but was later added into the Senate version of the bill which was then passed and signed into law.

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Introduces bill to attract new providers, train specialists

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill to bring more health care providers and services to Iowa. The Access to Frontline Health Care Act creates a new loan repayment program to give health care providers incentives to practice in areas such as Iowa where there is a shortage of specialty health care providers.

"I think every Iowan should have access to the full range of comprehensive health care services they need right here in our own state," Braley said.  "Unfortunately, these services are not always available right now because of the shortage of providers in Iowa. This bill will give providers more incentives than ever to practice in underserved places and will give Iowans access to the quality, affordable health care they deserve."

Congressman Braley previously introduced a version of this bill in 2009. It became part of the House version of the health care reform bill, but was not in the Senate version and was not included in the final bill signed into law. Under the loan repayment program created by the Access to Frontline Health Care Act health care providers would commit to practice in a geographic area with a shortage of specialty health care professionals for at least two years in exchange for assistance in repaying student loans.


Bill Will Cut Taxes for Businesses that Hire Unemployed Workers

Washington, DC - January 26, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill to cut payroll taxes for businesses that hire unemployed workers. The Back to Work Extension Act extends a provision of the HIRE Act that provides employers a payroll tax break if they hire workers who were previously unemployed.

"Creating jobs is my top priority and this program is already proven to put Iowans back to work," said Braley. "Between February and December of 2010, Iowa businesses hired more than 104,000 workers who are eligible for this tax cut. This tax credit works - and we must extend it now to give employers incentives to create jobs and hire unemployed workers."

The Back to Work Extension Act will exempt small businesses from paying the employer's share of the Social Security tax for up to one year through December 31, 2011 - if they hire workers who have been unemployed for more than 60 days prior to employment. Employers who keep eligible employees on the payroll for 52 consecutive weeks will receive an additional $1,000 tax credit. The previous exemption expired on December 31, 2010.

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Braley Announces $200,000 Award for Local Biofuel Producer

Commends Iowa Businesses for Leading in Clean Energy Production

Washington, DC - January 21, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) commended Western Dubuque Biodiesel and announced the businesses would be receiving a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) award of almost $200,000.

"I'm proud to support Western Dubuque Biodiesel and the work they do to help reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil," said Congressman Braley. "I've visited their business several times, and I'm happy to hold them up as an example of what Iowa is: a place where we grow our economy and create new jobs by fostering innovative ideas - especially in the fields of clean energy and biofuels."

The USDA Rural Development Award totals $178,926.98 and will be used to help expand production of advanced biofuels. The award comes on the same day as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's announcement that it approved the use of 15 percent blend ethanol (E15) for automobiles and light trucks of model year 2001 and newer.

"I was heartened by the EPA's decision and approval of E15 today - it's great news for our state and our workforce," said Braley. "With the EPA's decision, I hope new businesses and companies will follow the example of Western Dubuque Biofuels and others like them - by innovating, expanding and creating good-paying jobs right here in Iowa."




Braley Announces $2.4 Million for Local Housing Programs

Washington, DC - January 20, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced almost $2.4 million in grant money for housing and homeless assistance programs in Eastern Iowa. The grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance program.

"This money is incredibly important for housing assistance programs all over the First District," Braley said. "With these funds, many dedicated individuals will be able to provide crucial housing services and support to homeless Iowans during tough winters."

HUD money funds various public and private programs that provide a range of assistance to homeless persons, including transition housing, permanent housing and a variety of supportive services. These funds are awarded annually in a nationwide competition.

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Braley Opposes Health Care Repeal

Washington, DC - January 19, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) voted against the Republican bill to repeal the health care reform law.

"The new majority campaigned on balancing the budget and getting our deficit under control, but their very first legislative initiative would blow a $230 billion hole in our deficit," said Congressman Braley. "There's no way I could support this irresponsible legislation."

If enacted into law, the Republicans' repeal would also roll back the most popular provisions that protect consumers from insurance company abuses. Insurance companies would once again be able to deny coverage to children and adults with pre-existing conditions, prevent young adults from staying on their parents' plans until age 26 and drop coverage for pregnant women and cancer survivors.

"The health care law, and the Republicans' effort to repeal it, has a human face," said Braley. "My nephew was finally able to take a new job, knowing his four-year-old son Tucker won't be dropped from his new health plan because of a liver cancer diagnosis. That's just one family. There are millions like them in Iowa and across the country."

"My Republican colleagues also don't seem to understand the very serious ramifications of their political games - or they haven't read their own bill. The text of their bill clearly states that they intend to repeal the health care law and restore its provisions as if it had never been enacted. One consequence of that language is that if this bill becomes law, millions of seniors across the country would be forced to pay the government $250 that they received and already spent under the health care reform law. I know Iowa's seniors can't afford that - and I certainly won't let my constituents pay the price for this political stunt."




Braley Introduces "Veterans Day Off" Bill;

Legislation Would Make Veterans Day a Holiday for All Veterans

Washington, DC - January 19, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill to make Veterans Day a holiday for all veterans in the United States.

"Veterans Day is meant to remember and commemorate those brave men and women who have served our nation. It's only right that they be able to take this day off work," said Congressman Braley.

While Veterans Day is currently designated as a federal holiday, private employers can choose not to observe it. This bill would require private employers to give any employee who is a veteran a day off on "Veterans Day." The holiday can be paid or unpaid, at the employer's discretion. The legislation does include exceptions for small businesses, cases where public health or safety are concerned, or where the holiday would significantly disrupt operations.

The bill is Braley's first act as a new member of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the 112th Congress. Braley was confirmed as a member of the Committee earlier today at a meeting of the Democratic Caucus.

"There are 240,317 veterans in the state of Iowa and each of them deserves the very best that our government can provide - the best care, the best services and the most responsive representation in Congress," said Braley. "I've been an advocate for veterans since I first got to Congress, and I'm thrilled to be a member of this important committee where I can do even more for our veterans."



Braley to Cantor: Read Your Bill.  Braley Warns that Seniors Would Be Forced to Pay Govt under Repeal Bill

Washington, DC - January 19, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) warned that seniors who received a $250 check towards prescription drugs under the health care reform law would be required to return that money, according to the text of the repeal bill being considered in the House tonight.

"Regardless of what the Majority Leader said yesterday, the text of his own bill is clear - it calls for repealing the provisions of the health care law and restoring them as if the law had never been enacted. Now, based on what I learned in law school, that means repealing the law and restoring the appropriate funds, in this case those $250 checks that were distributed and spent by seniors across America," said Congressman Braley.

"In Iowa alone, we have 39,430 seniors who have received and spent these checks. Now, Republicans are pushing a bill that would force these seniors to write a $250 check to the government once the repeal is enacted. I don't know if Mr. Cantor was being intentionally misleading or was just careless when discussing this issue with reporters, but the seniors in my district shouldn't have to pay the price for this political stunt."

"I sincerely hope my Republican colleagues will read their own bill and consider these serious ramifications as we take this vote tonight."

H.R. 2 clearly states that the health care reform law would be repealed and "restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted."