Bill Saves 1,800 Jobs in Iowa, Delivers Medicaid Assistance

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) voted today to cut the nation's deficit by $1.4 billion while saving nearly 2,000 Iowa jobs and delivering essential Medicaid Assistance to Iowa. The Education, Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act will create opportunities for middle-class workers while significantly reducing the nation's debt.

"I came back to Washington today to pass legislation that prioritizes education, community safety and middle-class family values," Braley said. "Investing in education is investing in our state's economy. This bill is fully paid for and will save 1,800 jobs in Iowa. Cutting the national deficit and putting teachers back to work are common-sense, important steps to getting our nation's economy back on track. This legislation directly benefits families and children in Iowa, and I look forward to President Obama signing it into law."

The Education, Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act will give Iowa $96 million to fund as many as 1,800 jobs and deliver $128 million in Medicaid assistance. The bill is fully paid for by closing tax loopholes that currently reward companies for shipping jobs overseas.

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Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today more than $850,000 in grant money for Davenport Municipal Airport. The airport will receive funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

"This grant money will help this airport ensure the safety of passengers and employees," 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 provide the safest and most efficient service to their customers."

The federal grant is distributed through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as follows:

Davenport Municipal Airport $851,877 for taxiway rehabilitation, to extend its useful life

 

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Statement of Congressman Bruce Braley

Committee on Energy and Commerce

Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection

"Hearing on the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010"

May 6, 2010

Thank you, Chairman Rush and Ranking Member Whitfield, for holding this important hearing today on the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010. In 2008, there were more than 37,000 traffic fatalities. While this is a decrease from 2007, this is still far too many American lives and families destroyed. My home county of Black Hawk, Iowa saw 13 traffic fatalities in 2008, which is 13 too many.

Most recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been questioned regarding their response to the problem of sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. Since 2000, NHTSA has received 2,600 complaints of sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. According to NHTSA, in the past decade 34 people have died in crashes alleged to have been caused by sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. These alarming numbers should have spurred NHTSA to aggressively investigate any problems at Toyota. Instead, NHTSA appears to have conducted only preliminary, inadequate, and ineffective investigations. Particularly throughout the last few months, I've been extremely concerned and disappointed by NHTSA's and Toyota's delayed and insufficient responses to this deadly problem. I am concerned that NHTSA did not act early enough and has only gone through the motions on their investigations of this and other situations.

A primary question that we have heard raised in this Committee is whether NHTSA has the resources and capacity to investigate new and complex systems in vehicles, and to evaluate manufacturers' claims about the operations of their vehicles. I'm confident that the Motor Vehicle Safety Act takes meaningful steps to improve auto safety and strengthen NHTSA by (1) increasing the agency's proficiency in vehicle electronics, and requiring new safety standards for cars run largely by electronic systems; (2)

strengthening enforcement; (3) increasing transparency and accountability in vehicle safety; and (4) providing funding to the agency to further ensure auto safety.

This bill takes great strides towards ensuring proper oversight and resources at NHTSA, and I'm glad we're here today working to improve motor vehicle safety in America. Thank you and I yield back the remainder of my time.

The Big Oil Company Bailout Prevention Act raises BP liability cap to $10 billion

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced legislation today with Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) that will hold British Petroleum accountable for the oil spill off the Gulf Coast. While BP has indicated they will be responsible for all clean-up costs, The Big Oil Company Bailout Prevention Act goes further to protect taxpayers from paying for effects of the spill.

Currently, the responsible party in an oil spill must pay for all the economic damages up to $75 million, including lost revenues from fishing and tourism, natural resources damages, or lost local tax revenues. This bill would raise the liability cap to $10 billion. It also eliminates the current $500 million cap on natural resource damages.

"With estimates that this could be the most costly oil spill in American history, taxpayers need to rest assured they will not foot the bill," Braley said. "While BP has promised to pay for all clean-up costs, we, in Congress, have an obligation to make sure they follow through, and also take responsibility for other economic damages. This legislation makes sure that if big oil companies are responsible for the disaster, big oil companies pay for the clean-up and damage."

The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act also contains the following provisions:

  • It eliminates the $1 billion per incident cap on claims against the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund
    • Allows community responders to access the funds for preparation and mitigation up front, rather than waiting for reimbursement later.
  • If damage claims exceed the amount in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (currently $1.6 billion), it allows claimants to collect from future revenues, with interest.

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Washington, DC - May 4, 2010 - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) today signed onto legislation promoting transparency and openness in government in response to the Citizen's United Supreme Court decision in January. The DISCLOSE (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections) Act will require campaigns to release financial information to the public. The legislation was introduced by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mike Castle (R-DE), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Robert A. Brady (D-PA).

"We have an obligation to be open and honest with our constituents throughout the political process," Braley said. "This Supreme Court decision allows big corporations to spend unlimited treasury funds to advocate for or against candidates. I believe Iowans deserve to know who is financing their elected officials. This bill provides that transparency and access to information."

The key directives of the bill are:

  • Enhance requirements for disclosure of political spending
  • Require sponsors and funders of political ads to identify themselves
  • Strengthen prohibition on coordination of political activities
  • Prevent foreign influence on U.S. elections
  • Ban pay-to-play
    • Prevent government contractors from spending money on elections
    • Prevent corporate beneficiaries of TARP from spending money on elections

 

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Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) released the following statement today after attending a Congressional Committee hearing examining the safety and public sale of FEMA trailers. In 2008, after historic flooding in Iowa, it was discovered that more than 100 FEMA-provided trailers in Iowa were infected with mold. It was also reported the trailers contained high levels of formaldehyde.

In November of 2007, a federal court order suspended all sales of FEMA trailers until January 1, 2010. When the court order expired, FEMA sold over 100,000 trailers with warning labels indicating they were "not to be used for housing".

"With such a dismal record of providing unsafe housing, I am concerned about FEMA's sale of these units and how they will be used." Braley said. "I am not sure that the government should be selling trailers to the public that they have already been determined to pose risks to human health. It is important that we continue to examine this issue that has impacted hurricane victims in the Gulf Coast, as well as flooding victims in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest."

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Washington, DC - (Apr 28, 2008) Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) today voted to block a Congressional pay raise that would take effect on January 1, 2011.  The bill, H.R. 5146, will block the annual cost-of-living adjustment for members' salaries, saving taxpayers about one million dollars.

"Our nation is on the road to recovery after an historic economic crisis," Braley said.  "As Americans work to get back on their feet, our job in Congress is to strengthen the middle class and create jobs."

Congress' action today continues the pay freeze already in place for 2010. The Senate passed identical legislation last week.

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Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today Iowans can receive free tax filing services from the Internal Revenue Service. All taxpayers making less than $57,000 can visit http://braley.house.gov and use the IRS Free File Program link to complete their taxes.

"I'm happy to provide this service to my constituents," Braley said. "This program is a fast, free and safe way to complete federal taxes this season, and I encourage all who are eligible to take advantage of this opportunity. As our economy recovers, programs like this are crucial to providing middle class families with the financial assistance they need."

Free File is safe, secure and provides a step-by-step guide to filing federal tax returns. Additionally, those who use Free File with direct deposit may receive refunds in as little as 10 days.

To learn more about this service and to see a list of tax service centers in the First District, please visit http://braley.house.gov and click on the Free File link on the homepage.

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Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today Rachelle Szall of Bettendorf received an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Ms. Szall will enroll at the Academy in Fall 2010.

"I'm proud to announce that Rachelle Szall was accepted to the United States Air Force Academy," Braley said.  "I nominated Rachelle because of her excellent academic record and her outstanding character. Rachelle's qualifications are outstanding, and Iowa should be proud to have such an exceptional young person representing our state at one of America's finest service academies."

Szall will graduate from Bettendorf High School this spring.  She is the daughter of Christine and Richard Clopton.

Each year Congressman Braley nominates students to the military service academies.  Nominees must demonstrate upstanding character, academic achievement, physical fitness, and leadership skills.  A nominating committee comprised of community leaders reviews all applicants, with Congressman Braley recommending top candidates to the respective academies.  All nominated students may not receive appointments, as final acceptance decisions are made by the service academy.

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Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today the city of Davenport will receive a $983,300 grant from the Department of Energy for energy efficiency and conservation projects.  This funding is from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, which provides grants for projects that reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency across the country.  The grant was awarded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"I'm pleased to announce more than $983,000 to help create jobs and move Iowa towards a stronger energy-efficient future," Braley said.  "During these tough economic times, grants like this will play a critical role in putting Iowans back to work, creating good-paying jobs that can't be outsourced and moving our country away from our addiction to foreign oil."

Activities eligible for EECBG funding include energy audits and building retrofits in the residential and commercial sector, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements.

For more information on Stimulus projects in the First District, please click here.

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