Sends letter to Securities and Exchange Commission, urging crackdown on bonuses

Waterloo, Iowa - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) sent a letter today to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro expressing outrage over the recently announced excessive Wall Street compensation and benefits.  This week, it was reported that Wall Street firms are expected to award $144 billion in bonuses to their executives.

"While our economy is still struggling to get back on its feet, I believe that such excessive compensation in an industry that contributed to our financial collapse is unconscionable," states Braley's letter.  The letter also states, "I firmly believe these firms could put these funds to better use as investment capital to assist small businesses, for job creation, and to put our economy back on track."

Braley urged Chairwoman Schapiro to expedite strict regulations to protect shareholders, consumers and investors, by cracking down on these excessive bonuses.  Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Braley supported, the SEC is instructed to create regulations that give shareholders more say over executive bonuses, increase the transparency of those bonuses, and allow for companies and shareholders to recover excessive executive bonuses under certain circumstances.

Braley's letter is below:

October 15, 2010

The Honorable Mary L. Schapiro

Chairwoman

Security and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549

Dear Chairwoman Schapiro,

I'm writing to express serious concerns over recent media reports suggesting Wall Street firms are on track to provide $144 billion in compensation and benefits, which is a record high for a second consecutive year.  While our economy is still struggling to find its feet, I believe that such excessive compensation in an industry that contributed to our financial collapse is unconscionable.

For the past several years, I have urged Secretary Geithner and the Administration to crack down on excessive compensation and provide accountability for the use of taxpayer funds.  I've also called on Attorney General Holder to investigate the potential criminal misuse of funds by AIG to provide bonuses to many of their most senior executives.  In Congress, I have worked hard to provide accountability for consumers and investors and I supported strong regulations in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to provide transparency and executive accountability to their investors as a means of reigning in risky decisions in pursuit of short term profits.

With the authority under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, I urge you to expedite the issuance of strict regulations to protect investors and consumers and ensure that any compensation provided by these firms is warranted and not harmful to investor or consumers.  Furthermore, as some of the drivers of the economic collapse, I firmly believe these firms could put these funds to better use as investment capital to assist small businesses, for job creation, and to put our economy back on track.

Once again, I urge you to expedite the regulations contained in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and to ensure strong protections for shareholders, consumers and investors from such irresponsible executive compensation.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Bruce Braley

Member of Congress

Bill to Simplify Public Documents Now Becomes Law

Washington, DC -Rep. Bruce Braley's (D-Iowa) announced today President Barack Obama signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010 (H.R. 946) into law late Wednesday afternoon. The bill, introduced by 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.  The bill's final version passed the House by a vote of 341-82. Earlier this week, it received unanimous consent in the Senate.

"The Plain Writing Act requires a simple change 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," Braley said.  "This bill shows what bipartisanship can accomplish when we put aside our differences and work together for the common good. Writing government documents in plain language will increase government accountability and will save Americans time and money.  Plain, straightforward language makes it easy for taxpayers to understand what the federal government is doing and what services it is offering."

Braley visited the VA in Bettendorf on Tuesday to highlight the work already underway at the Veterans Benefits Administration, which is one of few federal agencies to track the use of Plain Language in federal documents. After rewriting just one letter asking beneficiaries to update their contact information in Plain Language, the VBA say responses climb 75 percent, saving the VA approximately $8 million in follow-up costs.

The Plain Writing Act requires the federal government to write new publications, forms, and publicly distributed documents in a "clear, concise, well-organized" manner that follows the best practices of plain language writing.

After the bill passed the House in February, Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) placed a hold on the bill for months, so Braley requested a meeting with him in June. After making minor changes, Bennett lifted his hold and the bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent.

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Washington, DC - Congressman Braley will meet with employers and workers in Davenport, Clinton and Dubuque to discuss employees who have been called back to work or found new jobs because of the Back to Work Act. Braley's Back to Work tax credit was signed into law in March. Between February and June 2010, Iowa businesses hired more than 53,733 workers who qualified for the tax credit.

Due to facility restrictions, media are not allowed on the tour in Clinton, but are invited to attend a media availability following the tour.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5

WHAT: Rep. Braley to meet with workers and representatives from the United Auto Workers Local #94 and Dubuque Area Building Trades. They will discuss the Back to Work Extension Act.

WHEN: 10:00 AM CDT

WHERE: UAW Local #94 Office

3450 Central Ave

Dubuque, Iowa

 

WHAT: Rep. Braley to tour TMK-IPSCO plant in Camanche and will discuss the Back to Work Extension Act.

WHEN: Media availability at 12:45 PM CDT

WHERE: TMK-IPSCO

2011 7th Ave

Camanche, Iowa

Please enter plant through the main office entrance

 

WHAT: Rep. Braley to meet with workers and representatives from the Carpenters Union Local #4 and the Tri-City Building Trades to discuss the Back to Work Extension Act

WHEN: 2:00 PM CDT

WHERE: Carpenters Local #4 Hall

6623 West Kimberly Road

Davenport, Iowa

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Transloading facility will make QC more marketable to clean energy investments

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today nearly $6.8 million for a new transloading facility in Davenport.  The award was granted to the City of Davenport and the Greater Davenport Redevelopment Corporation by the Economic Development Administration.

"As we continue to rebuild our economy, these infrastructure projects are key to creating jobs and stimulating private investment," Braley said. "This transloading facility will allow the Quad Cities to provide enhanced utilities and reliable rail access, allowing Eastern Iowa to attract new clean energy investments that bring high-skill, high-wage jobs to the our communities."

This EDA investment funds construction of a new transload facility, including all road, rail, water and sewer infrastructure, at the 114-acre, Interstate 80 airport industrial park.

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Will Tour ADM corn-based plastic factory

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) will visit ADM's corn-based plastic facility in Clinton today to discuss the importance of a strong manufacturing economy in America.  Earlier this month, President Obama signed the US Manufacturing Enhancement Act, part of House Democrats' Make it in America national manufacturing strategy.

Last week, Braley visited Sivyer Steel in Bettendorf and the UNI Metal Casting Center in Cedar Falls to discuss the work he has been doing to strengthen America's manufacturing industry.

Details of Braley's visits are below.

MONDAY, August 23

WHAT: Rep. Braley tours ADM corn-based plastic facility, discusses importance of manufacturing in America                       

WHEN:           Media Availability at 11:00 am  

WHERE:          Main gate, 410 18th Avenue South, Clinton

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Braley will attend ceremonies in Clinton, Cedar Falls and tour damage in Olin, Oxford Junction

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) will make stops in Iowa's First District this week during the Congressional recess. Braley will attend send-off ceremonies for members of Iowa's National Guard being deployed overseas. This is the largest deployment of Iowa's soldiers since World War II, affecting more than 30 Iowa communities.

Braley will also tour flood damage in Olin and Oxford Junction and discuss recovery efforts with local officials. Braley has visited more than a dozen communities affected by last week's historic flooding. Iowans can visit http://braley.house.gov/disasterrelief for information and sign up for e-mail updates on recovery action.

MONDAY, August 2

WHAT: Rep. Braley tours flood damage in Olin.

WHEN: 11:45am CST

WHERE: Tour begins at Olin Fire Station, 105 West Cleveland Street, Olin

WHAT: Rep. Braley tours flood damage in Oxford Junction.

WHEN: 12:30pm CST

WHERE: Tour begins at Fire Station, 201 Main Street, Oxford Junction

WHAT: Rep. Braley attends National Guard send-off ceremony.

WHEN: 2:00pm CDT

WHERE: Iowa National Guard Armory, 1200 13th Avenue North, Clinton

TUESDAY, August 3

WHAT: Rep. Braley attends National Guard send-off ceremony.

WHEN: 10:00am CST

WHERE: UNI Dome, Cedar Falls

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Iowa will receive additional $12.5 million, more than 46 other states

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley announced today the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) handed down a rule delivering new Medicare payments for Iowa hospitals. The funding was secured by Braley with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Obama Administration officials during late night negotiations before the final health care vote. Under the rule announced today, Iowa hospitals will receive $12.5 million in additional Medicare reimbursements, or 8.3 percent of the available funds. Only New York and Virginia will receive more money as part of these negotiations.

"The announcement of these funds is a big step in the right direction to finally rewarding Iowa's doctors for the care they provide," Braley said.  "For decades, Iowa's doctors have been punished for no reason other than geography. The new CMS rule announced today is the first step toward ending harmful geographic disparities and reforming our Medicare system so it finally rewards quality of care instead of the quantity of procedures performed. We still have a lot of work to do and I look forward to working closely with Secretary Sebelius to ensure we fully implement all the provisions she guaranteed during the late-night health care negotiations."

Braley negotiated a compromise adding language to the health care reform 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 to reform Medicare reimbursement rates that do not qualify for reconciliation under the Byrd Rule. The Senate bill previously only provided a Medicare reimbursement fix for doctors.

The House reconciliation package maintained automatic implementation of a value index as part of the reimbursement structures for doctors, beginning in 2015.  This language was secured in the Senate bill with the help of Harkin and is based on Braley's Medicare Payment Improvement Act, introduced in June 2009. Under the fixes secured in the Senate bill and House reconciliation package, Iowa doctors will see five percent increases in current Medicare reimbursement rates in both 2010 and 2011.

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Washington, DC - July 29, 2010 - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) secured $20 million in Community Development Block Grants late Thursday night for Midwest Flood Recovery efforts. Braley introduced the amendment as part of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill after visiting First District communities devastated by record flooding last weekend.

"The floods last weekend devastated homes and small businesses in Iowa," Braley said. "I am fully dedicated to helping my constituents rebuild, and am happy to have secured funds that will be critical to the recovery process. Iowans are strong and resilient, and this money will help them achieve a speedy and successful recovery. The CDBG funds I've secured are more flexible than other federal funding streams and, hopefully, will provide critical assistance to homeowners and small businesses in the First District."

Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa), chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, spoke in support of Braley's amendment during debate on the House floor tonight.

Braley's amendment provides a $20 million increase in Community Development Block Grant funding to assist communities in the Midwest affected by the flooding. This funding will be offset by decreasing funds for non-personnel expenses within the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For more information about flood recovery in Iowa's First District, visit http://Braley.house.gov/disasterrelief.

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Will update information in real time, provide assistance to Iowans

NOTE: Updated times for Davenport and Buffalo events

Washington, DC - After a weekend of historic flood levels in the First District, Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) unveiled a new website to keep constituents up to date as flood relief moves forward. Constituents can click on the Disaster Relief link on Braley's home page, or go to www.braley.house.gov/disasterrelief to find helpful resources and information that will be updated with new information about federal assistance as it becomes available.

Braley spent the day traveling across the First District to meet with local officials about the historic flood levels impacting several communities. Braley is visiting nine towns and cities to receive briefings, survey the damage and hear from constituents about the help they need to rebuild their homes and small businesses.

"Many communities across Iowa are still recovering from the Floods of 2008," Braley said. "Rising flood waters are wreaking havoc across Eastern Iowa and I want Iowans to know that my office is here to help. Since Friday night, I have been in close contact with officials from Speaker Pelosi's office, the White House, FEMA and other agencies that will likely be involved in federal assistance efforts. We are doing everything we can to ensure Iowa's families receive the assistance they need to rebuild after yet another summer of record flooding.

"We are currently in the process of acquiring a federal disaster declaration. In the meantime, our primary focus is maintaining the safety and security of families near the flood zones and providing immediate disaster assistance. As we move forward, my office will continue to coordinate efforts and do everything we can to assist the families who have been impacted.  My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by these overwhelming swells."

The list of towns Braley is visiting today is below. Friday night, Braley visited local officials in Manchester.  On Saturday, Braley visited the Lake Delhi dam, Independence and Monticello.

8:00 CDT

Braley to visit Anamosa, meet with local officials about flooding

Tapkin's Convenience Store

Corner of South Elm Street and Cemetery Road, Anamosa, Iowa

8:45 CDT

Braley to visit Olin, meet with local officials about flooding

Olin Fire Station

105 West Cleveland Street, Olin Iowa

9:30 CDT

Braley to visit Monticello, meet with local officials about flooding

Monticello City Public Works Building

Corner of Hwy 38 and 11th Street,  Monticello, Iowa

10:30 CDT

Braley to tour Lake Delhi Dam site, meet with local officials

Meet on north side of dam on County Road X31.  You must approach the bridge from the north.  There is no way to cross at that point from the south.

12:00 CDT

Braley to visit Manchester, meet with local officials about flood recovery efforts

Maquoketa River bridge

Corner of River Street and Main Street, Manchester , Iowa

1:00 CDT

Braley to visit Dyersville, meet with local officials about flood recovery efforts

Meet at 1st Ave bridge

Corner of 1st Ave East and 1st Street SW, Dyersville, Iowa

3:00 CDT

Braley to visit Maquoketa, meet with local officials about flooding

Meet at corner North Main and North Street, Maquoketa, Iowa

UPDATED

5:00 CDT

Braley to visit Davenport, meet with local officials about flooding

Meet in downtown Davenport at corner of Brady Street and East River Drive, Davenport, Iowa

6:00 CDT

Braley to visit Buffalo, meet with local officials about flooding

Clark's Landing Restaurant

Corner of West Front Street and Jefferson Street, Buffalo, Iowa

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Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today a total of $5.1 million in grants for cities in Iowa's First District. The grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and will be used to stimulate the local housing markets.  

"These grants invest in eastern Iowa's economic future at a very critical time," Braley said. "As Iowa continues to recover from the economic downturn, investing in the housing market and Iowa's local economies is key to achieving successful growth. This grant will directly benefit middle class families in Iowa and help our local economies get back on track."

The Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program is sponsored by HUD and aims to develop housing and expand economic opportunities specifically for low to moderate-income workers.  The HOME grant program helps expand housing available to low and very low-income families by providing grants that meet local needs and priorities.

The grants will be distributed as follows:

CDBG

Davenport          $1,883,503

Waterloo             $1,507,033

Cedar Falls          $335,659

HOME

Davenport          $713,195

Waterloo             $673,556

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