Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) met with Cedar Falls High School sophomore Emily Schroeder yesterday to congratulate her on winning the First District Congressional Art Competition. Schroeder visited Washington, DC with her family to attend a recognition ceremony and view her artwork hanging in the Capitol building.

"Emily is an outstanding artist with a very bright future," Braley said. "I'm glad she was able to visit Washington and be recognized with winners from around the country. She and her family were also able to visit the Capitol and see her artwork prominently displayed. I want to congratulate Emily and all the other finalists for their outstanding work.

An Artistic Discovery, the annual Congressional Art Competition, is open to all high school students. One winner is selected from each participating district. Four finalists were selected and their artwork will be displayed in Braley's office in Washington D.C. The six semi-finalists' work will be displayed in Braley's Iowa district offices.

A photo of Congressman Braley and Emily standing next to drawing is attached.

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Senate Democrats Unable to Overcome Republican Filibuster

Washington, DC - June 18, 2010 - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) released the following statement after the US Senate failed last night to pass the Biodiesel Tax Credit as part of the tax extenders package.  The bill fell when Senate Democrats were unable to overcome a Republican filibuster. All Senate Republicans and two Democrats voted against cloture.

"Six months after the House first passed the biodiesel tax credit extension, Republican obstructionism in the Senate is once again preventing hard-working Iowans from getting back to work," Braley said.  "It is completely inexcusable for Senate Republicans to play more political games while the hard-working employees of Iowa's biodiesel facilities remain out of work. I strongly encourage my colleagues in the Senate to put partisan politics aside, do their jobs and pass this tax credit as soon as possible."

Braley voted in December to extend the biodiesel tax credit. Although that legislation passed the House, the credit expired when the Senate failed to take action until March. The House voted again to renew the extension on May 28.

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Washington, DC - June 11, 2010 - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced the "Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on Liability Act" (SPILL Act) yesterday, a comprehensive bill addressing legal liability issues arising from the Gulf Coast oil spill. Braley visited Louisiana last weekend to participate in a Congressional field hearing on the local impact of the BP oil spill. Braley introduced the bill with Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Charlie Melancon (D-LA).

"As we continue working to stop the BP oil spill and clean up the disaster in its wake, we must also ensure the victims of this spill are fairly compensated for their trouble," Braley said. "At our field hearing in New Orleans, we saw firsthand that this spill is having a devastating impact on the families of the workers killed in the explosion, local fisherman and small businesses in the Gulf Coast.  BP keeps saying they will make this right and this bill will make sure they do just that. One of the few requests made by Natalie Roshto and Courtney Kemp, the widows who testified at our hearing, was that Congress take the necessary steps to strengthen these laws and ensure their husbands did not die in vain."

The SPILL Act amends grossly outdated legislation, clarifies rules for class action suits, prevents corporations from silencing victims and strengthens bankruptcy rules to ensure corporations are held accountable for their actions for both pending and future claims.

The SPILL ACT will:

· Amend the Death on the High Seas Act and the Jones Act, dating back to 1920, to ensure the families of those killed in maritime accidents, like the widows who testified in Rep. Braley's field hearing earlier this week, can recover damages such as pain and suffering and loss of care, comfort, and companionship

· Repeal the Limitation on Liability Act, dating back to 1851, which limits the liability of vessel owners to the value of the vessel and its cargo

· Clarify the class action rules so that impacted States can seek legal remedies in their own courts

· Specify that victims cannot be forced to waive their legal remedies or limit their right to speak out.  In previous hearings Braley discovered Transocean made these types of attempts following the Deepwater Horizon explosion

· Strengthen bankruptcy rules to prevent multibillion-dollar corporations responsible for widespread damages under the Oil Pollution Act from seeking to sever their assets in order to avoid compensating innocent victims

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Washington, DC - Congressmen Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) and Phil Hare (D-Ill.) sent a letter today to President Barack Obama and Admiral Thad Allen, urging them to fully evaluate the impact of the BP Oil Spill on Mississippi River shipping lanes. As oil continues to drift closer to the Southwest Passage, a critical shipping lane for farmers who rely on barge traffic to ship their crops overseas, Braley and Hare are concerned about the impact a slowdown in Mississippi River traffic could have on prices for farmers, producers and distributors.

"While current reports indicate that the major ports and shipping lanes are unaffected by the oil slick, and that there are precautions in place to remove oil from any affected vessels, past experience has shown that delays in traffic have had a drastic economic impact on regions beyond the Gulf of Mexico," the letter states. "Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the agricultural industry suffered sharp declines in the prices of commodities as a result of a traffic slowdown.  Access to the Mississippi is crucial to many of the businesses in our districts, and is critical to the agricultural industry who depends on barge shipping to get their products to the rest of the world at competitive costs."

Braley and Hare requested that the Obama Administration perform a full analysis on the potential economic impact that the Gulf oil spill could have on barge traffic along the Mississippi River, and the further effect on commerce and local economies along the Mississippi. Braley and Hare hope that an efficient and thorough study of the impact could help mitigate the cost of the spill for the agricultural industry in Iowa, Illinois and the rest of the Midwest.

The full text of the letter is attached.

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Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) will travel to the Gulf Coast Sunday to tour affected areas and participate in a Congressional field hearing on the BP oil spill. The hearing, entitled "Local Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill" will examine the effects of the disaster on communities and the environment in the Gulf Coast region.

"The oil spill in the Gulf Coast has had a tragic and disastrous impact on people's lives, the environment and the economy," Braley said. "As we work to learn more about what caused this, the worst environmental disaster in American history, and to develop preventive measures, it's important we see the damage firsthand to learn the full extent of this crisis."

The hearing will take place in Chalmette, Louisiana on Monday morning. Members will hear testimonies from witnesses including the President of the Institute of Marine Mammal Services, Vice President of the Dauphin Island Chamber of Commerce, and the President of the Louisiana Shrimp Association.

Prior to the hearing, Braley will tour local beaches that have been impacted by the oil spill and view the clean-up efforts. After the hearing, Braley will fly over the well site with the United States Coast Guard and view the impacted area from above.

Braley discussed his trip with WQAD on Thursday. View the interview here.

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Washington, DC - May 20, 2010 - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) participated in a follow up hearing today examining the response of Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to the problem of sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. As Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Braley questioned NHTSA Administrator David Strickland and President and COO of Toyota USA, James Lentz.  Braley's opening statement, as submitted for the record, is attached.

"At our February hearing, I raised questions about the work of Exponent, which Toyota hired to conduct an analysis of its electronic throttle control system with an unlimited budget, and about the financial relationship between Toyota and Exponent and its predecessor, Failure Analysis Associates," Braley said in an opening statement submitted to the record. "Unfortunately, it appears that Exponent has failed to conduct a comprehensive investigation of Toyota's electronic throttle control system, and has instead focused its time and resources on attempting to discredit the work of Southern Illinois University Professor David Gilbert, who testified at our last hearing that he was able to induce sudden unintended acceleration in a Toyota vehicle without the vehicle's computer recording the event through a diagnostic trouble code.

"I'm seriously concerned about Toyota and Exponent's ongoing failure to conduct a credible investigation of Toyota electronics, and by reports that Toyota may have sought to develop a PR campaign to discredit Dr. Gilbert and Sean Kane, who also testified before the Subcommittee in February."

Video of Braley's opening statement, as delivered, is available here.

Video of Braley's questioning of Toyota USA President and COO James Lentz is available here.

Video of Braley questioning NHTSA Administrator David Strickland is available here and here.

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Video Available: Congressional hearing examines cause of catastrophic disaster in Gulf Coast

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) participated today in a hearing examining the cause of the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf Coast. As Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Braley questioned leaders of the companies involved, including BP America, Inc.,Transocean Limited, Halliburton and Cameron International.  Braley's opening statement, as submitted for the record, is attached.

"These are the questions I want answers to," Braley said in his opening statement. "How did this happen? Why did this happen? Who is responsible? Most importantly, what have we learned? What are we?Congress?going to do and what are we prepared to do to make sure this never happens again? Finally, who will bear the cost? Because despite the assurances we received at the briefing from Secretary [Ken] Salazar and others that BP has made repeated assurances to stand the full cost of this recovery, some of the actions that are taking place in response to this catastrophe would give us the indication otherwise. And that's why, as we look at these serious issues, I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses in answering those questions."

Watch Braley's opening statement here.

Watch Braley's first round of questioning here.

Last week, Braley introduced the Big Oil Company Bailout Prevention Act with Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) to ensure that taxpayers are protected from paying for the disastrous effects of this 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 legislation would raise the cap to $10 billion and would also eliminate the current $500 million cap on natural resources damages.  This legislation is critical to ensuring that if big oil companies are responsible for a disaster, big oil companies pay for the clean-up and damage.

Braley also introduced legislation, along with Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), to establish an independent, nonpartisan commission to investigate the causes and impact of the explosion and uncontrolled release of oil into the Gulf of Mexico that will ultimately affect the seafood industry, tourism, and the environment.

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Washington, DC - In light of recent revelations about Goldman Sachs' actions leading up to the financial collapse of 2008, Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) signed on to two letters urging the Securities and Exchange Commission and Attorney General Eric Holder to hold Goldman Sachs accountable for its role in creating the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

"For too long, reckless speculators on Wall Street gambled away the savings of America's middle class families," Braley said. "To ensure this never happens again, I'm joining my colleagues in asking the SEC and Attorney General Eric Holder to hold all responsible parties accountable and make sure they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. While we can't get every dime of every retirement, college or savings account back, we can certainly make sure that greedy Wall Street speculators understand the full consequence of their actions."

On Friday, Braley joined Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) and 60 other Members of Congress in urging Holder to pursue all appropriate criminal charges against those involved in fraudulent activity at Goldman Sachs and other institutions. Today, Braley joined Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Elijah Cummings (MD-07), Dennis Cardoza (CA-18) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD-AL), along with 56 other Members of Congress, in sending a letter to SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro. The letter asks her to pursue investigations into the remaining 24 ABACUS transactions for securities fraud, evaluate the extent of any receipt, by Goldman Sachs, of fraudulently-generated AIG-issued credit default swap payments, and vigorously pursue the recovery of such payments on behalf of the U.S. taxpayer.

The full text of both letters are attached.


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Includes Funding for VA in National Health Service Corps, a Key Braley Effort

Washington, DC?Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) voted today to pass the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, a bill that provides support for family who care for disabled veterans, enhances health services for 1.8 million women veterans, expands mental health services and access to care in rural areas and relieves financial burdens for veterans who are catastrophically disabled. The legislation passed today includes a key provision, championed by Braley in the House, to include Veterans Administration facilities in the National Health Service Corps.

"In my office there is no higher priority than helping veterans and military families receive the compensation, benefits, and other services they have earned," Braley said. "I'm proud that the bill we passed today includes language reflective of the Veterans Access to Care Act, a bill I introduced to make VA facilities eligible for National Health Service Corps funding. The VA is facing an increased and unprecedented demand for medical services today as aging World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans require more medical care and thousands of veterans are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious physical and mental health needs.

"These key provisions in the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act will allow the VA to recruit more qualified mental health professionals, doctors, dentists and nurses to treat our nation's veterans by competing for National Health Service Corps funding and ensuring our veterans have access to the care they have not only earned, but also the high-quality care they deserve."

The legislation passed today will direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to transfer $20 million to the Department of Health and Human Services to include facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs on the list of facilities eligible for assignment of participants in the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program.

Additionally, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act will provide support services to family and other caregivers of veterans, including health care and a stipend for caregivers living with severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, education about how to be a better caregiver, counseling and mental health services and respite care for family and other caregivers.

The bill also improves health care for veterans living in rural areas by expanding transportation for veterans to local VA hospitals and clinics through VA grants to local Veterans Service Organizations and expands VA health care services for women, providing up to seven days of care for newborn children and enhancing treatment for victims of sexual trauma.

For more information, visit http://Braley.House.gov.



Washington, DC - Members of the House Populist Caucus, the House Trade Working Group, and the Progressive Caucus introduced today the American Jobs First Platform, four pieces of legislation designed to put struggling Americans back to work and on a level playing field with workers in other countries.  Caucus Chairs Bruce Braley (IA-01), Mike Michaud (ME-02), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07) and Lynn Woolsey (CA-06) announced the platform in a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

"As you know, the recession has been devastating to American workers," the letter states. "Despite some recent improvements, the unemployment rate remains high and hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their jobs last year.  We commend and thank you for your strong leadership during these tough economic times, but we believe that we can do more to put Americans back to work and to put them on a level playing field with workers in other countries.

"Unfortunately, free trade agreements (FTAs) like NAFTA and CAFTA have decimated the American manufacturing sector, caused the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs, and contributed to our current economic and unemployment problems.  However, despite the detrimental effects of our current trade policy, both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration have attempted to push forward with more of the same, including Bush-negotiated FTAs with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea."

The following Members signed on as supporters of the American Jobs First Platform: Bruce Braley (IA-01), Mike Michaud (ME-02), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07), Lynn Woolsey (CA-06), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Bob Filner (CA-51), Gene Green (TX-29), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-02), Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-13), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Tim Ryan (OH-17), Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Phil Hare (IL-17), Steve Kagen (WI-08), David Loebsack (IA-01), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Betty Sutton (OH-13), Larry Kissell, (NC-08), Tom Perriello (VA-05), Chellie Pingree (ME-02).

The American Jobs First Platform consists of the following four bills introduced in the 111th Congress that would require the United States to make an honest and comprehensive assessment of our current trade policies and set us on a path towards a new, improved model for trade agreements, reducing the trade deficit, and reinvigorating American manufacturing:

· H.R. 3012, the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act, would require a comprehensive GAO review of existing major trade pacts and spell out what must be included in trade agreements, including core standards on labor, the environment, food and product safety, agriculture, human rights, currency anti-manipulation, national security, procurement, and investment, and also what must not be included in FTAs, including Buy American bans, anti-sweatshop rule bans, and new rights for foreign investors to promote offshoring.  The bill also ensures strong enforcement of these standards, and would require the President to submit renegotiation plans for current trade agreements so that they include these core provisions before Congressional consideration of additional agreements.  We believe this bill would help reverse the negative effects of job-killing trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA and would ensure that both our current and future trade agreements are fair and put American workers on a level playing field.

· H.R. 1875, the End the Trade Deficit Act, would establish the Emergency Commission to End the Trade Deficit to document the causes and consequences of the trade deficit and to develop a plan to eliminate the trade deficit within the next 10 years.  This bill would also place a moratorium on new FTAs until the Commission has issued a final report and Congress has conducted hearings on the Commission recommendations to end the trade deficit.  The elimination of the trade deficit by 2019 would support millions of additional U.S. manufacturing jobs.

· H.R. 4692, the National Manufacturing Strategy Act would require the Administration to convene an interagency Manufacturing Strategy Task Force to examine the current domestic and international environment for U.S. manufacturing and to develop a National Manufacturing Strategy that includes recommendations to sustain and increase employment, increase global competitiveness, and increase resilience to global economic trends in the U.S. manufacturing sector.  This bill seeks to proactively create and sustain good American manufacturing jobs.

· H.R. 4678, the Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act would require foreign manufacturers doing business in the U.S. to identify a registered agent authorized to accept service of process on behalf of the manufacturer.  Registering an agent would constitute an acceptance of jurisdiction of the state in which the agent is located.