Iowa's Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program exhausted nearly $2.8 million in one day

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) sent a letter today urging Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to include funding for clean energy appliance rebate programs in any jobs legislation considered by the House.  The State of Iowa exhausted nearly $2.8 million in Recovery Act for a similar program on the first day of accepting applications. Braley was an original cosponsor of Cash for Clunkers, an extremely popular rebate program introduced last summer to exchange old, gas-guzzling cars for newer, energy efficient ones.  The program provided a much-needed shot in the arm for small auto dealers, auto part manufacturers and automobile manufacturers across Iowa and America.

"Yesterday the state of Iowa opened up applications for the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program," Braley wrote. "The state received almost $2.8 million in funding for this program from last year's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Because of overwhelming response, all $2,775,150 in approved federal stimulus funds had been exhausted by the end of the program's first day.

"Because of the extreme popularity of the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, I encourage you to include in any jobs package a second round of funding for energy efficient appliance incentives. Increased funding would help put even more people back to work doing things such as manufacturing appliances or setting up new heating and cooling systems.

"Additionally, this program will help Americans pinched by the recent downturn in the economy. It is estimated that energy efficient appliances can save households up to $400 per year and add value to their properties. At the same time, it will help cut down on our use of fossil fuels, which leads to energy independence and security."

Back to Work Act will benefit small businesses that hire workers who have been unemployed for more than 60 days

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced legislation today that will spur small business job creation by creating a payroll tax cut for small business owners who hire previously unemployed workers. The Back to Work Act will exempt small businesses from paying the employer's share of the social security tax for the rest of 2010 if they hire workers who have been unemployed for more than 60 days prior to employment. The Back to Work Act is similar to bipartisan legislation proposed by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

"It goes without saying that America's small businesses are the backbone of our economy," Braley said. "As we continue to develop policies to strengthen our economy and put America's middle class families back to work, small business development will be one of the keys to our success.  This payroll tax cut is win-win, giving small business owners the help they need to create good-paying jobs for unemployed workers."

The Back to Work Act provides small business owners with greater incentives to hire workers for long-term positions, providing additional tax incentives for businesses that retain employees for 52 consecutive weeks. The payroll tax cut provides greater incentive for employers to move quickly to hire new workers because the credit expires at the end of the year.  The sooner employees are hired, the more time small business owners have to benefit from the credit.

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Audio Available: New Era Expansion Act will invest in clean energy job training

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo) introduced legislation today to authorize the Secretary of Labor to invest in clean energy job training at Iowa's community colleges. The New Era Expansion Act would build on the success of Braley's New Era Act of 2007, which established a recurring grant program at the US Department of Agriculture to provide grants to community colleges and advanced training facilities that train the next generation of agricultural-based energy professionals.

"Investing in clean energy job training is an important step to preparing Iowa's workforce for the 21st Century economy," Braley said. "In this difficult economic climate, legislation like this is key to generating job opportunities for Iowa's middle class families.

"The New Era Expansion Act allows Iowa to continue to lead the way in clean energy production by creating a workforce education program in clean energy technology.  This bill is an important step toward equipping our state's workforce with the skills they need to fill clean energy production and manufacturing jobs that are being created throughout Iowa and the Midwest."

The New Era Expansion Act would authorize the Secretary of Labor to award grants to community colleges so they can establish a grant program for community colleges to start wind energy and energy efficient construction workforce training programs.

Under the bill, the Department of Labor would be charged with overseeing the implementation and scope of the training program.  Funding for the program would be determined through Congressional appropriations to the Department of Labor to satisfy the demand for and requirements of the program.

In his recent budget, President Obama requested $85 million for the Department of Labor to prepare more than 120,000 workers for work in the clean energy sector by June of 2012.

In the first year of the original New Era program, Braley was able to secure $276,318 in two-year grants from the New Era Rural Technology Competitive Grant Program for Eastern Iowa Community College and Hawkeye Community College.

Audio of Braley's weekly reporter conference call is available here.

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Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) cosponsored legislation today to allow individuals who make charitable contributions to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti to claim deductions in 2009. Braley joins Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI), Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) in support of this effort.

"The outpouring of support and generosity toward our neighbors in Haiti has been overwhelming and inspiring," Braley said. "In times of tragedy, Americans have always risen to help others in their greatest hour of need. This legislation not only provides a benefit to Iowans who have already donated their hard-earned money, but also an added incentive for those considering their ability to make a contribution."

Read the full text of the legislation here.

In 2005, Congress passed similar legislation for those who made contributions to the Indian Ocean tsunami relief efforts.


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Guardian Glass will receive Recovery Act tax credit to re-equip manufacturing facility

Washington, DC - Rep Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today Guardian Glass will receive a $900,000 Recovery Act Advanced Energy tax credit to re-equip their manufacturing facility in DeWitt.  The tax credit will expand Iowa's clean energy economy by allowing the DeWitt facility to expand its production of bent solar mirrors.

"As we continue to work our way out of the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, expanding our investments in clean energy manufacturing jobs are the key to real recovery," Braley said. "These are high-quality jobs that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and strengthen Iowa's role in the 21st century economy."

The project at Guardian will modify and enhance the existing mirror line to enable the facility to mirror glass in a single throughput on the production line, while at the same time achieving a multi-layer specialized paint coating to protect and preserve the reflective layers of copper and silver. Preservation of these reflective layers is critical to the achievement of long service lives of highly reflective solar mirrors.

For more information about Recovery Act projects in the First District, click here.



Washington, DC - In response to news that a long-standing cable dispute could leave 300,000 Iowans without Orange Bowl coverage, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski today encouraging him to step in and protect the interests of Iowa's families before January 5. In a game of significant importance to Iowans, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes will play the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Orange Bowl as part of the Bowl Championship Series.

"On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of constituents in my district who would be affected by the Sinclair-Mediacom retransmission rights negotiations, I write to solicit the FCC to protect my constituents and the public good," Braley wrote. "The January 5th Orange Bowl, in which the University of Iowa is playing their championship game with Georgia Tech, is on FOX.  Mediacom's broadcast area is highly populated with the fans and alumni of the University of Iowa, and hundreds of thousands of Iowans stand to lose their chance to watch their team in the Orange Bowl if the FCC does not take action to referee the Mediacom-Sinclair dispute.

"I do not write to ask the FCC to take sides in this contentious negotiation.  Rather, I ask that the FCC step in and take the appropriate actions to protect the public interest in the event that Mediacom and Sinclair are unable to come to terms on a retransmission consent agreement."

Sinclair Broadcasting Group is currently renegotiating their retransmission rights with Mediacom Communications Corporation.  A similar retransmission negotiation failed to reach a compromise back in 2007 and resulted in Mediacom customers losing Sinclair's Cedar Rapids based CBS station and Des Moines based FOX station. Local media reports have indicated that parties involved are pessimistic that a deal will be reached prior to January 5.

Braley joined other members of the Iowa delegation in sending a letter to Genachowski on November 23.  A full text of the letter Braley sent is attached.


(Waterloo, IA) - Congressman Bruce Braley will host the 5th Annual Bruce, Blues and BBQ this Sunday, November 15th from 2:00-3:30 pm at the UAW Hall Local 838 in Waterloo, Iowa. The Honorable Tom Vilsack will be the keynote speaker at the event. The event is open to the public.

For ticket information or to learn more about the BBQ, visit or call (319) 290-6516.

WHAT: 5th Annual Bruce, Blues and BBQ with the Honorable Tom Vilsack

WHEN: Sunday, November 15th from 2:00 pm until 3:30 pm

WHERE: UAW Hall Local 838, 2615 Washington Street, Waterloo, IA

CONTACT: Caitlin Legacki @ 919.442.8098

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Will also discuss importance of flu prevention at Flu Free QC Event

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) will head back to the 1st District Monday for a series of events to highlight the positive impact health care reform will have on Iowa's families, seniors and medical providers.  Braley voted to pass the Affordable Health Care for America Act Saturday.  The bill passed the House by a vote of 220-215.

Monday morning, Braley will visit students at Davenport's Eisenhower Elementary School to discuss the importance of flu prevention.

Later, Braley will meet with hospital administrators in Bettendorf and Clinton to discuss Medicare reimbursement reforms included in the health care reform bill that will finally pay Iowa's medical providers for the high-quality, low-cost care they currently provide.


WHAT: Congressman Bruce Braley to discuss importance of flu prevention with students at Flu Free QC event

WHEN: 11:00a.m. CST

WHERE: Eisenhower Elementary School, 2827 Jersey Ridge Road, Davenport

WHAT: Congressman Bruce Braley to hold press availability following meeting with hospital administrators to discuss Medicare

reimbursement reforms.

WHEN: 2:15pm CST

WHERE: Trinity Medical Center, Terrace Park Campus, 4500 Utica Ridge, Bettendorf

WHAT: Congressman Bruce Braley to hold press availability following meeting with hospital administrators to discuss Medicare

reimbursement reforms.

WHEN: 4:00pm CST

WHERE: Mercy Medical Center, 1410 N 4th St, Clinton

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced legislation today that would make it easier for veterans to obtain the benefits they deserve. The Compensation for Combat Veterans Act would eliminate requirements within the Veterans Administration stipulating that soldiers injured in combat zones must provide official military documentation proving they were injured in a specific battle before qualifying for disability benefits.

"Common sense doesn't have to be lost in the fog of war," Braley said. "If an American veteran has been injured in a combat zone, they shouldn't have to worry about proving their injuries occurred while serving our country in a specific battle.  The Compensation for Combat Veterans Act would remove the bureaucratic red tape at the VA that currently delays wounded warriors from getting the disability benefits they deserve."

VA documentation barriers often cause unnecessary delays in providing veterans with the benefits they deserve and, in some cases, prevent combat veterans from receiving compensation for their disabilities altogether.  Currently, injured veterans must produce combat medals, unit reports, or even news reports as "official documentation" of their involvement in a battle before they're awarded benefits.

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