Submits statement to House Ways and Means Committee calling for action to avoid uncertainty

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in calling on the House Ways and Means Committee to include a renewal of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy in upcoming tax legislation. As a cosponsor of the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act of 2011, Loebsack has pushed to end the current uncertainty caused by the approaching expiration of the credit and bring attention to the wind energy industry in Iowa.  He has visited numerous wind industry facilities throughout Iowa that create good jobs in the state and promote economic development.

"The wind industry is creating thousands of jobs across the country, supporting the work of hundreds of wind?related manufacturing facilities, and offering lease payments to thousands of farmers," the Congressmen expressed to the Ways and Means Committee leadership. "The uncertainty caused by the looming expiration of the credit is already hampering future industry growth. Given our expanding but still fragile economy, now is not the time to undermine these substantial public and private investments."

Earlier this year, Loebsack wrote to House Speaker John Boehner calling for action on the renewal of the PTC for wind energy.  A copy of the statement Loebsack and a bipartisan group of his colleagues submitted to the Ways and Means Committee for the hearing today, is below.

 

April 26, 2012

The Honorable Pat Tiberi

Chairman

U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures

106 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Richard Neal

Ranking Member

U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures

2208 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Tiberi and Ranking Member Neal:

As you evaluate tax provisions that either expired in 2011 or will expire in 2012, we write to highlight our belief that extension of the production tax credit is firmly in the national interest and a vital component of America's future competitiveness and we urge its inclusion the next available piece of tax legislation.

The wind industry is creating thousands of jobs across the country, supporting the work of hundreds of wind?related manufacturing facilities, and offering lease payments to thousands of farmers and ranchers. Thirty?eight states have utility?scale wind projects, powering more than 12 million homes. Wind energy drives the diversification of our energy supply and strengthens our resilience to energy related challenges, while improving our national energy security. Additionally, the more than 40,000 megawatts of wind power installed through 2010 annually avoids 83.5 million tons of carbon pollution.

The production tax credit, which enjoys broad support across regions and across the political spectrum, has underwritten many of these developments. In fact, there is a strong correlation to industry growth and the existence of the credit. In years following expiration of the credit, for instance, installations dropped between 79?93%, resulting in major job losses and lost opportunities. The uncertainty caused by the looming expiration of the credit is already hampering future industry growth. Given our expanding but still fragile economy, now is not the time to undermine these substantial public and private investments.

Thank you for your careful consideration of this incentive.

Sincerely,

 Dave Loebsack

###

Washington, D.C. - Congressmen Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Bobby Schilling (IL-17) today called on the Members in the House and Senate who are negotiating a comprehensive Highway Bill to prioritize funding for large interstate bridge projects, such as the I-74 Bridge.  Projects like the I-74 Bridge have a national significance and need dedicated federal support to move forward.  Loebsack and Schilling have worked in a bipartisan fashion on numerous previous efforts to stress the importance of the project for local economic growth.

"Large Interstate bridge projects may be some of the most effective investments since they not only put a variety of people and skill-sets to work, but have broad public and private use and economic benefit for the long-term when completed," wrote the Congressmen. "The much-needed replacement of the I-74 Bridge would not only create construction jobs, reduce traffic backups and aid commerce in traveling to and from our communities, but would - most importantly - improve safety for Americans traveling between Iowa and Illinois.  These projects are truly an investment in America's and each of our local communities' economies both today and for the future."

In 2005, the I-74 Bridge became the most traveled bridge in the Quad Cities with an average of 77,800 vehicles crossing daily.  This is despite the fact that it was built for 48,000 such crossings.  The Bridge itself is functionally obsolete, however, and has never met Interstate standards.  The I-74 Bridge project would also spur economic growth, create construction jobs, reduce traffic backups, and improve air quality.

A copy of the letter can be seen here.

###

Washington, D.C. - April 23, 2012 - Congressman Dave Loebsack (D, IA-2) today welcomed Quad City area veterans of World War II to Washington D.C. and presented them with copies of the Congressional Record statement he submitted honoring their service. The veterans traveled to Washington as part of the Honor Flight, which is an all expense paid trip for WWII veterans so that they can visit our nation's capital and the World War II Memorial that was built in their honor.

"The men and women, who I had the opportunity to meet with today, are truly members of the Greatest Generation," said Loebsack.  "We cannot thank them enough for their service to our state and nation.  It was a privilege for me to present them with a copy of the Congressional Record recognizing their service, and I was honored to be a small part of their trip to our nation's capital."

The honor flights are all fully paid for, and the veterans are typically accompanied by volunteers who donate their time to ensure that the veterans have a safe trip. This group included roughly 90 veterans. The Honor Flight left from Quad Cities Airport this morning and will return tonight.

Loebsack is an avid supporter of our veterans. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he has worked to increase veterans' health care and benefits funding by 70 percent and has worked to make sure that each and every veteran is treated with the dignity and honor that they deserve.

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today urged the House Republican leadership to swiftly bring up and pass legislation that will prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, on July 1st.  Loebsack is a cosponsor of H.R. 3826, which would ensure the increase does not occur.  If the increase were to go into effect, the average student borrower would have to pay an additional $1000.  Loebsack is a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, which has jurisdiction over this legislation.

"With tuition rising rapidly and far too many Iowans struggling to make ends meet, middle-class families are finding it more and more difficult to pay for college. I strongly believe that every student deserves the opportunity to attend college if they wish to pursue higher education," wrote Loebsack.  "I grew up in poverty, and I would not have had the opportunity to attend college without financial assistance. It is extremely important that we work to address student loan interest rates because without Congressional action, 7 million low- and middle-income families will be subject to a $6 billion interest rate hike."

As a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, Loebsack has championed numerous pieces of legislation to increase access to higher education, including:

  • College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) Loebsack helped craft and pass this legislation, which makes college more affordable and accessible for all Iowans by increasing the maximum Pell Grant scholarship and expanding eligibility;
  • Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, H.R. 3221 Loebsack was a cosponsor of this bill, which will save American taxpayers $61 billion by making the student loan process more efficient.  The bill further expanded the maximum Pell Grant available from $5,550 in 2010 to $5,975 in 2017, granting Iowa students more than $291 million for higher education. This bill was the largest single investment in student aid in America's history, and will make college more accessible, transform the way student loan programs operate and strengthens community colleges.

A copy of the letter Loebsack sent to the House Speaker and the Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee can be seen here.

###

WHO: Congressmen Dave Loebsack (IA-02), Bobby Schilling (IL-17), Illinois State Senator Darin LaHood, Illinois State Representative Rich Morthland, and staff with US Senator Mark Kirk

 

WHAT: Press conference featuring area officials urging the Illinois Department of Transportation to support of the Interstate 74 Bridge project

 

WHEN: Monday, April 23, 2012 at 8:00 am Central Standard Time

 

WHERE: Stoney Creek Inn - The Blackhawk Room, 101 18th Street, Moline IL, 61265

 

WHY: In 2005, the I-74 Bridge became the most traveled bridge in the Quad Cities with an average of 77,800 vehicles crossing daily.  This is despite the fact that it was built for 48,000 such crossings.  The Bridge itself is functionally obsolete, however, and has never met Interstate standards.

 

The Iowa Department of Transportation last year pledged $63 million for the project in its long-term transportation plan, and was intending to add an additional $114 million in a plan it is currently developing.  Recent news reports suggest that the Illinois Department of Transportation has not programmed funding for the Bridge's construction in its long-term transportation plan.

 

The I-74 Bridge project would create construction jobs, reduce traffic backups, and improve air quality.  With a project as big and as important as the Bridge, it is necessary for the region's local officials to come together in support of advancing the I-74 Bridge.

 

###

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today announced that he will tour two small businesses in Bettendorf on MONDAY, April 23rd at 1:00pm.  Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and Loebsack will see firsthand the products and goods that are made and sold in Iowa.  Details of his visit are below.  Media is invited to attend.

 

"What I hear time and again from small business owners here in Iowa is the same thing I hear from students, parents and educators: We must build and make things here at home again," said Loebsack.  "I am excited to meet with the owners and employees of these businesses to hear firsthand their ideas for growing our economy."

 

Small Business Tour

 

Terrostar Technology Solutions and Medix

3565 Utica Ridge Road

Bettendorf

1:00pm

 

###

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today urged the Iowa Department of Transportation to continue a plan for construction on the Iowa side of the I-74 bridge in the Quad Cities in light of the Illinois Department of Transportation's reported decision to not include this necessary project on their list of priorities. Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) is also sending a similar letter to the Illinois DOT.

 

"Having met and talked with many community leaders, businesses owners, and residents of the Quad Cities, I know that continued delay of this project will have significant negative effects on productivity, quality of life, and economic development for the region," wrote Loebsack.  "I am disappointed by this development and know this project is a priority for the Quad Cities.  I again respectfully urge you to work to find a way to ensure I-74 Bridge construction can move forward at a minimum on the Iowa side and work with ILDOT to express the importance of this project."

 

Previously, Loebsack has met with representatives from the Iowa DOT about the importance of the I-74 bridge.  He has also expressed the need to replace the bridge with the Secretary of Transportation, the Speaker of the House and has urged the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to take action.

 

A copy of the letter can be seen here.

 

###

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today applauded the U.S. Department of Education's announcement that they will focus on improving Career and Technical Education (CTE).  Loebsack has been a longtime supporter of CTE programs and is the sponsor of the SECTORS Act, which will retool and streamline our workforce development programs to train workers for specialized fields by creating partnerships between private industry and education. The Department of Education's proposal includes incentives for similar public-private partnerships.

 

"I continually hear from employers that despite the unacceptable unemployment rate, they can't find people with the skills they need.  We must ensure workers have the training they need to get good paying jobs and employers have access to a workforce that has the skills that are required in a 21st century economy," said Loebsack.  "Career and Technical Education has the potential to create jobs that will keep Iowa's young talent in the state and make American students more competitive in the global economy.  We should continue to focus on preparing students to secure good jobs and to help grow our economy."

 

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education program provides support for career and technical education through grants to states. The program's goal is to help students acquire the academic and technical skills that prepare them for high-skill, high-wage, high-demand occupations. In Iowa, Perkins provides support for career education in agricultural fields, business and information technology, industrial technology, and health occupations, among other fields.

 

###

Washington, D.C. - At a House Education and Workforce Committee hearing today, Congressman Dave Loebsack, and both Republican and Democratic witnesses, stressed the importance of incorporating his SECTORS Act or sector strategies into the majority's Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization that the Committee Majority is currently moving forward. Last month, legislation introduced by the minority included Loebsack's language to retool and streamline our workforce development programs to train workers for specialized fields by bringing together key players in our communities.  The Majority bill includes some support for sector strategies but needs significant improvements, which is why Loebsack urged them to work in a bipartisan fashion on improvements moving forward.

 

"Every weekend when I am back in Iowa, I speak with employers about the importance of this approach to grow our economy now and in the future," said Loebsack.  "We need to better organize training and education by bringing together all the critical people in the community, higher education, and management to determine how to save and create new industries and streamline the workforce system to get people the training they need to secure good jobs and the skills employers want."

 

To watch video of the hearing, click here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, released the following statement on Equal Pay Day, which is intended to bring attention to the inequality in pay between genders and marks how much longer a woman must work into 2012 to earn as much as a man earned in 2011. According to Census data, in 2011 women earned just 77 percent of what was earned by their male counterparts.

 

"Equal Pay is not a women's issue or a man's issue, it is a family issue.  In today's tough economy, Iowa's working families are pinching every penny just to make ends meet and in most families with children, both parents work.  It is now more critical than ever that our mothers, daughter, sisters and aunts receive the same pay for the same work as their male counterparts so our families do not have to sacrifice basic necessities.

 

"In the 49 years since the Equal Pay Act was first signed into law, substantial steps have been made in addressing the wage gap between men and women, but more must be done.  I was proud to help introduce the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored a women's right to challenge unfair pay. This legislation was signed into law by the President in January 2009.  I am also a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act that would not only give a much needed update to the Equal Pay Act, but it would also help working families by eliminating the wage gap.

 

"Standing up for equal pay benefits everyone - men, women and children. It also strengthens families across Iowa.  It is time we pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and eliminate the wage gap."

 

###

Pages