Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack recently introduced legislation that will target rural schools to ensure they have access to the latest digital learning technologies.  The Schools of the Future Act will provide grants to transform the typical classroom experience into one that is more student-centered and provides teachers with more accurate information and feedback on student progress so that they can better address the needs of struggling students. Loebsack is co-chair of the bipartisan Rural Education Caucus.

"Technology has the power to vastly expand the educational options available to students in rural areas, providing students with a cutting-edge 21st Century education regardless of geography," said Loebsack.  "Digital technology holds great potential for rural schools, which often have trouble recruiting and retaining teachers and offering a variety of electives or advanced coursework."

This legislation builds off of the work already being done in Iowa.  For example, the Iowa Department of Education is working with the University of Iowa to develop the Iowa Online Advance Placement Academy to deliver Advanced Placement courses to high school students across the state, particularly rural and small schools that may not have the capacity to provide these courses themselves, using online technology. The Iowa Department of Education also runs Iowa Learning Online (ILO), which allows students from across the state to enroll in any number of distance education courses, including high school credit classes and post-secondary courses available through Iowa community colleges and universities.

Specifically, the legislation Loebsack introduced will provide funding for schools to implement digital learning strategies such as:

· providing expanded curriculum opportunities,

· providing accelerated or advanced coursework, or

· personalizing the learning experience by providing content that is tailored to an individual student's learning style, ability, and needs.

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Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack recently introduced legislation that will target rural schools to ensure they have access to the latest digital learning technologies.  The Schools of the Future Act will provide grants to transform the typical classroom experience into one that is more student-centered and provides teachers with more accurate information and feedback on student progress so that they can better address the needs of struggling students. Loebsack is co-chair of the bipartisan Rural Education Caucus.

"Technology has the power to vastly expand the educational options available to students in rural areas, providing students with a cutting-edge 21st Century education regardless of geography," said Loebsack.  "Digital technology holds great potential for rural schools, which often have trouble recruiting and retaining teachers and offering a variety of electives or advanced coursework."

This legislation builds off of the work already being done in Iowa.  For example, the Iowa Department of Education is working with the University of Iowa to develop the Iowa Online Advance Placement Academy to deliver Advanced Placement courses to high school students across the state, particularly rural and small schools that may not have the capacity to provide these courses themselves, using online technology. The Iowa Department of Education also runs Iowa Learning Online (ILO), which allows students from across the state to enroll in any number of distance education courses, including high school credit classes and post-secondary courses available through Iowa community colleges and universities.

Specifically, the legislation Loebsack introduced will provide funding for schools to implement digital learning strategies such as:

·         providing expanded curriculum opportunities,

·         providing accelerated or advanced coursework, or

·         personalizing the learning experience by providing content that is tailored to an individual student's learning style, ability, and needs.

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Welcome Secretary LaHood and Urge Further Movement Toward Construction

Washington, D.C. - The very day that United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is viewing the I-74 Bridge at the invitation of Congressmen Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Bobby Schilling (IL-17), it became public that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has instructed the Illinois Department of Transportation to devote $22 million in FY2017 and $50 million in FY2018 for the I-74 Bridge.

This follows the Iowa Department of Transportation's announcement from earlier this week about its intent to continue moving forward on planning and acquisition funding but take I-74 Bridge construction funds out of its long-term plans as a result of a lack of construction commitment from ILDOT. The Illinois Department of Transportation had previously announced April 30 had allocated minimal funds for the project.  Loebsack and Schilling also wrote members of the House and Senate negotiating a comprehensive highway bill urging them to prioritize funding for large interstate projects such as the I-74 Bridge.

"We are pleased that the state of Illinois is joining the Quad Cities team, and the Iowa DOT, and is working to move this project forward," the Congressmen said.  "Though it doesn't appear to be on the same timeline as was previously planned for, it's a step in the right direction.  We encourage the Iowa and Illinois Departments of Transportation to ensure they are moving forward on the same timeline so the groundwork is laid for this project to move to construction, and work with us to advance the I-74 Bridge."

Previously, Loebsack has met with representatives from the Iowa DOT about the importance of the I-74 Bridge and has urged the IADOT to preserve construction funding for I-74.  He has also expressed the need to replace the bridge to Secretary LaHood and Speaker of the House John Boehner, as well as urged the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to take action.

Schilling had previously pushed the Illinois Department of Transportation for information as to where on the Department's priority list the I-74 Bridge project resides and the criteria being used to prioritize Illinois' infrastructure needs, noting that "projects totaling millions of dollars around the state, especially in the Chicago area, continue to be funded" which "suggests the state is capable of moving forward on projects it deems a priority."

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.  In addition to improving travelers' safety, the I-74 Bridge project would spur economic growth, create construction jobs, reduce traffic backups, and improve air quality.

"These are the results we can achieve when we work together and bring attention to important issues for the Quad Cities and this development should allow Illinois to be ready to move to construction at the same time as Iowa when funding becomes available," Loebsack and Schilling said.  "We will continue to work for results and make sure folks in our state capitals and Washington don't overlook the voice of our region and Congress advances on a long-term transportation bill that will help move construction forward."

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IOWA CITY - Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA-2nd District) and three SEIU Local 199 Registered Nurse members from University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) will hold a press conference Friday, May 11 at 3:45 pm at the UIHC to highlight the many benefits for patients and providers in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. For instance, despite the difficult financial picture for next year that UIHC officials recently painted for the Board of Regents, the ACA will actually help hospitals' bottom lines, said Pauline Taylor, an SEIU Member and an operating room nurse.
"Simultaneously it will drive down costs and improve patient outcomes. That is why it is so important to fight for it no matter what the Court ultimately does," added Matt Sinovic, Executive Director of Progress Iowa, which shares SEIU's support for the ACA. In Massachusetts, where healthcare reform has been in full swing for several years, the Massachusetts Hospital Association reports that hospitals have taken billions of dollars out of the rising expense trend over the last three years.
We have been going around the hospital over the past few weeks, educating our members about the ACA and how critical it is for us as providers and for the Iowans we care for, said Taylor.

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With 2.1 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, and nearly 6,000 in Iowa, SEIU is the fastest-growing
union in the Americas. SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while
uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs-
-benefit from today's global economy.
Progress Iowa is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization. Year-round, we promote progressive ideas and causes with creative earned media strategies, targeted email campaigns, and cutting-edge new media. With our allies, we work to significantly improve the communications effort of the entire progressive community in Iowa.

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after the US Postal Service (USPS) announced that it reversed its decision to close post offices across the country, including many in rural Iowa.

"Rural areas and particularly seniors in Iowa should be pleased with today's announcement," said Loebsack.  "I had strong concerns with the original proposal since it was first announced nearly a year ago, and I have not been shy about making them clear to the Postmaster General.  The closures would have led to job loss and made it harder for rural residents and businesses to obtain services provided at local Post Offices.  While I am pleased the US Postal Service heeded the public's warning about the negative effects it would have caused, I was disappointed that this new proposal will also mean cutbacks in Post Offices' services and hours. I will continue to monitor this situation closely."

Loebsack wrote to the United States Postal Service (USPS) in July when they announced that they would be studying 3,700 Post Offices for closure, including 178 in Iowa. He also submitted comments, along with 81 other lawmakers, to the Postal Regulatory Commission in September stating opposition to the closings.

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Loebsack Amendment to Save the 132nd Fighter Wing Passes Committee on Bipartisan Vote

Language prevents retirement of F-16s in Des Moines

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after his amendment to prevent the retirements or transfer of Air National Guard aircraft, including the 132nd Fighter Wing in Des Moines, passed early this morning.  As the only Member of Congress from Iowa on the House Armed Services Committee, Loebsack offered this amendment to the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The Loebsack amendment was cosponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and was passed with strong bipartisan support.

"This is great news for the men and women of the 132nd Fighter Wing in Des Moines and Air National Guard units across the country. The Air Force's original proposal made no sense for our national security, our ability to respond to emergencies here at home, or for the taxpayers. I am pleased that the Armed Services Committee agreed on a bipartisan basis and joined me in ensuring that our dedicated Airmen did not see their positions eliminated."

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, applauded Loebsack's efforts to ensure this amendment was passed.

"The hard work and dedication of Dave Loebsack helped save the jobs of over 370 Iowa National Guard Airmen and the Iowa National Guard fighters. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he immediately went to work to prevent the Air Force's proposed cuts from moving forward.  His hard work paid off and his commitment to the men and women of the National Guard and the Iowa Air Guard could not have been stronger," said Smith.

For specific information about the amendment, click here.

Also included in the NDAA, was Loebsack's legislation that prohibits reductions in the rate of Basic Allowance for Housing for members of the National Guard who transition from full time National Guard duty to active duty or from active duty to full time National Guard duty. Under current policy, some National Guardsmen who make this transition see their benefits reduced at a time when they and their families can least afford it because of a policy that changes how their benefits are calculated.

Loebsack also strongly supported a provision to reauthorize National Guard Counterdrug Schools like that the Iowa Guard runs at Camp Dodge (the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center).

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Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack will offer an amendment today that would prevent the retirements or transfer of Air National Guard aircraft, including the 132nd Fighter Wing in Des Moines.  As the only Member of Congress from Iowa on the House Armed Services Committee, Loebsack offered this amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.  The Loebsack Amendment has bipartisan support from members of Committee, including the Ranking Member, and is expected to be voted on and accepted later today.

"I am very proud to offer this amendment.  The men and women of the 132nd Fighter Wing have proven time and again they are some of the hardest working and most experienced in the National Guard.  Their performance is second to none.  The proposal to move the F-16s out of Des Moines was short-sighted and wasn't a good deal for taxpayers or our national security. I am pleased the other members of the House Armed Services Committee agree and I strongly encourage the passage of this amendment," said Loebsack.

Earlier this week the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee voted to include funding for keeping the 132nd in Des Moines, but without this amendment, the program would still have been retired or transferred.

 

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Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today introduced legislation that will help students apply the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom to real world experiences by incorporating volunteerism and civic engagement in curriculum.  The Engaging Students Through Service-Learning Act aims to connect the classroom to the community by establishing a national center to expand opportunities for students to incorporate skills that are critical to success in the 21st century economy, such as critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration, with activities outside the classroom. The bill would also help teachers to provide students with this hands-on education.

 

"Iowans have a strong sense of community and have seen firsthand the difference dedicated volunteers can make.  The earlier we can start incorporating volunteerism and civic engagement in school settings, the more likely it is that students will continue to participate in their communities in meaningful ways throughout their adult lives. What's more, students who participate in this type of hands-on education can boost their academic engagement and performance, which will help them secure good jobs and contribute to Iowa's economy," said Congressman Dave Loebsack.

 

"We must make our schools better. We simply can't keep organizing our classrooms and using the same teaching approaches that have been used for decades if we want to improve outcomes that result in students who are truly college and career ready and internationally competitive," said Teri Dary, Co-Chair National Coalition for Academic Service-Learning.

 

A list of groups and individuals supporting the bill can be found here.

 

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"The Yellow House" will be displayed in U.S. Capitol

 

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today congratulated Chelsea Page from Montrose, who is in 10th grade at Central Lee High School in Donnellson, for being named the Second District's winner in the 2012 Congressional Art Competition.  Page's watercolor, entitled "The Yellow House," will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.  She will also receive two round trip tickets to Washington, D.C. to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony.  This year's competition was hosted at the University of Iowa's Art West Building and the winning piece was selected by judges Rachel Williams, UI Associate Professor of Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies/Media, Social Practice, and Design and Peter Feldstein, photographer and originator of "The Oxford Project."

 

"I was very impressed by the quality of this year's entries.  The creativity demonstrated by all of the talented young artists in Iowa proves that the arts are thriving," said Loebsack. "I especially want to congratulate this year's winner Chelsea Page and I look forward to seeing her watercolor displayed in the Capitol."

 

In the spring of every year, the United States House of Representatives hosts a competition to recognize talented young artists from across the nation. The winning student from each district is invited to Washington, D.C. for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and will have his or her artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

 

A photo of this year's winning piece can be seen here.

 

Winners:

 

1) The Yellow House (watercolor), Chelsea Page, Montrose, Central Lee High School in Donnelson

2) Death of an Alcoholic Bull (chalk), Sara Miner, Donnelson, Central Lee High School in Donnelson

3) Untitled (B&W photography), Lucy Van Gorder, Tiffin, City High School in Iowa City

 

Honorable Mentions:

 

1) Playing in the Sand, Kelli Schneider, Iowa City, City High School in Iowa City

2) Landscape, Emilee Beattie, Ottumwa, Cardinal High School in Eldon

3) Nature's Observation, Molly Westermeyer, Keokuk, Central Lee High School in Donnelson

 

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Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that Community Health Care, Inc. in Davenport will receive a $38,750 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services' Immediate Facility Improvements Program.

"Iowa's doctors are second to none in the quality of health care they provide," said Loebsack.  "These funds will help upgrade the facility at Davenport Community Health Care to ensure the health care professionals can continue to offer the highest quality of care.  Community health centers play a vital role in towns across Iowa and I am excited the improvements that will be made in Davenport."

Last Fall, Loebsack toured Davenport Community Health Care, which serves all of the Quad Cities and is in the process of expanding to Clinton.

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Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today released the following statement after the House voted on Republican-led legislation, which the President has already stated he will veto, to try and look as if they are concerned about college accessibility.

"Today's vote is a shining example of how low Republicans will go to further their political games instead of actually accomplishing anything for Iowa families.  Just last week Republicans voted en mass to allow the student loan interest rates to double, and now hide behind a vote on a bill they know is going nowhere.  Iowa families can't afford these games.  Unfortunately, it looks as if Republicans want to push students to the edge, just like they did with the economy. As much as Republicans would like, they can't have their cake and eat it too.

"As someone who has helped craft and pass legislation to expand access to college, it is sickening to watch this unfold.  Congress should not be building more hurdles for young people to get the education and skills they need to thrive, and they should not be making it even harder for Iowa families to afford to send their kids to college.  I personally know what it is like to work hard and rely on financial aid to pay for tuition.  No student should be turned away from attending college because he or she cannot afford it and no student should have to face a Republican-made roadblock, which is exactly what today's vote creates."

Loebsack is a cosponsor of two pieces of legislation, H.R. 4816 and H.R. 3826, which would ensure the increase does not occur.  As a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, he has also 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 strengthen community colleges.

Loebsack has urged the House Speaker and the Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee to move forward a bill that will actually stop the increase.  A copy of the letter can be found here.

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