ST.PAUL, MN (03/17/2010)(readMedia)-- Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn. announces that Andrew Carter, son of Tom and Jane Carter of Bettendorf, will be participating in the Varsity Men's Chorus Northland Tour under the direction of Timothy Sawyer, choir conductor. The chorus, 40 strong, presents a concert of rousing fraternal fun, with sacred, folk music and spirituals, and a little surprise thrown in for good measure! In addition, the tour features two guest instrumentalists, Jordan and Colton Cox, brothers from the Northwestern College Orchestra.

Tour dates and locations are as follows:

  • Saturday, April 10 at Bemidji Evangelical Free Church, 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 11 at Laporte Community Baptist Church, 11 a.m.
  • Monday, April 12 in Bemidji and Laporte High Schools (students only)
  • Tuesday, April 20 at Northwestern College in St. Paul, 7:30 p.m

Carter is currently a senior at Northwestern pursuing a degree in Pastoral Ministries. Carter is a 2004 graduate of Pleasant Valley High School.

All concerts are free and open to the public (with the exception of the April 12 date). For more information visit or contact the Northwestern College Department of Music at 866-532-8687.

WHO:                  GENERAL PUBLIC

WHAT:                EASTER EGG HUNT

WHEN:                SATURDAY, APRIL 3, 2010 10:30 - 11:30 AM


Immanuel Lutheran Church & Preschool in Davenport, is having an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 3, 2010 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Open to all children ages 10 and under. Along with the Easter Egg hunt, there will be games, face-painting and a Coloring Contest! Bring a basket if you like, or a bag can be provided. In case of weather, event will be held indoors.

This event is free and open to the public.  We hope you are able to join us!  For more information, please contact the church office at 563-324-6431.

On Friday, March 19th, Genesis Hospital delivered a semi full of food collected by their employees to Churches United of the Quad City Area to benefit their 26 food pantries throughout the QCA's.

All Saints Lutheran Church, 5002 Jersey Ridge Road, Davenport is one of the 26 food pantries in Churches United food pantry neighborhood network and they have kindly offered their fellowship hall to receive this food.  Volunteers will then be working the first two days of the next week to sort and distribute this food back into the community where it is needed most.

Genesis employees are in the process of collecting 25,000 - 35,000 food items!    With the present economy and the increased need for food in the area, this food couldn't come at a better time!    Last year, over 4300 MORE people walked through Churches United's neighborhood food pantries providing food for almost 13,000 more people than the year before.

32 Ideas to Receive Immediate Refresh Grant Funding

For more information, go to:

Purchase, NY (March 22, 2010) - The first Pepsi Refresh Grant recipients - who developed the 32 refreshing ideas voted most likely to move our communities forward - have been awarded $1.3 million from the Pepsi Refresh Project, a ground-breaking initiative designed to fund good ideas, big and small, that help refresh our world.

"The Pepsi Refresh Project was developed with the belief that great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, anytime," said Jill Beraud, CMO and president of joint ventures, PepsiCo Beverages Americas.  "The first group of winners proves it's true.  Each of them is a testament to how someone from any walk of life can produce powerful, creative and fun ideas that can make a difference."

From improving the energy efficiency of school buses to promoting financial literacy among high school students, the top 32 vote-getters in six categories (Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, The Planet, Neighborhoods and Education) caught the public's attention by making a compelling case for why they deserved a Pepsi Refresh Grant.  Refresh Grant recipients include :

  • The American Legion of Indianapolis, IN, intends to use a $250,000 Refresh Grant to provide comfort items for U.S. military troops recovering from wounds (Neighborhoods);

  • The Economic Empowerment Initiative of Atlanta, GA, will receive a $50,000 grant to provide financial literacy seminars for high school and college students (Education);

  • The Frank Broulliet Elementary School PTA will use $50,000 to complete a community playground in Puyallup, WA (Neighborhoods);

  • All-Ages Music, a network of music organizations based in Seattle, WA, will receive $50,000 to increase access to all-ages music in underserved areas (Arts & Culture);

  • The Hugs Project of Edmond, OK, will use a $50,000 to send care packages to troops overseas (Food & Shelter);

  • The Belleville Farmer's Market plans to use a $25,000 Refresh Grant to grow fresh produce to help fight childhood obesity in southern Illinois schools (Health);

  • 14-year old Jonny Cohen of Highland Park, IL, will receive $25,000 for GreenShields,  a group he formed with his sister to make school buses more energy efficient (The Planet);

  • Glenmont Elementary School of Delmar, NY, will receive a $25,000 Refresh Grant to build its community through swing dance (Arts & Culture);

  • The Sparkle Effect of Bettendorf, IA, will use a $25,000 Refresh Grant to help high school kids across the country form cheerleading squads made up of special needs students (Neighborhoods); and

  • Because We Are Sisters of Richmond, VA, will receive $5,000 to support seven families in need as they prepare for the arrival of a baby (Food & Shelter).

In January, the Pepsi Refresh Project invited individuals and organizations to submit beneficial, achievable, constructive and "shovel-ready" ideas that would make a positive impact on communities. From February 1 through February 28, Americans voted for their favorite ideas at

"It's an honor to collaborate with Pepsi and their partners to conceive and execute such an impactful program," said Ben Goldhirsh, CEO and co-founder of GOOD, a lead partner in the Pepsi Refresh Project. "It's very exciting to feel the Pepsi Refresh Project as a new and significant pulse in this shift that is upon us?where individuals, businesses, and non-profits are working together to push toward our potential."

In total, the Pepsi Refresh Project awarded two $250,000, ten $50,000, ten $25,000 and ten $5,000 grants. Other Pepsi Refresh Grant recipients include :


  • Teach for America, New York, NY (Education)


  • The Foundry for Art Design + Culture, Cohoes, NY (Arts & Culture)

  • Active Minds, Inc., Laurel, MD (Health)

  • Darren Riskedal, Leland, IL (Neighborhoods)

  • Atlas Corps, Washington, DC (Education)

  •, Washington, DC (Neighborhoods)

  • World Leadership Corps, New York, NY (Education)


  • APO Mu Alpha Alumni, Washington, DC (Neighborhoods)

  • STRIVE-New Haven, Inc., New Haven, CT (Education)

  •, Washington, DC (Neighborhoods)

  • New York Needs You, Stamford, CT (Education)

  • Social Studies Department, Springfield Middle School, Toledo, OH (Education)

  • Patrick Nelson, Mankato, MN (Health)


  • Military Connections Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA (Food & Shelter)

  • Quad City Animal Welfare Center, East Moline, IL (Neighborhoods)

  • Nancy Nelson, Cherokee, IA (The Planet)

  • The Detroit Area Diaper Bank, Canton, MI (Health)

  • Blake Hammond, 6th grade science teacher, Merrill Middle School, Des Moines, IA (Education)

  • Homespun: Modern Handmade Goods, Indianapolis, IN (Arts & Culture)

  • Sharif Morad, Bike & Build, Charlottesville, VA (Food & Shelter)

  • Crow Elementary School, Arlington, TX  (Education)

  • Easter Seals New Hampshire, Manchester, NH (Food & Shelter)

New Round of Voting Begins April 1

In 2010, the Pepsi Refresh Project will give away more than $20 million to refresh the world, one idea at a time.  Each month, Pepsi will award up to $1.3 million in grants to the ideas with the most votes.  Pepsi will accept up to 1,000 new ideas every month and the public decides who wins. Vote for your favorite ideas now at

To support the project, Pepsi is partnering with three organizations dedicated to making a positive difference in the world: GOOD, a leading platform for thought and action revolving around pushing the world forward; Global Giving, an online marketplace that connects people who have community and world-changing ideas with people who can support them; and Do Something, the largest non-profit teen charity.

The Pepsi Refresh Project can be found at, on Facebook at or on Twitter, @Pepsi or #pepsirefresh.

Pepsi Refresh Project

In an effort to support those who generate innovative, optimistic ideas, the Pepsi Refresh Project ( will award more than $20 million in 2010 to move communities forward.  Individuals can apply for grants to benefit a variety of projects and site visitors can vote for the best ideas for funding.  The Pepsi Refresh Project is an evolution of the Refresh Everything initiative Pepsi launched in 2009, which showed the brand as an optimistic catalyst for idea creation, leading to an ever-refreshing world.   Pepsi will fund projects that make a difference in six categories: Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, The Planet, Neighborhoods and Education.


WASHINGTON - Chuck Grassley today said that that he will be holding meetings in 25 counties from March 29 - April 6. The visits are part of Grassley's annual meetings in each of Iowa's 99 counties. The Senate will not be in session for a scheduled congressional recess.

"I've met with Iowans in every county, every year I've represented Iowa in the United States Senate. It's this exchange of ideas that gives me important insight directly from Iowans," Grassley said. "Holding a meeting in each of Iowa's 99 counties gives me the opportunity to have an open and honest dialogue with the people I serve in the U.S. Senate."

Grassley's meetings will take him to the counties of Allamakee, Buchanan, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Clay, Clayton, Dallas, Delaware, Dickinson, Dubuque, Emmet, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Howard, Kossuth, Lyon, Mitchell, Osceola, Palo Alto, Warren, Winnebago, Winneshiek and Worth.

Grassley will hold town hall meetings in Aplington, Calmar, Cresco, Estherville, Forest City, Garner, Independence, Indianola, Manchester, Mason City, Northwood, Ocheydan, Rock Rapids, Strawberry Point, Waukee, Waukon, West Bend and West Union.

He will tour and meet with employees at Eaton Manufacturing in Spencer. He will also attend a ribbon cutting for the new Hormel Foods Plant in Dubuque.

He will meet with students at St. Ansgar Community High School in St. Ansgar, Charles City High School in Charles City and Harris-Lake Park Middle/High School in Lake Park.  In addition, he will speak with the Algona Rotary in Algona, and will meet with members of the Chamber of Commerce in Hampton.

Here is detailed information about Grassley's upcoming county visits.

Monday, March 29, 2010

7:30 - 8:30 a.m.- hold Warren County Town Hall Meeting, Warren County Administration Building, Board Room, Second Floor, 301 North Buxton Street, Indianola

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.- hold Dallas County Town Hall Meeting, Maple Street Community Center, 445 Maple Street, Waukee

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.- hold Buchanan County Town Hall Meeting, Buchanan County Courthouse, Assembly Room, 210 5th Avenue NE, Independence

Noon - 1:45 p.m.- Attend Hormel Foods Plant Ribbon Cutting, Progressive Processing, LLC, 1205 Chavenelle Court, Dubuque

3 - 4 p.m. - hold Delaware County Town Hall Meeting, Regional Medical Center, Veterans Memorial Event Center, Third Floor, 709 West Main Street, Manchester

4:45 - 5:45 p.m.- hold Clayton County Town Hall Meeting, Strawberry Point Public Library, 401 Commercial Street, Strawberry Point

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

7:30 - 8:30 a.m. - hold Fayette County Town Hall Meeting, Fayette County Courthouse, Assembly Room, 114 North Vine Street, West Union

9:45 - 10:45 a.m. - hold Allamakee County Town Hall Meeting, Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank, Community Room, 201 West Main Street, Waukon

Noon - 1 p.m. - hold Winneshiek County Town Hall Meeting, Calmar Public Library, Community Room, 101 South Washington Street, Calmar

2:15 - 3:15 p.m. - hold Howard County Town Hall Meeting, Cresco Bank and Trust, Community Room, 126 Second Avenue SE, Cresco

5:30 - 6:30 p.m. - hold Worth County Town Hall Meeting, Worth County Courthouse, Magistrate Room, 1000 Central Avenue, Northwood

Thursday, April 1, 2010

7:30 - 8:30 a.m. - hold Cerro Gordo County Town Hall Meeting, North Iowa Area Community College, Muse-Norris Conference Center, Rooms 180 A, B and C, 500 College Drive, Mason City

9:45 - 10:45 a.m. visit St. Ansgar Community High School, 206 East 8th Street, St. Ansgar

Noon - 1:15 p.m. - visit Charles City High School, #1 Comet Drive, Charles City

2:30 - 3:30 p.m. - Deliver keynote speech and answer questions at the Hampton Chamber Spring Meeting, Windsor Theatre, 103 Federal Street North, Hampton

4:30 - 5:30 p.m. - hold Butler County Town Hall Meeting, Aplington Community Center, Corner of 10th Street and Parriott Street, Aplington

Monday, April 5, 2010

8 - 9 a.m. - hold Winnebago County Town Hall Meeting, Winnebago County Courthouse, Courtroom, 126 South Clark Street, Forest City

9:45 - 10:45 a.m. - hold Hancock County Town Hall Meeting, Garner Education Center, 325 West 8th Street, Garner

Noon - 1 p.m. - speak with Algona Rotary, Algona Country Club, 400 Country Club Road, Algona

2 - 3 p.m. - hold Palo Alto County Town Hall Meeting, West Bend Golf Course, Club House, 4829 580th Avenue, West Bend

4:30 - 5:30 p.m. - hold Emmet County Town Hall Meeting, Iowa Lakes Community College, Auditorium, Room 16, 300 South 18th Street, Estherville

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

7:30 - 8:30 a.m. - Tour and answer questions from employees at Eaton Manufacturing, Power Division, Hydraulics Business, 803 32nd Avenue West, Spencer

9:30 - 10:30 a.m. - Visit Harris-Lake Park High School, Harris-Lake Park Middle/High School, 905 South Market, Lake Park

Noon - 1 p.m. - Hold Osceola County Town Hall Meeting, Senior Activities Center, 845 Main Street, Ocheydan

2:45 - 3:45 p.m. - Hold Lyon County Town Hall Meeting, US Bank, Community Room, 203 South 2nd Avenue, Rock Rapids

***Senator Grassley will be available for 15 minutes to the press following each of these events. Grassley is a guest of the service clubs, schools, businesses and events. Please contact those organizations with any questions about availability during those meetings.


DAVENPORT, IOWA (March 16, 2010)  A presentation called "Tourism in Germany: What to Do, See and Say" will be held Saturday, March 27 at 2:00 p.m. at the German American Heritage Center at 712 West 2nd Street in Davenport, Iowa. Reminiscing on travel experiences or exploring future excursions can seem like a welcome mini-getaway. This presentation will share some ideas for destinations and activities in the south of Germany (Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg) as well as some helpful words and phrases for you to get by on your next trip to Germany, Austria and/or Switzerland. This event will be hosted by Bryan Schmid and is free for members and free with museum admission for nonmembers.

In addition to the presentation visitors can explore the museum's 4,000 square feet of permanent and special exhibits. Visitors will enjoy an interactive experience as they learn about immigrants' journey by sea, train and foot, to their final destination at the German American Heritage Center building, which was originally a very busy hotel for thousands of immigrants in the 1860s. The current special rotating exhibit is Amana: Moving to the City. This exhibit features artifacts and explores how Amana society members made a difficult decision to leave the communal society during the Great Depression to come to the City of Davenport.

The German American Heritage Center works to preserve and enrich the German immigrant experience and its impact on the American Culture. The museum also partners with other cultural groups to demonstrate the contributions immigrants from many countries and from varied backgrounds have made to the ethnic palette which is the United States.

For more information on all of the museum's exhibits, programs, events, classes, and workshops visit or call 563-322-8844. General admission is: Adults: $5; Seniors:$4; Children: $3 (5 - 17 years old); Free for children under 5. Museum members are free. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturday open 10 am - 4 pm; Sunday open 12 - 4 pm.


Grassley Urges Japan to Address Trade Barriers to U.S. Beef and Gelatin;

Insurance, Banking, and Express Delivery Services

WASHINGTON - Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, with Sen. Max Baucus, chairman, today urged the Japanese government to remove scientifically unfounded barriers to U.S. beef and bovine-origin gelatin imports and the preferential treatment that Japan Post entities have received in Japan's insurance, banking, and express delivery markets at the expense of private sector competitors.

"Millions of Americans eat U.S. beef every day without any health problems," Grassley said.  "The scientific evidence put forward by international arbiters confirms the safety of U.S. beef.  Also, Japan continues to block exports of U.S. bovine-origin gelatin, most of which is produced in Iowa, although this product is safe.  Every country that enjoys the benefits of international trade is obligated to follow the rules, whether the issue is product safety or fair competition in the financial services sector."

Grassley and Baucus sent a letter to the Japanese ambassador to the United States.  The text of their letter follows.  The Committee on Finance has jurisdiction over international trade.

March 16, 2010

Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki

Embassy of Japan

2520 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C.  20008


Dear Ambassador Fujisaki:

We are writing with regard to certain long-standing barriers imposed by Japan to imports of U.S. goods and services.

Japan continues to place restrictions on imports of U.S. beef due to alleged concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) that are scientifically unwarranted.  The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) determined in 2007 that U.S. beef derived from cattle of all ages is safe due to safeguards undertaken by the United States.  Moreover, millions of Americans consume U.S. beef from cattle of all ages every day, so the safety of this product cannot seriously be in doubt.  Yet Japan still limits imports of U.S. beef to beef from animals aged twenty months or younger.  This scientifically unfounded barrier to imports of U.S. beef is causing economic hardship for cattle and beef producers in Montana and Iowa.  We urge Japan to base its beef trade policies on science and to open its market to all U.S. beef.

Also citing BSE concerns, Japan has prohibited imports of U.S.-produced bovine-origin gelatin for human consumption since 2004.  Japan's policy is at direct odds with OIE recommendations, which provide that this U.S. product can be traded safely.  The Japanese ban on imports of this bovine product is negatively impacting Montana and Iowa cattle producers, and it has led to job losses in Iowa's gelatin manufacturing sector.  We urge Japan to lift its scientifically unjustified prohibition on imports of U.S.-produced bovine-origin gelatin for human consumption.

Finally, we understand that Japan is in the final stages of drafting legislation on Japan Post to submit to the Diet.  We have long been concerned about the preferential treatment that Japan Post entities have received in Japan's insurance, banking, and express delivery markets and the negative impact of that treatment on Japan Post's private sector competitors.  We urge Japan to address these concerns in its legislation so that U.S. and other private sector suppliers receive the equal treatment that Japan's international obligations require.

We look forward to improved economic relations between the United States and Japan once these serious trade concerns are resolved.


Max Baucus, Chairman and Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Member

WHEN: 3-27-10

TIME: 1-4 p.m.

WHERE: Barnes and Noble, 320 W. Kimberly Rd., Davenport, IA 52806

WHAT: Louise will be available to sign copies of her Christian Living book, Longing for Wholeness.

Longing For Wholeness is a compassionate and conclusive work written in a fresh style. You will stay engaged as Linda Louise fits the bits and pieces of her life together to fill the emptiness that yearns for worth and loving acceptance. In her compelling story, she reveals the dynamics of a life riddled with shame and contempt. Inside this book, Linda shares her experiences to inspire hope and how she found the freedom to express who she believes she was born to be. You will never question the hope that fills the words written here.

For more information, contact Terry Cordingley at 888-361-9473 or


Tourism in Germany: What to Do, See and Say on Saturday, March 27 at 2 p.m.

We hope you will join us on Saturday, March 27 at 2:00 p.m. for our next program, "Tourism in Germany: What to Do, See and Say." Reminiscing on travel experiences or exploring future excursions can seem like a welcome mini-getaway. This presentation will share some ideas for destinations and activities in the south of Germany (Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg) as well as some helpful words and phrases for you to get by on your next trip to Germany, Austria and/or Switzerland. This event will be hosted by Bryan Schmid and is free for members and free with museum admission for nonmembers.

A few spots still open in our German Language Classes. Sign up today! Class start next Tuesday the 23rd.
German Level I

Date: Meets Tuesdays afternoons starting March 23 - June 15 (No class April 20.)
Time/Location: 5:00-6:30 pm at the German American Heritage Center, 4th floor
Cost: Members: $75 for the course and $20 for the manual; Nonmembers: $95 for the class and $20 for the manual
Text: Chapters 1-4 of German - a Self-teaching Guide (available through the museum).
Vocabulary topics: greetings, introductions, telling about yourself and your family, useful expressions, numbers (measurements, currencies, sizes, temperature), food, restaurants & eating, hotels and overnight accommodations. Lessons may include additional topics as needed. To register call  563-322-8844.

German Level II

Prerequisite: German I or some basic knowledge of German language.
Dates: Meets Tuesday evenings starting March 23 - June 15 (No class April 20.)
Time/Location: 7-8:30 pm at the German American Heritage Center, 4th floor
Cost: Members: $75 for the course and $20 for the manual; Nonmembers: $95 for the class and $20 for the manual
Text: Chapters 5-8  of the text German - a Self-teaching Guide Available through the museum.
Vocabulary and conversation topics: Numbers, telling time, train and air travel, shopping, health care, & going to the doctor in Germany, entertainment and recreation.  Lessons may include additional topics as needed.  To register call  563-322-8844. 

ALL ABOARD! Join us for a day trip to historic Kalona, Iowa on  Monday,  May 3, 2010 . Reserve your spot soon!


7:15 a.m.-5:35 p.m.
(Bus departs/returns at the German American Heritage Center)

Cost: Members $55;

Non-members $65
Includes transportation by motor coach, family style lunch in a farm house, and tours. Lunch will be in a farm house and served family style. Lunch will include roast beef, noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, bread, relish, pies and ice tea or coffee. 

Relive the 1800's when you visit the Historical Village with its 13 authentically restored buildings. Throughout the day you'll travel the scenic back-roads with our guides and experience a new sense of the hard work and family ethic that continues to mark the Amish way of life. We will explore Kalona Historic Village and Quilt & Textile Museum. Also enjoy a visit to the bakery, shops and general store. During the trip, you will also have an opportunity to watch a live horse auction as well. Watch demonstrations such as noodle making and cheese making, and traditional crafts including woodworking.

To reserve your spot for the trip, call 563-322-8844 before April 26. We encourage you to register soon, as space is limited.

Floor Speech by Senator Grassley on the Build America Bonds provision in the HIRE Act

Delivered Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One of the few provisions the Democratic leadership decided to put in the HIRE bill is an expansion of Build America Bonds.  Build America Bonds is a very rich spending program disguised as a tax cut.

One Democratic Senator was asked why the Build America Bonds program is viewed differently than appropriations, and she replied, "It has a good name."  Ironically, the Finance Committee is returning to its roots of doing appropriations bills.

When it was established in 1816, the Finance Committee handled the major appropriations bills that came before the Congress.  I ask unanimous consent that a portion of the document outlining the history of the Finance Committee be printed in the record.

Bloomberg News reported that large Wall Street investment banks were charging 37 percent higher underwriting fees on Build America Bonds deals than on tax-exempt bond deals.

Therefore, American taxpayers appear to be funding huge underwriting fees for large Wall Street investment banks as part of the Build America Bonds program.

A Wall Street Journal article dated March 10, 2010, stated that Wall Street investment banks have made over $1 billion in underwriting fees on Build America Bonds in less than one year.

And the Wall Street Journal article, based on data from Thomson Reuters, stated that the underwriting fees on Build America Bonds deals are higher than those for tax-exempt bond deals.  That sounds like a great deal for the fat cats on Wall Street, but how about the taxpayers from Main Street who have to pick up the tab?

The Democratic leadership has said the Build America Bonds program is about creating jobs, but I want to know whether it's about lining the pockets of Wall Street executives.  Recently, I asked the CEO of a large Wall Street investment bank a number of questions about these larger underwriting fees that are subsidized by American taxpayers.

He confirmed that the underwriting fees for Build America Bonds deals are larger than those for tax-exempt bond deals.  The Senate and House have recently passed different versions of the bill we're currently debating, which includes a provision that expands the Build America Bonds program, created in the stimulus bill, to four types of tax-credit bonds.

These four types of tax-credit bonds are Qualified School Construction Bonds, Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, and Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds.  The Build America Bonds program contains an option for the issuer of the bonds, which is a non-taxpaying entity, to receive a check from the Treasury Department based on a percentage of the interest cost incurred by the issuer.

Some refer to this option as the direct-pay option.  The percentage of the interest cost on the four tax-credit bonds subsidized by American taxpayers under the direct-pay option in the Senate bill is 45 percent, and is increased to 65 percent for small issuers.  Small issuers are defined as those issuing less than $30 million in bonds per year.

The House version increased the direct-pay subsidy to 100 percent for Qualified School Construction Bonds and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, and increased the subsidy to 70 percent for Clean Renewable Energy Bonds and Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds.

To put this in context, the Build America Bonds program created in the stimulus bill contains a 35 percent direct-pay subsidy.  And the President has proposed in his fiscal year 2011 budget that it be lowered to 28 percent.

It was reported in a March 11, 2010, Bond Buyer article that a senior House staffer asserted that no issuers would opt to issue direct-pay bonds under the lower Senate rates of 45 percent and 65 percent.  When I read that assertion, I asked Finance Committee Republican staff to reconcile that assertion with the scoring of the Build America Bonds proposal in the Senate-passed bill.

Finance Committee Republican staff reviewed the Joint Committee of Taxation's final estimate of the Senate-passed bill and found that the senior House staffer's assertion was directly contradicted by the estimate provided by the Joint Committee on Taxation, which is the nonpartisan official scorekeeper for Congress on tax matters.

In fact, footnote 2 of the estimate of the Senate Build America Bonds provision states that the Joint Committee's estimate of the Senate direct-pay bonds option includes an increase in outlays of $8.006 billion.  This means that the Joint Committee on Taxation's estimate assumed that a large number of issuers would elect to use the direct-pay option, contrary to the staffer's assertion.

The Bond Buyer also reported that the senior House staffer stated, "There's nobody that I know who does not view the Build America Bonds program as an enormous success with the possible exception of one person."  I assume that staffer was referring to me.  There are many federal taxpayers who do not view the Build America Bonds program as an enormous success.

To understand why, let's see which states benefit the most from Build America Bonds.  In looking at data from Thomson Reuters on the ten-largest Build America Bonds deals, California alone issued 73 percent of those bonds.

Between California and New York together, those two states alone issued 92 percent of the bonds from the ten-largest Build America Bonds deals.

So California and New York are the biggest winners under Build America Bonds, while American taxpayers from the remaining 48 states subsidize these states.

As Senator Kyl pointed out in his Dear Colleague letter on Build America Bonds circulated on March 15, the Build America Bonds program actually rewards states for having a riskier credit rating by giving them more money.

Build America Bonds create a perverse incentive that causes state and local governments to borrow more than they otherwise would.  This is especially true regarding the school tax-credit bonds.  This bill creates incentives where states and local governments should not care what the interest rate is.  The American taxpayers are picking up 100 percent of the interest costs.

And actually, the cost borne by American taxpayers is more than 100 percent.  At least with tax credit bonds, the taxpayer includes the amount of the tax credit in income, and the federal government collects taxes on that income.  The only purchasers of tax credit bonds are those that have tax liabilities.

Otherwise, it makes no sense to buy a tax credit bond.  However, Build America Bonds are technically taxable bonds, but most of the investors do not pay tax on these bonds.  For example, under our tax rules, if a foreign person or a pension fund or a tax-exempt entity buys a Build America Bond, they do not pay tax on the interest they receive.

Thus, the federal government not only cuts a check for 100 percent of the bonds' interest costs, it also loses most of the revenue it would have collected from the tax-credit bonds.

States and local governments can view this federal money as free money, because they don't even have to collect it from their residents.  Therefore, of course state and local governments are big fans of the Build America Bonds program ? they get federal money that they don't have to pay back.  And the large Wall Street investment banks love Build America Bonds ? they're getting richer off of them.

However, we all know there's no such thing as a free lunch.  Federal taxpayers are footing the bill for this big spending program, which only gets bigger every time Congress touches it.  And American taxpayers are the ones I'm looking out for.

And American taxpayers are the ones who, in the words of the senior house staffer, do "not view the Build America Bonds program as an enormous success."

I urge my colleagues to look beyond the fancy, well-funded lobbying campaign for this rich subsidy.  Take a look at who wins.  The winners are the big Wall Street banks.  Maybe a small number of governments will issue bonds they otherwise wouldn't.

The only certainty is that the federal taxpayer is on the hook for the interest costs.  With record budget deficits under this Congress and Administration, we cannot casually look away as new, open-ended subsidies are proposed.