Floor Speech of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Home-Grown Ethanol

Delivered Thursday, December 2, 2010

 It seems like every few weeks or so that there are a lot of misleading and misinformed accusations launched at our nation's renewable fuels producers.  It's impossible to come to the Senate floor and respond to all of them, but sometimes the claims are so outrageous that they require an informed response. So, I'm here to give that response with emphasis upon the words informed.

Earlier this week, a number of my colleagues here in the Senate, including a few of my fellow Republicans, sent a letter to the majority and minority leaders expressing their opposition to extending the tax incentives for home-grown ethanol.  Home-grown means that we're less dependent upon people like Dictator Chavez and the oil sheiks.  My colleagues argued that the tax incentive for the production of clean home-grown ethanol is fiscally irresponsible.  They express their support for allowing the 45-cent-per-gallon credit for ethanol use to expire.  It's important to remember that the incentive exists to help the producers of ethanol compete with the big oil industry, and remember the big oil industry has been well supported by the federal treasury for more than a whole century.

Many of the Republican senators who signed on to that letter have also been leading the effort to ensure that no American sees their taxes go up on January 1, 2011, which will happen automatically if we don't do something this very month.  The largest tax increase in the history of the country can happen without even a vote of the Congress because of the sunsetting law.  And, of course, in that regard, I support the position of my Republican colleagues. But, a repeal of the ethanol tax incentive is a tax increase that will surely be passed on to the American consumer.

I'd like to remind my colleagues of a debate that we had earlier this year on an amendment offered by Senator Sanders.  The amendment that he offered would have, among other things, repealed the $35 billion in tax subsidies enjoyed by oil and gas.  Opponents of the Sanders amendment argued that repealing the oil and gas subsidies would reduce domestic energy production and drive up our dependence upon foreign oil.  Now, opponents to the Sanders amendment argued that it would cost U.S. jobs and increase prices at the pump for consumers. Now, I agreed with the arguments of the opponents.  All of my Republican colleagues and more than one-third of the Democrats did as well.  Thus, Senator Sanders' amendment was defeated.

That majority against the Sanders amendment knew that if you tax something, you get less of it. Repealing incentives on ethanol would have the very same result. Well, guess what?  I know that removing incentives for oil and gas will have the same impact as removing incentives for ethanol.  We'll get less domestically produced ethanol and be more dependent upon those oil sheiks.  But it will also cost U.S. jobs.  It will increase our dependence on foreign oil.  It will increase prices for American consumers.  So whether it's jobs or increased dependence or increasing the price of gas, no American would like that to be the result.

Madam President, we're already dependent on foreign sources for more than 60 percent of our oil needs.  We spend $730 million a day on imported oil.  That money is leaving America for the Middle East and nutty dictators like Chavez.

Why do my colleagues want to increase our foreign energy dependence when we can produce that energy right here at home?

So I'd like to ask my colleagues who voted against repealing oil and gas subsidies but support repealing incentives for renewable fuels, how do you reconcile such inconsistency?

The fact is, it's intellectually inconsistent to say that increasing taxes on ethanol is justified, but it's irresponsible to do so on oil and gas production.  If tax incentives lead to more domestic energy production and the result is good-paying jobs, why are only incentives for oil and gas important, but not for domestically produced renewable fuels?

It's even more ridiculous to claim that the 30 year-old ethanol industry is mature, and thus no longer needs the support that they get, while the century-old big oil industry still receives $35 billion in taxpayers' support.  Regardless, I don't believe we should be raising taxes on any type of energy production or on any individual, particularly during a recession.  Allowing the ethanol tax incentive to expire will raise taxes on producers, blenders and ultimately consumers of renewable fuel.

A lapse in the ethanol tax incentive is a gas tax increase of over five cents a gallon at the pump.  I just don't see the logic in arguing for a gas tax increase when we have so many Americans unemployed or underemployed and struggling just to get by.

On Tuesday this week, all of my Republican colleagues and I signed a letter to Majority Leader Reid stating that preventing a tax increase, meaning mostly income tax increases, and providing economic certainty, should be our top priority in the remaining days of this congress.  I know that we all agree that we cannot and should not allow job-killing tax hikes during a recession. Unfortunately, those members who have called for ending the ethanol incentive have directly contradicted this pledge because a lapse in the credit will raise taxes, costing over 100,000 U.S. jobs at a time of near 10 percent unemployment.  The taxpayer watchdog group, Americans for Tax Reform, considers the lapse of an existing tax credit for ethanol to be a tax hike.

Now is not the time to impose a gas tax hike on the American people.  Now is not the time to send pink slips to more than 100,000 ethanol-related jobs.

A year ago at this time, I came to the Senate floor to implore the democratic leadership to take action to extend expiring tax incentives for the biodiesel industry.  They failed in their responsibility to extend that incentive and provide support for an important renewable industry.   So, while 23,000 American jobs were supported on December 31 last year, nearly all those jobs have disappeared.  An industry with a capacity to produce more than two billion gallons of renewable fuel a year is on track to produce less than 20 percent of that capacity this year.

Ethanol currently accounts for 10 percent of our transportation fuel.  A study concluded that the ethanol industry contributed $8.4 billion to the federal treasury in 2009, $3.4 billion more than the ethanol incentive.  Today the industry supports 400,000 U.S. jobs.  That's why I support a home-grown renewable fuels industry, as I know the Obama administration does as well.  I would encourage anyone who is unclear on the administration's position to contact Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.

I'd like to conclude by asking my colleagues if we allow the tax incentive to lapse from where should we import an additional 10 percent petroleum?  Should we rely on Middle East oil sheiks or Hugo Chavez?

I would prefer to support a renewable fuel based right here at home rather than send it a pink slip. I would prefer to decrease our dependence on Hugo Chavez, not increase it, and I certainly don't want to support raising the tax on gasoline during recession.  I would respectfully ask my colleagues to reconsider their support for this job-killing gas tax increase.


If you've always dreamed of touring London or you feel it's time to make a return visit, don't miss this opportunity to offer a loved one or yourself a holiday gift of experiencing this fascinating city with friends from the Figge Art Museum. The eight-day adventure, May 16 - 23, 2011, includes: visits to some of the most acclaimed art collections in the world, such as the National Gallery, the British Museum and the Tate Modern, among others; tours of two elegant manor homes in London and the suburb of Richmond; and a visit to the offices of David Chipperfield Architects, designers of the Figge Art Museum. In addition, you may join Figge staff in several optional evening activities and excursions; including theatre performances and dinners. The itinerary is flexible by design so you may choose to explore individual interests on your own. The group will stay at the cosmopolitan Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel near the River Thames; just a short walk to Westminster Abbey.

Wynne Schafer, a Figge trustee, and Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson, Figge curator of education, will coordinate or lead the scheduled tours and excursions, and will accompany guests on many of the optional activities. The trip fee includes airfare from Moline, ground transportation in London, six night hotel accommodations, all museum and historic home admissions, a farewell group dinner, and taxes. Costs for meals, admissions to special exhibitions, and optional activities are not included. Children 12 and older are welcome. For information about trip highlights and fees, please visit www.figgeart.org. Museum membership required (see information below)

To book your reservation contact Cathy Oney at KDM Travel Agency, 563.324.3201 or cathy@kdmtravel.com by January 12, 2011. For more information on the itinerary, please contact Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson at 563.326.7804 x 7887 or ahayeshawkinson@figgeartmuseum.org.

Figge memberships are available at www.figgeart.org, the Museum Store, or by calling 563.326.7804 x 2007. Memberships start at just $40 and are up to 25% off through December 31.


Winning group to perform live with The Bangles and Sick of Sarah at a private daytime showcase hosted by maurices during South by Southwest 2011

A local band is one step closer to having its dreams of stardom come true on its journey to becoming the winner of maurices "Small Town Sound" nationwide search, and the regional community can help make it happen.

From a field of 500-plus bands, Euralea! Of Moline, Ill., has been chosen as a top 10 finalist in maurices "Small Town Sound" contest. The contest was created in partnership with PlayNetwork and Sonicbids to discover the hottest up-and-coming female-fronted band in the country. The goal of "Small Town Sound" is to ultimately give bands like Euralea!, which plays Pop/Rock music, their big break.

"We've entered contests before but have never gotten this far," said Aaron Mattson of Euralea!. "We know we have a good sound and vision that everybody in the band has worked hard to get across, but it's completely different to know that others feel the same."

Online voting last month cut the field of 525 bands to 50, and a group of panelists including The Bangles, Chrissie Hynde and Sick of Sarah, narrowed it to the 10 finalists. The finalists each had two weeks to create an original song based on the "Small Town Sound" theme. The songs are now playing in maurices stores nationwide and are also posted online, where people can vote from now through December 15, 2010. The general public is invited to vote on the best original song to help determine the grand prize winner and the two runners' up.

The winner will receive several incredible opportunities to let their star power shine. The band will perform live at their local maurices store, fly to Los Angeles to shoot a music video and record their winning song at the PlayNetwork production studio, and receive gifts from maurices and Daisy Rock Guitars. In addition, the winning group will perform live with The Bangles and Sick of Sarah at a private daytime showcase hosted by maurices during South by Southwest 2011.

"Small towns inspire us," said Lisa Bartlett, maurices associate vice president. "They're the heart of America, and we want to give bands with big dreams from small towns their breakthrough chance. Friends and neighbors have the chance to help make Euralea!'s dreams come true."

People are encouraged to log on to maurices.com and click on "Small Town Sound" to listen to the top 10 bands and then cast their vote.

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Our nation's high school graduation rate, after declining in the latter part of the 20th century, is beginning to rise, according to a report released Tuesday by America's Promise Alliance. The U.S. graduation rate increased from 72% in 2002 to 75% in 2008, according to Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic.  The report boasts more than half of states increased their graduation rate from 2002 to 2008.  Iowa shows an increase of 2.3% (84.1% in 2002 to 86.4% in 2008) and Illinois shows an increase of 3.3% (77.1% in 2002 to 80.4% in 2008).  The report is part of Grad Nation, a national movement aimed at ending the dropout crisis.  Despite these promising statistics, the rate of progress is too slow to reach the movement's goal of having 90% of students graduate from high school and obtain at least one year of postsecondary schooling by 2020.  To meet this goal, progress in graduation rates will need to increase fivefold over the next decade.  The challenge is large; in 2008, more than 2 million students still attended a school in which graduation was not better than about a 50/50 proposition.  Still, the central message of the report is that we can end the high school dropout crisis in America, through a targeted approach sustained over time, with clear goals and expectations and support to school leaders, teachers, and students.

Rivermont Collegiate, the Quad Cities' only private, independent, nonsectarian college-prep school, features a rigorous academic program that results in a meaningful diploma.  Students receive focused attention possible only in small classes, and are supported to take risks in academics, leadership, athletics, arts, and service.  Rivermont boasts 100% graduate acceptance to four-year colleges and universities, with over 90% of Rivermont grads earning four-year renewable merit scholarships.

What are you waiting for?  Explore the Rivermont approach to learning!  Join us for Open Tours the first Tuesday of every month.  The next Open Tour will be held Tuesday, December 7th from 8:30-10:00 a.m.  No appointment necessary!  Drop in to explore our philosophy and curriculum, take a tour of campus, and see our teachers in action.  Rivermont Collegiate is located at 1821 Sunset Drive, directly off 18th Street behind K&K Hardware in Bettendorf.

For additional information on Grad Nation, including the full Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic report, visit  http://www.americaspromise.org

For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate or Tuesday's Open Tours, contact Cindy Murray at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or  murray@rvmt.org


Basketball's most prolific innovators push sport forward once again;
Game-changing 4-pointer to make its mark at i wireless Center in Moline on January 8

 PHOENIX (December 2, 2010) - The Harlem Globetrotters, who have contributed more innovations to the game of basketball than any other team in history, have implemented the first-ever 4-point shot as part of all of its games on the team's 2011 "4 Times the Fun" North American tour, the team's record 85th season of touring.

The Globetrotters will debut the 4-pointer to a national audience on Sunday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m. EST, when ESPN2 telecasts the Globetrotters' game against the Washington Generals from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

This game-changing innovation will be on display when the Globetrotters take on the Washington Generals at i wireless Center on January 8, 2011 at 7:00p.m. Tickets, starting at $16.00, are on sale at www.harlemglobetrotters.com, the the i wireless Center box office, or by phone at 800-745-3000. Information on group and scout tickets can also be found at www.harlemglobetrotters.com.

"The Globetrotters have been at the forefront of basketball's evolution throughout the sport's history," said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. "From the alley-oop to the slam dunk to the behind-the-back pass, the Globetrotters have long brought innovations to basketball that are now staples of the game, and we're confident the 4-point shot will change the game of basketball going forward."

Throughout the 2011 North American tour, which will travel to 220 cities in 46 U.S. States and six Canadian provinces between December 26 and April 17, every Globetrotters game will now feature two designated 4-point shooting spots on each side of midcourt, each located 35 feet from the basket (the spots are 12 feet beyond the NBA's official 3-point line). The 4-point option is expected to further open up the playing floor for the Globetrotters as well as their opponents, the Generals, and is expected to generate even more high-scoring action and competitive play.

"Bring it," said Washington Generals President Red Klotz, whose team has not beaten the Globetrotters since January 1971, when Klotz himself sank a game-winning shot in Martin, TN. "Long-range marksmanship is a Generals trademark, and we've already installed several new plays to take advantage of the 4-pointer. If anything, this only makes us stronger."

"I only wish they had this shot when I was playing," said Globetrotter Legend Curly Neal, one of only five Globetrotters in history to have his jersey number retired. "I could have lit up that scoreboard all night long."

Sponsored by Campbell Soup Company, Howard Johnson Hotels, America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, Greyhound Lines and Spalding, the Original Harlem Globetrotters continue a world famous tradition of ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that continues to thrill fans of all ages.

Throughout their history, the Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 120 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans?among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents?over more than eight thrilling decades.


DAVENPORT, IOWA - The O'Henry story, "The Gift of the Magi" will be presented by New Ground Theatre beginning December 10th at the Village Theatre in the Village of East Davenport. The classic holiday tale takes a musical look at newlyweds Della and Jim on Christmas Eve, 1903 as they try and buy the other the perfect present, each sacrificing for the one they love.


The cast includes the 2010 River Cities Reader Best Actor, Tristan Tapscott. He is joined by Kelly Lohrenz, along with Wendy Czekalski, Patrick Gimm and Zack Finn. Directed by Lora Adams, the musical is written by Peter Ekstrom and was a mainstay of the Christmas season at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.


Showtimes are: December 10 and 11 at 7:30 pm, December 12 at 2:30 pm, December 14, 16, 17 and 18 at 7:30 pm and December 19 at 2:30 pm.  Ticket prices are $15 and $13 for students and seniors. Tickets can be reserved by calling 563-326-7529.


"Several years ago Tristan and Cari Dowling did the show for me at my church" said Lora Adams. "It is such a sweet, family friendly, holiday story that I wanted to bring it to New Ground Theatre and Chris Jansen, New Ground's Artistic Director was happy to add a holiday show to the season."


Hot Apple cider and cookies will be available at the show which runs an hour long. "We want you to get a great big Christmas 'hug' when you enter the theatre," said Adams.


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Shampoo.  Towels.  Laundry detergent.  Batteries.  This may read a little differently than your Christmas list, but these items we take for granted are in need right in our own community.  When members of the National Junior Honor Society at Rivermont Collegiate chose the Transitional Housing for Homeless Youth (THY) Program for a service project, it went beyond filling service hours; students felt a personal connection to this project, which serves youth-clients ages 14 through 21.  There are about 850 homeless youth in Davenport and Rock Island combined.  Members of Rivermont NJHS are hosting a "Bed, Bath, and Beyond for Bethany" fundraiser through December 10th, collecting donations of clothes and household products to supply youth apartments. NJHS members have thrown themselves behind the cause with fervor, even spending a chilly morning on the Rivermont front lawn with cardboard signs reading "Cold.  Tired. Hungry." and "Wanted: A Safe Place." to raise awareness about local homeless youth and encourage donations.  The cause is about to become even more meaningful!  On Friday, December 10th, THY Program Supervisor Ben Cleaveland will be on the Rivermont campus at 1:00 p.m. to speak with students in grades 5-12 about THY. He will be accompanied by a client who has benefited from THY and its services, providing the opportunity for students to see the significance and direct impact of their donation.  Following the program, Rivermont's donation boxes will be loaded and delivered.

Bethany for Children and Families has been providing services since 1899, ranging from custody mediation to teen parent support.  Specifically, the THY Program provides services for homeless youth, available to clients ages 14 to 21 that are homeless or living in a shelter.  Client-youth are located in various apartments throughout the QC community, furnished by donations, and must attend school or be employed.  THY focuses on providing educational and employment counseling, money management skills, vocational training, mental health services, and assistance with housing, food, and transportation.  THY encourages self-sufficiency by giving young people opportunities to exercise leadership, build skills, and get involved in the community.

Rivermont Collegiate, located in Bettendorf, is the Quad Cities' only private, independent, nonsectarian college-prep school for preschool through twelfth grade.  For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate, visit us online at www.rivermontcollegiate.org.

For additional information about Bethany for Children and Families and the THY Program, including a list of needed donations, please visit www.bethany-qc.org.


On Saturday, December 11th at 9:30 A.M., the Wapsi River Environmental Education Center will host a cross country ski clinic.  Come learn the basics of cross country skiing and explore the wintery open spaces of the Wapsi River Center.  All experience levels are welcome.  Please call 563-328-3286 to register for equipment - please provide gender, height and shoe size of each participant.

The Wapsi River Environmental Education Center can be found 6 miles south of Wheatland or 1 mile northwest of Dixon, Iowa, by taking County Road Y4E, then turning north at 52nd Avenue and following the signs for about 1 mile.

Bill Moves to Governor Quinn for Signature
WASHINGTON ? The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights group, today congratulated the Illinois Senate on passing a civil unions bill by a 32-24 vote and urges Governor Quinn to quickly sign the bill into law.
"HRC applauds the Illinois Senate for recognizing that our families need the security of legal recognition now by swiftly passing a civil unions bill," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Thank you to all of the Senators and Representatives who took a stand for justice, and to the tireless advocacy of Equality Illinois and other organizations who made such a victory possible."
The bill, introduced by Rep. Greg Harris and passed by both the House and Senate, would permit both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions and receive the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under Illinois law that are granted to spouses. The bill, however, does not provide for same-sex marriages.
In addition to Illinois, ten states plus Washington, D.C. offer state-level relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C. provide committee LGBT couples the freedom to marry. New York and Maryland recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Five other states?California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington ?provide same-sex couples with civil unions or domestic partnerships.
Colorado, Hawaii and Maine provide gay and lesbian couples with limited rights and benefits, not all rights provided to married couples. California recognized marriage for same-sex couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. Couples married during that window remain married under California law, but all other same-sex couples can only receive a domestic partnership within the state. The state will recognize out of state same-sex marriages that occurred before November 5, 2008 as marriages and those that occurred on or after November 5, 2008 as domestic partnerships.
Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state. For an electronic map showing where marriage equality stands in the states, please visit: www.HRC.org/State_Laws.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Thunder Bay Grille is having a special Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 4th at 10AM. Enjoy a breakfast buffet of scrambled eggs, sausage, French toast sticks and fruit. Santa will sing songs, read stories and visit with everyone! Bring your camera and take a picture with Santa. Call to make your family reservations. Adults are $7.00, Kids 4-10 $5.00. Santa will also be making special appearances during Sunday Brunch on Dec. 12th and 19th from 9-10 and 11:30-12:15. For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Thunder Bay Grille at 6511 North Brady Street Davenport, IA or by phone at (563) 386-2722 or online at www.thunderbaygrille.com.