WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today, Monday, September 27th, announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $46,041 grant to the Iowa Department of Education.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Iowa Department of Education will use the money to fund an in-service training program for Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services staff

Each year, thousands of local Iowa organizations, colleges and universities, individuals and state agencies apply for competitive grants and loans from the federal government.  The funding is then awarded based on each local organization or individual's ability to meet criteria set by the federal entity administering the funds.


One of State's Largest Aviation Projects to Create 21st Century Airport, 155 Jobs

PEORIA - September 25, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn was joined by state and local officials today to announce a $5.4 million investment in the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport. The mix of federal, state and local dollars will help support ongoing work on a new terminal and other major improvements. The work is expected to create 155 jobs.

"Airports play a critical role in our economy," said Governor Quinn. "These airport improvements are creating construction jobs today and will ultimately better connect Peoria-area businesses to the global marketplace, providing them with a competitive advantage as they grow and add new employees."

Funding through the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program helped the state leverage the $5.1 million federal grant, which is providing the majority of the project's funding. The remainder of the total is being financed with local dollars. To date, the state has provided funding to leverage a total of $11.8 million towards improvements at the airport.

"Thanks to the hard work of Governor Quinn and the General Assembly, we have leveraged capital funding from the Illinois Jobs Now! to secure federal grants for many important infrastructure projects," said IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig. "A modern airport is key to Peoria's economic future."

The highlight of the ongoing two-year overhaul at the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport is the replacement of the 50-year-old terminal with a brand new $60 million building. When it is completed next year, the one-story terminal will make the airport experience easier and more convenient for travelers, while meeting aviation needs in Peoria and the surrounding areas for years to come.

IDOT is currently leading Illinois' largest construction program in state history through Governor Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. The program will modernize our infrastructure across the state through major improvements in roadways, airports, railroads, and transit systems. Projects from the Illinois Job's Now! capital program are creating an estimated 155,000 short-term and permanent jobs.


WASHINGTON - Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Finance Committee, and six other committee members are asking for an inspector general review of whether Obama Administration officials illegally accessed and disclosed confidential taxpayer information.

The inquiry comes after media reports quoted a senior Obama Administration official describing the tax structure of Koch Industries, Inc.  Taxpayer confidentiality laws are strict, in part to prevent the use of tax information for political gain.  The official appeared to indicate knowledge of Koch Industries' tax structure beyond what is publicly available.

Grassley, along with Sens. Jon Kyl, Jim Bunning, Pat Roberts, Michael B. Enzi, John Cornyn and John Ensign, asked the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to investigate whether Obama Administration officials inappropriately examined and disclosed confidential taxpayer information and if so, whether they violated the taxpayer confidentiality law, known as section 6103.

"... the statement that Koch is a pass-through entity implies direct knowledge of Koch's legal and tax status, which would appear to be a violation of section 6103," the senators wrote.  "Alternatively, if the statement was based on speculation, it raises the question of whether the Administration speculating about any specific taxpayer's liability is appropriate."

The Finance Committee has exclusive Senate jurisdiction over tax policy.  The signed version of the senators' letter is available here.  The text of the senators' letter follows below.

An article from The Wall Street Journal quoting a senior Obama Administration official describing Koch Industries' tax structure is available here.

A transcript of a speech by President Obama in which he singles out Americans for Prosperity is available here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley is asking the Labor Department to justify how it counts arbitrators, mediators, conciliators, financial analysts, investment underwriters, marketing managers, personal financial advisers, public relations specialists, and reporters in its definition of what is a green job.

Grassley said the Labor Department is apparently allowing stimulus dollars that were supposed to support green jobs to be spent on these sorts of positions.  The Labor Department also administers the spending of $125 million a year on "energy efficiency and renewable energy" worker retraining through the Green Jobs Act of 2007.  That law specifies that federal dollars will support retrofitting buildings, biofuels and wind turbines.

"I'm a strong supporter of green jobs, and taxpayers deserve an honest reporting of how their money is being spent.  This kind of work is not what most people would think of as green jobs," Grassley said.  "It's a matter of responsible stewardship of tax dollars.  Since February 2009, the Department of Labor has given out $490 million in stimulus dollars for 'green jobs training,' and the Department tells me that it's still working to define green jobs."

Grassley began pressing the Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, for information about how the administration defines a green job in June.  In response, an assistant secretary said that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is "working to develop a definition for green jobs sectors and jobs" and directed Grassley to the Occupational Information Network of the Labor Department, or O*NET.  O*NET listed jobs that could be classified as green, including those now in question.

Grassley followed up on his initial inquiry in a letter sent today which asks the Secretary of Labor what changes, if any, are being made to the stimulus spending program at the Department of Labor to make sure tax dollars aren't squandered on jobs that aren't really green and on programs that produce few employment results.  Grassley's June letter and the Labor Department's response are attached to today's letter.

Grassley is conducting congressional oversight of stimulus spending by various federal agencies, including the Department of Energy and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The stimulus bill enacted in February 2009 has an $814 billion price tag.  Grassley did not vote for the measure.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Grassley Continues to Press for Release of Congressionally Mandated Report on Medicaid's Status

WASHINGTON - Sen. Chuck Grassley is again pressing the federal Department of Health and Human Services to finish and release a long overdue, congressionally mandated report on Medicaid's financial and enrollment status.  The report was due Jan. 1, 2010.

"I said before that the report might contain bad news, but we all need to see it," Grassley said.  "The new health care reform law expands Medicaid by the greatest amount in the program's history, yet states are already struggling to afford their existing Medicaid responsibilities.  A true picture of Medicaid's financial state is necessary to ensure that services are funded adequately for the millions of people who rely on the program.  It would really bother me if HHS were withholding the report because they don't want people to know what the true picture of Medicaid is."

Grassley is ranking member of the Committee on Finance, with jurisdiction over health care programs including Medicaid.  The text of his letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is available here.
Dr Joe Seng and Mark Riley have agreed to debate on 21 October at St Ambrose University (see attachment).  The format and moderator are still being worked out by the candidates, but they have agreed to the time and place.  Please feel free to contact either campaign for any further information.  Riley at 563-579-0408 and Seng at 563-391-1627.  Additionally Mark Riley will be appearing at the legislative forum sponsored by the school board on 19 October at
Central High at 0630 pm.

During his weekly video address, Chuck Grassley discusses legislation he co-sponsored that would require Congress to give final approval before major federal regulations can take effect.

Senator Grassley:  "I would like to visit with you about the runaway federal government bureaucracy. Consequently, this week I joined a group of senators introducing a bill that would require Congress to give final approval to major federal regulations before those regulations can take effect.

The new bill responds to growing regulatory burden and its negative impact on job creation.  The Constitution vests all legislative power in the Congress, which is the branch most accountable to the people.  Yet, year after year, Congress passes legislation that delegates more power to the executive branch.  In doing so, it also fails to assess the full impact of those laws and how that power is used.  As a result, federal agencies are increasingly bypassing Congress and imposing new regulations that Congress never intended.  Unfortunately, these regulations often have grave consequences for average Americans that don't appear to be explored or are ignored by the federal agency.

For instance, a tidal wave of new regulations is hitting the private sector with health care reform and other big pieces of legislation like the financial system regulation.  The uncertainty about the real impact and cost of these new regulations, along with the uncertainty of looming tax increases, make it much harder for employers to make commitments to create new jobs and hire workers.

The financial burdens of new regulations are estimated to be in the many trillions of dollars.  The Heritage Foundation estimates that the rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide alone could reach nearly $7 trillion in the next 20 years.  This is a cost that Americans simply can't handle.

This bill is a step in the right direction.  It will help establish greater accountability for major regulations handed down from the executive branch.  And, it will restore some badly needed checks and balances in our system of government that have been eroded."

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Announce Recovery Act Funding For Rural Library Projects in 30 States Throughout the Country

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2010 - TODAY, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce funding to build and enhance 129 rural libraries in 30 states. These library projects will provide rural residents with computer access, modern equipment and new training and educational opportunities.  The projects are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) under USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities program.

States benefiting from this announcement include Ala., Alaska., Cali., Colo., Del., Fl., Hawaii, Iowa, Ind., Kan., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., Miss., N.H., N.Y., N.C., N.J., N.M., Nev., Okla., S.C., Tenn., Texas, Utah, Va., Vt., Wash., and W.V.

September 27, 2010

Skip-a-Long Child Development Services is naming its "Business Volunteer of the Year" as part of its 40th birthday party today. Also on hand for the celebration are Representative Pat Verschoore and Rock Island Dennis Mayor Pauley.

Skip-a-Long Child Development Services opened its doors forty years ago--on August 24th --with one student and grant monies from the state, local  churches, individuals, businesses and the Deere Foundation. Today there are four campuses in the Quad Cities serving more than 900 children on a daily basis.

As a way to celebrate its past and look forward to its future the centers are hosting birthday parties during the month of September and organizers are putting out the call for all alumni to come visit the campus they attended years ago.

The Rock Island party will take place from 12:00 pm until the center closes with a cookout for all alumni, parents and staff. There is a short awards program at noon to recognize family and business volunteers. State Representative Pat Verschoore and the Mayor Dennis Pauley, will speak at the program and then cut the special birthday cake for all the children. The media is invited to attend.

WHO: Rock Island Skip-a-Long Child Development Center WHAT: Birthday party with dignitaries, alumni, staff and friends

WHEN: Monday, September 27th party at the Rock Island campus (1609 4th Street) Noon cookout and program with Mayor Pauley and Rep. Verschoore

WHY: To celebrate the oldest child care center in the Quad Cities

Quad City residents are invited to recycle their 'gently worn' shoes for people in need

Nashville, TN - DATE - Every 9 seconds, Soles4Souls Inc. gives away another pair of shoes to someone in need.  The shoe charity has earned glowing endorsements from Hollywood stars and professional athletes, but the people that truly make the non-profit organization effective are those who clean out their closets to personally drop off their 'gently worn' shoes at a participating location, such as the QC Child Development Center.

For a limited time, Soles4Souls and Quad Cities Child Development Center will be collecting your gently worn footwear and/or donations to ship the shoes to a person in need, whether they are victims of a natural disaster or subject to living in extreme poverty.  It is estimated that Americans have 1.5 billion pairs of unused shoes lying in their closets.  The charity can use each and every one of these pairs to make a tangible difference in someone's life.

"We can use the shoes taking up space in your closet to change the world one pair at a time," said Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls, Wayne Elsey.  "We need our partners in the Quad Cities to 'STEP UP' and get behind our call for action.  It's one of the most simple yet profound gifts you can make, because it will greatly improve someone's life in the most difficult of times," he said.

Come to the Quad Cities Child Development Center, 4959 Utica Ridge Road, Davenport, October 29, 2010, 3:00-5:00 pm

People and companies interested in donating can visit the organization's website at www.giveshoes.org.