(Waterloo, IA) - Congressman Bruce Braley will host the 5th Annual Bruce, Blues and BBQ this Sunday, November 15th from 2:00-3:30 pm at the UAW Hall Local 838 in Waterloo, Iowa. The Honorable Tom Vilsack will be the keynote speaker at the event. The event is open to the public.

For ticket information or to learn more about the BBQ, visit www.brucebraley.com or call (319) 290-6516.

WHAT: 5th Annual Bruce, Blues and BBQ with the Honorable Tom Vilsack

WHEN: Sunday, November 15th from 2:00 pm until 3:30 pm

WHERE: UAW Hall Local 838, 2615 Washington Street, Waterloo, IA

CONTACT: Caitlin Legacki @ 919.442.8098

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Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Donates

$50,000 to Important Fund as Veterans Day Nears

CHICAGO - November 8, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today joined with representatives from the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to accept a $50,000 donation to the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.

"I salute the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association for supporting this important cause for more than three years," said Governor Quinn. "When our brave men and women answer the call to duty, they should not have to worry that their families are suffering financially at home. All of us in Illinois can help our military families by donating to the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund this Veterans Day."

Thanks to many generous donations by Illinois residents, the fund has distributed more than $10.4 million for more than 19,000 applications from Illinois military families to date. Donations to the fund can be made by visiting OperationHomefront.org. Checks can be made payable to the Illinois Military Family Relief and mailed to: The Illinois Department of Military Affairs, ATTN: IMFRF, 1301 N. MacArthur Boulevard, Springfield, Illinois 62702-2399

The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund legislation was drafted by then-Lt. Governor Quinn, passed unanimously by the General Assembly and signed into law in 2003. It established a check-off box on the Illinois income tax return that allowed residents to make tax-deductible donations directly to the fund. More than 35 states have passed legislation modeled after the Illinois fund.

On Wednesday, Governor Quinn spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D. C. to advocate for the passage of a National Military Family Relief Fund. The legislation, House Resolution 1175, was announced by Governor Quinn and Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) in April and is based on the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund. It would allow taxpayers to voluntarily contribute to the fund by filling in an amount on their federal income tax forms. Active-duty servicemen and servicewomen fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and veterans and their families would be eligible for grants.

Governor Quinn was joined by Director Dan Grant, Director, Department of Veterans Affairs; Frank J. Kirby, President, Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association; Gregory S. Szymski, Executive Director, Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and an Army Bronze Star Vietnam Veteran; and SGT Michael Devlin, a beneficiary the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.

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National Guard and Reserve members and families encouraged to nominate supportive employers

ARLINGTON, Va. - Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense agency, today announced the opening of the nomination season for the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.  National Guard and Reserve members and their families are eligible and encouraged to nominate employers who have provided exceptional support of military employees above the federal law requirements.  Nominations will be accepted at www.FreedomAward.mil from November 2, 2009 to January 18, 2010.  The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their outstanding support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

The 2010 recipients will be announced in the spring and honored in Washington, D.C. at the 15th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony on September 23, 2010.  Recipients of the 2009 Freedom Award met privately with President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.  Dr. Jill Biden, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Dennis McCarthy presented the awards at a ceremony attended by members of Congress and senior government and military officials.

Almost one-half of the U.S. military is comprised of the National Guard and Reserve. The Department of Defense shares these citizen warriors with their civilian employers, many of whom provide significant support to their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.  2009 honorees ranged from AeroDyn Wind Tunnel, LLC, a small automotive racing wind tunnel testing company in North Carolina to large businesses including Microsoft and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals to Santa Ana, California Police Department, a public sector employer.  Past recipients of the Freedom Award have provided significant support including full salary, continuation of benefits, care packages and family assistance to employees fulfilling their military obligation.

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community.  "There is much excitement surrounding the 15th anniversary of the Freedom Award," noted acting ESGR Executive Director Ms. Polli Brunelli, "and we're enthusiastic to begin selection of the 2010 recipients from amongst all of the heartfelt nominations that will be submitted by thousands of proud Citizen Warriors."

ESGR is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972. Its mission is to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law and resolving conflicts through mediation.

For questions regarding the Freedom Award nomination process, please visit www.FreedomAward.mil or contact Maj. Melissa Phillips, ESGR Public Affairs, at 703-380-9262.

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    Funds included in the Department of Interior and Environment Appropriations

    Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today that he has secured $300,000 for City of Clinton Wastewater Improvements. The funding was included in the Department of Interior and Environment Appropriations (H.R. 2996) which passed in the House today with a vote of 247 to 178.

    "I'm proud to announce this funding for wastewater improvements in the Clinton area," Braley said. "At a time in our state's economy, when too many Iowans are facing the challenges of unemployment, it's crucial to promote projects like this that will create jobs for Iowans."

    Specifically, this project will make capital improvements to existing facilities and construct a new remote treatment facility serving Camanche and Low Moor, extending wastewater services to the western industrial development corridor.

Bill signed by Obama allows Pentagon to provide benefits to Iowa National Guard troops

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) today applauded President Obama's signing of his Guaranteed Benefits for Our Troops Act (HR 1222) into law. The Act was included in the final FY2010 National Defense Authorization Act.

Braley's fix will ensure that hundreds of Iowa National Guard members are provided benefits they were promised under the Department of Defense's Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence (PDMRA) program, commonly known as "Respite Leave."  Over 20,000 Army National Guard members across the country - including almost 800 members of the Iowa National Guard - did not receive benefits they earned due to delay between the announcement of the leave program by the Department of Defense and the implementation of the program by the individual services.

"As the Iowa National Guard prepares to send over 3,000 troops to Afghanistan in the largest single unit call-up since World War II, it is critical that troops receive the benefits they have earned and deserve," Braley said.  "That's why I'm thrilled that President Obama signed this important legislation into law today.  Now that the Guaranteed Benefits for Our Troops Act has finally been enacted into law, I'll be working to ensure that the Pentagon provides these benefits to National Guard troops in Iowa and across the country immediately."

Respite Leave was designed to provide service members deployed to places like Iraq and Afghanistan for longer than established rotation cycles additional help to reintegrate back to civilian life, as well as to improve the retention of service members who had experienced especially long tours of duty.

Once the Respite Leave program was announced, however, there were significant delays before its implementation.  The Department of the Army, for example, didn't issue its corresponding policy for implementing Respite Leave until more than six months after the Pentagon's January 2007 announcement of the program.

Because of this gap, thousands of soldiers from the Army National Guard did not receive proper Respite Leave compensation.

Braley first introduced the Guaranteed Benefits for Our Troops Act in July 2008.  The bill will allow the Pentagon to retroactively grant up to $200 per day to affected troops.

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Funding included in Agriculture Appropriations bill, along with additional money for agriculture development in the First District

Washington, DC–Today, funding secured by Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) for a USDA grant program was signed into law by the president. Braley announced that he secured $875,000 to continue the New Era Rural Technology Program he established. This program allows community colleges and advanced training facilities to train the next generation of agriculture-based energy professionals.

"This funding for the New Era Program allows us to keep Iowa at the forefront of the bio-energy industry," Braley said. "As our economy shifts to a culture of renewable energy, it's crucial that we provide education for the emerging professionals in Iowa. I'm proud to have introduced, passed into law and funded legislation that does just that."

Additionally, the bill signed into law included $350 million in emergency assistance for dairy farmers. The language provides $290 million for direct assistance to dairy farmers and another $60 million for a large cheese purchase.

"I understand the struggle Iowa dairy farmers are going through as they deal with low dairy prices combined with high input costs. I'm hopeful that the assistance provided in the Agriculture Appropriations bill will help them get through this difficult period."

Braley also secured funding for the National Education Center for Agriculture Safety in Peosta, the National Ag Based Lubricants Center (NABL) at University of Northern Iowa and for UNI's Tallgrass Prairie Center to research floodplain restoration.

The $170,000 for the National Center for Agriculture Safety will provide interactive health and safety education to Iowa farmers, volunteer firefighters, EMS providers and agricultural businesses. The program will also provide youth safety training to over 300 young people in the First District.

The $405,000 for the UNI-NABL will fund research and testing of bio-renewable lubricants and greases. The goal is to create commercial, bio-based lubricant products which are bio-degradable and more environmentally friendly than petroleum based products.

The $134,000 for UNI's Blackhawk County's Tallgrass Prairie Center will fund a study of wetland communities to determine which species best aid in floodplain recovery. This will provide direct impact on restoration of wetlands in Eastern Iowa and across the country.

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2010 Congressional Page applications now available

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today that applications are now available for 2010 Congressional Page positions in Washington D.C. High school juniors are encouraged to apply.

"This is an outstanding opportunity to gain knowledge, experience and a first-hand look at the workings of our federal government," Braley said. "It's aimed not only at those interested in politics and public policy, but any student looking to challenge themselves, meet new friends and expand their horizon.

"Students gain insight, outstanding networking skills and long-lasting friendships. Not to mention a great love and understanding for our nation's capitol. I look forward to welcoming a student from the First District to Washington D.C."

The internship begins on January 24th, 2010 and concludes on June 4th.  The applications are due by November 9th and should be submitted to the Waterloo District Offce, at 501 Sycamore St., Suite 610, Waterloo, IA 50703.

Applications are available at http://www.braley.house.gov and are due on November 9th.

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Governor's 10 Percent Budget Cut Hits Iowa Property Taxpayers Hard


WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Oct. 9, 2009 -Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) members are disappointed with the Governor's decision to make a 10 percent across-the-board cut for the fiscal year 2010 budget because members know it equals a $251 million property tax hike.  "Although the Governor said he will not burden Iowans with a tax hike to balance the budget, that's exactly what he's doing," said IFBF President Craig Lang.

"A $251 million property tax hike now looms over the head of hardworking Iowans and there is no relief in sight," said Lang.

Farm Bureau members will ask Governor Culver and state leaders to redesign the state's budgeting process during next year's legislative session.  "We have to make the necessary changes to avoid the budget disruptions we are seeing today.  The state's budget default process of leaning on property taxpayers has to stop.  Homeowners, farmers and main street businesses simply can't afford a tax increase and a property tax increase is a tax increase," said Lang.

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Braley created 'New Era' program which provides funding for grant.

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced that the Eastern Iowa Community College District (EICCD) and Hawkeye Community College have been awarded $276,318 in grant money from the Department of Agriculture for curriculum in ag-based renewable energy programs. The grant is made available through the New Era Rural Technology Program established by Braley.

"Community colleges in Eastern Iowa will now be able to enhance their courses and training for students entering the renewable energy field," Braley said. "This grant will not only promote higher education in the field of bio-energy, but give students the resources to be highly-qualified in the competitive job market."

Specifically, the money will go toward the EICCD Agriculture-based Renewable Energy Center (AREC), in partnership with Hawkeye Community College. Its vision is to advance curriculum, programs and resources to increase the number of rural students who pursue and complete a two-year postsecondary degree in ag-based renewable energy.

"I want to thank Congressman Braley for his role in securing the funding for this great opportunity at the college," Eastern Iowa Community College District Chancellor Dr. Pat Keir said. "Through the years, EICCD has become a leader in the area of new and renewable energies. This grant provides us with the ability to tie that into the heart of Iowa and the Midwest, agriculture. Thanks to this funding we will be educating students, other educators and current workers throughout the country in ag-based renewable energy opportunities."

The New Era Rural Technology Program was originally proposed by Braley when he introduced H.R. 872, the National Endowment for Workforce Education in Renewables and Agriculture (NEW ERA) Act, in 2007.  Braley passed these provisions into law in 2008, creating the grant program.

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Funding included in Agriculture Appropriations bill, along with additional money for agriculture development in Iowa's First District

Washington, DC?Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced he has secured $875,000 to continue the New Era Rural Technology Program he established. This USDA grant program allows community colleges and advanced training facilities to train the next generation of agriculture-based energy professionals. The funds were included in the House-Senate conference agreement, which passed today in the House with a vote of 263 to 162.

"This funding for the New Era Program allows us to keep Iowa at the forefront of the bio-energy industry," Braley said. "As our economy shifts to a culture of renewable energy, it's crucial that we provide education for the emerging professionals in Iowa. I'm proud to have introduced, passed into law and funded legislation that does just that."

Braley also announced funding for the National Education Center for Agriculture Safety in Peosta, the National Ag Based Lubricants Center (NABL) at University of Northern Iowa and for UNI's Tallgrass Prairie Center to research floodplain restoration.

The $170,000 for the National Center for Agriculture Safety will provide interactive health and safety education to Iowa farmers, volunteer firefighters, EMS providers and agricultural businesses. The program will also provide youth safety training to over 300 young people in the First District.

The $405,000 for the UNI-NABL will fund research and testing of bio-renewable lubricants and greases. The goal is to create commercial, bio-based lubricant products which are bio-degradable and more environmentally friendly than petroleum based products.

The $134,000 for UNI's Blackhawk County's Tallgrass Prairie Center will fund a study of wetland communities to determine which species best aid in floodplain recovery. This will provide direct impact on restoration of wetlands in Eastern Iowa and across the country.

The Agriculture Appropriations bill conference agreement now must be approved by the Senate before moving to President Obama for his signature.

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