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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Iowa Republican: TIR Poll: 61% of Iowans Oppose Labor Agenda

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican
Now that we are in the midst of another session of the Iowa legislature, the labor unions are once again trying to advance their agenda. Just a year ago, all four legislative priorities of the unions were defeated by the Democrat controlled legislature. That would make a normal person think that the chances of passing any labor bill this year is slim to none.

Bleeding Heartland: Good news for Iowa water quality (for once)

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
State legislators have allowed clean water "anti-degradation" rules to stand, a step toward filling a significant hole in Iowa's water quality regulations. A last-ditch effort by Republicans failed to win enough votes on the Iowa legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee (ARRC) to set aside rules adopted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Blog for Iowa: The Future of Iowa Grassroots Politics

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa
On the dust cover of The Audacity to Win by David Plouffe, it says, "Plouffe was not just the architect of the campaign that put Barack Obama in the White House; he also built a grassroots movement that changed the face of politics forever and re-energized the idea of democracy itself." A bit self serving on the part of the publisher, Viking Penguin, but of course it would be. If the campaign Plouffe organized changed the face of politics, the citizenry does not like the way it looks, especially the partisan visage we see on the 111th Congress and the President's inability to pass many of his major initiatives during his first year in office.

Bleeding Heartland: Don't believe everything Republicans tell you about spending cuts

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
Yesterday the Iowa House State Government Committee voted down a Republican plan to cut state spending by $290 million in the coming year. State Representative and gubernatorial candidate Chris Rants offered the plan as an amendment to the government reorganization bill. He said his party was trying to "work in a bipartisan way" and make "tough decisions" to balance the budget for the coming year. All twelve Democrats on the House State Government Committee voted against the GOP amendment, while the nine Republicans voted for it. Later the same day, the committee approved the reorganization bill on a 20-1 vote, with only Rants opposed.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Iowa Republican: Boswell Retirement Imminent?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican
For months, retirement rumors have surrounded Congressman Leonard Boswell. The seven-term Representative in Iowa's 3rd District tried to quash the retirement rumors early last month, but his statement that he is running has done nothing to dampen the rumors that keep resurfacing in D.C. and back home in Iowa's third district.

Coralville Courier: U.S. Sen. Grassley: Grassley asks Orszag to explain reporting requirements for recipients of stimulus dollars

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier
Senator Chuck Grassley is following up on the response he received from the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget with questions about what the response left unanswered. Grassley asked about new information related to the lack of reporting requirements for recipients of federal economic stimulus dollars, the apparent lack of procedures for preventing the award of stimulus funds to ineligible recipients, and how recipients who received funds without asking were selected.

Bleeding Heartland: Don't believe everything Republicans tell you about I-JOBS

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
Iowa Republicans have been throwing around misleading talking points about the I-JOBS program since the Iowa legislature approved the infrastructure bonding initiative last spring. I'm still waiting for Republicans to address some basic questions, like where would they have found $45 million for flood recovery efforts in Linn County without I-JOBS? What was their plan for repairing ten flood-damaged structures at the University of Iowa, if they didn't want to issue $100 million in state bonds to leverage $500 million in federal funds to rebuild the campus?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Cedar Valley Voices: Is Grassley An Embarrassment to Iowa?

Excerpted from this post at Cedar Valley Voices
In considering the current state of our representation by Senator Chuck Grassley and his bid to continue it through 2018 when he will be eighty-five years old, I have two major areas of concerns, one politically incorrect, one simply of confounded amazement. As a lifelong Democrat, I have not particularly admired Grassley, nor thought him aboveboard. His "I'm just a farmer" stance, doing farm work one week a year while he and his family raked in a million bucks in farm subsidies, seems duplicitous. His lame attempts to rant about $700 Department of Defense hammers while never doing anything serious to vote down the defense budget is also annoying.

Bleeding Heartland: Boswell still not among most vulnerable House incumbents

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
Seven-term Representative Leonard Boswell is the 64th most vulnerable Democrat in the House of Representatives, according to new analysis by Crisitunity at Swing State Project. Crisitunity's "vulnerability index" takes into account both the partisan voting index of each member's district (based on presidential election results) and the House incumbent's performance in the previous election.

New Generation Republican: 2-3-10 A bill to Kill Iowa Business

Excerpted from this post at New Generation Republican
I sat on a Senate sub-committee this morning that dealt with a bill that would create mandatory combined tax reporting for Iowa businesses. This issue has been around for many years, the idea is very complex but the outcome is clear, it raises taxes on business. Since we have a vast black hole in the budget this becomes another idea of generating more tax revenue.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Iowa Republican: Culver Comes Up Short In Covering $1 Billion Budget Gap

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican
Every year, the legislature and the Governor must approve a balanced budget by the end of the legislative session. This process is always a tedious and difficult one, and this year, they only have 80 days to do it. Some years the process is easier than others. In fiscal year 2008, legislators had a relatively easy time dealing with the $137.1 million budget gap. This year, Governor Culver and the legislature has their work cut out for them. They must deal with the largest budget gap in the state's history.

Coralville Courier: Rettig not focused on job, attends 'bike summit' in Des Moines

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier
Last week she cried foul over the Joint Emergency Communications Center (JECC) budget. Calling its budget 'fat' in the local papers, here's what Rettig wrote on her Twitter account on January 25th: Very disturbed by the Joint Communications fiscal irresponsibility - up 28 percent this year in this economy. What?

Bleeding Heartland: Braley gets a new Republican challenger

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
Last week attorney Ben Lange of Independence told Ed Tibbetts of the Quad-City Times that he will run against two-term incumbent Bruce Braley in Iowa's first Congressional district. According to Tibbetts, Lange will make a formal announcement next month and was collecting signatures for his nominating petitions at the January 23 Republican caucuses. Before returning to Iowa to raise a family, Lange worked in Washington for Representative John Kline of Minnesota.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Blog for Iowa: Partisan Debate in the Iowa House over Military Families

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa
"If we consider that the United States is fighting two wars, it is hard to say anything other than it is despicable to play partisan games when it comes to supporting our active duty military's families." At one of the several legislative forums taking place around the state on Saturday morning, Representative Dave Jacoby (HD30) mentioned that there was a sickening debate in the house pertaining to unemployment insurance benefits for spouses who leave employment to accompany a spouse on a military assignment. (HF 2110) Republican Representatives Tymeson and Kauffman argued against the bill saying it would impact employers. Republican Royd Chambers was quoted as saying, "Why should Iowa businesses pay out unemployment benefits when you volunteered?"

Bleeding Heartland: Terry Branstad's family values

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
Talk about trying to be all things to all people. Branstad doesn't have a problem with same-sex couples living together, raising children, and having visitation rights. But give a same-sex couple a piece of paper saying they're married, and oh no! Society is doomed!

Coralville Courier: U.S. Sen. Grassley: Debt burden overshadows recovery

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier
When it comes to forecasting the economic recovery, a great deal of uncertainty looms. From my meetings with Iowans the last 12 months, I've gauged a growing discontent among people who feel that Washington is downright disconnected and out of touch.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Blog for Iowa: Sanctuary City and Immigration in Iowa (Part Two)

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa
Last week, as part of the Martin Luther King Junior Human Rights Week, a group of citizens in the labor and faith communities presented an event at the Iowa City Public Library on immigration and the idea of making Iowa City more welcoming to immigrants by becoming a Sanctuary City. On Monday, February 1 at 7:00 PM, the University of Iowa Graduate Social Work Student Association and the Social Work Student Association in collaboration with the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights and the Iowa City Human Rights Commission will make a different presentation on the subject of refugees and immigrants. Why the attention to immigration?

The Iowa Republican: Gibbons Out-Raises Boswell, Out-Paces Primary Opposition

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican
The June 8th primary is only 128 days away. Just three months ago, retired airline pilot Dave Funk was the only Republican candidate in the race. As the weather turned cold, Republicans began to sense that seven-term incumbent Congressman Leonard Boswell was on the hot seat. Since then, a number of candidates have joined the race, but only one thus far has put together the necessary funds to take on Boswell – former Iowa State wrestling coach Jim Gibbons.

Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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