Grassley votes no as Senate passes bill extending various benefits, tax credits

Yesterday the Senate approved HR 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009, by a 62-35 vote. Tom Harkin voted for the bill, as did all but one Democrat. Chuck Grassley voted against the bill, as did all but six Republicans (roll call here). Harkin’s office summarized some of the $140 billion bill’s key provisions:

o    Extend the current federal unemployment benefits program through Dec 31, 2010.

o    Extend the federal funding of the state share of Extended Benefits through Dec 31, 2010.

o    Extend eligibility for the temporary increase of $25 per week in individual weekly unemployment compensation through Dec 31, 2010.

o    Extend the 65 percent subsidy for COBRA coverage through Dec 31, 2010.

o    Extend the Medicare payment fix for doctors.

o    Extend FMAP, the federal share of Medicaid payments, to give state budgets some relief.

Last week, Congress passed a 30-day extension of the federal unemployment benefits program (through April 5th) and the extension prior to that continued unemployment benefits for 2 months (from Dec 2009 to Feb 2010).

The Hill reported that about $80 billion of the bill’s cost “goes toward prolonging increased levels of federal unemployment aid and COBRA healthcare benefits for the jobless through the end of December.” According to the Washington Post, the main Republican objection was that the bill will add to the deficit. It’s notable that Republicans never let concerns about the deficit stop them from voting for unaffordable wars or tax cuts for the wealthy. But unemployment benefits that help struggling families while stimulating the economy and creating jobs are too expensive for Republicans.

The Senate bill approved yesterday also included an extension of the Biodiesel Tax Credit through the end of December. Most Iowa biodiesel plants are not viable without this tax credit, and consequently many shut down production in January of this year.

House Democrats may want a conference committee to reconcile the bill the Senate passed yesterday with a $154 billion jobs bill the House approved in December. That House bill included “significant new spending for infrastructure projects, as well as aid to states to prevent layoffs of key personnel such as teachers, police and firefighters.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has reportedly promised to “bring up a bill that included the infrastructure and state fiscal aid measures from the House jobs bill” before the Senate’s Easter break.

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Events coming up this week

Post a comment or send an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if I’ve left out any significant event.

Tuesday, November 18:

The Center of Sustainable Communities will hold an Open House from 4 pm to 7 pm at COSC’s Building, 219 Fifth Street, Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines. If you are already a member or sponsor, or if you are considering joining our efforts, this is a great opportunity to learn more about COSC and connect with others involved in sustainable initiatives and green building. Visit www.icosc.com as details develop.

Reservations are due for the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa’s Crossroads luncheon on Friday, November 21 (see below).

Wednesday, November 19:

The Conservation Districts of Iowa annual conference will be held Nov 19-20, 2008, at the Hotel Gateway in Ames. This year we’ll focus on conservation planning for the extremes. More details will be available soon, but registration is now available at http://www.cdiowa.org/events.h…

Thursday, November 20:

The 2008 Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Forum will be held November 20-21 at the Radisson Quad City Plaza in Davenport, IA. We will explore how federal policy affects the health and economics of rural areas, trends in the agricultural work force, injury prevention, child safety, and translation of research to practice for the NIOSH tractor safety initiative. Call to register today – 1-800-551-9029 or go to: http://www.public-health.uiowa…

Friday, November 21:

The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa is holding a Crossroads luncheon:

“Christian Privilege: Do Jewish Students Feel Marginalized in Public Schools?”

Michelle Garland, PhD Candidate of Multicultural Education and International Curriculum Studies, Iowa State University

What is Christian Privilege ?  How does the public school institution ensure the perpetuation of Christian Privilege ?  What are the perceptions and feelings surrounding the public school experience of students from the Jewish faith?

The Crossroads monthly luncheon is Friday, November 21 from 11:45 am – 1 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, 42nd & Ingersoll Avenue , Des Moines .

Reservations are required to attend Crossroads and must be received by noon on Tuesday, November 18.  Cost is $8 and is payable at the door.

If you make a reservation and are unable to attend, payment for the reservation is appreciated.

For more information or to make a reservation, call (515) 279-8715 or email tiaiowa@dwx.com.

Saturday, November 22:

Biodiesel Homebrew Introductory Class

Learn the basics of how to turn vegetable oil into low-cost, environmentally friendly biodiesel in this hands-on workshop, at Iowa Valley Community College Nov 22, 9 am – Noon. Learn from a guy who has already run his vehicles thousands of trouble-free miles on homemade renewable fuels. During this fast-paced workshop, you will learn all aspects of Biodiesel production, from acquiring quality feedstock to assembling your own processor. Instructor, Steve Fugate is from Greenwold Biofuels.

Course #: AGR 9386 002; cost = $20. Location: Iowa Valley Community College Grinnell Room 115.

Instr: Steve Fugate.  To register: http://www.iavalley.cc.ia.us/i… Sponsored by the Imagine Grinnell Energy Program, (http://gotoplanb.net/gapri)

Join Iowa Rivers Revival on Saturday, November 22, for Iowa River Revival’s first River Congress at the Des Moines Botanical Center (10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.).  Participants will help to develop a River Bill of Rights that will set the standard for river quality expectations and practices statewide.  The Congress is an opportunity to collaborate with individuals and groups across the state to organize an advocacy agenda for the 2009 legislative session working towards preserving and enhancing Iowa’s rivers and streams.  Registration is open to individuals and organizations interested in improving the quality of Iowa’s rivers and streams.  Registration cost is $10 for meals and beverages. Please register by Friday, November 8.  For registration and more information, visit www.iowarivers.org.

Iowa Rivers Revival is also organizing a film screening:

Join Iowa Rivers Revival for a private screening of the award-winning documentary,  FLOW.  

·         Water is FAST becoming an unregulated, monopolized and commodified resource world-wide.

·         Water is now a $400 billion global industry – 3rd behind electricity and oil.

·         You thought gas prices were high…consider paying $9 for a gallon of water.  The average American uses 150 gallons of water a day – people in developing countries are lucky to find 5.

·         We can find alternatives for oil dependence – we simply cannot survive without safe, clean water.

   * Water is being exploited in areas where water is scare and often unsafe..and in some cases only available to those who can afford to buy it.

Don’t  miss your chance to see this powerful documentary!  Reserve your seat today at rlehman@iowarivers.org.

Watch the trailer:  http://www.flowthefilm.com/tra…

FLOW- Award-winning documentary comes to Des Moines

Can anyone really own water?  Join Iowa Rivers Revival on Saturday, November 22, 2008 (7PM) at the Iowa Historical Building for an exclusive Iowa screening of Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary FLOW – an investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century – The World Water Crisis.

FLOW will be shown as a fundraising effort in support of Iowa Rivers Revival’s education and program initiatives that have been developed to raise awareness about river quality and conservation and the many opportunities and benefits provided to us by rivers.  IRR is a non-profit organization that relies primarily on private contributions.  Tickets will be sold for $20 in advance or $25 at the door.  A student rate is available for $10 a ticket.

FLOW

http://www.flowthefilm.com/tra…

Iowa State Historical Building

600 E Locust St

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Doors Open at 6:30 PM

Movie starts at 7:00PM

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Events coming up this weekend and next week

Things have slowed down quite a bit since the election, so my calendar of events is not very full. However, there are probably lots of interesting things going on around the state that I don’t know about. Please send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) or post a comment if you know of important events I’ve left out.

Saturday, November 15:

From One Iowa:

Stand up and make your voice heard!

Last week’s historic victory for change was bittersweet with the heartbreaking passage of state initiatives denying gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry. Join us this Saturday to show your support for marriage equality in Iowa! LGBT people and our allies will gather across the county in solidarity to show support for equality – make your voice heard in Iowa!

Rally for Equality!

Saturday, November 15, 12:30 PM

Des Moines City Hall

400 Robert Ray Dr, Des Moines

With Remarks from:

Matt McCoy, State Senator

Alicia Claypool, Chair, Iowa Civil Rights Commission (for identification purposes only)

Ben Stone, Executive Director, ACLU of Iowa

Ed Fallon, Former State Representative

Rev. Mark Stringer, Minister, First Unitarian Church

Tim and Sean McQuillan, the only same-sex couple who legally married in Iowa

Linda Trudeau, President, Ames PFLAG

Brad Clark, Campaign Director, One Iowa

For more information contact One Iowa at organize@oneiowa.org or 515-288-4019

Tuesday, November 18:

The Center of Sustainable Communities will hold an Open House from 4 pm to 7 pm at COSC’s Building, 219 Fifth Street, Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines. If you are already a member or sponsor, or if you are considering joining our efforts, this is a great opportunity to learn more about COSC and connect with others involved in sustainable initiatives and green building. Visit www.icosc.com as details develop.

Reservations are due for the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa’s Crossroads luncheon on Friday, November 21 (see below).

Wednesday, November 19:

The Conservation Districts of Iowa annual conference will be held Nov 19-20, 2008, at the Hotel Gateway in Ames. This year we’ll focus on conservation planning for the extremes. More details will be available soon, but registration is now available at http://www.cdiowa.org/events.h…

Thursday, November 20:

The 2008 Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Forum will be held November 20-21 at the Radisson Quad City Plaza in Davenport, IA. We will explore how federal policy affects the health and economics of rural areas, trends in the agricultural work force, injury prevention, child safety, and translation of research to practice for the NIOSH tractor safety initiative. Call to register today – 1-800-551-9029 or go to: http://www.public-health.uiowa…

Friday, November 21:

The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa is holding a Crossroads luncheon:

“Christian Privilege: Do Jewish Students Feel Marginalized in Public Schools?”

Michelle Garland, PhD Candidate of Multicultural Education and International Curriculum Studies, Iowa State University

What is Christian Privilege ?  How does the public school institution ensure the perpetuation of Christian Privilege ?  What are the perceptions and feelings surrounding the public school experience of students from the Jewish faith?

The Crossroads monthly luncheon is Friday, November 21 from 11:45 am – 1 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, 42nd & Ingersoll Avenue , Des Moines .

Reservations are required to attend Crossroads and must be received by noon on Tuesday, November 18.  Cost is $8 and is payable at the door.

If you make a reservation and are unable to attend, payment for the reservation is appreciated.

For more information or to make a reservation, call (515) 279-8715 or email tiaiowa@dwx.com.

Saturday, November 22:

Biodiesel Homebrew Introductory Class

Learn the basics of how to turn vegetable oil into low-cost, environmentally friendly biodiesel in this hands-on workshop, at Iowa Valley Community College Nov 22, 9 am – Noon. Learn from a guy who has already run his vehicles thousands of trouble-free miles on homemade renewable fuels. During this fast-paced workshop, you will learn all aspects of Biodiesel production, from acquiring quality feedstock to assembling your own processor. Instructor, Steve Fugate is from Greenwold Biofuels.

Course #: AGR 9386 002; cost = $20. Location: Iowa Valley Community College Grinnell Room 115.

Instr: Steve Fugate.  To register: http://www.iavalley.cc.ia.us/i… Sponsored by the Imagine Grinnell Energy Program, (http://gotoplanb.net/gapri)

Join Iowa Rivers Revival on Saturday, November 22, for Iowa River Revival’s first River Congress at the Des Moines Botanical Center (10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.).  Participants will help to develop a River Bill of Rights that will set the standard for river quality expectations and practices statewide.  The Congress is an opportunity to collaborate with individuals and groups across the state to organize an advocacy agenda for the 2009 legislative session working towards preserving and enhancing Iowa’s rivers and streams.  Registration is open to individuals and organizations interested in improving the quality of Iowa’s rivers and streams.  Registration cost is $10 for meals and beverages. Please register by Friday, November 8.  For registration and more information, visit www.iowarivers.org.

Iowa Rivers Revival is also organizing a film screening:

Join Iowa Rivers Revival for a private screening of the award-winning documentary,  FLOW.  

·         Water is FAST becoming an unregulated, monopolized and commodified resource world-wide.

·         Water is now a $400 billion global industry – 3rd behind electricity and oil.

·         You thought gas prices were high…consider paying $9 for a gallon of water.  The average American uses 150 gallons of water a day – people in developing countries are lucky to find 5.

·         We can find alternatives for oil dependence – we simply cannot survive without safe, clean water.

   * Water is being exploited in areas where water is scare and often unsafe..and in some cases only available to those who can afford to buy it.

Don’t  miss your chance to see this powerful documentary!  Reserve your seat today at rlehman@iowarivers.org.

Watch the trailer:  http://www.flowthefilm.com/tra…

FLOW- Award-winning documentary comes to Des Moines

Can anyone really own water?  Join Iowa Rivers Revival on Saturday, November 22, 2008 (7PM) at the Iowa Historical Building for an exclusive Iowa screening of Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary FLOW – an investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century – The World Water Crisis.

FLOW will be shown as a fundraising effort in support of Iowa Rivers Revival’s education and program initiatives that have been developed to raise awareness about river quality and conservation and the many opportunities and benefits provided to us by rivers.  IRR is a non-profit organization that relies primarily on private contributions.  Tickets will be sold for $20 in advance or $25 at the door.  A student rate is available for $10 a ticket.

FLOW

http://www.flowthefilm.com/tra…

Iowa State Historical Building

600 E Locust St

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Doors Open at 6:30 PM

Movie starts at 7:00PM

Continue Reading...
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