Why Not Just Feed Babies Arsenic? - Think Progress

The House of Representatives is currently considering a bill that would drastically cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and severely limit the agency’s ability to protect human health and the environment.

Known as the 2012 Interior-EPA Appropriations bill (H.R. 2584), it would delay critical clean air rules by more than a year and prevent the EPA from regulating toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Our congressional delegation is generally pretty divided along party lines when it comes to major public health issues such as this – generally, Braley/Loebsack support the independence of the EPA and King/Latham oppose. Boswell is typically a swing vote. More below the fold if you are interested in taking action!

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Environment Iowa Applauds State's Congressional Champs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 12/30/09
Eric Nost, Environment Iowa | (515) 243-5835; cell (319) 621-0075 | enost@environmentiowa.org

Senator Tom Harkin (D) and Representative Leonard Boswell (D – 3rd District) voted for the environment 100 percent of the time in the past year and a half, according to the annual Congressional Scorecard released today by Environment Iowa.

Environment Iowa is releasing the scorecard as it continues its campaign to pass legislation in Congress to promote clean energy and cut global warming pollution.

“These scorecards are an important tool to educate Iowans about the voting records of our elected officials,” said Environment Iowa fellow Eric Nost. “They show that Senator Harkin and Congressmen Boswell have consistently decided to put the economy and the environment ahead of special interests. For instance, in the past year and a half, they voted to invest an unprecedented $80 billion in the kind of clean energy projects Iowa is uniquely poised to lead and benefit from.”

“Iowa is a national leader in the production and use of clean, home-grown sources of energy, and this industry continues to create jobs and grow our state's economy,” said Senator Harkin in a statement. “I am pleased to have supported legislation that reduces our dependence on foreign fuels, protects our environment and natural resources, and makes investments in the new energy economy. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress as we continue to address these important issues.”

Environment Iowa scored seven votes in the Senate ranging from an economic recovery bill with investments in public transit and energy efficiency to legislation saving the nation's coasts from offshore drilling.

In the House of Representatives, Environment Iowa scored 15 votes including funding to make schools more energy efficient and legislation protecting the Great Lakes.

Represntative Boswell and Senator Harkin were the only members of Congress from Iowa to receive a 100 percent score.

Representative Dave Loebsack (D), who represents Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, received a 93 percent. Represenative Bruce Braley (D), who represents Waterloo, Davenport, and Dubuque, earned an 80 percent. These numbers include a few absences from key votes that occurred during the floods of 2008.

With the help of these congressmen the 111th Congress has made significant progress in several key areas. In June the House passed a landmark bill to promote clean energy and limit global warming pollution.The Senate has yet to vote on its version of the legislation.

“We urge other members of Iowa's congressional delegation to work to strengthen our environmental laws—to curb global warming pollution, transition the country towards a cleaner energy future, and protect our most treasured waterways,” concluded Nost.

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Environment Iowa is citizen-based advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.

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Becky & Iowa Dems SHAME on YOU! Gave Bush & Wall Street a blank check!

I am so rip-you know what mad at our party today.  We caved!  We caved — and we were bought off on some flood provisions that should have been passed already.  The worst part is that our delegation (and Becky Greenwald with her statement supporting Goerge Bush's plan!!!!!!!!) caved and gave George W. Bush a BLANK CHECK for $700 Billion of OUR money to give to his greedy buddies on Wall Street.  Where is the anger?!?!?!

Read the bill yourself — and here is one respected member's take on this:

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement after voting against the Wall Street bail out plan, H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008:

 “The public is being led to believe that Congress has reconsidered its position because we have before us a better bill than we had a few days ago.  It is the same bill plus hundreds of new pages for hundreds of millions of tax breaks.  What does this have to do with the troubles of Wall Street?

 “Driven by fear we are moving quickly to pass a bill, which may produce a temporary uptick for the market, but nothing for millions of homeowners whose misfortunes are at the center of our economic woes. People do not have money to pay their mortgages.  After this passes, they will still not have money to pay their mortgages.  People will still lose their homes while Wall Street is bailed out.

 “The central flaw of this bill is that there are NO stronger protections for homeowners and NO changes in the language to ensure that the secretary has the authority to compel mortgage servicers to modify the terms of mortgages. And there are NO stronger regulatory changes to fix the circumstances that allowed this to happen.

 “We should have created a mechanism for our government to take a controlling interest in mortgage-backed securities and use our power to work out a new deal for the homeowners.  We could have done this.  We should have done this.  But we didn't.

 “Now millions of Americans will face the threat of foreclosure without any help.  And the numbers will soon rise for a number of reasons.  Not only because of the Alt-A, jumbo mortgages which will soon be reset at higher interest rates, but because the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is pushing up rates on adjustable mortgages and more than half of the US adjustable mortgage rates are tied to LIBOR.  Homeowner defaults will grow in significant numbers.  Let’s see if Congress will be as quick to help homeowners on Main Street as they were to help speculators on Wall Street.

 “Now the government will have to borrow $700 billion from banks, with interest, to give banks a $700 billion bailout, and in return the taxpayers get $700 billion in toxic debt.  The Senate “improved” the bailout by giving tax breaks to people in foreclosure.  People in foreclosure need help paying their mortgage, they do not seek tax breaks.

 “Across our Nation, foreclosures continue to devastate our communities, people are losing their jobs, and the prices of necessities are skyrocketing. This legislation, just like the one we defeated last week, will do nothing to solve the problems plaguing American families or help them to get out from underneath the oppressive debt they have been forced to take on.

 “Unfortunately, there has been no discussion of the underlying debt-based economy and the role of our monetary system in facilitating the redistribution of wealth upwards.

 “It is not as though we had no choice but to pass the bill before us. We could have done this differently. We could have demanded language in the legislation that would have empowered the Treasury to compel mortgage servicers to rework the terms of mortgage loans so homeowners could avoid foreclosure. We could have put regulatory structures in place to protect investors.  We could have stopped the speculators.

 “This bill represents an utter failure of the Democratic process.  It represents the triumph of special interest over the triumph of the public interest.  It represents the inability of government to defend the public interest in the face of great pressure from financial interests.  We could have recognized the power of government to prime the pump of the economy to get money flowing through out society by creating jobs, health care, and major investments in green energy.  What a lost opportunity!  What a moment of transition away from democracy and towards domination of America by global economic interests.

 “Years ago, in a Cleveland neighborhood, I saw a hand-scrawled sign above a cash register in a delicatessen.  The sign said:  “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.”  The sign above the Speaker's rostrum reads “In God We Trust,” but we are paying the cash to Wall Street.

 “It is not as if we had no other choice but to pass this bill.”

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Washington Post: Rural Support for the Iraq War Declines

The Washington Post has a story about the decline of support in rural areas of the Iraq War. The story looks at Tipton, Iowa that has had 2 soldiers die in combat in Iraq and has quotes from Rep. Bruce Braley.

It is “the intensity and passion” of the desire for an end to the war that strike Braley as new.

“There's more unity in the opposition now,” said Braley, whose district adjoins Tipton. “It was always easier to find optimists about the chances of success in Iraq two years ago. You don't now find people talking that way, even the most ardent supporters of the president's policy.”

Originally posted at Century of the Common Iowan.

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