Congressman Bruce Braley

Pulling the Plug on Medicare

Remember when Republicans were saying that Washington was going to pull the plug on grandma? Little did we know, they were on to something.

The newly released Republican budget does indeed threaten grandma – by dismantling Medicare and ending the guaranteed health care that so many seniors' lives depend on.

If House Republicans and Budget Chairman Paul Ryan get their way, they would privatize Medicare – getting rid of the government guarantee that makes the program accessible for all elderly Americans. Under this “brave” and “courageous” Republican plan, seniors would get a voucher to purchase insurance on the private market. This may sound like a reasonable plan until you consider that privatizing Medicare would cost seniors significantly more, almost doubling their out-of-pocket costs to more than $12,000 a year and leaving many unable to afford health care at all.

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Adding It All Up

If you tuned in to the news this week, you’ve seen two big stories dominating the headlines and the networks: the conflict in Libya and the pending budget negotiations. (For the record, I don’t count the escaped Bronx Zoo cobra as a big news story.)

Both Libya and the budget are big stories; both are important issues facing our nation. But they’re being treated as two different stories – and that’s the problem—they’re not.

Anyone who believes the actions we take in Libya are unrelated to the budget battle would probably believe that federal funding of National Public Radio caused our $1.3 trillion deficit. The facts just don’t add up – and that’s exactly what we need to start doing – adding things up. 

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Cutting Women's Rights

(Good to see a Democrat speak up for reproductive rights and family planning funding. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

In just three short months, Republicans in Washington and throughout the country have pursued one of the most sweeping attacks on rights and liberties in generations. In less than 90 days, we've seen a full out assault on the middle class, workers, and kids.

And now…American women.

In Washington, House Republicans are attacking women's health and safety under the guise of reining in government spending. Instead of an honest discussion about our very real fiscal problems, Washington Republicans have decided to roll back the rights of women by half a century. They're recklessly pursuing an agenda to deny American women, particularly low-income women, access to vital health care services with a bullish charge to eliminate Title X – our country's only federally funded family planning program.

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America: We Need a National Manufacturing Strategy

(I think it's important that we take a hard look at how we bring manufacturing, particularly GREEN manufacturing, back to Iowa's rural communities.  Thought this could essentially be an open thread. - promoted by Mark Langgin)

What did you buy this week? Now – how many of those items were made in America? Not many, I bet. Because even if we wanted to, most of us would be hard-pressed to buy only American-made products.

While U.S. jobs are steadily shipped overseas, the tidal wave of foreign-made goods in our stores and in our homes has become as regular as the tide. And that's a big problem for our country.

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Time to End Big Breaks for Big Oil

For years, Big Oil – Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, BP, Texaco, and ConocoPhillips  – has raked in record profits. But their dividend to consumers is usually the same: higher gas prices that make it more difficult to get to work, shop for groceries or drop the kids off at school.

Americans may be used to getting gouged at the pump – but we don’t deserve to get gouged in Congress too. Yet that’s exactly what happens when those big oil companies collect billions in tax breaks on our dime.

Over the next ten years, Big Oil will swindle American taxpayers to the tune of nearly $43 billion in unnecessary tax subsidies – claiming the breaks are needed to increase domestic oil production. Despite these outrageous tax loopholes, domestic oil production has decreased steadily since 1970. Meanwhile, our continued dependence on foreign oil puts the country at a national security risk.

I’m pleased to hear the recent drumbeat in Washington to eliminate oil subsidies, and I support these efforts. But closing these tax loopholes alone won’t end America’s need for affordable energy any time soon. That’s why I’ve put forward a commonsense plan to not only end the shameless handouts to Big Oil CEOs and Wall Street speculators, but also to address America’s ever-growing need for energy – all while creating good-paying jobs right here in Iowa.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act, which I introduced earlier this week, will end the unnecessary giveaways to Big Oil and provide incentives for renewable fuel producers to expand business and develop new technologies. Just as important, it will reduce our national deficit by billions.

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