Thursday, April 24, 2008


Vote-by-Mail Ballots

The primary election is a little less than 6 weeks away.

Beginning today you can request a 'vote-by-mail' ballot, so if you believe there is a chance you may not make it to the polls on June 3rd, get a vote-by-mail ballot.

Even if you just like the convenience of voting early by mail, you can request a ballot by clicking here.

Friday, April 18, 2008


U.S. Sen. Grassley: Statement re: South Korea on U.S. beef

Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, with jurisdiction over international trade, made the following comment in response to today’s announcement that South Korea will reopen its market to all imports of U.S. beef products.

“I’m pleased that South Korea has agreed to reopen its market to U.S. beef. This is long overdue, and I appreciate the priority that President Lee placed on making it happen. The next step is to get the beef trade flowing. I’ll be closely monitoring the implementation of today’s agreement. We need to see U.S. beef again enter the South Korean market in commercial quantities. It used to be our third-largest export market, and the potential is significant for our beef producers. The resumption of normal trade in beef should open up additional opportunities to further enhance our bilateral trade relationship.”

Monday, April 14, 2008


Nemecek announces run for Iowa House

MOUNT VERNON -- Republican Emma Nemecek has announced that she will seek election to the Iowa House of Representatives’ District 29, which includes eastern and southern Linn County, and rural Johnson County. Democrat Ro Foege, the currect representative for District 29, announced last month that he will not be seeking re-election.

Nemecek, who also ran for the seat in 2006, is looking forward to hearing from area residents.

“I thank Ro for his service, and I look forward to carrying on his bipartisan work,” said Nemecek. “There are a lot of things I hope to accomplish for the area, where job creation will be my top priority.”

Nemecek, who resides in Mt. Vernon with her husband, Terry, says a renewed focus should be made on education.

“We need rigorous standards and higher accountability in our classrooms,” said Nemecek. “No longer are we competing with other states. Instead, we are competing with the entire world in a global economy. We must ensure our children are learning at their greatest potential.”

Nemecek also says the state is spending too much money, with few people seeing better services as a result.

“Too often, politicians forget that it’s our money first,” said Nemecek. “Families are struggling with rising health care costs and soaring fuel costs. The last thing we need is to take even more money from the pockets of Iowans.”

Nemecek says she will oppose any new tax increases, and will instead focus on efforts to lower them, knowing that there are places in the budget that can be cut without disrupting vital services.

“At a time when families are cautious to not waste their own money, I believe government should take the same steps,” said Nemecek.

Nemecek says she knocked on nearly every door in the district during her first run, which has given her a unique insight into the needs of the area. She plans to continue meeting with every voter possible, listening to the needs and suggestions on how to make state government better.

The election will be held this November.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


$32 million tax increase

Newspapers across the state blared the above headline Thursday morning, as taxes will again be raised in Iowa. That’s right – over $400 million in total tax increases, and counting, so far.

The latest measure would eliminate the local option sales tax for schools, and replace it with a statewide penny sales tax that, for now, is devoted to schools.

Two aspects of this bill are troubling. As we have seen time and time and time again, all too often when the governor and Legislature get their hands on funding, it gets “scooped” for other pet projects, especially in times of economic slowdown.

Second, this tax increase now raises the state’s use tax as well. The use tax is applied when businesses purchase goods from out of the state to use here in Iowa. Businesses often do not pay the sales tax in that state, and instead pay the Iowa use tax, which was exempt from local option sales taxes.

That is, until this bill went on its way.

Republicans offered two amendments that would have protected your tax dollars.

The first amendment would have provided constitutional protection to prevent the sales tax revenue from being scooped, or shifted, for other uses. It also provided that this bill would only take effect upon the ratification of an amendment to the Iowa Constitution to protect all revenues received from the state sales and use tax.

The second amendment would have helped to offset any future property tax increases by stating that if the state’s estimate of general fund revenues exceeds original estimates, the excess revenue would go to the Property Tax Equity and Relief Fund.

Remember – the sole intent of the original local option sales tax was for local residents to approve it themselves, and to only last 10 years.

Now, however, this is a permanent tax on the people of Iowa and a $32 million tax increase on Iowa businesses.

Employ illegal workers? You’re now entitled to free money.

Democrats on Monday voted against taking up an amendment that would have protected Iowa workers by removing taxpayer incentives to employ illegal aliens.

The amendment, H-8383 to SF-2325, states that employers who do not participate in the United States Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify Program are not eligible for taxpayer-funded state developmental assistance.

Developmental assistance is any form of public assistance, including tax expenditures, made for the purpose of stimulating economic development.

The Democrats decided to cast a blind eye toward our illegal immigration problem. Those employers who follow the law should be rewarded accordingly, but to Democrats, it just doesn’t matter.

E-Verify is a free and simple-to-use Web-based system that electronically verifies the employment eligibility of newly-hired employees. The program is a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services oversees the program.

E-Verify works by allowing participating employers to electronically compare employee information taken from the Form I-9 (the paper based employee eligibility verification form used for all new hires) against more than 425 million records in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) database and more than 60 million records in DHS immigration databases. Results are returned within seconds.

The primary goals of the program are to protect jobs, not lose jobs, for authorized U.S. workers and to ensure a legal workforce in the United States. This is a simple tool that would allow Iowa employers to follow the law. Taxpayer assistance should not be granted to employees who violate our laws by employing those who are here illegally.

Democrats say “free money!” regardless of who is working at an organization, and that’s just wrong.

More than 19,000 employers are enrolled in E-Verify nationally and have successfully matched 92 percent of new hires to DHS and SSA database information. Of the remaining 8 percent that were not matched, less than one percent of those employees contested the result.

Stewart Iverson is Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Republican Party of Iowa: Iowa passes first major test to remain first in presidential nominating contest

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Stewart Iverson today praised the Republican National Committee’s rules committee for passing what’s called the “Ohio Plan,” which would keep Iowa first in the presidential nominating process.

The plan, passed this morning in Albuquerque at a meeting of the Republican Rules Committee, would retain the lead-off roles for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, and rotate remaining states on a quadrennial basis.

Iverson says this is the first significant step for Iowa’s effort to keep its first-in-the-nation role in the presidential nominating process.

“This is a great day for the state of Iowa,” said Iverson. “I am pleased that the rules committee was able to work together and find a practical compromise. Iowans take their role in the nominating process very seriously. We invest the time to get to know the candidates and their positions on the issues, and understand the extremely significant role we have in selecting the next president.”

The RNC will have another rules committee meeting this summer, where this plan may be discussed, and it may ultimately be voted on at the Republican National Convention this September in Minneapolis.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Weathering the Financial Storm

By U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

As a greater share of take-home pay gets spent on fuel and food, more families are wondering what’s yet in store at the pump and the grocery store. How will household budgets withstand the forces driving up consumer costs and gobbling up a bigger slice of disposable income? The declining value of the dollar and increased global demand for limited resources continues to put upward pressure on prices paid for living essentials. Rising energy costs drive up prices even more due to higher transportation expenses it takes to get products to market.

Will some predictions ring true in Iowa where milk and gas could reach as high as $4 a gallon by summer? As commodity prices nose up, more consumers are beginning to ratchet down spending on other goods and services.

The anxiety on Main Street is fed by the national downturn in the housing, mortgage and credit markets. And the upheaval occurring on Wall Street adds to a sense of unease. The concerns shared by Iowans during my visits in 35 counties in March reinforced my commitment to ensure the taxpaying public doesn’t get shortchanged by the taxpayer-backed rescue of the failing Bear Stearns investment firm.

As ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, I launched a bipartisan review of the $29 billion stake that taxpayers now have on the buy-out. The involvement of the Federal Reserve as a lender-of-last-resort to a giant investment bank may set an unwanted precedent. I’m also wary if top executives come out smelling like a rose at the expense of rank-and-file workers and loyal shareholders.

During the aftermath of the Enron collapse and other corporate meltdowns earlier in the decade, we learned hubris at the helm can be a recipe for disaster. As then-chairman of the tax-writing policy committee in the U.S. Senate, I led the charge to strengthen corporate governance and accountability, including reforms that would protect employees’ pensions from being raided by greedy executives; close abusive tax shelters that cheat the taxpaying public; and, prevent executives from enriching themselves with sweetheart compensation packages that leave the workforce, investors and creditors high-and-dry when a company goes bankrupt.

Lessons learned from my oversight and legislative work earlier in the decade to crack down on corporate mismanagement and improve transparency for workers, investors and taxpayers will come into play as Congress investigates the negotiations that put billions of tax dollars at risk.

Congress created the Federal Reserve nearly a century ago to avert panics and bank runs during times of financial crisis. It is charged with setting monetary policy and providing a steady hand to protect our financial and credit systems from collapse.

As an elected representative in the people’s branch of the federal government, I will aggressively exercise my Constitutional oversight responsibilities to better understand the details of this unprecedented taxpayer-backed bail-out on Wall Street. We need to figure out potentially damaging long-term consequences before it’s too late.

Taking risks is the linchpin of our entrepreneurial, capitalist society. The allure of America ’s free market system appeals to the masses because it holds the promise of economic opportunity, individual prosperity and a better life for those willing to work hard. The American Dream resides in the notion of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. The Fed was created to rein in risky practices that would jeopardize market stability. But large-scale taxpayer-backed bail-outs can wrongfully influence the risks and rewards of the free marketplace and introduce a boot in the gut of our system of making and lending money. Government bail-outs ought to be a limited option of last resort.

Before an overhaul of the financial system becomes an election-year rallying cry, policymakers should not make knee-jerk decisions that would change the regulatory regime of the financial system. First, Congress needs to get all the facts out in the open about the Bear Stearns buy-out to make thoroughly digested decisions. Did the Fed’s decision to put billions of taxpayer dollars on the hook create a moral hazard that opens the backdoor to future taxpayer-backed bail-outs? Does it give the big guys the green light to go ahead and make bad loans because the Fed won’t let them fail?

From my ranking position on the Senate Finance Committee, I’m digging into the details of the Bear Stearns bail-out to make sure the same mistakes aren’t repeated. As the financial system recovers from this episode, I want a lesson made crystal clear as we move forward. Investment goliaths can’t be let off the hook each time the going gets rough so that taxpayers hang from it.

From my leadership position in Washington , I’ll do what I can to steer the U.S. economy towards sunnier skies. And that means advancing public policies that help working families to get ahead, including making college more affordable and enacting permanent, pro-growth tax relief that fosters wealth creation and allows small businesses to create good-paying jobs up and down Main Street .