Congress has entered its month long August recess without addressing a second round of disaster-related funding for Midwest states devastated by spring storms and flooding. Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, calls the initial funding of $2.65 million a "down payment" and says Iowa and other states will need more.
"Nobody is talking about unmet needs that are due to a lack of available funding right now," Braley told Radio Iowa. "What they’re talking about is we need to act on this before we adjourn (for the year) so that as communities move forward, any unmet needs that are not covered under existing programs are part of that mix – including getting community development block grants and economic development assistance funding into communities that can make a real positive impact."
Braley, along with fellow Iowa Congressmen Dave Loebsack and Leonard Boswell, met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week to talk about the need for a second round of funding. "She promised to us that we would not adjourn in September until we had resolved this issue," Braley said.
Another issue that Congress failed to resolve before the break involves tax breaks for wind power and biodiesel production. Braley says the renewable energy subsidies are due to expire at the end of the year.
Iowa Senator Charles Grassley authored the original wind energy tax credit in 1992. "I’m confident that we’ll work closely with the Senate, with Senator Grassley on the Finance Committee and Senator Harkin on the Appropriations Committee, to (pass the extension) before we adjourn."
A spokesperson for the American Wind Energy Association says the delay in action on the tax credits is creating uncertainty among investors in the industry.