In a rare turn of events, Rep. Rod Blum will be holding four town hall meetings next week in the 1St Congressional District.

Here’s the details:

  • May 8th at 7pm: Dubuque Senior High School Nora Gym, 1800 Clarke Drive, Dubuque
  • May 9th at 7pm: Kirkwood Community College Johnson Hall Gym, 6301 Kirkwood Boulevard SW, Cedar Rapids
  • May 10th at 7pm: Cedar Falls High School Gym, 1015 Division Street, Cedar Falls
  • May 11th at 12pm: Marshalltown Community College Babe Harder Gym, 3700 South Center Street, Marshalltown

Rep. Rod Blum has been avoiding his constituents like the plague, but finally emerged to hold some town halls in the district. But not without quite a few requirements from you (**ie, read this**):

  • You must register for the town hall at https://blum.house.gov/townhall
  • You must bring a photo ID, if your photo ID does not reflect your current 1st District address, please bring a utility bill or statement reflecting your current 1st District address along with your photo ID.
  • Information listed on ID must match the information provided on RSVP.
  • Children under 16 will be admitted without ID but still require RSVP.
  • Doors will open 60 minutes prior to events
  • No backpacks, signs, banners, or artificial noisemakers will be allowed into the event.

Attend a town hall and ask a question about issues you care about the most!

>>Also, we’ve heard that Medicaid and SNAP benefits (also known as food stamps) could be on the chopping block during this Congress.

If you’re able to meet Rep. Blum’s stringent requirements to exercise democracy, ask if he stands with his constituents or big money corporations that prioritize profits over our health and safety.

For more information or to run a question past us just shoot us an email or give us a call the office at 515-282-0484!

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LIKE and TWEET to share this rare opportunity! 🙂

Iowa leaders weigh in onConsumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed action on payday lending industry

On March 26, the CFPB held a field hearing on proposed rules to address the payday loan industry and other small dollar lending institutions such as car title lenders.

The action by the CFPB is the first federal action concerning such lenders since the 2007 act that prohibited payday lenders from taking advantage of members of the military with triple digit interest rates.

In response, and in solidarity with opinion leaders across the country, numerous Iowans weighed in on the rule-making unveiled by the CFPB:

Payday lenders continue to prey on the most vulnerable of society.  It’s time to bring true protection to those that the industry has gorged themselves on for way too long. -Steve Abbott, president, Communications Workers of America – Iowa State Council

 

Payday lenders are like the wild west of financial institutions.  Thankfully there’s a new sheriff in town – the CFPB – who’s committed to bringing some law and order to an industry that’s been left unchecked until now. -Berkley Bedell, former U.S. Congressman

 

I encourage the CFPB to act to protect consumers and families living in or near poverty from predatory financial products, especially payday loans. -Tom Chapman, Iowa Catholic Conference

 

The CFPB needs to be aggressive in its position in regard to payday loan companies.  These folks play on the circumstances, and take advantage of the most vulnerable of our society.  I encourage the CFPB to rein in the abuses of these predators.  -Mark Cooper, president, South Central Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

 

For too long predatory lenders have had free rein to take advantage of people when they are desperate and therefore most vulnerable. Every citizen, but especially our military veterans and service members, should not be put in this position. We all deserve better and we applaud any action taken to curb this despicable practice. -Sue Dinsdale, executive director, Iowa Citizen Action Network

 

Payday lenders and the big banks that finance their high interest rates they charge consumers needs to stop.  Their business is nothing more than a modern day cartel.  We should stop protecting these lenders who prey on the anxious middle class by enacting tougher state and federal laws.  In the meantime, the CFPB is the consumer’s only protection. – Jack Hatch, former State Senator and 2014 Democratic Gubernatorial candidate

 

Payday lenders are extremely exploitive in their lending and prey upon working people who struggle paycheck to paycheck.  All too often, hidden penalties lead to garnishments for those that are unable to pay back their $500 loans. The big banks restrict financing to these same people and then loan the money out the back door through another company (e.g., EZ Money). The CFPB needs to find ways to prevent harsh penalties and garnishments. -Joe Enriquez Henry, State Director, League of United Latin American Citizens – Iowa

 

Payday lenders have operated in the shadows for far too long, and it’s about time we had a “cop on the beat” that’s looking out for everyday folks across the country and cracking down on predatory loan sharking that rivals mobster behavior. We applaud this effort by the CFPB and urge them to be as bold as their charter allows to regulate this toxic industry. -Cherie Mortice, board president, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

 

Every way you look at it payday lenders are bad for our communities.  Their whole business model depends on families getting caught into a vicious debt cycle, renewing loans over and over again. We as a country can be and are better than this. We can create just alternatives for our neighbors. -Chris Schwartz, Organizer, Americans for Democratic Action

 

Payday lenders don’t help Iowa families build wealth, they bleed our communities dry.  In the absence of state legislation, it’s refreshing to see the CFPB take a stand for people here in Iowa and across the country -Matt Sinovic, executive director, Progress Iowa

The Iowa state legislature has failed to pass meaningful reform to the payday loan industry in recent years despite a broad coalition of groups, representing Republicans and Democrats alike, rallying behind measures in both the Senate and House. In the absence of state legislation addressing the worst abuses of payday lenders, Iowa CCI members and others see action by the CFPB as a needed step in the right direction.

 

Join the Fight

On April 4, Iowa CCI members met with Representative Dave Loebsack’s (IA-2) staff in Iowa City to urge him to join the growing number of co-sponsors to HR 1579 – the Inclusive Prosperity Act.  Our visit was in conjunction with dozens of similar actions across the country aimed at building momentum and support for common sense legislation that would finally begin to make Wall Street pay its fair share.

HR 1579 would impose a small sales tax (much like everyday people pay on daily goods and services) on Wall Street transactions, including high frequency trades, that could bring in hundreds of billions in new revenue a year – revenue that would be invested in creating new economy jobs and strengthening vital public services.

Our message to Rep. Loebsack was simple – this is how reduce inequality in the United States and get our economy back on track to serve everyday people.

Politicians these days talk about where they’re going to find the money to do x, y, z… well, this is a solution” – Iowa CCI member Jeff Strottman

This is about Wall Street finally beginning to pay their fair share – Iowa CCI member Lynn Gallagher

You could defend a vote for this bill in any town in Iowa across political parties – Iowa CCI member Jim Walters

Join us in encouraging Rep. Loebsack and others in Congress to take a meaningful step in making Wall Street pay its fair share through bringing forward the Inclusive Prosperity Act by clicking here.  And stay tuned for more on what you can do this spring and summer to push our elected officials to champion policies that Put People First!

 

Join the Fight!

 

The latest continuing resolution to fund the federal government runs out on January 15, 2014.

We’ll know whether or not we’re facing another shutdown by the end of this week, December 13.  That’s when a tentative budget deal is put forward by a budget conference committee to members of Congress.

Iowa’s senior statesman Charles Grassley is one of the budget conferees working on the potential deal.  This is Grassley’s chance to show Iowans and the American people whose side he is on – everyday people or Wall Street and big corporations.

Sen. Grassley was not on the side of everyday people this past October when he enabled the government shutdown and subsequently voted to keep the government from reopening.  This political showboating that lasted just over two weeks cost the US economy untold billions of dollars in damage.

Everyday people have time and again shouldered more than their fair share in regards to the nation’s budget while the wealthiest Americans continue to enjoy lavish tax breaks and corporate tax loopholes.

It’s time for a budget that reflects the values of we the people, recognizing that we’re all in this together.

A budget where everyone pays their fair share will close corporate tax loopholes, expand and strengthen Social Security, and rein in reckless Wall Street speculation through a modest tax on their high volume trades.

Sen. Grassley can do right by everyday Iowans and the American people or he can continue to stand on the side of an extreme faction in the Republican Party that bends over backwards for the wealthiest 1%.  Come December 13 we’ll have a good idea of where his allegiances lie.

Join the Fight!

  • Join as an Iowa CCI member today or chip in $10 to support our organizing on this issue.
  • Sign up for our E-Mail Action list to get the latest updates
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

 

Senator Grassley – stand with consumers!

That was the message of petitions delivered to Senator Grassley on May 2nd by a delegation of Iowans. The petitions, which call on the Senate to confirm Richard Cordray to a full term as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), bore the signatures of more than 160,000 people, including 1,229 citizens living in Iowa.

“Senators have a simple choice: they can bring this nomination to a vote, or they can do the bidding of the Wall Street lobbyists and shady lenders who have been trying to undermine the CFPB ever since they failed to prevent its creation,” said Iowa PIRG Advocate, Sonia Ashe.

After favorable action by the Banking Committee, Cordray’s re-nomination goes before the full Senate. Director Cordray has earned wide and bipartisan praise for his leadership of the CFPB up to now. Unfortunately for the citizens of Iowa however, Senator Grassley has joined a bloc of 43 Senators who are threatening to bottle up this nomination indefinitely, unless the CFPB is first dramatically weakened.

“The CFPB is the only regulator looking out for everyday people,” said Matthew Covington with Iowa CCI. “They are not some radical rogue agency, and Senators shouldn’t be playing politics on this issue. Americans deserve a fully functioning CFPB if for nothing else than to prevent another Great Recession caused by rampant Wall St. greed.”

The CFPB was created after the financial crisis of 2008 to end predatory lending and bring basic standards of fairness and transparency to the world of credit cards, mortgages, payday lending, student loans, auto loans, debt collection, credit scoring and other financial products and practices.

Here’s just some of what this new agency has already done:
• Returned nearly half a billion dollars to consumers cheated by credit card companies;
• Moved to end the era of mortgages designed to rake in up-front fees before they self-destruct;
• Stood up for students and families trapped in high-cost private education loans; and deceptive lending practices; and
• Protected military families against illegal foreclosures and deceptive lending practices

There’s a lot of chatter coming out of DC and the media about the upcoming fiscal cliff. President Obama and John Boehner are talking one day and then the next acting like children claiming the other stole their bicycle.

From what most pundits are saying, one could assume that we’re headed for financial armageddon if our elected officials don’t take bold action before Jan. 1.

Whatever you do, do not believe what they are saying.

 

In our opinion, the fiscal cliff is a manufactured crisis and a scare tactic to make us think we need to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and a whole host of other vital public programs to avert a crisis.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our friends at Maine People’s Alliance have a wonderful photo to help illustrate what’s at stake with the fiscal cliff.  Here it is:

The current “deals” on the table are no where near worth taking.  House Speaker Boehner’s proposal makes permanent the Bush era tax cuts on income up to $1 million.  President Obama’s counter-offer extends the Bush era tax cuts on income up to $400,000, AND contains the chained consumer price index (CPI).

To be clear, the chained CPI is a benefit cut that affects every single American.  And it doesn’t just reduce cost of living adjustments to Social Security – it will affect government pensions, veterans’ benefits and over time would push more people into higher tax brackets.  Annual adjustments to the poverty level would also be smaller, reducing the number of people eligible for Medicaid, Head Start, food stamps, school lunches and home heating assistance.

Don’t be fooled into thinking we need to rush a deal.  We recommend heeding the advice of Senator Harkin when he says “no deal is better than a bad deal.”  And right now, there are only bad deals coming out of Washington.  We can, and must, do better.  And the Senate is where we will draw a line in the sand.  Call Senators Harkin and Grassley and tell them all you want for Christmas is a fair deal or no deal at all!

 

What you can do:

  • Contact Senators Grassley and Harkin and tell them that we want a fair deal or no deal as a response to the upcoming “fiscal cliff”.  Call (855) 521-4799 and simply follow the instructions to be connected.
  • Write a letter to the editor explaining the importance of Social Security and Medicare and how our elected officials need to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2% – not cut vital programs that benefit millions of everyday people.
  • Sign up for our email action list to get the latest updates.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter