• Championing renewable energy. It’s disappointing the Obama administration has proposed rules that would roll back the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2014. From rental income earned from wind farms to the market value boost for Iowa commodities.
Policies such as the wind energy and biodiesel tax credits and the RFS have helped foster job creation and economic growth to the rural economy. I’ll continue beating the drum in Congress to scuttle Big Oil’s efforts to dismantle America’s renewable energy policy.
• Reforming farm payment system. My efforts to install payment caps that limit how much individual farmers may receive per year were included in the Senate and House versions of the farm and food bill. Reasonable limits are needed to keep the farm safety net defensible, especially as Congress considers sizable savings in nutrition assistance spending.
• Securing access to rural health care, increasing oversight and expanding transparency of Medicare payments. During committee mark-up of a must-pass Medicare physician payment bill, I secured bipartisan amendments that would make permanent a payment index that helps Iowa providers receive fair reimbursement relative to medical providers in other parts of the country; continue the Medicare-dependent hospital program to recognize the valuable service these hospitals serve in their low population areas; beef up independent investigation and oversight of Medicare spending; and establish a free, searchable Medicare payment database.
Regardless of the overall record of the 113th Congress, my work in the U.S. Senate is full steam ahead as the new year begins. My nose is to the grindstone in Washington, and I’m launching my 34th annual 99-county road trip for meetings with Iowans.