Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) and Sara Imhof, Midwest regional director for The Concord Coalition, conducted budget exercises Tuesday at Marshalltown Community College and Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.
Braley told a local paper, the Times-Republican, which covered the Marshalltown event, that "wrestling with the budget and fiscal policy is one of the most important challenges we face in Congress.” He said the public budget exercises help citizens understand the country’s fiscal challenges by giving them “the opportunity to struggle with the exact same issues we face in Congress."
He added that the feedback he receives from the exercises is “incredibly valuable."
Dozens of people attended each program.
Marshalltown Public Library Director Sarah Rosenblum told the Times-Republican that "it's good to always have the discussion and for people to realize all the factors that go into the federal budget."
The article can also be found here.
Original Article: Braley Seeks Input on Federal Deficit
The complexity of the federal deficit was boiled down to some workbooks, calculators and local people Tuesday at Marshalltown Community College.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, hosted a budget workshop with the public to try to find ways to reduce the deficit.
"Wrestling with the budget and fiscal policy is one of the most important challenges we face in Congress and these workshops are fantastic because they give constituents the opportunity to struggle with the exact same issues we face in Congress with direct feedback on what their priorities are," Braley said. "I've always found the feedback we get from these workshops incredibly valuable."
Braley said the number one issue when it comes to the deficit is spending.
"We have a problem," he said. "We are spending too much money and we have to find ways to reduce this deficit."
A group of approximately 35 local people took part in the workshop, including Marshalltown Public Library Director Sarah Rosenblum.
"I think it's always great to engage civically with our elected leaders," Rosenblum said. "It's good to always have the discussion and for people to realize all the factors that go into the federal budget."
As an example of the budget challenges, Braley pointed to the condition of the Interstate 80 bridge over the Mississippi in the Quad Cities area. He said the bridge cost $5 million to build in 1965 and one direction of traffic had to be shut down for an extended amount of time in recent years due to the condition of the bridge. Braley said to rebuild the entire bridge it would cost more than $100 million.
Another issue Braley addressed is security at the Winter Olympics in Russia as the games open next month.
"One of the frustrating things is I know that the United States has offered assistance to try to help the Russian government meet the security demands of such a high profile international event like the Olympics," Braley said. "I know that they have been frustrated because they have been rebuffed by the Russian government."