Priorities for the New Year

First and foremost, like I've done every year I've been in Congress, I'll be fighting for Iowans.  More specifically, my top priorities for the new Congress are keeping more money in the pockets of Americans, securing our energy independence by using home-grown renewable fuels, helping all Americans receive better health care, and working for a federal government that is more transparent and more accountable.  Preventing efforts to raise taxes is key to keeping the economy growing strong.  And family farmers deserve a strong voice as a new farm bill is put together.  I’m committed to keeping farm-program payments in the hands of small- and medium-sized farmers and ensuring that packer ownership of livestock is banned so the independent producer can compete on a level playing field.  I’ll continue to spearhead incentives for the development of alternative energy sources like wind, ethanol and other biofuels.  I also intend to make sure the new Medicare prescription drug benefit works like we intended for seniors and will work for initiatives to lower health care and drug costs for every American, including access to lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada, greater availability of generic drugs, and having Medicare pay for good performance.  I’ll also lead the way to enhance whistleblower protections and ensure accountability in the federal judiciary by allowing cameras in federal courtrooms as well as approving an inspector general to root out waste, fraud and abuse. Along with legislating, I’ll continue to conduct energetic oversight of the federal bureaucracy on behalf of taxpayers and program beneficiaries.