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Senator Donnelly visits East Gate
Tuesday September 24, 2013

Senator visits Bedford business JOE DONNELLY Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 2:58 pm, Tue Sep 24, 2013. BY JON BLAU and MIKE LEWIS mlewis@tmnews.com | 0 comments During stops in Bedford and Bloomington Friday, U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly spent some time praising local businesses, touting the work done at the Naval Support Activity Crane and talking about the financial challenges facing the federal government. Donnelly, a Democrat and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, met with business leaders at a Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce event then traveled to Bedford to tour the Eastgate Business and Technology on 16th Street. Much of the work done by businesses housed at Eastgate stems from Crane and its projects. In a brief interview after his Eastgate tour, Donnelly described his trip through south-central Indiana as “a listening tour” to get input from Hoosiers. He said it was also a “thank-you tour” that gave him a chance to express gratitude. During his stop in Bloomington, Donnelly was asked whether NSA Crane could survive an effort by the military for “base realignment and closure,” or BRAC, Donnelly touted the base’s work on weapons technologies — for instance, a device that can disrupt the signal between trigger devices and improvised explosive devices — which he said makes the location too important to close. “The service members are safer because of what they do,” Donnelly said. In Bedford, he expanded on that thought. “Crane is in an unique situation,” he said, because it does “some of the most advanced technology work not only in the Navy, but in our entire armed services.” Donnelly promised the Bloomington audience he is working with other members of Congress to pull back on broad cuts to federal defense spending that have reduced the pay of local Hoosiers. “I work every day with my colleagues to get them to understand the impact this has on places like Crane,” Donnelly said. “What we need to do is continue to emphasize to other members that this is not just something on a piece of paper, this is actual lives of people, not only in Indiana, but throughout the world. Let’s do it in a more thoughtful way, let’s do it in a way that provides more flexibility. I would be in favor of that.” Balanced budget At both appearances, Donnelly also touched on balancing the nation’s budget. With members of Cook Medical in the Bloomington crowd, Donnelly said he wants to eliminate the medical device tax. But he said in the larger context of tax reform that Congress needs to find a “20-20” balance — expenditures and revenues both equalling 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product — for any effort to be successful. While he said eliminating credits and deductions will be key to the process, Donnelly was optimistic that the mortgage deduction for a first home could be preserved and corporate taxes could be reduced from 35 percent to 25 percent. “We have to get back to a balanced budget,” he said in Bedford. “We have to get there ASAP.” Health care Another major talking point for Donnelly was the Affordable Care Act. He has joined Republican Rep. Todd Young in supporting legislation that would define full-time requirement for businesses to provide health insurance at 40 hours per week, rather than the current 30 hour definition. Young represents the 9th Congressional District, which includes Lawrence County. Both Young and Donnelly have said they believe it will stop employers from cutting jobs back to 29 hours, instead giving them the option to retain workers at 39 hours and not provide health insurance. “What it will enable us to do is, some folks have over the years have worked 32, 33 hours, maybe taking it as a retirement job, or as a part-time job, so there has been an understanding between the employer and that person that those benefits were not there for them,” Donnelly said. “What has happened is they have had to cut them back to 28 or 29 hours, and there is a loss of wages.” Source: http://www.tmnews.com/news/local/senator-visits-bedford-business/article_c01418b1-cc18-5e66-b066-bf28faf54aee.html

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