Tri States Public Radio Staff
Talks Afghanistan, Jobs
Fri March 16, 2012
Rep. Loebsack Visits SE Iowa
Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA2) says the United States should consider pulling its military forces out of Afghanistan sooner than currently scheduled.
He says he does not have a specific date in mind for a withdrawal at this point.
“The President has already moved up his timetable from 2014 to the goal of late 2013,” says Rep. Loebsack, “I think we should move it up even sooner than that. There is no way around that.”
Rep. Loebsack says the recent killing of more than a dozen Afghan civilians was an unfortunate situation, but he says that action is not indicative of the U.S. military.
“I think the fact that we have seen very few incidents like that in Afghanistan says something about the professionalism of the (U.S.) military,” says Rep. Loebsack, adding “that being said, this investigation needs to go forward (and) he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest.”
The soldier involved was moved from Afghanistan to Kuwait, despite objections from Afghan leaders.
Rep. Loebsack serves on the House Committee on Armed Services. He expects that panel to spend plenty of time discussing Afghanistan in the near future.
Rep. Loebsack says his latest trip through the 2nd Congressional District is yielding similar requests from businesses and industries.
He spent Wednesday on a mini-jobs tour through Lee and Des Moines Counties. The first two stops were at Burlington Junction Railway in Burlington and Bagcraft Papercon in Fort Madison.
Rep. Loebsack ended the day in Keokuk with a meeting with representatives of IO-Mega. The start-up company is developing a system that could extract Omega-3 oil from algae.
He says the most common request he hears from business and industrial leaders is for tax credits, but he says the financial state of the country requires a close review of such incentives.
“We have to be careful when it comes to tax credit programs,” says Rep. Loebsack, “whatever they may be because tax credits cost money. We have to figure out a way to pay for them. None the less, I think there is a role (for tax credits) to play.”
Rep. Loebsack says tax credits for transportation and energy are the most common requests. He says these incentives tend to gain bipartisan support due to the potential for new jobs.