Senator Cramer's Weekly Update October 12-18

Touring North Dakota's Space Assets with Space Development Agency Director

I hosted the Defense Department’s Director of the Space Development Agency, Dr. Derek Tournear, this week in Grand Forks for meetings with stakeholders and a tour of some of North Dakota's space assets.

His visit was another opportunity for North Dakota to demonstrate the role it can play in bolstering America's presence in space. Following visits from Space Command's General Dickinson and Space Force's General Raymond earlier this year, Dr. Tournear's trip once again shows the strong interest our military leadership has in North Dakota's space capabilities. I thank him for his time and hope to see his trip yield positive results for North Dakota.

Dr. Tournear and I began our visit with a trip to Grand Sky, where we met with leaders from Northrop Grumman and General Atomics and toured their facilities.
We then visited the Grand Forks Air Force Base and received a classified briefing.
Our trip concluded at the University of North Dakota (UND), where we toured UND's School of Aerospace Sciences and held a roundtable with faculty and university leadership.

Hosting EXIM Chairman at Town Hall and WCCO Belting Tour

I hosted President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) Kimberly Reed in North Dakota on Wednesday for a Trade Finance Town Hall in Fargo and a tour of WCCO Belting in Wahpeton.

The EXIM Bank is an important financing tool in the tool box to help small exporters stay competitive in the global marketplace. I am glad Chairman Reed accepted my invitation to come to North Dakota so she can see firsthand the impact the EXIM Bank has on our economy and speak with our businesses and lenders about new opportunities to grow.

The chairman’s trip began in Fargo with a Trade Finance Town Hall. We took questions from stakeholders who came to the roundtable, as well as those who joined virtually by Zoom.
We then traveled to Wahpeton where we toured WCCO Belting, a family-owned business which manufactures rubber conveyor belting products for agricultural and industrial equipment. WCCO utilizes the EXIM bank to sell its product in the global marketplace.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Judiciary Hearings

Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett participated in four days of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Her performance was compelling, her qualifications are undeniable, and her view on the role of the judiciary is exactly what we need in a Supreme Court justice.

The Judiciary Committee set an October 22 date to vote on Judge Barrett's confirmation, and we anticipate a full Senate vote shortly thereafter. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Republicans have the votes to confirm Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court.

I joined Washington Watch with Tony Perkins on Monday to discuss the first day of the hearings.

USDA Providing Farm Assistance for North Dakota Producers

North Dakota farmers have suffered their fair share of hardship caused by natural disasters, low commodity prices, and revenue fluctuations. Thankfully, the Trump Administration has programs in place to provide relief. Our producers should familiarize themselves with the details of these programs and apply in time to receive the assistance they need.

Covering the Latest on COVID-19 Relief Package Negotiations, SCOTUS Nomination on CNBC

I joined CNBC's Squawk Box on Monday to discuss the latest on COVID-19 relief package negotiations and Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Republicans have the right approach: a targeted package to help those who need immediate relief. It's time for Speaker Pelosi and Democrats to stop playing politics while Americans are hurting. This week, we will be putting a targeted plan on the Senate floor I hope will receive support from both parties.

Section 230 is an Outdated Law Being Abused by Big Tech

Events this week surrounding social media companies’ response to a New York Post article have reignited the debate over Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

I believe it is an outdated law being abused by big tech with little-to-no recourse, and we are seeing the consequences of it today. Twenty-first century companies require 21st century rules, which is why FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee are taking action. I applaud both efforts and look forward to working with my colleagues to develop equitable and accountable solutions while also engaging with the FCC to clarify the existing rules.

Trump Administration Transfers Oakes Test Area to Local Water Users

The U.S. Department of the Interior finalized the transfer of the Oakes Test Area to local ownership last week.

One of my first votes in the Senate was for the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which gave the Bureau of Reclamation authority to transfer assets like the Oakes Test Area to local ownership. This commonsense measure saves the taxpayers money by putting management in the hands of the community members who actually use it.

I thank President Trump for signing this law and Secretary Bernhardt for swiftly implementing this authority. I also applaud Interior’s Deputy Secretary Kate MacGregor and Associate Deputy Secretary Kiel Weaver for coming to North Dakota to finalize this move. Their presence further highlights the Trump Administration’s attentiveness to the needs of our state.

President Trump Signs Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Legislation

On Saturday President Trump signed the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, a comprehensive bill we wrote in the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to help address veterans’ mental health issues.

President Trump is a strong advocate for America’s veterans, fighting over the last four years to get those who served our country the help and care they need. The bill he signed includes my legislation authorizing the VA to further study Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, an alternative and effective therapeutic which helps veterans struggling with problems like a traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. I am grateful the president signed it and hope to see it implemented swiftly.

President Trump Signs the Merrill’s Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act

President Trump signed the Merrill’s Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act on Saturday. This legislation I cosponsored directs Congress to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), commonly known as Merrill's Marauders, in recognition of their outstanding service in the jungles of Burma (Myanmar) during World War II.

It is never too late to honor valiant soldiers who fought to keep our nation free. The Merrill’s Marauders exemplify bravery and courage, and I applaud President Trump for signing our bill which gives them the recognition they deserve.

Leading Legislation to Support the Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism Industries

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and I introduced the bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act, legislation to provide comprehensive relief and recovery measures for the convention, trade show, entertainment, travel, and hospitality industries and their workers.

While the economy is on its way to recovery, several businesses as well as their workers are still hurting and in need of assistance. Our bill injects help into some of the hardest hit industries and encourages them to hire and retain employees.

Urging HHS Sec. Azar to Change Reporting Requirements for Rural Hospitals

I joined Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in writing a bipartisan letter to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar regarding changes in reporting requirements received from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), which potentially create financial hardships and uncertainty for hospitals across the country, especially those operating in rural areas.

“The CARES Act established the PRF to reimburse eligible health care providers for health care-related expenses and lost revenues attributable to the coronavirus. Hospitals and other providers received funds and have budgeted accordingly. However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and providers continue to face uncertainty in terms of loss of revenue from delayed procedures and care as well as increased expenses related to COVID-19.”

Grants for North Dakota

$10 Million to NDDOH for COVID-19 Response

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded $10,622,979 to the North Dakota Department of Health for Emergency Protective Measures. This funding is authorized through the Stafford Act and will be used to help cover costs incurred from combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

$1 Million for Juvenile Delinquency Programs

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded the following two grants totaling $1,000,000: $500,000 to the Turtle Mountain Band Of Chippewa Indians to promote tribal delinquency prevention programs which reduce risk factors and enhance protective factors in the community, $500,000 to the North Dakota Department Of Corrections, Division Of Juvenile Justice Services to support programs which hold offenders accountable and support child victims.

$787k to North Dakota for Child Protection Efforts

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded two grants totaling $787,382: $499,984 to Central Regional Education Association for DOJ’s STOP School Violence Program, and $287,398 to the North Dakota Attorney General’s office for state and local law enforcement task forces to develop responses to online enticement of children by sexual predators and child exploitation.

$624k to ND Attorney General to Improve Forensic Science

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded the following two grants totaling $624,194 to the North Dakota Attorney General’s office: $359,496 to help increase the capacity of publicly-funded forensic DNA and DNA databases at state and local crime laboratories, and $264,698 to improve state and local forensic science, and medical examiner and coroner services.

$500k in Research Funds to UND

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded $500,000 to the University of North Dakota's (UND) Energy and Environmental Research Center. The funds will be used for a project to develop technologies focusing on the capture process of removing carbon dioxide from ocean water.

$139k to NDSU to Support Tribal Students

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded $139,000 to North Dakota State University (NDSU). The funds come through a New Beginning for Tribal Students grant, a program which makes competitive grants to land-grant colleges and universities to provide identifiable support specifically targeted for tribal students.

Contact Me

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended guidelines, our state offices in Fargo, Bismarck, Minot, and Grand Forks are closed for public meetings and appointments. Staff members are still available by phone or email. For more information, visit cramer.senate.gov/COVID19.


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