Senator Cramer's Weekly Update April 12-18

Bipartisan Bill Would Create Oil & Gas Jobs by Plugging Orphaned Wells

Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and I introduced the Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells (REGROW) Act of 2021.

While thousands of the nation's oilfield workers are out of a job, our country has over 50,000 abandoned oil and gas wells with no one responsible for their cleanup. As a top energy and agricultural producer, North Dakota excels at prioritizing the reclamation of these orphaned wells, which keeps people employed, reduces environmental hazards and public health risks, and makes previously unusable land productive again. The REGROW Act would follow our state's lead by providing states, tribes, and federal agencies the resources they need to properly plug orphaned wells. It's a win for workers, landowners, and the environment.

Floor Remarks Honor North Dakota's Last Known WWII 164th Infantry Regiment Member Who Recently Passed Away

I delivered remarks on the Senate floor Thursday honoring the life and service of Douglas Burtell, the last known World War II veteran residing in North Dakota from the 164th Infantry Regiment of the North Dakota National Guard who passed away on April 3.

On behalf of all North Dakotans and a grateful nation, I offer my deepest condolences to Douglas Burtell's family and friends, including his daughter and son-in-law Barb and Steve Conley, his two great-grandchildren and five great granddaughters. God bless the memory of Douglas Burtell and the brave soldiers of World War II who were “always ready.”

Meeting with JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and I met in my office on Wednesday. We discussed my Fair Access to Banking Act and ways to responsibly achieve climate goals in the United States.

I am very encouraged by our meeting. I believe he has a good understanding of my concerns regarding financial institutions categorically discriminating against legally operating industries, and he seems to clearly recognize working to reduce our carbon footprint does not mean shutting down America's fossil fuel industry and ruining our economy in the process. I look forward to working with him and his peers on those and other mutual goals.

Hearing Covers Transportation Infrastructure Funding Solutions

I participated in a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing this week on addressing the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. During my conversation with the witnesses, I touched on current funding mechanisms for the Highway Trust Fund, the White House flawed discretionary grant funding proposal, and bold steps we should take in crafting an infrastructure package.

Senate Confirms Chair of White House CEQ

On Thursday I voted against the nomination of Brenda Mallory to be Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

She refused to give a direct answer when I asked if the White House would commit to not letting politics influence its decisions to shut down energy infrastructure like the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Biden Administration is already filled with people ready to put the desires of the Hollywood elite ahead of American energy. They don’t need more leaders who won’t acknowledge the role energy assets like pipelines play in creating economic opportunity, bolstering our energy security, and keeping emissions in check. The Dakota Access Pipeline has passed every environmental assessment put before it by the career professionals this Administration claims to listen to, yet its ability to operate still remains in jeopardy. I urge Mrs. Mallory and her colleagues to set aside the unfounded, partisan arguments from the far-left and support the pipeline.

Resolution Condemns Hate Crimes and Racism Targeting Asian Americans

I joined Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in introducing a resolution condemning crimes and expressions of racism and hate toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The rise in bigotry toward Asian Americans is heartbreaking. Our diversity and multiculturalism is our strength. It's frustrating that some Americans still don't realize that.

I spoke to members of the media on Tuesday about this issue and a wide array of topics, including President Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, the recent shooting in Minnesota, and calls by some Democrats to end policing.

KX Conversation Covers Gun Control

On Tuesday I joined KX News for a "KX Conversation" on President Biden's executive orders on gun control and the ramifications they would have on North Dakotans.

Bills Address Balancing the Federal Budget and the Impending Insolvency of Federal Trust Funds

My colleagues and I introduced two bills this week to address balancing the federal budget and the impending insolvency of federal trust funds like Social Security and Medicare. One bill led by Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) is called the Time to Rescue United States' Trusts (TRUST) Act.

If programs like Medicare and Social Security are not reformed, they will continue down a path toward insolvency, and the benefits our seniors rely on will become unavailable to them. The TRUST Act would form bipartisan committees tasked with crafting solutions aimed at fixing these vital programs and ensuring current and future recipients receive the benefits they have earned. We cannot continue to pretend doing nothing is acceptable and that this problem will magically go away on its own. Congress needs to act.

The other bill is led by Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY). In response to the pandemic last year, Congress rushed to the aid of the American people, authorizing trillions in new spending to assist those in need. While that spending was necessary at the time, it added to our increasingly serious problem of a rising deficit and near-insurmountable debt, and it’s our job to address it. Our bill, the Sustainable Budget Act, would help us consider bipartisan ways to put the federal government on a path to a sustainable fiscal future.

Legislation Would Protect Consumers' Access to Financial Services

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is leading legislation I cosponsored called the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act. This bill prohibits federal regulators from arbitrarily forcing banking institutions to terminate their relationships with legal businesses solely because the operations of the businesses are not in line with the views of the contemporaneous administration.

Federal banking agencies should be servants of the American people, not political henchmen for whichever party holds the White House. Our bill protects consumers access to financial services and prevents financial institutions from undue political pressure by the federal government.

Bipartisan Bill Restores Holocaust Survivors' Rights

I joined Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in introducing the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act, bipartisan legislation to allow beneficiaries of Holocaust-era insurance policies to bring civil action in U.S. district courts against the insurer for the covered policy to recover proceeds due or otherwise enforce any rights under the policy.

Holocaust survivors endured one of the darkest moments in the history of the world. Insurers have no business profiting off of their pain and hardship. Our bill gives survivors and their beneficiaries a way to receive the money they are owed.

Impact of ISR, Nuclear Triad, and Energy Security on US Efforts in Europe Covered at Armed Services Hearing

I questioned Air Force General Tod Wolters, Commander of the United States European Command (EUCOM) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), and Army General Stephen Lyons, Commander of the United States Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday.

We discussed the nuclear triad and the negative impacts dismantling it would have on our allies in Europe. We also covered the security ramifications of hurting America’s domestic production of fossil fuels.

Bipartisan Bill Supports Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Life

I joined fellow Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee members Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) in introducing bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Solid Start program, which reaches out to veterans multiple times after they leave active duty to check in and help connect them to VA programs and benefits.

Our bill would codify a flexible, personalized program which helps veterans return to civilian life. These patriots put their lives on the line each day. We should give them all the resources they need to make that transition as easy as possible.

Bill Abolishes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and I have introduced a bill to abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is the embodiment of a federal bureaucracy run rampant. It is a bloated and unaccountable agency which fails to accomplish its stated purpose of protecting consumers. Our bill would get rid of this Obama-era mistake.

Ceremony Honors Fallen U.S. Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans

Officer Billy Evans was a hero who gave his life protecting our nation's temple of democracy. As he laid in honor at the Capitol on Tuesday, I joined in mourning his tragic loss and offering my condolences to his wife, children, and loved ones. We will never forget his sacrifice.

Meetings with Military Leaders

Director of U.S Air Force Legislative Liaisons

I had a good meeting with Major General Christopher Finerty, Director of Air Force Legislative Liaisons on Wednesday. We discussed progress on RQ-4 Global Hawks at Grand Forks Air Force Base and modernizing the nuclear triad. I'm looking forward to his visit to Minot Air Force Base!

Commander of U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command

I also met with General Timothy Ray, Commander of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command to discuss global threats and the importance of the Minot Air Force Base and Grand Forks Air Force Base. I appreciate his deep knowledge and transparency as we consider nuclear modernization, acquisition reform, and stateside Agile Combat Employment.

Grants for North Dakota

NDDEQ Receives $2.5 Million for Environmental Protection Programs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $2,514,478 to the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ). The federal funds will be used by the state for programs which address clean air, clean water, hazardous and solid waste, drinking water, underground storage tanks, underground injection control, and radon.

Valley Community Health Partners Receives $1.7 Million

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Resources and Services Administration awarded $1,757,581 to the Valley Community Health Partners in Grand Forks. The funds are a continuation of previously approved grants by HRSA to help the grantee continue to provide health services to the region.

UND Receives $1.2 Million for Aging Research

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $1,230,093 to the University of North Dakota (UND). The funds will be used for aging research, specifically for Alzheimer's Disease.

Commerce Dept. Awards $1.1 Million to Establish Technology Accelerator in Grand Forks

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded $1,100,000 to the city of Grand Forks, to convert a historic downtown building into a technology accelerator.

Whether at Grand Sky or the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks is a leader in emerging technologies with great potential to contribute to our nation's technological efforts. A technology accelerator will help attract more economic opportunity to the community and create jobs in the process.

This EDA project, to be matched with $1.1 million in local funds, is expected to create 139 jobs.

USDA Awards $500k for Meat Processing Workforce Training

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded $500,000 to North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton. The funds will be used for workforce training for workers in rural meat processing.

Contact Me

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