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Senator Cramer's Weekly Update November 23 - December 6

Honoring the Heroes Lost at Pearl Harbor

Seventy-nine years ago our nation experienced an unexpected attack that sent us into war. Today we remember the lives lost at Pearl Harbor and express our gratitude for those who rose to the occasion, answered the call to serve our country, and saved the world from evil.

Senate Passes the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act

On Wednesday as I presided over the Senate, we passed the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, a bipartisan bill I supported to lift the per-country caps on high-skilled immigrants.

North Dakota is home to thousands of hard-working immigrants who bridge the gap between our workforce shortage and our immediate need for physicians, software developers, and other highly-skilled workers. Without these individuals, important services would be unavailable in many parts of our state; but because of arbitrary per-country caps, their legal status is constantly in jeopardy. The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act fixes that by – without increasing the number of employment-based visas – creating a more merit-based system that levels the playing field for high-skilled immigrants.

Immigration is often a contentious issue, but we should not delay progress where there is overwhelming bipartisan consensus. I am grateful to my colleagues for working with me to pass this legislation in a collaborative fashion.

Calling for Streamlining Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness

During Tuesday's Senate Banking Committee hearing on COVID-19 economic relief, I spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Small businesses trusted us when they participated in the Paycheck Protection Program, receiving loans that would be forgiven if they followed the rules. But now, true to form, the bureaucracy is making the forgiveness process overly complex and burdensome. Congress needs to intervene by passing legislation like the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act to fix the forgiveness process and help small businesses.

Sunday evening I covered the latest on a COVID-19 relief package during an interview on Fox News.

EPW Committee Advances the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act

The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee approved the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2020 on Wednesday.

This legislation would:

  • reestablish American international competitive and global leadership;
  • expand nuclear energy through advance nuclear technologies;
  • preserve existing nuclear energy;
  • revitalize America's nuclear supply chain infrastructure; and
  • authorize funds for environmental cleanup programs.

The United States is a world leader in nuclear energy, but we have let our production and expertise slip to unacceptable levels. Nuclear power is a safe, reliable, emissions-free source of energy essential to America's energy dominance. I applaud EPW Chairman John Barrasso for recognizing this and leading bipartisan legislation to support our nuclear power generators, shore up our supply chains, and export American excellence to the world. I urge my colleagues to support it and help it become law.

Army Corps Rescinds Certain Water Supply Guidance, Lessens the Federal Role in Water Supply Withdrawal Process

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) rescinded guidance on surplus water agreements and released instructions aimed at improving internal processes for reviewing requests for water supply withdrawals.

Every day, the federal bureaucracy seeks to grow its size, influence, authority, and footprint. Refreshingly, the Army Corps is taking another step in the opposite direction. I've been working with USACE General Scott Spellmon and members of the Trump Administration to limit the federal government's control of local water issues, and I am thankful we are making progress. Friday's announcement rescinds onerous policy guidance and streamlines the permit process. It’s positive news. I appreciate General Spellmon's follow through and I look forward to working with the Corps on further improvements.

Congress Passes Legislation to Remove Deceitful Chinese Companies from U.S. Stock Exchanges

On Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 945, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act. This bipartisan legislation will help protect American investors and their retirement savings from foreign companies that have been operating on U.S. stock exchanges while flouting oversight. It passed the Senate in May.

There is no reason to let Communist China game the system and put American investments in jeopardy. Our bill protects our constituents' hard-earned money and shines a light on China's nefarious actions.

Urging Congressional Leaders to Let States Lead Sage-Grouse Conservation

I joined a bipartisan letter led by Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) to Senate and House leadership urging the continued Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing prohibition for greater sage-grouse.

“[T]his prohibition gives the state conservation plans time to be effectively implemented and show results. Instead of allowing the greater sage-grouse to be another victim of the activism industry that has been built around ESA-related litigation, we want to conserve the species. Using the knowledge and personal buy-in from States and local communities that have invested years in the development and implementation of these plans is the best way to do so.”

EPA Administrator Argues Congress Cedes too Much Power to Regulators

On Thursday Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler published an opinion piece arguing that "Congress cedes too much power to regulators." Administrator Wheeler is spot on. Lazy legislating over the decades has allowed the bureaucracy to become a swamp where monsters thrive and citizens drown. I fight it every day and will as long as I am in the Senate.

Senate Passes ALS Disability Insurance Access Act

On Wednesday the Senate passed bipartisan legislation I cosponsored to eliminate the Social Security Disability Insurance five month waiting period for individuals diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

I'm happy we passed this important legislation to ease unnecessary burdens placed on individuals living with ALS.

Urging Supreme Court to Reaffirm Religious Liberty Still Exists in a Pandemic

I joined 38 Senators on Friday in submitting an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's religious liberty lawsuit, Danville Christian Academy v. Beshear.

In the brief, we explained the Constitution cannot permit the selective and overzealous targeting of religious institutions by local officials who seek to impose stricter restrictions in the name of public health than the restrictions enforced against similar but non-religious establishments. In this case, Governor Beshear in Kentucky has unconstitutionally ordered K-12 schools including religious schools to shut their doors while permitting preschools, colleges, business offices, entertainment venues, and many other secular institutions to remain open.

Senate Confirms Federal Reserve Nominee

On Thursday the Senate confirmed Christopher Waller to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term that runs through January 2030.

Chris is well-qualified nominee I enjoyed meeting earlier this year. I look forward to working with him on critical issues affecting our economy.

Calling for Permanent Expansion of Telehealth Coverage in End of Year Legislation

I joined my colleagues in writing a letter to Congressional leadership calling for the expansion of access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic to be made permanent.

HHS Awards $1.3 Million to Fargo's Family Healthcare Center

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $1,376,630 to the Family Healthcare Center in Fargo. This award is continuing funding from a previously approved project entitled, "Health Center Cluster."

Contact Me

As recommended by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our in-state offices are taking precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our staff members are available by phone or email and are taking in-person meetings by appointment only.

Bismarck

328 Federal Building

220 East Rosser Avenue

Bismarck, ND 58501

701-699-7020

Grand Forks

114 Federal Building

102 North 4th Street

Grand Forks, ND 58203

701-699-7030

Minot

105 Federal Building

100 First Street SW

Minot, ND 58701

701-837-6141

Fargo

306 Federal Building

657 Second Avenue N

Fargo, ND 58102

701-232-5094

Williston

125 Main Street

Suite #217

Williston, ND 58801

(701) 441-7230

Washington, D.C.

400 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

202-224-2043

Weekly Radio and TV Schedule

RADIO

What's On Your Mind with Scott Hennen

Fridays from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. central

KFYR 550 AM - Bismarck

1100 The Flag - Fargo

KLTC 1460 AM - Dickinson

KTGO 1090 AM - Tioga

The Jarrod Thomas Show

Thursdays from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. central

KNOX 1310 AM - Grand Forks

Rick Jensen

Thursdays from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. central

KHND 1470 AM - Harvey

Jay Thomas

Every other Tuesday from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. central

WDAY 970 AM – Fargo

TELEVISION

Chris Berg - Point of View

6:30 p.m. central (Semi-Monthly)

Valley News Live - Fargo

Photo credit: North Dakota Tourism and the Office of U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer

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