Loading

Senator Cramer's Weekly Update January 1-17

My Experience on January 6 in the United States Capitol

The United States of America is the greatest country the world has ever known, but we did not live up to that standard on January 6th, when the Capitol was stormed by violent rioters. Thankfully, our nation is better than its worst moments, and we were able to accomplish our constitutionally required duties later that evening. In case you missed it, I shared a few thoughts and memories on my experience in the Capitol that day.

Earlier that week, I had announced how I would vote on the Electoral College count. You can watch my statement below.

While I don't believe Congress overturning certified Electoral College votes is constitutional, Congress can and should play a role in providing clarity to our constituents and restoring their trust in our elections. That's why I joined Senators Tim Scott and John Hoeven in introducing a bill to establish a Bipartisan Advisory Committee charged with examining the integrity of the 2020 November election and making recommendations for improving the security, integrity, and administration of federal elections.

The House Impeaches President Trump Again

Wednesday evening I joined Shepard Smith on CNBC and Chris Berg on Point of View to discuss the House's rushed impeachment process, and the path forward in the Senate. Watch both conversations below.

Speaking with Biden Cabinet Nominees

On Wednesday I spoke with Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, General (retired) Lloyd Austin, and Denis McDonough, President-elect Joe Biden's nominees to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of Veterans' Affairs (VA), respectively. In these phone calls, I raised several issues of importance to North Dakotans including housing assistance, the state's military efforts and missions, and health care access and treatment options for veterans.

Those calls followed my conversations on Tuesday with Brenda Mallory and Michael Regan, nominees for top environmental posts in the incoming Biden Administration. Mrs. Mallory is President-elect Biden's choice for Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and Mr. Regan is his selection for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The confirmation process for CEQ and EPA nominees runs through the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, where I hold a seat. Read my reaction to these calls by clicking the button below.

New PPP Loans Now Available for Small Businesses

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) began to accept new applications on Monday. Congress authorized a second round of PPP loans in last month's relief package to help those struggling small businesses in our nation who need a lifeline. We also made commonsense fixes to the program like adding deductibility for expenses, simplified forgiveness, and an expansion to ensure faith-based organizations are eligible.

Interested borrowers should visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) website and visit with their lenders to learn more.

I also joined Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) in sending a letter urging the SBA to prevent Planned Parenthood affiliates from receiving illegal loans through PPP, as they did last year.

Administration Proposes to Sunset Wind PTC in Rescissions List Sent to Congress

After a request from me and Senator John Hoeven, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urged Congress to eliminate the one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC). This was included in a list of proposals sent to Congress urging them to vote to eliminate certain provisions of the year-end spending package passed in December.

Senator John Hoeven and I worked with the Trump Administration to include the Wind PTC in the list and urged Congress to consider the proposal.

“We have been working hard to finally get the wind production tax credit to expire, but its extension was once again slipped into must-pass legislation in December. We appreciate the Administration recognizing it’s time for this credit to end and urge our colleagues to join our efforts and support this recommendation.”

45Q Carbon Capture Tax Credit Regulations Finalized by Administration

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service finalized the section 45Q carbon capture utilization and storage tax credit, an issue I've been working on with North Dakotans to get over the finish line.

With the Administration's long-awaited guidance finalized, investors can now take advantage of this credit with confidence and clarity.

Interior Signs Record of Decision for ENDAWS

Senator John Hoeven, Congressman Kelly Armstrong, and I announced the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) has signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Eastern North Dakota Alternate Water Supply (ENDAWS) Project.

This is the final step of the federal environmental review process and provides the required authorization for the state to construct the project's infrastructure and facilities. I appreciate BOR sticking to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt's commitment to get this completed in a timely manner.

NDDOT to Receive $62 Million through COVID-19 Relief Package

The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) will receive more than $62 million through the $10 billion authorized by the COVID-19 relief package for highway projects. The funding is allocated through a formula, ensuring smaller population states with higher transportation activities receive the funding they need. I worked with my colleagues to ensure transportation funding was included in this relief package and used this formula.

Administration Finalizes Rule to Prevent Bank Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency finalized sound, reasonable regulations Thursday to address the issue of bank discrimination.

Discrimination is not allowed in our society and big banks should not be an exception. No matter how important their services are, they do not have the right to create de-facto bans on legal businesses like energy producers and gun manufacturers. I appreciate the good work done by the Trump Administration and Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks, who led this effort and worked with me to ensure this rule was finalized.

Congress Passes Legislation to Curb Surprise Medical Billing

As part of December's year-end spending bill, Congress passed legislation mirroring the STOP Surprise Medical Billing Act. This bipartisan legislation I cosponsored curbs surprise medical billing, a convoluted process that leaves patients confused and financially hamstrung. I am grateful we took action to protect patients and increase transparency in the health care industry.

EPA Strengthens Transparency in Pivotal and Influential Scientific Information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its rule to strengthen the transparency of its significant regulatory actions and influential scientific information.

The rule embraces accountability and transparency, ensuring verifiable scientific data is prioritized in significant rulemakings. Cherry-picked "science" should not be used by Washington to support politically driven regulations. I applaud EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for placing a high priority on public rigor and scrutiny. The American people will be better served because of it.

Congress Authorizes Additional Rental Assistance for Struggling Families

Congress passed $25 billion for rental assistance to help struggling families keep a roof over their heads during the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will be used by states and local governments to assist constituents in paying for rent, overdue payments, and utilities and home energy costs. The moratorium on evictions was also extended until January 31. It had been set to expire at the end of 2020 until the extension was included in the year-end relief package.

VA Selects Fargo for Fisher House

The Fargo VA was selected for priority construction by the Fisher House Foundation earlier this month. A Fisher House in Fargo means the dedicated caretakers and loved ones of North Dakota's veterans can receive free housing when these veterans are receiving care at the Fargo VA Medical Center, making it easier for those who live further away to have a loved one by their side during treatment. The health care workers at Fargo's VA do excellent work, and I look forward to working with our state and federal partners to ensure this gets built as quickly as possible.

New In-State Office in Williston

I have opened a new office in Williston, my fifth in-state office.

The future is bright for Williston and the region. Our new office presents another opportunity for me and my staff to stay attuned to what is happening in western North Dakota and brings me closer to the people I serve.

Grants for North Dakota

CDC Awards $43.8 Million to NDDOH

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $43,863,056 to the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDOH). The funds come through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and will be used for a program entitled, "Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases."

$4 Million for North Dakota Water and Propane Repairs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development awarded four loans and grants totaling $4,007,468 to address water and propane needs throughout North Dakota.

$470k to Lutheran Social Services to Combat Elder Abuse, Exploitation

AmeriCorps awarded $467,906 to Lutheran Social Services North Dakota. The funds will be used to combat elder abuse and financial exploitation, opioid abuse/prevention, transportation services, intergenerational education, housing services and more.

$450k for Food Processing Research at NDSU

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded $454,400 to North Dakota State University (NDSU). The funds will be used to study food processing chemicals in raw cereal grains such as barley, wheat, and rye.

$380k for Environmental Research at NDSU

The National Science Foundation awarded two grants totaling $379,038 to North Dakota State University (NDSU) for environmental research.

$220k for Animal Nutrition Research at NDSU

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded two grants totaling $220,000 for animal nutrition research projects at North Dakota State University (NDSU).

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

WDAY 970 AM - Fargo

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

Credits:

North Dakota Tourism