Armed Services Hearing Highlights Need for Increased ISR Platforms and Radar Coverage Capabilities
On Wednesday I questioned military leaders on the need for increased Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) efforts during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Both the RQ-4 Global Hawk in Grand Forks and MQ-9 Reaper in Fargo are ISR platforms operated quite effectively out of North Dakota.
We also discussed Over The Horizon Radars (OTHR) and recently completed OTHR testing at Camp Grafton, the North Dakota National Guard training center.
Legislation to Fully Repeal the Death Tax
I joined Senator John Thune (R-SD) in introducing the Death Tax Repeal Act, legislation to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, known as the "death tax."
Only in Washington does it make sense to have someone owe the federal government money simply because their loved one died. Our bill would build on the good work of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and fully repeal the death tax, delivering a win for North Dakota's farmers, ranchers, and small business owners.
Bipartisan Bill to Support Broadband Connectivity in Rural America
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and I led a group of 29 senators in reintroducing the Keeping Critical Connections Act, a bipartisan bill to help small broadband providers ensure rural broadband connectivity remains available for students and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As COVID-19 began to sweep through the country and take its toll on the economy, several small broadband providers went out of their way to keep their services available to struggling families who could not otherwise afford them. That was the right thing to do, and now it's our turn to make sure those same companies are not financially damaged simply because they chose to help the American people in a time of need and uncertainty.
Newsmax Interview with Sean Spicer and Mercedes Schlapp
On Wednesday I had a good conversation with Sean Spicer and Mercedes Schlapp on Newsmax about the media, the Senate's agenda, and the Democrats' spending bill.
Democrats' worst nightmare is the American people finding out what is really in the atrocious $1.9 trillion spending package.
Joining Kevin Cirilli on Bloomberg TV
I was interviewed by Kevin Cirilli on Bloomberg TV about the Fair Access to Banking Act, my bill to prevent discrimination by banks and financial service providers against constitutionally-protected industries and law-abiding businesses.
We also discussed infrastructure and national security.
Legislation to Modernize Environmental Regulations
I joined Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) in reintroducing the Undoing NEPA's Substantial Harm by Advancing Concepts that Kickstart the Liberation of the Economy (UNSHACKLE) Act. This legislation would comprehensively reform and modernize the regulatory process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Originally meant to ensure infrastructure and energy projects consider environmental factors before development, NEPA is a 50-year-old law that often entails burdensome, outdated, and unnecessarily complicated regulations. It should not take the government longer to approve a project than it will for the builder to complete it. Our bill brings NEPA regulations into the 21st century, empowers state and local governments, provides legal certainty, and places clear limitations on the federal bureaucracy, all of which will help better balance our shared goal of protecting the environment while creating jobs and bolstering America's energy security.
Coal Tax Credit Legislation Introduced to Support Continued Emission Reductions
Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and I reintroduced our legislation to extend the refined coal tax credit. The credit incentivizes power plants to pre-treat or refine coal to improve efficiency and decrease emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and mercury.
The United States must utilize reliable energy sources like coal if we want to ensure our citizens can keep the power on any day of the year. Look no further than Texas and California for proof. But each energy resource has a role it can play in being good stewards of our environment. Our legislation would extend the refined coal tax credit to give producers more opportunities to further develop and implement clean coal technologies, which would help us lower emissions while maintaining a necessary supply of reliable energy.
Bill to Punish Criminals for Targeting Law Enforcement
I helped introduce the Protect and Serve Act, a bill led by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) to create federal penalties for individuals who deliberately target local, state, or federal law enforcement officers with violence.
Any attack against police officers is unacceptable, but fringe activists and violent rioters have increasingly made them a target. We cannot allow that to continue, and there needs to be serious consequences to prevent it from happening. The Protect and Serve Act sends our men and women in uniform a clear message of unequivocal support and lets them know the United States will always back the blue.
Legislation to Extend the PPP Application Deadline
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced legislation I cosponsored to extend the deadline for businesses and nonprofits to apply for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31. It is currently set to end at the end of March.
The Paycheck Protection Program has been wildly popular in North Dakota, giving a significant number of our small businesses the resources they need to get through the pandemic. We should not let it shut down just as we are on the verge of a strong recovery. Our bill would give business owners more time to seek assistance through this program and ensure help remains available to all who need it, not just a select few.
GRIP Act Protects the Rights and Privacy of Lawful Firearms Owners
I joined Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) in introducing the Gun-owner Registration Information Protection (GRIP) Act, legislation to prohibit states, localities, or any other organization from using federal funding to maintain gun registries.
In order to protect ourselves and our families, we have to protect our Second Amendment. Our legislation prevents state and local leaders from weaponizing federal funds to go after the rights and personal information of law-abiding citizens.
Bipartisan Bill Combats Obesity with Medicare-funded Treatment Options
I teamed up with Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to introduce the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, a bill to allow Medicare funds to be used to help treat obesity, a growing epidemic impacting an estimated 42 percent of Americans and costing the nation almost $150 billion in additional health care costs every year.
Obesity in the United States needs to be addressed, and Congress should be part of the solution to this growing problem.
Bipartisan Bill Creates Fellowship Program for Gold Star Families
I joined a bipartisan bill led by Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to establish a Gold Star Family Fellowship Program under which certain family members of deceased members of the Armed Forces or deceased veterans may serve a 12-month fellowship in the office of a senator.
America is the land of the free because of the brave, and we are in debt to the family members whose loved ones sacrificed their lives in the defense of our freedom. Our legislation would give Gold Star family members a front row seat to history and a chance to learn more about our system of government and the ways they can bring about positive change for our nation.
Congress Passes Bill Expanding Vaccine Access for Vets & Families
This week both the House and Senate unanimously passed the Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize all Veterans and Every Spouse (SAVE LIVES) Act, which will expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to veterans and their families through the Department of Veterans Affairs..
Letter Urging the Federal Reserve to Refrain from Enacting a Climate Change Agenda
I joined a letter led by Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-PA) and signed by all Republican committee members to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell urging him to refrain from attempting to use regulations to further environmental objectives, which is beyond the scope of its mission.
“We question both the purpose and efficacy of climate-related banking regulation and scenario analysis, especially because the Federal Reserve lacks jurisdiction and expertise over environmental matters. This effort is not grounded in science or economics, but is instead a self-fulfilling prophesy: claim there are financial risks with energy exploration and other disfavored investments then use the levers of government—via the unelected bureaucracy—to ban or limit those activities.”
Senate Confirms New Small Business Administrator
I voted to confirm Isabel Guzman as Administrator of the Small Business Administration on Tuesday.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of North Dakota's economy, employing half of our workforce and accounting for almost 99 percent of our businesses. As the pandemic began, we were able to partner with Small Business Administration leaders, both in Washington and in North Dakota, to get our small businesses the help they needed to stay afloat. I hope to have a similarly successful relationship with Administrator Guzman and look forward to working with her as we push to get the economy fully reopened and reinvigorated.
Senate Confirms Katherine Tai as the U.S. Trade Representative
I voted to confirm Katherine Tai as the U.S. Trade Representative on Wednesday. Strong international trade policy is crucial for North Dakota's exporters. The Trump Administration secured several unprecedented wins for them by putting America first on the world stage and expanding market opportunities. I look forward to working with Representative Tai to build on that success and help North Dakota's producers get a fair shot to sell their products across the globe.
40 Senators Join Letter on Biden Worsening Border Crisis by Unlawfully Freezing Border Wall Funding
I joined a letter led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) signed by 40 Republican senators to Government Accountability Office Comptroller Gene L. Dodaro highlighting President Joe Biden's suspension of border wall funding and construction without lawful justification as required by the Impoundment Control Act.
"On January 20, in one of the first official acts of his presidency, Joseph Biden suspended border wall construction and ordered a freeze of funds provided by Congress for that purpose. In the weeks that followed, operational control of our southern border was compromised and a humanitarian and national security crisis has ensued. The President’s actions directly contributed to this unfortunate, yet entirely avoidable, scenario. They are also a blatant violation of federal law and infringe on Congress's constitutional power of the purse. We write regarding these actions. We believe they violated the Impoundment Control Act (ICA), as interpreted by your office, and we request your legal opinion on the matter. Prompt action to end these violations is required to restore order at the border."
Grants for North Dakota
USDA Awards $80 Million to Improve North Dakota Electric Infrastructure
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of Rural Development awarded Minnkota Power Cooperative a loan of $80,560,000 through the Electric Loan Program. The funds come as part of an investment by USDA across 11 states and will be used by Minnkota Power, headquartered in Grand Forks, to finance generation and transmission system improvement projects.
HHS Awards $3.4 Million to NDSU and Health Care Partners
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded the following three grants totaling $3,479,399:
- $1,718,415 to the Northland Health Partners Community;
- $1,376,630 to the Family Healthcare Center; and
- $384,354 to North Dakota State University for biomedical research.
HHS Awards $3 Million for Opioid Intervention Projects and Health Care Partners
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded the following two grants totaling $3,083,270:
- $2,583,316 to Coal Country Community Health Center; and
- $499,954 to Three Affiliated Tribes for Community Opioid Intervention Pilot Projects.
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.
328 Federal Building
220 East Rosser Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58501
114 Federal Building
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Grand Forks, ND 58203
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Minot, ND 58701
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Fargo, ND 58102
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Williston, ND 58801
330 Hart Senate Office Building
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Weekly Radio and TV Schedule
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
Thursdays from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. central
KHND 1470 AM - Harvey
Every other Tuesday from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. central
WDAY 970 AM – Fargo
Chris Berg - Point of View
6:30 p.m. central (Semi-Monthly)
Valley News Live - Fargo
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