Administration's Changes to PPP Loan Forgiveness Process Not Good Enough
The Trump Administration announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness process for smaller loans on Thursday. I appreciate Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Carranza trying to make the forgiveness process easier for small businesses, but these changes are not good enough. The process still violates legislative intent and unnecessarily burdens borrowers and lenders with complex paperwork and documentation requirements. These modifications also do nothing for the large number of small businesses whose loans are just over $50,000 but under $150,000.
Such action from the Administration underscores why Congress needs to pass legislation like my Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act to properly address the problems surrounding the PPP forgiveness process.
Federal Judge Vacates the Obama-era Methane Rule
A federal judge in Wyoming vacated the Obama Administration's methane venting and flaring rule on Thursday. This rule infringed on state authority and was a direct attack on American energy jobs. When Senate Democrats in 2017 inexplicably voted to keep the rule, the Trump Administration was left with the lengthy process of repealing and replacing it. I am glad the rule has been vacated, and I applaud Interior Secretary Bernhardt and our Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem for fighting on behalf of North Dakota's interests.
Hopefully this ruling makes it clear to the groups leading these lawsuits that this is not a fight they are going to win.
FEMA Accepting Comments on its Guidance for Fixing Inundated and Submerged Roads
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is accepting public comment on its inundated and submerged roads policy.
Recent flooding made many of North Dakota's roads completely inoperable, leaving citizens in harm's way and farmers unable to access their fields. This public comment period gives residents and local officials a chance to further express their concerns and develop solutions with FEMA. I urge North Dakotans to participate.
Thanking Frontline Health Care Workers at ND Medical Association Annual Meeting
Monday evening I participated in the annual North Dakota Medical Association (NDMA) meeting, which was held as a webinar this year. I am tremendously grateful for the work of the NDMA members, and all of our state's health care workers, especially during a year of such uncertainty. They rose to the challenge, and our families and communities are safer and healthier because of them.
During my remarks, I covered the funding made available to health care groups in the CARES Act and highlighted legislation we are working on in Congress to expand the health care workforce and access to telehealth.
Filing Amicus Brief Supporting Religious Freedom in Nation's Capital
I joined an amicus brief led by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) supporting Capitol Hill Baptist Church's lawsuit against Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Mayor Bowser issued an order which bans outdoor church services of more than 100 people, regardless of social distancing and mask wearing.
Friday evening, a judge filed a temporary injunction, ruling the church is "likely" to prove Mayor Bowser's rules violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and "substantially burden the church's exercise of religion."
Grants for North Dakota
$150k to UND for Conceptual Designs to Extract Critical Minerals and Rare Earth Elements from Coal Sources
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy awarded $150,000 to the University of North Dakota (UND). The funds are part of a nationwide DOE investment and will be used to develop conceptual designs of technologies which will extract critical minerals and rare earth elements from coal sources.
Critical mineral supply chains are vital to our economic and national security. The Trump administration recognizes the threat of over-reliance on imports from foreign adversaries and is looking for innovative ways to boost domestic production. North Dakota is a leader in lignite coal extraction and research, and it is encouraging to see UND working with the Department of Energy on this vitally important project.
Over $1 Million to Assist North Dakota Distance Learning and Telemedicine
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of Rural Development awarded two grants to improve distance learning and telemedicine in North Dakota: $985,399 to Avera Health to provide telemedicine in 66 counties across the upper midwest, and $83,955 to Maddock Public School to purchase distance learning equipment.
$270k for Crime Victim Specialist Programs
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded $270,000 to the North Dakota Attorney General's office. The funds will be used to enhance crime victim specialist programs within law enforcement and connect rural victims with services throughout the legal process.
$185k to NDSU for Research
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded $185,000 to North Dakota State University (NDSU). The funds will be used to integrate advanced research equipment into studies of the nutrient supply of beef cattle.
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.
328 Federal Building
220 East Rosser Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58501
114 Federal Building
102 North 4th Street
Grand Forks, ND 58203
105 Federal Building
100 First Street SW
Minot, ND 58701
306 Federal Building
657 Second Avenue N
Fargo, ND 58102
400 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Weekly Radio and TV Schedule
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Fridays from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. central
KFYR 550 AM - Bismarck
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