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Senator Cramer's Weekly Update OCTOBER 5-11

Remembering Senator Mark Andrews

Former Senator Mark Andrews, who passed away on October 3, was a giant to me. He was the first U.S. Senator I ever met. I am honored to have worked for him during his 1986 re-election campaign and to have gotten to know him since then. Together, Mark and his wife Mary were a political force for good, always putting the interests of North Dakota first.

Thank you for serving our state, Mark!

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.

President Trump Signs Savanna's Act

President Donald J. Trump signed S. 227, Savanna’s Act, into law on Saturday. Named in memory of North Dakota resident Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind who was brutally murdered in 2017, this legislation seeks to combat violence against the most vulnerable members of the Native American community. I am thankful the president signed it and is a strong supporter of efforts to protect the most vulnerable among us. Hopefully this legislation serves as a remembrance of Savanna's story and prevents other tragedies from occurring.

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.

Delivering Remarks at Stockmen's Association Annual Convention

Joined by Senator John Hoeven and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Greg Ibach, I had the privilege of attending the North Dakota Stockmen's Association annual convention on Saturday.

North Dakota's ranchers are a foundational part of our state who contribute to America's economic and national security. Since coming to the Senate, I have worked closely with my colleagues and the Trump Administration to reduce bureaucratic regulatory hurdles, defend private property rights, and bolster our food supply chain. My goal has been to find a balance that ensures maximum options for producers and maximum transparency for price discovery. It was an honor to meet with North Dakota Stockmen's Association members to hear about their concerns, and I look forward to working together to advance their priorities.

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.

Talking Early Voting and the Presidential Election

On Wednesday I spoke to Neil Cavuto on Fox Business about the presidential election and early voting. Watch our conversation below.

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.

Contact Me

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.

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

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

Credits:

North Dakota Tourism