Calls to Cancel Student Loan Debt
I spoke to KX News about Democrats seeking to cancel student loan debt. Offering to unilaterally forgive debt students chose to take on would create a perverse incentive and would encourage others to needlessly rack up more loans while doing nothing to address the real inadequacies in our higher education system.
President Biden should not go through with such a radical proposal and neither should Congress.
President Biden Rescinds National Emergency Proclamation Used for Border Wall
President Biden terminated the national emergency over the U.S.-Mexico border that former President Trump issued in order to build physical barriers along the southern border.
Rescinding a national emergency does not make the problem disappear. Even as parts of the southern border remain porous and a caravan continues to make its way toward us, President Biden is taking action that will actively undermine the efforts of immigration law enforcement officers on the ground. The President promised opportunity, and for those who want to enter the country illegally, he's delivered. But American citizens will be less safe because of it. I urge him to reconsider this poor decision.
Defending Pipelines on Fox Business
I joined Stuart Varney on Fox Business to discuss the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Energy security is national security. America's energy dominance creates good-paying jobs and protects the supply chains of everything we grow, produce, and manufacture.
Advancing EPA Administrator Nomination in Committee
I helped advance the nomination of Michael Regan to be Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator out of committee on Monday.
The Biden Administration's actions on energy and the environment have been awful for North Dakota and wrong for the country. While it remains to be seen if any of the efforts so far will actually lower emissions, they are certain to eliminate good-paying jobs and bring severe economic hardship to states like ours.
I appreciate Mr. Regan's expressed desire to work with stakeholders and states when developing EPA policy, but given the approach of the current members of the President's climate team up to this point, I am unconvinced such an effort could be successful in the Biden Administration.
I voted to advance Mr. Regan's nomination in order to allow the full Senate to have a say on his nomination, and I will reserve my decision on whether to vote to confirm him until that vote is set. I hope to receive reassurances that collaboration is possible before then.
Hire Student Veterans Act
I joined Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in introducing the Hire Student Veterans Act, bipartisan legislation to provide a tax credit for businesses that hire part-time veterans who are using their GI benefits and taking advantage of paid internships and other work opportunities while still in school.
It's hard to imagine a better hire than a veteran ready to enter the workforce. Our bipartisan legislation helps connect expanding businesses with veterans utilizing their GI benefits and seeking employment. It's a win for employers and for our nation's heroes hoping for a seamless transition into the workplace.
Letter Requesting Withdrawal of Rule Hurting American Sheep and Goat Industries
I led a letter to Robert Fairweather, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, requesting the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rule on the importation of sheep, goats, and certain other ruminants be withdrawn until its impact on current market conditions has been fully evaluated.
The rule, finalized on January 14, would remove brain disorder-related import restrictions on sheep, goats, and most of their products. The existing import restrictions function as a necessary protection against the introduction of other brain disorders, such as scrapie or mad cow disease.
Biden's Bird Treaty Delay
The Biden Administration's Fish and Wildlife Service is placing a hold on the recently-finalized Migratory Bird Treaty Act Rule and opening a public comment period for it.
In North Dakota, oil companies were unfairly prosecuted by the Obama Administration for lawful activity because of an obvious bias against the industry. The Trump Administration's rule gave companies much-needed certainty by clarifying they would not be federally punished for birds who died by accident on their property. As the Fish and Wildlife Service accepts further comments on this commonsense rule, I urge North Dakotans to engage in the process and ask the Biden Administration to reverse its freeze.
Forest Service Extends Comment Period on Grazing Directives
Senator Hoeven, Congressman Armstrong, and I announced the U.S. Forest Service has extended its comment period on proposed grazing directives to April 17. This follows a letter we sent urging Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen to extend the deadline.
Given the length and complexity of the proposed changes, and the large amount of national grasslands in our state, we urge North Dakotans to ensure they are familiar with the proposals and to offer any comments or concerns.
Interior Rolls Back Protections for States, Local Communities in LWCF Projects
The Department of the Interior rescinded the Trump Administration's Secretarial Order which prioritized the role of state and local communities in Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) projects.
The Interior Department's action paves the way for bureaucrats to expand the federal estate without the consent of local communities. The Trump Administration's Secretarial Order rightfully gave governors and county commissioners approval authority over federal acquisition projects to prevent Washington's mediocrity from being imposed on the excellence of states like North Dakota. Once again, President Biden's team is imposing a top-down approach, disregarding the voice of the communities most affected. So much for unity.
Bipartisan Bill to Help Families with Diaper Needs
Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA), and I introduced the End Diaper Need Act, bipartisan legislation to provide resources to assist low-income and middle-class families address their diaper needs and help ensure the health and well-being of those who rely on diapers, including infants, toddlers, medically complex children, low-income adults and adults with disabilities.
Struggling families and childcare centers are often forced to delay changing a baby or toddler's diaper within an appropriate amount of time, despite the numerous health problems this can cause. Our bill gets ahead of that problem by modifying existing health care programs so diapers can be provided and by allowing medically necessary diapers to be purchased through health spending accounts. It would help get low-income families and vulnerable children the help they need.
Questioning President Biden on Removing Transparency Measures
I joined Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) on a letter to President Biden questioning why he revoked an executive order requiring federal agencies to post guidance documents in a searchable database. The executive order was modeled after bipartisan legislation, the Guidance Out Of Darkness Act (GOOD Act) that has been approved by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs each of the last two sessions of Congress.
"Your revocation of Executive Order 13891 is also contrary to sound policy. The purpose of the executive order and the GOOD Act is to promote transparency and ensure that Americans affected by Federal agency guidance know what those guidance documents are so they can more easily comply with them. This policy addresses real problems with the growing administrative state that affect both everyday Americans and other regulated entities, like states and local governments. It is only fair that people, businesses and local governments know what is required of them."
Legislation to Combat Banks' Political Attacks on Federal Contractors
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and I reintroduced the Financial Defense of Industrial Contractors (FDIC) Act, legislation to combat the political discrimination by big banks against federal contractors, including those which operate facilities on behalf of the Immigration Customs and Enforcement Agency.
Some large banks are weaponizing their essential position in the economy to discriminate against companies who assist our immigration law enforcement operations. If they would like the right to deny service to certain companies, the federal government should have the right to withdraw its taxpayer-funded guarantees.
Grants for North Dakota
Bureau of Reclamation Announces $15.4 million in WaterSMART Drought Program
The U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation awarded $733,081 to Grand Forks County East Central Regional Water District. The funds will be used to construct a nine-mile raw water transmission pipeline between Larimore and the District's Water Treatment Plant. The project will provide the District with access to an additional 500 acre-feet per year of raw water supply from the Elk Valley Aquifer.
NDSU Awarded $390k for Green Chemistry Research and Professional Development
The National Science Foundation awarded $390,000 to North Dakota State University (NDSU). The funds will be used for research training and professional development focused on green chemistry, specifically as it relates to sustainability and the circular economy in chemistry and polymer science.
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.
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