Calls to Change Spending Priorities, Reform Health Care and Halt Wars of Choice Dominate Listening Sessions
Hundreds Turned Out for Meetings in Duluth, Grand Rapids, Virginia, Ely, Hoyt Lakes, Center City & Mora
Here’s a shot of our last meeting, which we held at the Kanabec County Court House in Mora. About 40 people attended the session late last Tuesday afternoon.
Democracy requires time and participation. The hundreds who took valuable time to participate in our seven Northern Minnesota listening sessions over the Easter recess proved that point. I get my best ideas from the folks I represent, and I’m grateful to all who showed up and spoke out.
Minnesotans aren’t simply ready for a change – they’re demanding it. They want Congress to put politics aside and get to work governing on a bipartisan basis. And they want us to begin by changing our priorities; reinvesting in America and our infrastructure, creating good paying jobs, and reforming spending, health care and a rigged tax system that allows the wealthiest one percent to escape paying their fair share.
People have clearly had enough of our involvement in wars of choice and so-called “nation building abroad” that have cost us so much in blood, treasury and precious lives. They are outraged by President Trump’s proposals to boost Pentagon spending by $90 billion over the next 18 months. And they could not be more opposed to his plan to pay for it by cutting funding for infrastructure, jobs and human development, public education, libraries, environmental protection, mental health services and the services communities provide to people who need heat, food and medical care.
Almost 100 people packed our meeting at the Chisago County Government Center in Center City.
Moreover, Northern Minnesotans expressed grave concern over growing U.S. involvement in the conflict in Syria, the bombing in Afghanistan, and President Trump’s threat to launch a nuclear strike against North Korea. A military attack on another nation is an act of war. Our people expect Congress to assert its Constitutional responsibility to vote on matters of war and peace. And they expect President Trump to present Congress and the American people with a clear rationale and strategy for his military actions.
With regard to health care, the folks at our meetings want Congress to fix what needs fixing in the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) and get costs under control – not dismantle the system. They flat out opposed the failed Republican plan that would have cost 24 million Americans their health insurance, and provided millionaires with a $67,000 annual tax cut in the bargain. They’re not interested in fly by night health insurance that doesn’t cover people with pre-existing conditions or include comprehensive coverage for the basics like hospitalization, maternity care and prescription drugs – just to name a few.
Over the long term, they expressed widespread support for what I have always advocated – a top quality, universal, single payer system that works like Medicare – where everyone pays the same amount, costs are strictly controlled, everyone’s essential services are covered, and the risk pool is spread across all 320 million Americans.
We will be holding more of these important listening sessions later in the spring, and I do hope you will be able to attend so I can get the benefit of your views. Feel free to contact any of our offices listed below or send me an email.
Transportation Committee Agrees to Nolan’s Request to Examine Airline Consumer Protection Practices
Good news for beleaguered airline travelers – House Transportation Committee leaders have agreed to my request to hold a hearing to examine consumer protection practices within the industry. As a member of the Aviation Subcommittee, I asked for the hearing following the recent violent removal of a United Airlines passenger from an overbooked flight – one of many instances where an airline has shown callous disregard for the rights of passengers and simple common decency.
Specifically, this collaborative hearing will bring together representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), consumer groups, the airlines and airport law enforcement. We will look into the widespread overbooking of flights and the necessity for doing so; the steps carriers take to provide accurate, up to the minute information to consumers during flight delays; and how Congress can help ensure that passengers and their rights are protected from abuse.
As I’ve pointed out in the past, everyone understands the challenges mechanical problems and bad weather present to airline travel. We simply want to make sure the airlines do their best to manage factors within their control to make passenger journeys as comfortable, safe and predictable as possible.
Trump Joins Nolan’s Effort to Expand Crackdown on Foreign Steel – But Damaging Concessions to China Must Be Off the Table
Steel workers protest the loss of thousands of good paying American jobs due to illegal steel dumping by China into the U.S. marketplace.
After leading successful efforts to end illegal steel dumping with tariffs and taxes of up to 522% against China and other trade cheater nations, I’ve extended my cautious support to President Trump for his executive order directing the Commerce Department to investigate halting all steel imports into the United States on national security grounds. President Trump’s action appears to be right in line with my earlier request to President Obama to consider a complete ban on foreign steel for at least five years.
But caution is still the watchword because the President is sending mixed signals. He recently stated that he is willing to make trade-related concessions with China in order to gain their support in dealing with North Korea. So we need a clear commitment from President Trump that he will hold China accountable for their illegal steel dumping practices. With more than 1,000 Iron Range miners now back at work and the Range economy on the rebound, there can be no backsliding. Absolutely no concessions can be made when it comes to ensuring the strength of our U.S. iron ore and steel industry.
As I’ve pointed out many times to the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission, the connection between a strong U.S. iron ore and steel industry and our national security is clear. These industries not only directly and indirectly support millions of good paying jobs; they provide the foundation for our military defense and infrastructure. The results of the Administration’s investigation are due in 270 days, but one fact is already irrefutable: We cannot permit foreign steel to weaken or destroy our iron ore and steel industries – period.
Nolan Leads Bipartisan Drive to Improve Local Water Systems
Small towns throughout Minnesota and the Nation are being faced with expensive repairs to old and deteriorating water systems.
Taxpayers are stretched to the limit and small communities here in Minnesota and across the Nation desperately need help to fix and modernize crumbing drinking water and wastewater systems. So Republican Congressman Steve Stivers of Ohio and I are leading a request along with 54 of our colleagues to ensure that federal technical help and training are there to assist with these critical efforts.
Specifically, we have asked the House Appropriations Committee to provide $7.5 million in 2018 for Rural Community Facilities Technical Assistance. This highly efficient and successful program has already helped provide clean water and efficient waste disposal for more than one million people in economically distressed rural communities.
That said, training and technical help is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s needed to bring rural America’s small community water systems up to date. With local officials under pressure to meet tough new federal regulations to eliminate poisonous mercury from drinking water, it is imperative that President Trump submit his $1 trillion infrastructure proposal to Congress without further delay. There is a tremendous amount of work to do, and action is way overdue.
Marching for Science on the 47th Anniversary of Earth Day
It was great to see old friends and neighbors among the more than 300 folks from the Brainerd Lakes area who attended our local March for Science on Saturday.
My hometown of Brainerd, along with Duluth and Saint Paul, were just three of more than 400 American cities participating in the worldwide March for Science to emphasize the vitally important role science plays in making new discoveries, advancing lifesaving medical research and making life better for everyone. How appropriate that these marches coincided with the 47th anniversary of Earth Day, as we continue to invest in the science and technology that have done so much to clean up and preserve our precious environment over the years. We can not permit President Trump and the Republican majority in Congress to succeed with their budget proposals for deep and massive cuts to environmental protection programs that have brought us so much progress in cleaning up our water, air and lands.
As I reminded the Brainerd crowd of more than 300, science and facts are the pillars of our freedom, our democracy, our progress and our prosperity. That’s why I’m working so hard in Washington to fully fund the National Science Foundation and all the good and essential work they do; and why I’m fighting to ensure that every decision we make in the Congress is based on science and facts - and not on the opinions of ideologues. As I have said so many times before, there is nothing partisan or political about truth and the pursuit of truth. We must never be afraid of exploration and discovery and the answers we find.
Our Week in Chisago County
Following our public meeting in Center City, we met with Chisago County officials to discuss a wide range of issues including transportation and infrastructure, law enforcement and the need for more resources to address issues related to mental health and opioid addiction.
Our Field Representative Rick Olseen joined residents from the Chisago Lakes Area to watch as winners of the America's Best Communities Grand Prize of three million dollars was announced. More than 350 communities nationwide entered the competition. Five cities make up the Chisago Lakes Area and they made it to the Finial 8 Communities in competition for the prize.
Following our listening session in Center City, I met with a group of students from Duluth who were holding a mock trial at the Chisago County Government Center.
Our Week in Hibbing
Our Field Representative Jordan Metsa traveled to Hibbing Taconite where he joined United States Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District Commander, LTC Sugrue, and his staff to discuss the economic reevaluation report currently being conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers regarding federal investment in a new lock at the Sault St. Marie in Michigan. Our office was able to secure $1.3 million in funding for the study to be completed. The Soo Locks are critical our state and national economy and security. Thirteen percent of the Nation's GDP travels through the Soo Locks. According to a study by the Department of Homeland Security, a catastrophic failure at the Locks would send our Nation into another Great Depression, costing us some 7 million good paying jobs.
Our Field Representative Tom Whiteside attended a Donate Life Flag Raising event held at Hibbing's Fairview Range Medical Center. The event commemorated "Donate Life Month" and raised awareness of the growing demand for life saving organ donations.
Our Week in Finland
Our Field Representative Mark Privratsky attended a Community Resource Fair in Finland. Community residents attended to find out about services that they can use, including legal aid, health care access, financial planning and the constituent services our Congressional office provides.
Our Week in Duluth
At our Duluth office, staff members Jeff Anderson and Mark Privratsky met with Minnesota Army National Guard Government Relations Officer Major Scott D. Ingalsbe and National Guard Association Senior Legislative Programs Manager Matt Pincus. Major Ingalsbe and Mr. Pincus visited with staff to discuss the impacts of passing another Continuing Resolution will have on guard members in Minnesota, at both the 148th in Duluth and Camp Ripley in Little Falls. Mr. Pincus also briefed my staff on the need for more mental health professionals ready to assist guard members.
Coming Up in Washington
• First and foremost, Congress will be working on a budget agreement to fund the federal government and avoid a disastrous, expensive and unnecessary shutdown at the end of April. The situation remains highly fluid as Democrats and Republicans attempt to put together a compromise bill that President Trump will agree to sign.
My friend Matt Auvil's sign says it all, especially when it comes to protecting our environment: Science MATTERS. That was our message as Matt and I and some 300 folks from the Brainerd Lakes area joined the March for Science on the 47th anniversary of Earth Day on Saturday. (See story above for more information).
Nolan in the news...
Ely Echo: Groundbreaking held for highway 160: let the paving begin
Hibbing Tribune: Eveleth council discusses sanitary sewer district with neighboring communities
Brainerd Dispatch: Nolan calls for hearings after United incident
Timberjay: Rep. Rick Nolan talks with El-area
International Falls Journal: Journal, predictions off a bit this year
Duluth News Tribune: Trump launches trade probe targeting Chinese steel exports into U.S.
Chisago County Press: US Rep. Nolan on spring district visit
Mesabi Daily News: TRUMP: INVESTIGATION TO BEGIN ON IMPACT OF FOREIGN STEEL DUMPING
Brainerd Dispatch: 300 turn out to march for science on Earth Day
Pine and Lakes Echo: Rep. Nolan’s staff to visit lakes area communities
For more on the issues in this newsletter...
Click here to learn more about our work on Health Care.
Click here to learn more about our work on Foreign Affairs.
Click here to learn more about our work on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Click here to learn more about our work on Aviation.
Click here to learn more about our work on Trade.
Click here to learn more about our work on the Environment.