Grand Rapids Herald Review: HARD WORK, BIPARTISANSHIP PRODUCE REAL RESULTS FOR MINNESOTA, NATION
It’s tough to be effective in this unproductive Congress, especially when the other party controls the agenda. But over the past few weeks, I’ve moved important bipartisan measures forward to support Minnesota’s Iron Range and the Great Lakes, advance lung cancer research, battle invasive species, stop wasting taxpayer dollars in the Middle East, bolster our military, reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, and provide airline passengers with a ‘one-pager’ listing their consumer rights.
Specifically last week, two House appropriations subcommittees advanced measures I’ve strongly supported to fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and the Sea Grant program – both critical to cleaning up the Great Lakes and protecting our rivers and waterways.
The House also approved a package of spending bills that included my bipartisan amendments to nearly double funds for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to battle zebra mussels and other invasive species, boost lung cancer research for the military from $12 to $14 million, and provide new funding for military research into unmanned ground vehicles that can help protect our troops in combat.
With strong bipartisan support, the House Natural Resources Committee also passed my legislation to facilitate the PolyMet land exchange on Minnesota’s Iron Range. The exchange is a wonderfully good deal for the public and the environment, with or without a PolyMet mining project. In a nutshell, the public will enjoy 6,690 more acres of beautiful wetlands, lakeshores, forests and wild rice waters in Superior National Forest in return for lands with no overland access, that aren’t being used for recreation or tribal treaty rights.
Success on our Iron Range land exchange bill comes just days after the House unanimously passed my bipartisan amendment to the Defense Bill declaring that a strong domestic iron ore and steel industry is vital to our national security. That statement by Congress will establish the foundation for more action to prevent the illegal dumping of foreign steel into the U.S. marketplace.
Two other defense measures I authored also passed without opposition. The first amendment prohibits taxpayer funds from being used to deploy U.S. troops to become involved in the bloody civil war in the Arab country of Yemen. And the second amendment cuts off funds to any so-called “allied” group of “friendly rebels” in the Middle East that has misused U.S. funds and weapons or turned them over to enemy forces.
As I’ve frequently pointed out, effectiveness in Congress requires Democrats and Republicans alike to work together for the good of all. That’s what I’ve been working hard to do, and as you can see, we’re getting results that benefit the 8th District, Minnesota and our Nation.