Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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House Passes Nolan-Sponsored Bill to Reauthorize 21st Century Career & Technical Education Funding

Click the image above to hear my remarks at our press conference following unanimous House passage of our bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career Technical Education (CTE) Act.

Dear Friend,

As we work to grow our 21st Century economy, creating more good-paying jobs is only half the battle. The other half is filling those jobs with highly trained and qualified people. That’s what the bipartisan Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (CTE) is all about. And with my original cosponsorship and strong support, the House unanimously voted last week to reauthorize the measure through 2023. Now it heads to the Senate for hopefully quick consideration and approval.

This revised version of the Perkins Act will give states more flexibility in designing programs to help some 248,000 Minnesota high school and college students – and some 12.5 million students nationwide – take classes and get the certifications they need to prepare for 21st Century careers. The focus will continue to be on high-demand fields such as construction, transportation, information technology, aviation, health care, veterinary medicine, agriculture, accounting and robotics, just to name a few.

Click the image above to hear my remarks before the House, urging m colleagues to support our Career Technical Education reauthorization legislation.

In urging my colleagues to support the bill, I pointed out that Minnesota business owners and managers almost always tell me that CTE graduate employees stand out among the very best. They simply need more CTE-trained workers to fill the good paying jobs they have available. In fact, according to the Minnesota Department of Economic Development, 87% of the top line jobs open in our state go unfilled in part because employers can’t find candidates with the right skills.

So this bill adds important new provisions to expand career and technical education at great schools like Pine Technical College in Pine City and Central Lakes College in Brainerd. It’s a win for everybody. Schools, employers and communities get the tools they need to develop stronger partnerships to engage students. Students get the tools they need to compete and succeed here in the 21st Century. And we build more good paying jobs and growth for an economy in need of the best workers America can provide.

We will keep you posted as events proceed. Meanwhile, I want to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact any of our offices listed below or send me an email.


Citing Treachery and Terrorism, Nolan and Poe Team Up on Bipartisan Bill to Cut Special U.S. Aid Status to Pakistan

The nation is Pakistan has repeatedly refused or failed support U.S. an allied forces in the battle against terror.

Time and again, Pakistan has taken advantage of America’s good will, and demonstrated that they are no friend or ally of the United States. So Texas Republican Congressman Ted Poe and I have introduced bipartisan legislation to revoke that nation’s elite status as one of America’s major non-NATO allies – MNNA in the language of Washington acronyms. MNNA privileges include special foreign aid and defense cooperation and loan guarantees to stockpile sophisticated weapons, among other things.

President Bush accorded Pakistan MNNA status in 2004 in an effort to encourage them to join out battle against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. But the fact is – the billions of dollars we have sent to Pakistan over the last 15 years have done nothing to effectively fight terrorism and make us safer. In fact, it’s been proven that the government of Pakistan is maintaining close ties to the same terrorist organizations they claim to be fighting with arms we’ve provided.

Moreover, Pakistan has cut off supply routes to U.S. troops in Afghanistan – demanding huge fees for passage. And they have given safe harbor to criminals like Mullah Mansour, a Taliban leader who was killed by U.S. forces while planning attacks against our embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capitol. Far too many of our troops and loyal allies have been killed or terribly injured as a result of Pakistani treachery. It’s time to cut the cord, and that’s exactly what our bill would do.

Senate Version of Trump Care – Another "Mean" Bill

Medicaid cuts in the House and Senate Trumpcare bills would curtail or eliminate essential services provided to millions of special needs children.

After weeks of secret meetings, Senate Republicans finally revealed their so-called health care bill last week. And to no one’s surprise, the Senate Republican version of Trump Care is just bad as the House version that President Trump privately referred to as “mean.” In fact, it’s not really a health care bill at all. It’s a trillion dollar tax cut bill to benefit the upper one percent of America’s wealthiest families and corporations. Instead of getting costs under control and fixing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), both GOP Trump Care plans would basically tear our entire health care system apart and throw it into chaos.

Specifically, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office, some 22 million Americans would lose their health insurance by 2026. And millionaires and billionaires would receive a shameless trillion dollar tax cut funded by crippling reductions in Medicaid services. These are the lifelines that small rural hospitals, nursing homes and other agencies provide to elderly, needy, disabled and vulnerable people. All across Minnesota, school superintendents are pointing out that these Medicaid cuts would jeopardize essential special education and health services for students with disabilities and students in poverty.

Moreover, both the House and Senate Republican bills would allow insurance companies to price people with pre-existing conditions out of the market, and to impose an Age Tax forcing seniors to pay up to five times more for their coverage. Both plans also permit states to apply for waivers so insurance companies could once again peddle fly-by-night policies that don’t cover essential services: Preventative Care, Emergency Room Care, Hospitalization, Prescriptions, Maternity Care, Newborn Care, Mental Health Care and Chronic Disease Management.

As I have pointed out many times before, we need to get busy tackling the battle of rising healthcare costs – not dismantling our whole system. It’s time for President Trump to make good on his promise to cover every single American with good, affordable, accessible health care. And it’s time for Republicans and Democrats to put politics aside, start over, fix what needs fixing with the Affordable Care Act, and get health care reform right for the American people.

Nolan Leads Minnesota Delegation in Support of Community Health Centers

Doctors and staff at northern Minnesota Community Health Centers are part of the fabric of our region. Here’s a website shot of Michael Holmes, CEO of Scenic Rivers Health Services based out of Cook. He testified before a House subcommittee last week in support of federal funding for Community Health Centers around the Nation.

Here in Minnesota and throughout the Nation, 70% of all federal support for Community Health Centers will be lost unless Congress extends what’s called “Section 330” funding by October 1st. Seventeen Minnesota Community Health Centers, and hundreds more around the country, provide primary care and dental services to millions of low-income working families, seniors and kids.

So last week, I led the entire Minnesota House delegation in urging leaders on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health to address this situation before the deadline. As we pointed out, the primary and preventative care services Community Health Centers provide save money by keeping people healthier and catching small problems before they become overwhelming and extremely costly.

We made our urgent request in conjunction with Subcommittee testimony by Michael Holms, the CEO of Scenic Rivers Health Services based in the Northern Minnesota community of Cook. Scenic River operates six medical clinics and three dental clinics, serving more than 12,000 patients over an 8,300 square mile area of Minnesota’s 8th District. As Mr. Holmes explained, if Congress fails to address the October 1st “funding cliff,” 181,000 Minnesotans would face severe cutbacks in essential primary care services – and some facilities may have to cut back hours or close entirely. We simply cannot permit that to happen.

White House Mystery Surrounds Asian Carp Report

Invasive Asian Carp could pose a serious threat to the $7 billion annual Great Lakes fishing industry that supports thousands of good paying jobs throughout the region.

Add one more mystery to the Trump Administration’s growing list of secrets and puzzlers: Where is the $6 million report on preventing Asian Carp from invading the Great Lakes, what’s in it, and why won’t the Trump Administration release it? The Report - dubbed The Brandon Road Study - should have been released in February. Instead, for reasons no one can discern, it’s being held hostage by the White House. Meanwhile, over the weekend, an Asian Carp was caught just a few miles from Lake Michigan.

This is no small matter. Asian Carp are a clear threat to a Great Lakes fishing industry worth $7 billion annually, supporting hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs.

So last week, Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken joined me and numerous other Republicans and Democrats from the Great Lakes region in introducing the Stop Asian Carp Now Act to compel the Administration to release the report within seven days of passage. Its conclusions will provide important guidance to Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in winning the battle against invasive and destructive Asian Carp. Of course, the President could save everyone a great deal of time and trouble by simply dusting off the Brandon Road Study and promptly sending it to Congress.

Major Environmental Groups Join Nolan in Opposing GOP Bill to Gut the Approval Process for New Federal Dams

Terrible floods caused millions of dollars in damage to the Oroville Dam in California last February. Only luck and fast action prevented a catastrophe downstream.

Demonstrating callous disregard for the environment, public safety and wise use of taxpayer dollars, House Republicans last week approved legislation to roll back regulations to ensure the environmental and structural integrity of new federal dam projects. Joining me and numerous other colleagues in opposing the measure were a host of environmental groups including the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, American Rivers, and Defenders of Wildlife, just to name a few.

This Republican measure, which they’ve falsely labeled as an “infrastructure” bill, doesn’t provide a dime for construction for new federal dams. What it DOES do is subvert a thorough approval process necessary to ensure that environmental impacts are mitigated, the public has been accorded an opportunity for input, and a full range of alternatives to the dam itself are carefully considered.  

Dams are often built in geologically complex terrain,and are required to hold under monumental stress. The near failure of California’s Oroville Dam in February, which caused the evacuation of more than 180,000 people living downstream, provided a stark reminder of the need for deliberate and detailed evaluations of major new dams.

In that case, damage to emergency spillways caused by torrential rains could have sent a 30-foot wall of water into communities downstream – causing terrible injuries, loss of life and property, and irreparable damage to fishing and fragile ecosystems. Thankfully, luck and quick action averted a catastrophe. Hopefully this Republican bill will die in the Senate before it can become law and endanger people and property in the future.

Our Week in DC

This delegation of local officials, business people and union representatives from Decatur, Illinois stopped by the office to talk about our work on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the importance of infrastructure to our small towns and rural communities.

We met with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr and St. Louis County Commissioner Frank Jewell to talk over plans for the 2018 Farm Bill, projects related to the Superior National Forest and a wide variety of other topics.

Meeting with members of the Minnesota Optometric Association, we talked about ways to expand patient access to comprehensive, affordable eye care.

We met with members of the Minnesota-North Dakota-South Dakota chapter of the Nature Conservancy to discuss our mutual support of efforts to address climate change and lower our Nation’s carbon footprint.

It was great to play host to U.S. Air Force Academy cadet and Duluth native Alisha Martin last week for a meeting and tour of the U.S. Capitol. I was proud to nominate Alisha to the Academy in 2014. Now in her fourth year of training, she will be in Washington interning at the Pentagon over the next six weeks.

Our Week on the Iron Range

Local officials, business owners and community leaders from all over Minnesota’s Iron Range were in Mountain Iron last Monday to meet with me and three of my Republican colleagues to emphasize support for strong environmental protection measures as we work to create more good paying mining jobs and grow our economy throughout Northeastern Minnesota.

Our Week in Cambridge

Our Field Representative Rick Olseen spoke to the Cambridge-Isanti Rotary to update them on the work we're doing back in DC.

Our Week in Chisholm

Our Field Representative Jordan Metsa met with Specialist, Zach Hammond, from Brainerd and Staff Sergeant, David wolf, from Austin, MN. Both are serving with the National Guard, 114th, out of Chisholm.

Our Week in Grand Rapids

Our Field Representative Tom Whiteside attended a Greater Pokegama Lake Association (GPLA) meeting in Grand Rapids this week. Pictured above Colonel Samuel Calkins, Commander of the St. Paul District of the US Army Corps of Engineers, listens to a GPLA member discuss water levels in the region.

Coming Up in Washington

This week:

  • Our House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marks up an FAA reauthorization bill on Tuesday. Following the horrific United Airlines incident where a passenger was forcibly removed after he was seated on an aircraft, in addition to the constant safety and convenience issues caused by baggage fees and other ancillary fees, I've drafted a number of amendments make flying more consumer-friendly.


Congrats to our Championship Caliber High School Trap Shooters from Blackduck, Hibbing and Pierz

Whenever I can, I like to stop by local shooting ranges in the 8th District and join our high school trap shooters for some practice and fun. 

They started among 300 teams and 7,500 student athletes registered for the Minnesota State High School League’s trap shooting championship. And then our 8th District shooters from Blackduck, Hibbing and Pierz emerged among the elite to compete in Saturday’s championship round at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake. Congratulations to them, and to all our high school athletes, for making us all so proud!

Nolan in the news...

Mesabi Daily News: ITC places duties on rebar as White House debates imports

The Ely Echo: Range meeting set on mining withdrawal

Hibbing Daily Tribune: White House deciding which route to take on foreign steel imports

International Falls Journal: LoW selected for pilots crossing program

Mesabi Daily News: Nolan takes Republicans on a tour of Range mining sites

Duluth News Tribune: Congress wants Great Lakes carp protection plan released

Defense News: Key lawmaker wants US to defriend Pakistan

Geo News: Bill seeking revocation of Pakistan’s non-NATO ally moved in US Congress

Mesabi Daily News: Kudos to Nolan’s new bipartisan mining effort

KDAL: Task Force Issues Statement on Asian Carp

For more on the issues in this newsletter...

Click here to learn more about our work on Higher Education.

Click here to learn more about our work on Foreign Affairs.

Click here to learn more about our work on Health Care.

Click here to learn more about our work on the Environment.