By the numbers: 76,195 and $16 trillion.
Nolan Takes Amendment to Stop Endless Wars of Choice to the Floor of the U.S. House
With the U.S. militarily engaged in 76 of the 195 countries of the world, and endless wars of choice costing taxpayers some $16 trillion, I offered an amendment to the 2019 National Defense Authorization bill last week to help put a stop to this madness. Specifically, my measure would have eliminated the $69 billion authorization for the Overseas Contingency Fund – where much of the money for these endless wars and military engagements comes from.
In offering the amendment, I posed a question to my colleagues: Do we want to be having this same debate ten years from now, having spent another ten or eleven trillion dollars on endless wars of choice and so-called nation building abroad? No one raised their hand to say yes.
The amendment did not succeed. However, the very fact that Republican leaders allowed the measure to be introduced is evidence that Democrats and Republicans alike are growing increasingly fed up by the waste and carnage these wars produce. Moreover, they have begun to realize that these endless wars are bankrupting our Nation, and draining away money we desperately need here at home for education, medical research, human development, rebuilding our infrastructure, and so many other unmet needs.
As I pointed out to my colleagues, U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria alone has already cost our nation almost $6 trillion according to the Watson Institute at Brown University. And when the costs of borrowing that money and taking care of the men and women who have lost arms and legs and in many cases their mental and physical health are added in, that number jumps to nearly $16 trillion over the next 35 years.
To put this in some perspective, military spending, when adjusted for inflation, has increased by nearly 50 percent since 9-11. By comparison, spending on non-military items – things like education, health care, public transit and science – grew by only 13.5 percent over that same period.
Rest assured this fight will continue until we finally put an end to these conflicts, bring our brave troops home, and start reinvesting in America and our people once again.
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.
Nolan Defense Amendment Again Puts Congress on Record: America's Iron Ore and Steel Industries are Vital to National Security
The famed Ironman Memorial located near Chisholm on Minnesota’s Iron Range celebrates the strength and determination of countless miners and steelworkers who have contributed immeasurably to our Nation’s military and economic security and strength over the past 135 years.
In an important win for Minnesota’s Iron Range, the House last week unanimously passed my bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act declaring that a strong domestic iron ore and steel industry is vital to the national security of the United States.
This measure – identical to the amendment we passed in last year’s Defense authorization bill – underscores the fact that America’s iron ore and steel industries are the foundation of our military and economic security – critical in protecting our Nation from enemies now and in the future.
Make no mistake about it – this is a strong and powerful statement by the Congress. It sends a message of support to our iron ore and steel workers, and a message to China and other trade cheater nations that illegal steel dumping into our marketplace will not be tolerated. Moreover, it makes clear to the World Trade Organization (WTO) that our Nation will not hesitate to exercise our right to protect America’s national security interests under Article 21 of the General Agreement on Tariffs& Trade (GATT).
Nolan Passes Defense Amendment to Fully Account for U.S. Troops Around the World
When these American heroes were killed last fall on a mission in the remote African nation of Niger, many Members of Congress expressed surprise that U.S. troops had been deployed there. My amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act will require the Secretary of Defense to report U.S. troop deployments to Congress and the American public.
When four U.S. soldiers were killed last fall in the remote African nation of Niger, many members of Congress admitted they had no idea any of our military forces been deployed there. With that in mind last week, I successfully passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act with bipartisan support to ensure that all our troops are publicly accounted for as they serve U.S. interests around the world.
Specifically, my amendment does three things:
1. On a quarterly basis, requires the Secretary of Defense to report via publicly available website the number of service member deployments to each country during that four month period.
2. Requires the Secretary to report the TOTAL number of troops deployed to each country – not just the number being moved in and out during the quarter.
3. Allows the Secretary to use a waiver in cases where reporting troop deployments would put national security at risk. However, the Secretary must report to Congress the reasons for the waiver and where the waiver is being used. Moreover, each use of a waiver must be publicly reported on the website.
When our best and brightest young people are put in harm’s way around the world, Congress and the American people need to know about it unless urgent national security concerns dictate otherwise. That’s what this amendment is all about.
Key Nolan Measures to be Included in Water Resources Development Act Headed for the House Floor
Invasive Zebra Mussels like these, gathered from a lake in Central Minnesota, spread deadly infections to our Loons and destroy sport and commercial fishing habitat. My amendment to the Water Resources Development Act directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to accelerate the battle against these invaders, along with Asian Carp and hundreds of other species that are moving into areas where they don’t belong, doing terrible damage.
Two key Nolan amendments and several important initiatives are on their way to the floor of the House as part of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 – the most important measure Congress passes every two years to protect and enhance our Nation’s lakes, rivers, wetlands, shores and waterways.
These measures – each critically important to Minnesota and the Nation – accelerate the war on invasive species, promote nature-based solutions to water resource projects, help ensure that the $9 billion Harbor Trust Fund is used for maintenance purposes as intended, and reauthorize the National Dam Safety Program to maintain the safety of thousands of Federal and State dams for people, property and the environment.
Particularly important to Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, our Aquatic Invasive Species amendment directs the U.S. Army Corps Engineering Research& Development Center to accelerate research against Zebra Mussels that are threatening our Minnesota Loons, and against invasive Asian Carp that could otherwise permanently damage sport fishing that brings so much money, enjoyment and tourism to our region – along with billions of dollars worth of commercial fishing throughout the Great Lakes.
Our Nature-Based Solutions amendment requires the Corps to study and promote ways to implement natural, environmentally friendly and cost-effective means such as sand, soil and plants to reduce flood risk, protect coastlines and shorelines and restore fragile ecosystems.
Let's Work Together on a Bill to Help Stop Opioid Addiction and Abuse
The Pharmaceutical companies have gone so far as to use CDs like this one to promote the opioid OxyContin to patients and physicians.
You can help open a new front in the battle against opioid addiction and abuse by sending me your comments on our draft bill to ban opioid advertising and marketing. Just visit my website at https://nolan.house.gov/issues/opioid-crisis to review the text, download a copy, and submit comments or suggestions by June 1, 2018.
Specifically, the “Opioid Advertising and Prescriber Prohibition Act” I plan to introduce early this summer would ban direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical company advertising of opioid drugs and opioid receptor antagonists (which are prescribed to treat the side effects of opioids). The measure would also prohibit pharmaceutical companies or their agents from promoting these products to health care providers.
As I pointed out many times before, while opioid pain killers must continue to be available to patients who need them, carefully monitored by a physician, consensus is growing that it’s time to prohibit pharmaceutical companies from spending billions of dollars encouraging the widespread use of these powerful and dangerous medications through advertising.
The hard cold fact is that over the years, the advertising of opioid painkillers and related drugs to doctors and patients – beginning with OxyContin in the mid 1990’s – has helped bring us to the point where there were nearly 43,000 opioid-linked drug fatalities in the United States every year. Crossing every regional, racial and ethnic divide, opioid abuse is responsible for more deaths in any one year than from breast cancer, vehicle crashes or gun violence.
Our Week in DC
Click on the screen above to hear my remarks at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting where I introduced an amendment to create a grant program which would provide funds to municipal wastewater and drinking water treatment plants to help comply with federally mandated mercury standards. Although my amendment did not pass committee, I will continue to push for funding for this important cause.
It was my pleasure to meet with United States Steelworkers from across my district in Washington. In addition to a tour of the U.S. Capitol building, we had important discussions on trade, retirement security, and the Wage Act.
May is National Foster Care Month, a time to recognize our Nation’s more than 400,000 foster youth in addition to those who make a meaningful difference in their lives. I’m proud to support the foster youth voices in my district and throughout the country. As a Member of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, I was pleased to have Shane Read of Bemidji spend the day with me touring the Capitol, attending meetings, and even riding the Congressional train!
Representatives of the American College of Physicians came to Washington to discuss equity in physicians pay, student loan debt relief, and many other important topics.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association Representatives visited my office to discuss providing stable funding to the National Airspace System and staffing shortages at their facilities, among many other important topics.
The Minnesota Peace Project (MPP) stopped in my office to discuss was we can put an end to these endless war of choice throughout the world.
Our Week in Duluth
Construction continues on Superior Street in Duluth. As you can see, this project is quite the undertaking. Superior Street is one of Duluth's oldest streets. In the early days, it was actually a trail through the wilderness. Contractors at this site have been busy unearthing old infrastructure beneath the street surface, finding pipes from the 1880's!
Representatives from the Department of Defense, 148th Fighter Wing and STARBASE Minnesota gathered for a ribbon cutting at the 148th Air National Guard in Duluth to celebrate the official opening of STARBASE Duluth. STARBASE Duluth is currently providing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) based educational programing for 5th grade students in the Duluth area. Nolan Congressional District Director Jeff Anderson read a letter at the ceremony on my behalf.
The State of Manufacturing 2018 presentation in Duluth was held last week. Bob Kill, President& CEO of Enterprise Minnesota, discussed the 2018 survey results which show manufacturer's in the state of Minnesota have near all-time high financial confidence and confidence in economic expansion. According to the survey, manufacturers' confidence is bolstered this year by surging perceptions about the overall economy. Nolan Congressional District Director Jeff Anderson attended the meeting and snapped this photo.
The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation's annual celebration had another successful event. The theme of this year's event was "So Much Good" and featured a panel discussion focused on all of the good work the more than 400 charitable funds the DSACF helps manage. Nolan Congressional District Director Jeff Anderson attended the event.
Our Week in St. Paul
The Minnesota Department of Health has a number of advisory committees to help guide them in the many areas of service they provide. Here, Kim Asgard, CFO of Tri-County Hospital in Wadena shows a chart from IRS mandated Community Health Needs Assessments at the Rural Health Advisory and Flex Advisory Committee meeting in St. Paul. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen attended on my behalf.
Our Week in Onamia
Students from the Onamia Elementary School sent drawings honoring Memorial Day to the joint American Legion Post 395 and VFW Post 955 in Onamia. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen held a Congress Comes to You Meeting at the Post and captured this photo.
Our Week in Staples
Horizon Health Annual Conference on Aging hosted an event in Staples during which attendees had the opportunity to sign up to become "Dementia Friends”. The event was a huge success. Nolan Congressional Field Representative John Schrader attended the event and snapped this photo.
Our Week in Hibbing
The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans in partnership with the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new Veterans transitional home in Hibbing. This non-profit facility has the ability to house three Veterans while they work towards more permanent employment and housing. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside attended the ceremony and snapped this photo.
Our Week in Chisholm
Iron Range Community members met at the Chisholm Discovery Center for a Laurentian Vision Partnership meeting. The Laurentian Vision Partnership is a regional coalition that promotes the development of productive post-mining landscapes on the Mesabi Iron Range. Pictured above, Aaron Vande Linde, Director of the Minnesota School Trust Lands, describes how natural resource sales (timber& mineral) on state lands provides an average of $25.3 million annually in funding to school districts throughout Minnesota. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside attended the meeting.
Happy 77th Birthday Bob Dylan!
Duluth, Minnesota native Robert Zimmerman, also known as Bob Dylan, celebrated his 77th birthday last week. Dylan has inspired millions of people around the world with his music, and will always be remembered as one of the most iconic and legendary singer-songwriters of all-time. Happy Birthday Bob! May the world be blessed with many more of your unforgettable songs.