Failure at the border.
Chaos and Cruelty Continue as Administration Misses Deadline to Reunite Youngest Immigrant Children and Parents Separated at the Border
This heartbreaking photo typifies what’s happening on our southern border, where the President’s unconscionable and disgraceful family separation policy has taken thousands of children from their parents. My office has received more mail protesting the President’s policies than on any other issue since I took office in 2013.
It’s time for the President to appoint a Special Administrator - a “get things done” leader with the power to marshal the full resources of the federal government to reunite children and families and put a stop to the terrible chaos and cruelty on our southern border.This needs to happen now. The more time that passes, the more difficult and time-consuming the reunification process will become.
Despite a court-imposed deadline and demands by Congress and the American people, the Administration failed last week to reunite all of the migrant children under five years of age who were ripped away from their parents under the President’s policy of separating families. Those few who have been reunited will join their parents in lockdown until the families can appear before an immigration court.
In yet another disgraceful development, the Washington Post reported that in several cases, parents were actually deported while their very young children were in detention. If those parents can’t be located, the families may never be reunited, and the children could be stuck in foster care or federal custody for years.
And the situation facing the youngest children – for all practical purposes the victims of state-sponsored kidnapping – is only the tip of the iceberg. Several thousand older children – the Administration can’t agree on an exact number – who were also taken from their parents at the border have been sent to holding areas, foster care homes, and federal dormitories, in some cases located hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Meanwhile, the “Keep Our Families Together” Act, which I am sponsoring along with 189 other colleagues, to permanently prevent this Administration, or any future Administration, from separating migrant families ever again, is gaining support.
In the meantime, Republican leaders need to get serious about passing real, comprehensive immigration reform – and stop trying to fix the immigration mess with bad legislation concocted from behind closed doors, with every Democrat and a good share of their own caucus left out of consideration. There is plenty of rank and file support on both sides of the aisle to find commonsense, bipartisan solutions to put a stop to the needless human tragedies that continue to occur on our southern border.
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.
GOP Cuts to Climate Change Research Threaten U.S. Jobs, Economy, and Global Climate Change Initiatives
Those of us who serve on the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) welcomed Canadian Ambassador for Climate Change, Patricia Fuller, to Capitol Hill last week. Ambassador Fuller underscored the importance of working in coalition with the United States on international climate change priorities and the need to continue funding critical research programs that support global climate change objectives.
Republican leaders need to recognize that funding critical efforts to combat man-made climate change through "green" technologies like wind and solar energy must remain a major priority for Congress. That’s the message I and other members of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) delivered to lead House and Senate Appropriators last week.
Our coalition is laser-focused on protecting and preserving the environment and advocating for substantial investments in energy research and development activities that create millions of good paying American jobs and support our natural resource based economy.
In our message to Appropriators, we specifically expressed deep concern over potentially devastating Republican cuts in Energy, Water, and Military Appropriations (H.R. 5895) necessary to fund important programs and initiatives to battle climate change.
We also pointed out that these programs, which Republicans are so willing to sacrifice, contribute more than $230 billion to our economy every year.
Moreover, these unnecessary and ill-advised GOP cuts threaten the good paying clean energy jobs of nearly 3.2 million Americans. And it doesn’t stop there. Tens of thousands of good paying middle class mining and construction jobs could well be lost. That’s because green technologies heavily rely on minerals such as taconite from Minnesota’s Iron Range, which are essential components in the steel necessary to construct giant wind mills and solar panels.
The fact of the matter is, continued investment and research have significantly reduced the costs and boosted the economic benefits of green technologies. In fact, according to Clean Jobs America, since 2008, the price of wind energy has dropped by 75%, reaching an all-time low in 2017. In 2016, employment in the solar industry represented one in every 50 new jobs created in the U.S. Moreover, one out of every six construction jobs in the U.S. is somehow tied to more efficient energy and green technologies.
Here's the bottom line, Republicans need to understand that battling global climate change, advancing good paying "green" jobs, and the success of our national economy are inextricably linked together. Our laws and policies need to reflect that essential fact.
Is the President of the United States Above the Law?
U.S. Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Seems to Think So.
As this gem by Tulsa World cartoonist Bruce Plante points out, the notion that Presidents of the United States are above the law didn’t hold true for Clinton or Nixon, and won’t work for the current occupant of the White House either.
The most egregious aspect of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is his notion that the President of the United States should be above the law, and not answerable to the law while in office.
Here's the simple fact. The bedrock foundation of our American legal system is that nobody - not even the President of the United States, is above the law. Everyone must comply.
In that regard, the President’s true motivation in choosing Judge Kavanaugh is questionable. For example, did Kavanaugh appear to be the most likely candidate to shield him from ongoing investigations by Former FBI Director Robert Mueller into possible links between the President’s 2016 campaign and Russian interference in our elections?
Noting that legal actions against an incumbent President could invite all kinds of diversions and political posturing, here’s part of what Judge Kavanaugh actually wrote in a 2009 Minnesota Law Review article:
“The indictment and trial of a sitting President, moreover, would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas. Such an outcome would ill-serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis. Even the lesser burdens of a criminal investigation — including preparing for questioning by criminal investigators — are time-consuming and distracting.”
Above and beyond the relationship between Presidents and the law, it’s apparent that if successful, a Justice Brett Kavanaugh would move an already right-wing Supreme Court majority even further out of the mainstream, rolling back a century of progress on women’s health and reproductive rights, human rights, voting rights, consumer protection rights, and the rights of workers to organize.
The bottom line is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should treat the current President’s nomination of Judge Kavanaugh exactly as he treated President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland in 2016, and give voters a chance to weigh in during the fall Senate elections before commencing confirmation proceedings.
Bullies Win as Administration Pulls U.S. Out of the United Nations Human Rights Council
The President has decided to withdraw the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council, and let other nations speak out for bullied and oppressed people like these Iranians, who have been imprisoned for the crime of being poor.
Rather than dig in and stand up to the human rights abusing countries that occupy seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council, the President has decided that the U.S. will withdraw, retreat, and let someone else speak up for voiceless and oppressed people around the world. While that move isn’t surprising from a President whose policies have cruelly separated thousands of families on our southern border, and who makes a practice of praising dictators and tyrants, the decision to exit the council is unfortunate and wrong nonetheless.
The U.N. Human Rights Council was established some years ago to provide a forum to air and expose human rights abuses around the world. And through its work, with the U.S. helping to lead the way, war crimes and crimes against humanity have been uncovered in nations like South Sudan and North Korea. On the other hand, abuser nations have been able to join the Council and use their membership as a platform to attempt to disguise and justify their misdeeds.
However, it is also true that, as the Washington Post pointed out in a recent editorial, walking away simply rewards the oppressors, and will do nothing to change their behavior or make the council more effective. The Post hit the nail on the head: “A real commitment to human rights would be to stay in the council and use the bully pulpit to confront the bullies.”
Our Week in DC
It was an honor to give the opening remarks at the Lung Cancer Alliance 10th National Advocacy Summit Congressional Briefing last week. We need to continue to work together to fund early diagnoses, prevention and better treatments. Last year, I passed a couple of amendments that added $5.8 million dollars for lung cancer research. This year, we added another $6 million dollars to the Pentagon’s lung cancer research program. In addition, I have also introduced a bipartisan bill called the “Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventative Services Act,” requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a thorough and comprehensive study to find out why lung cancer – the deadliest of all cancers – has become epidemic among young women, the great majority of whom don’t smoke.
Lung Cancer Alliance advocates gathered in force for the 10th National Advocacy Summit Congressional Briefing. It was great getting a chance to greet them and hear their ideas. Without their hard work and dedication, achieving our goals would not be possible.
The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association stopped by to discuss several important issues that face growers across Minnesota, including trade, renewable fuel standards, taxes, and water quality. The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association is made up of members and farmer-leader volunteers.
The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) sent representatives to Washington to meet with their members of Congress on topics such as the Farm Bill, exports, the North American Free Trade Agreement, labor availability and many other issue areas critical to Minnesota turkey growers.
A large group of Minnesota teachers and superintendents representing the School Superintendents Association and the Association of School Business Officials International, stopped in for a meeting to discuss their top priority needs, including the Perkins CTE Program, the Higher Education Act, and the Wifi on Buses Act. The associations are a part of Sourcewell, who's vision is to provide member-centered solutions that enable government, education, and nonprofit agencies to work more efficiently, and leverage resources to strategically reinvest in communities.
Members of the Alliance for Community Media organization, representing Duluth Public Access Community Television, provided me with an update on community media, local franchising, and 5G small cell technology. Their visit was also a part of the Community Media Day on Capitol Hill.
Representatives of 340B Health, a membership organization of more than 1,300 public and private nonprofit hospitals and health systems in the federal 340B drug pricing program, updated me on the 340B drug pricing program that allows safety-net hospitals to provide critical care to low-income and underserved populations across the 8th Congressional District.
The Teamsters Union is one of North America's strongest and most diverse labor unions. As a Teamster myself, I was happy to meet with several members of the Teamsters Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen about railroad safety and funding, among many other important topics.
Penny Farthing of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), who train and certify scuba divers, and I had a great conversation on how we can expand business opportunities throughout the world including places like Cuba. With more than 6,500 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts, and more than 135,000 individual PADI Professionals who have issued more than 25 million certifications around the world, you’ll find PADI diver courses and scuba diving services nearly everywhere.The PADI System of diver education is based on progressive training that introduces skills, safety-related information and local environmental knowledge to student divers in stages.
Members from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation met with me last week to discuss how Congress can enact real solutions to help battle drug and alcohol addiction, including my draft legislation,“Opioid Advertising and Prescriber Prohibition Act of 2018," that would ban advertising and marketing of dangerous, highly addictive opioid painkillers.
Our Week in Duluth
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, along with members of Junior League Duluth, Community Action Duluth, and the Deep Winter Greenhouse Board gathered at Duluth Denfeld High School to introduce to the community the new deep winter greenhouse built close to the new large community garden. The special design makes it possible to store heat captured during summer months and use it during winter months. Nolan Congressional representative Hannah Alstead toured the new building.
Our Week in North Branch
The North Branch Chamber of Commerce held a meeting to update community residents and leaders on what's happening in their local, state and federal governments. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen delivered an update on my behalf. Pictured here is the new North Branch High School football coach Justin Voss taking a selfie with chamber members and attendees at the meeting. Welcome to the team Justin!
Our Week in St. Cloud
The United Veterans Legislative Council of Minnesota, an organization supporting Veterans issues, held their monthly meeting at the St. Cloud Veterans Administration (VA). Stephan Black, the Director of the St. Cloud VA Health Care Center, welcomed everyone and delivered an update regarding the expansion of the Brainerd Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, which will have optometry, audiology and ultrasound testing available. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen attended the meeting.
Our Week in St. Paul
The Federal Aviation Administration held its regular congressional staff briefing in addition to providing a tour of Holman Air Field. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen snapped this photo of downtown St. Paul from the control tower.
Our Week in Cambridge
AARP and the Better Business Bureau hosted Scam Jam in Cambridge. It was a good turn out by folks to learn about all the scams out there and how not to become a victim of a scam. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen attended on my behalf.
Our Week in Hibbing
This past week Hibbing community members, the IRRRB, and my office met with the Blandin Foundation to discuss the broadband/technology grant projects completed over the past two years and the goals moving forward for Hibbing and the Iron Range. Projects completed included distributing 100 PC's to non-profits and those in need, bringing fiber optics to the Hibbing Memorial Building, providing wireless hotspots for checkout at local libraries, online business marketing assistance, and hosting technology fairs for local high school students at the Hibbing Community College. Moving forward this group is looking to access a portion of the $600 million I supported for broadband expansion through USDA Rural Utilities loan and grant programs.Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside took this photo of meeting attendees.
Coming Up in Washington
- The House will take up H.R. 3230, a bill I’ve cosponsored which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 915 Center Avenue in Payette, Idaho, as the "Harmon Killebrew Post Office Building." Killebrew was born in Payette, Idaho on June 29, 1936. Killebrew, then a recent graduate of Payette High School, was recommended to the Major League Baseball team Washington Senators by Senator Herman Welker (R-ID). Killebrew played first base, third base, and left field over the course of his storied career, but his most impressive accomplishments came at the plate. Over 22 seasons with the Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, and Kansas City Royals, Killebrew amassed 2,086 hits, 1,584 runs batted in, 1,283 runs, and 573 home runs. He hit over 40 home runs eight times, drove in over 100 RBIs nine times, and played in 13 All-Star games. He retired in 1975 with the fifth most home runs in major league history and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.
"He's SAFE!" - July 16, 1969 - Twins Rod Carew Ties
All-Time Record for Stealing Home
How about those Twins! On this day in Twins history, Rod Carew stole home for the 7th time that season as the American League West-leading Twins swept a twin bill from the Chicago White Sox, winning 9-8 and 6-3. With that steal, Carew tied the all time American League record for steals of home in a season.