Nolan’s Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Amendment Passes House
A simple, one-page explanation of their rights will be available to beleaguered airline passengers like these under my successful bipartisan amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill the House passed last week.
Instead of some 37,000 pages of online legal gobbledegook, beleaguered U.S. airline passengers will soon have available a simple, one-page explanation of their consumer rights under my bipartisan amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill passed last week by the House. This long overdue, common sense fix will make airline travel a little easier for everyone.
Similar to what the European Union has required from airlines for years, the passenger rights “one-pager” will be widely available at airports and online, and explain rights and compensation when flights are cancelled or delayed, when passengers are denied boarding due to overbooking, or when bags are lost. It will also include the rights of those traveling with limited mobility due to illness or injury.
As you may recall, the amendment arose from a hearing I requested last spring to investigate mounting consumer complaints against the airlines. During the hearing, consumer representatives pointed out that many major airlines bury their consumer protection policies amidst thousands of pages of legalize that would take a team of expensive lawyers to translate.
Two other important notes – the FAA bill also included my amendment to fully fund the Small Community Air Service Development Program, which helps airports like Duluth International and regional airports like those in Brainerd, Bemidji, International Falls and Hibbing-Chisholm boost good-paying jobs, commerce, and tourism by connecting with markets where access to the national air transportation system is limited. We were also successful in retaining the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, which provides modest but important financial support to local and regional airports to help maintain their services and facilities.
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.
FAA Bill Nixes GOP Plan to Privatize Air Traffic Controllers
After strong pressure from Democrats, including me, House Republican leaders dropped their ill-conceived plan to privatize the Nation’s air traffic controllers and billions of dollars in public assets as part of the bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The additional good news in the FAA bill is that it does NOT include an ill-conceived Republican plan to privatize the world’s finest air traffic control system and turn billions of dollars in taxpayer’s money and assets over to profiteers to run our Nation’s airspace operations.
America has the safest aviation system in the world. Of course we need to fix whatever needs fixing. But those fixes should never include handing over, free of charge, all federal air traffic control facilities and equipment to private, for-profit corporations bent on cutting costs and rewarding investors – not protecting the public interest.
As I've noted before, even when you're stuck in the middle seat in the back of the plane, you have to admit that American aviation is pretty amazing. On any given day, the FAA and the nation's air traffic controllers safely handle about 65,000 flights carrying some 2 million passengers; 740 million passengers every year. That's nothing short of remarkable. Americans will need a lot of convincing before supporting any risky privatization scheme that could put such success, and the public safety, at risk.
Rallying With Hope to Declare – Lung Cancer is a National Emergency!
It was a real honor to join lung cancer survivors, advocates, families and friends in front of the U.S. Capitol last week at our Rally for Life and Breath to declare that lung cancer is a national emergency of major proportion.
The hard cold fact is that 433 Americans die every day from this vicious and most deadly of all the cancers. But as I pointed out in my remarks, lung cancer is getting badly shortchanged in federal funding for research into more effective methods of prevention, diagnoses, treatment, and ultimately a cure.
That’s why we founded our Congressional Lung Cancer Caucus – to build awareness and support in Congress to provide enough money and support to put lung cancer research on par with research into other major cancers and other deadly diseases.
The budget for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this year is just under $6 billion, with about $282 million targeted specifically toward lung cancer. Last year, I was able to pass two bipartisan amendments boosting lung cancer research by $5.8 million. Moreover, we marshaled the necessary bipartisan support to reject the Administration’s proposed $2 billion cut to cancer research, and then boosted research by an additional $2 billion.That’s a lot of money – but it’s also just a tiny fraction of what’s needed.
In particular, non-small cell lung cancer has become epidemic among young women. I have introduced legislation, endorsed by the American Cancer Society, to fund additional research to find out why so many young women are battling this disease.
The Nolan family is so grateful that thanks to current progress in medical research, our youngest daughter Katherine, now a 3-plus year survivor of Stage-4 non-smoking, non-small cell lung cancer, has been allowed to watch her four children – our grandchildren – continue their journeys into life. But so much more must be done for thousands of others to receive the help they need.
In his inaugural address, President Kennedy reminded us that God’s work on earth must truly be our own. That’s what this battle against lung cancer is all about, and we’re going to keep fighting until we win it.
President's Nominee to Head the VA Withdraws from Consideration
The President's decision to appoint his White House doctor, Ronny Jackson, to head the Veterans Affairs Administration (VA) with no experience or vetting for the job didn’t work out very well. Jackson withdrew his name from consideration last week.
The President’s campaign promise to bring “the best people in the world” to work in government is ringing more hollow by the day.
It’s simply malpractice for the President to be choosing someone to head a federal agency with a
$180 billion annual budget and 380,000 employees based on impulse, likability and personal loyalty instead of proven qualifications. But that’s exactly what he did when he nominated White House doctor Ronny Jackson, a Navy Admiral with zero experience running a federal agency, to head the Veterans Affairs Administration.
Jackson withdrew himself from consideration last week, and rightly so. It was unfair and wrong for the President to ask him to take a job for which he wasn’t even remotely qualified.
If the President is serious about taking care of our military Veterans, the next candidate for VA Secretary will be someone of integrity who is highly experienced, carefully vetted, and totally committed to advancing the interests and well being of 21.8 million American heroes who have put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedoms and liberties.
GOP Plan Would Make Farm Bill the Latest Poster Child for an Undemocratic Congress
House GOP leaders are attempting to stifle all dissent during debate on the 2018 Farm Bill, which will affect every family farm and rural community in America, along with some 46 million SNAP nutrition assistance recipients.
If anyone needed more evidence that Congress has become an undemocratic institution run by a few Republican leaders from behind closed doors, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway provided it on Friday. Republican Chairman Conaway has asked the House Rules Committee to stipulate that in order to introduce an amendment, a Member would first have to agree to vote for the bill.
The Chairman’s crackdown on dissent by anyone wishing to improve a bill that affects every farm, small business and small community in rural America along with 46 million SNAP nutrition recipients, is simply unprecedented.
If successful, the move would mark another giant step away from the traditional system of Regular Order that has served our Nation so well for more than 200 years. Under Regular Order, every Member of Congress is encouraged to bring their best ideas to the table, and every bill and amendment is considered and given an up or down vote. That’s the way we find the common ground necessary to improve public policy and make life better for people. Rest assured I’ll be joining colleagues on both sides of the aisle in an effort to open – not close – the debate on the all important 2018 Farm Bill.
Our Week in DC
It was my pleasure to have University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Associate Professor of French Studies Dana Lindaman, Ph.D. as my guest at the President of France, Emmanuel Macron’s, address to a joint session of Congress. Professor Lindaman came to UMD in 2010 to develop and teach courses related to French studies. Together with Professor Kovacovic, he revived the French major at UMD and has helped grow the program into a dynamic major supporting student interest in French from across the UMD campus. Here we are with Minnesota’s very own U.S. Senator Tina Smith.
Great meeting with Brainerd General Rental owner Steve Mau last week. Brainerd General Rental was purchased in 2002 by Steve and Maureen Mau. The family owned company employs 12 people and is very involved in the Brainerd Community.
A group of 6 students from the Nay Ah Shing School in Onamia were visiting Washington, D.C. last week with the Close Up Program. Here's a picture snapped by my office staffer as we discussed the legislative process and my daily duties as a Congressman.
Representatives David Calder, Aaron Johnson and Eric Ritter of the WE ARE GOLF coalition were in Washington, D.C. last week hosting an event and meeting with Members of Congress. We had a great meeting. Topics discussed included the National Turfgrass Research Initiative, Immigration and the H2-B Visa, simplifying technical aspects as it pertains to the Seasonality (STARS) Act, and the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT).
It was my pleasure to host Eveleth native Phil Drobnick, Olympic Curling Coach
in my office last week. Phil came to Washington to visit the White House with the Olympic Gold Medal Curling Team. He served as the head coach at the 2018 and 2010 Winter Olympics, bringing home a gold for Team USA this year!
My “Last Dish Effort” Tater Tot Hot Dish tied for first place at this year’s 8th Annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hot Dish Competition hosted by U.S. Senator Tina Smith. Here in Minnesota, hot dish is a way of life. Hot dish exemplifies the Minnesota qualities we hold dear - warmth, togetherness, creativity, and not too much spice. From left to right pictured above is Congressman Walz, Ellison, McCollum, Senator Klobuchar, Dana Lindaman, and Yours Truly.
Our Week in Duluth
Duluth labor leaders, community leaders and area residents gathered for the Workers Memorial Day Breakfast at Wellstone Hall inside the Duluth Labor Temple last week. Speakers included Rachel Loeffler Kemp and Beth McCuskey, president of Duluth Central Labor Body. My District Director Jeff Anderson attended the event on my behalf and snapped this photo.
A Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in honor of World War II hero and Civil Air Patrol member Margaret Older Tess was held at the American Legion in Duluth. The medal, along with certificates, were presented to her children for her service to our great Nation. My Congressional Field Representative Hannah Alstead read a letter on my behalf.
Our Week in Pine City
There was another Northern Lights Express NLX Meeting at the Pine County Courthouse last week. Now that there’s a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in regards to environmental impact, NLX is shifting gears and beginning the process of seeking funds for the project. My Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen attended the meeting on my behalf and
snapped this photo.
Our Week in Center City
Fond du Lac Sex Trafficking Investigator Kelly Haffield presented to a group of local residents and community leaders regarding how to spot and work with sex trafficked victims. My Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen attended on my behalf.
Our Week in Aitkin
Last week, Vice President of American Peat Technology (APT) Peggy Jones showed off some of APT’s reclamation efforts.This reclaimed peat mine hosts native plants and waterfowl. If you look closely, you will even see the remnants of last year’s wild rice! APT processes the peat they harvest so it can be used in sustainable agriculture and water remediation. My Congressional Field Representative Tiffany Stenglein snapped this photo after touring the site.
Our Week in Chisholm
Community members took part in the United Way Buddy Backpack program last week in Chisholm. The program provides a backpack filled with nutritious, nonperishable, child-friendly food items to children who are at-risk of going hungry over the weekends due to various reasons. My Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside snapped this photo.
Our Week in International Falls
AEOA Executive Director Paul Carlson spoke during the KOOTASCA Community Action Annual Meeting in International Falls. KOOTASCA works closely with community members and local leaders to end poverty and provide resources and assistance to those in need. My Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside attended the meeting on my behalf.
Attention 8th District High School Artists! - Deadline Extended until May First!
ANNOUNCEMENT: Entries for the 2018 Annual High School Congressional Art Competition will be extended until May 1st! Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors the nationwide high school visual arts competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in all 435 congressional districts. More than 650,000 high school students have participated since the onset in 1982.
TO ENTER: High school students wishing to participate should (1) Complete, sign, and send the submission form at https://nolan.house.gov/services/art-competition and (2) E-mail a high quality photo or scanned image of their art to Nolan.Art@mail.house.gov or mail to:
Congressional Art Competition
Office of Rep. Rick Nolan
Duluth Technology Village
11 East Superior Street, Suite 125
Duluth, MN 55802.
All participant paperwork and accompanying works of art must be submitted by April 30th, 2018. A winner will be chosen in early May.
For full submission requirements, visit https://nolan.house.gov/services/art-competition or call Congressman Nolan’s Duluth office at 218-464-5095.