House Passes Nolan Amendments to Boost Rural Broadband, Small Airports and Range Mining
As I’ve pointed out many times before, it’s not easy to be effective in this unproductive Congress, especially when the other party controls the agenda. But last week alone, the House approved my bipartisan amendments to boost federal funding for rural broadband services and small airport expansion. My Minnesota Republican colleague Tom Emmer and I also teamed up to pass an amendment to ensure the integrity of the environmental review process for any future mining projects that might take place in designated areas of Superior National Forest.
And two more amendments to boost funding for cancer and Lyme disease research have been made in order when the House resumes consideration of the 2018 federal spending package this week.
Specifically, my rural broadband amendment provides small communities and businesses looking to provide high-speed broadband services for local residents with additional access to low-interest or no-interest federal loans. The measure boosts the pool of loan subsidies by $479,000 for a total of $5 million for 2018 under the Agriculture Department’s Rural Broadband Access Loan and Guarantee Program.
My small airport amendment restores full funding in the amount of $10 million to the Small Community Air Service Development Program, which supports efforts by rural airports to expand services to places the national air transportation system doesn’t reach. Duluth International Airport is presently seeking assistance under the program to begin flights to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Across Minnesota’s 8th District, airports in Hibbing-Chisholm, Brainerd, Bemidji, and International Falls could also benefit from the program.
The National Cancer Institute’s lifesaving medical research program would receive an increase of just over $3.1 million – bringing the total for 2018 to $5.5 billion – under my cancer research measure. Those funds are intended to expand the remarkable progress being made against lung cancer, the most deadly form of this multi-faceted disease.
Minnesota – and particularly Northern Minnesota – is an epicenter for Lyme disease carried by deer ticks in our fields and forests. Thousands of Minnesotans are affected every year. My Lyme disease amendment provides a $300,000 research boost to the Centers for Disease Control – to a total of $11 million in 2018 – to better prevent, diagnose and cure this condition.
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.
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.