Outrage is the new normal.
To Fund Immigrant Family Jails, President Raids Nearly Half a Billion Dollars Slated for Cancer and HIV/AIDS Research, Head Start, FEMA, Coast Guard and Other Vital Programs
Thumbing their noses at folks like these, the President and GOP leaders are planning to raid millions of dollars from medical research in order to fund immigrant family detention centers on our southern border.
Outrage is the new normal with this Republican Administration. Failing to secure Congressional support to fund more immigrant child and family detention centers on our southern border, the President and GOP leaders have engineered a nearly half billion dollar raid on cancer research, Head Start, the National Institutes of Health, hurricane relief, the U.S. Coast guard and a host of other important programs. In the nonsensical language of Washington, this process is called “reprogramming.”
Here’s just a sampling of the programs Republicans intend to cut in order to keep immigrant children and families – many of whom are in the U.S. legally seeking asylum – behind bars:
- $13.3 million from the National Cancer Institute
- $87 million overall from the National Institutes of Health
- $16.7 million from Head Start
- $17 million form the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program
- $9.8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- $28 million from the U.S. Coast Guard
- $80 million from refugee relief efforts
As I have pointed out many times before, it is Congress – not the President – in charge of appropriating money for federal agencies and programs. As noted in last week’s Monday Report, I have already asked Office of Management (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney for a full explanation and justification for the President’s actions. It is simply disgraceful to ask cancer patients, children with HIV, kids in need of early education, and members of the U.S. Coast Guard to fund more inhumane and unnecessary jails for immigrant children and families.
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.
It's Time to Restore Our Democracy and Require Full Disclosure of All Federal Campaign Contributions
U.S. Supreme Court Rules Wealthy Donors to Politically Active Nonprofit Groups Can No Longer Remain Anonymous
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that wealthy donors can’t remain anonymous when they give money to nonprofit groups used mainly to buy TV ads that distort the truth, denigrate candidates, discourage voter turnout and destroy public confidence in our democratic process.
Our Restore Democracy legislation puts Congress on record supporting full disclosure of all federal campaign contributions – especially the tens of billions of dollars in secret “dark” money politically active nonprofit groups pour into campaigns in an effort to rig the system and advance their causes.
The good news is that last week, our efforts to end the secrecy got a big boost. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that wealthy donors can’t remain anonymous when they give money to nonprofit groups used mainly to buy TV ads that distort the truth, denigrate candidates, discourage voter turnout and destroy public confidence in our democratic process. The ruling will apply at least through the 2018 election cycle, with appeals likely after that time.
The decision closely followed release of a study by the government reform group Issues One revealing that the top 15 politically active nonprofits spent more than $600 million on campaigns between 2010 – the year the Court’s Citizens United decision opened the flood gates to secret “dark” money – and 2016. According to the study, the top four spenders – the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the conservative group Crossroads GPS, the Koch Brothers, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) accounted for $357 million of the $600 million figure.
The simple fact is, the American people need to know the sources of money and influence behind candidates whose decisions could profoundly affect their lives and the future of our great Nation. With its ruling last week, the Supreme Court’s decision took a big step toward ending the secrecy and restoring our great democracy.
The Restore Democracy Revolution in a Nutshell
The foundation lies in overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which has allowed wealthy special interests to spend unlimited amounts of secret “dark” money to influence our elections and public policy making process. In addition to full disclosure of all federal campaign contributions, our legislation would also put Congress on record supporting small donor-public campaign financing and limiting the campaign season. Moreover, we are calling for establishment of national online voter registration and a halt to all voter suppression.
We also call for a return to Congress’s traditional process of Regular Order. Under Regular Order, we compromise and find bipartisan solutions by fully considering every idea and amendment under an open rule – and affording each one an up or down vote. That’s how Congress fixed things, solved problems and got things done for more than 250 years.
President Plans Big Cuts to Social Security - Nolan and 173 Other House Colleagues Launch Bill to Protect and Expand It
These folks have a clear message for the President and GOP leaders planning to cut Social Security benefits in order to pay for tax cuts to millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy multinational corporations: Expand Social Security - don’t cut it!
The President’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, confirmed last week that Republican leaders are indeed planning big cuts to Social Security – along with Medicare and Medicaid – in order to pay for multi-trillion dollar tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy multinational corporations.
That’s disgraceful. Social Security is not an “entitlement.” Social Security is an earned benefit we pay into from the very first hour of our very first day on the job. We need to protect and expand Social Security – not cut benefits to finance tax cuts for billionaires.
So in response to the President’s planned attack on Social Security, I’ve joined 173 of my House colleagues and a majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate in cosponsoring the Social Security 2100 Act. Here’s a quick summary of what our bill would accomplish:
The Social Security 2100 Act Expands Benefits
- Bumps up benefits for current and new beneficiaries – Provides a 2% increase for all beneficiaries.
- Protects against inflation – Improves the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) formula to help seniors who spend a greater portion of their income on health care and other necessities.
- Protects low-income workers –The new minimum benefit will be set at 25% above the poverty line.
- Cuts taxes for beneficiaries – Over 10 million Social Security recipients would see a tax cut. Presently, your Social Security benefits are taxed if you have non-Social Security income exceeding $25,000 for an individual or $32,000 for couples. Our measure would raise that threshold to $50,000 and $100,000 respectively.
- Holds SSI, Medicaid, and CHIP Beneficiaries Harmless – Ensures that any increase in benefits from the bill do not result in a reduction in SSI benefits or loss of eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP.
The Social Security 2100 Act Strengthens the Trust Fund
- Millionaires and billionaires would pay the same rate as everyone else – Presently, payroll taxes are not collected on wages over $128,400. This legislation would apply the payroll tax to wages above $400,000. This provision would only affect the top 1% of wage earners.
- Beneficiaries would pay an extra 50 cents per week to keep the system solvent – Gradually phase in an increase in the contribution rate beginning in 2019 so that by 2042, workers and employers would pay 7.4% instead of 6.2% today. For the average worker this would mean paying an additional 50 cents per week every year to keep the system solvent.
We Remind the President - the Constitution Requires Congressional Authorization Before Any Future Military Action in Syria
In September of 2013, TIME Magazine cited Republican Senator Rand Paul and me, along with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, for leadership in keeping the U.S. out of war with Syria.
With the President reportedly considering another U.S. military strike against Syria, I joined 47 of my colleagues last week in reminding him that the Constitution is clear – the President has no legal authority to take military action against any nation without authorization by Congress.
Earlier this year, by ordering airstrikes against the Syrian regime in response to its horrific use of chemical weapons against its own people, the President moved America deeper into another seemingly endless war of choice that will cost us more precious blood and treasury. And he did so despite the simple fact that in the end, this terrible conflict can only be settled by the Syrian rebels and the Syrian government – not by America, Russia, Iran, Israel or any other nation.
A military attack against another country is an act of war. And regardless of how good or compelling the reasons may be, a declaration of war is a Constitutional responsibility assigned to the Congress – not the President’s alone. Military attacks against other nations have consequences. And the founders were very clear in not wanting to give Presidents unilateral authority to make these grave decisions.
In the past, the President has correctly stated that it’s time to bring all 2,000 U.S. troops home from Syria. He should stick to that plan. We have already sacrificed thousands of American lives and, when all is said an done, will have expended nearly $16 trillion on endless wars of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s enough money to graduate every college student debt free, rebuild our infrastructure, boost lifesaving medical research and give middle class working Americans a real tax break. Now it’s time to start reinvesting in America and our people.
GRANT WATCH: $1.4 Million to
Support Low-Income Rural Community Development
Under our watch, Minnesota’s 8th District has received more than $1.2 billion in federal grants for projects that create good paying jobs and make life better for people.
We were pleased to announce two more important grants for Minnesota's 8th district last week.
The United States Department of Treasury announced $1,400,000 in Community Development Financial Assistance awards for:
- Neighborhood Housing Services of Duluth, Inc. Duluth - $200,000
- Northeast Entrepreneur Fund, Inc. Duluth - $700,000
- Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union Baxter - $500,000
The U.S. Department of the Treasury noted that the “Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) awarded $165 million in Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance to 264 organizations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The CDFI Program invests in and builds the capacity of CDFIs toserve low-income people and communities lacking adequate access to affordable financial products and services."
To help keep you updated, we will be using the Monday Report to highlight important federal grants for the 8th District.
Our Week in Minneapolis
The Minnesota Trade Office hosted the Smart and Sustainable Sweden: Mutual Trade Opportunities with a Nordic Friend discussion at the Dorsey Whitney Law Firm in Minneapolis last week. The event was sponsored by the Swedish American Chambers of Commerce. Swedish Ambassador to the United States, Karin Olofsdotter, delivered an update on the current bilateral trade picture between Sweden and the United States-- a relationship that generates cumulative bilateral investment
valued at about $75 billion.
The Minnesota Freight Advisory held a community meeting at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Committee Chair Ron Dvorak (pictured above) of Duluth addressed the group panel consisting of transportation employees about the impact trade policy has on Minnesota. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen attended the event.
Our Week in Baxter
Area residents, healthcare workers and members of the city council gathered to celebrate the opening of Centracare’s new specialty clinic. In this photo, Kimberly Murray and Kurt Otto from Centracare cut the ribbon. Nolan Field Representative Tiffany Stenglein attended the event on my behalf.
Our Week in Aitkin
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Minnesota DNR, and the Aitkin County Soils and Water Conservation District held a meeting to discuss water quality and the results of a sampling of water in the Mississippi River Brainerd Unit Watershed. Pictured here, Aitkin County Soil and Water District Technician Janet Smude discusses the results for specific lakes with residents. Nolan Field Representative Tiffany Stenglein attended the meeting.
Our Week in Pine River
Hunt Utilities Group (HUG) and Happy Dancing Turtle held an open house at their Resilient Living Campus to highlight advances they have made in energy efficiency and sustainability. In this picture, Lynn Hunt describes some of the lessons they learned from early buildings and incorporated into their more recent construction. Nolan Field Representative Tiffany Stenglein attended the
open house and snapped this picture.
Our Week in Biwabik
Betsy Olivanti, Business Consultant with the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Center for Economic Development, discussed broadband grant opportunities at an East Range CAP meeting held at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. The Blandin Foundation in partnership with the IRRRB is providing grant funding opportunities for community broadband projects and feasibility studies. Nolan Congressional Field RepresentativeTom Whiteside attended the event on my behalf.
Coming Up in Washington
- Congress heads into a busy week of legislative activity in advance of the end of the fiscal year. Of note, the House is expected to pass a reauthorization of federal aviation programs. The bill includes our provision to require airlines to provide a passenger “one-page” bill of rights for when itineraries don’t quite go as planned – a major win for travelers.
On This Day in History - Two Landmark Victories for the Civil Rights Movement
Coincidentally, two of our Nation’s most important victories in the long battle for civil rights took place on September 24. On this day in 1957, President Eisenhower ordered the desegregation of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, sparking days of protests and riots as nine black students - dubbed “The Little Rock Nine,” entered Little Rock Central High School.
Also on this day in 1962, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered James Meredith admitted to the University of Mississippi - the first black student ever accorded that right. More riots and protests ensued, but Mr. Meredith’s determination won out in the end. We salute The Little Rock Nine, and James Meredith, for their bravery and perseverance as pioneers in the Civil Rights Movement toward liberty, equality, and justice for all.
In this iconic photo, high school student Elizabeth Eckford ignores jeers and catcalls as she walks toward Little Rock Central High School to be admitted following President Eisenhower’s order to desegregate the city’s schools.
Protected by federal marshals, James Meredith heads for the Admittance Office at the University of Mississippi after the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered that he be allowed to attend the school.