Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Trillion Dollar Mystery

Oct 16, 2018
the Monday Report

Whatever Happened to the President's 
$1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill? 

 
If you commute from the 8th District down I-35 to the Twin Cities, congestion will cost you about 41 extra hours in rush-hour traffic every year, along with an additional $1,332 in gasoline and wear and tear on your vehicle. Shipping delays due to highway and rail tie-ups cost Minnesota businesses millions of dollars every year. 

Dear Friend, 

Like so many other Americans, those of us who serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee are wondering – whatever happened to the President’s promise of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill? The answer, 21 months after the President took office, is “nothing.” The President and GOP leaders have earned an “F” for their failure to deliver. 

A healthy infrastructure is the foundation of jobs and economic growth, and states rely on the federal government for the lion’s share of funds to fix deteriorating highways, roads, bridges, airports, rail lines, transit systems and water treatment facilities. 

The urgent need for more infrastructure funding was again made clear last week with the release a new study by the American Society of Civil Engineers that grades our nation’s deteriorating national infrastructure a “D-plus.” Minnesota is doing a little better than most other states, but not much. Civil Engineers here in Minnesota give our state’s infrastructure a grade of “C.”

Here’s Minnesota’s Infrastructure Report Card:

     Overall - C 
     Aviation - B 
     Bridges - C 
     Dams - C 
     Drinking Water - C- 
     Energy - C 
     Ports - C+ 
     Roads - D+ 
     Transit - C- 
     Wastewater - C 

Minnesota’s overall “C” grade is no surprise. We have about 13,000 bridges, and one in ten are in serious need of repair. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT), Minnesota ranks 38th in the Nation in the quality of our highways. In fact, more than half of our roads and highways are more than 50 years old.  

If you commute from the 8th District down I-35 to the Twin Cities, congestion will cost you about 41 extra hours in rush-hour traffic every year, along with an additional $1,332 in gasoline and wear and tear on your vehicle. Shipping delays due to highway and rail tie-ups cost Minnesota businesses millions of dollars every year. 

Because situations like these are so common throughout the nation, the Civil Engineers recommend an investment of at least $3.5 trillion to bring our infrastructure up to 21st Century standards that match what China and the European Union are doing. 

To put that $3.5 trillion figure into perspective, we have already spent more than $6 trillion on wars of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan. With interest and the continuing cost of our involvement and care of our wounded military Veterans, that figure is estimated to reach nearly $16 trillion over the next 20 years.  

As I have said so many times before, it’s time to put a stop to these endless wars of choice and start reinvesting in America – in infrastructure, human development, medical research, education, addressing climate change, and so many other urgent national priorities to help ensure a better life for future generations.  

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.

Sincerely, 
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New Report Predicts Unchecked Climate Change Will Cost $54 Trillion 
in Damage by 2040

 
Bigger, more intense hurricanes due to warming ocean waters are causing tens of billions of dollars in damage along the U.S. coastline. 

While Hurricane Michael ripped through Florida with 150-mile per hour winds last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was releasing a downright frightening study predicting that even more disastrous storms, flooding, food scarcity, and damage topping $54 trillion will occur by 2040 unless the world undertakes an immediate, herculean effort to address climate change. 

According to the report, such an effort would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” In other words, we need a massive new investment in alternative non-fossil fuels - including wind, solar and geothermal - to replace oil and coal, especially in the U.S. and other industrialized nations. 

None of this comes as a surprise to those of us who serve on the bipartisan Congressional Climate Change Solutions Caucus – or to experts all around the world who rely on facts and science to analyze and solve problems facing humankind.  

As the Minneapolis Star Tribune pointed out last week, the United States should be leading the global effort to address and solve climate change with the same tenacity it took to defeat fascism in World War II or put a man on the moon in 1969.  

But instead, the President has called climate change “a Chinese hoax,” announced that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate accords, and joined with Republicans in Congress to roll back environmental rules and regulations that have halted the release of billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. The hard, cold fact is that unless determined people of good will find a way to overcome his ignorance, the entire world will pay the price for countless generations to come.  


Nolan, Others, Demand Answers as Unauthorized U.S. Involvement in Yemen Civil War Continues Unabated 

 
According to credible news reports from the region, some 1,400 children have already died as a result of military actions supported by the U.S., and more than 2,000 schools have been destroyed. 

America has no business involving itself in the Saudi-led civil war in the Arab nation of Yemen.  That’s why, last week, I joined more than 50 of my colleagues in a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding that he provide Congress with key documents justifying the continued U.S. role in providing mid-air support to refuel Saudi and United Arab Emirate (UAE) warplanes engaged in targeting and bombing innocent civilians across the region. 

That’s also why the House passed my bipartisan amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting funds to deploy U.S. ground troops into the conflict. 

Unauthorized by Congress and largely kept secret from the American people, U.S. military involvement in Yemen is contributing to the starvation of millions of people, fueling a terrible cholera epidemic, and strengthening support for anti-American terrorist groups including ISIS and Al Qaeda. 

Estimates are that a child dies every 10 minutes from starvation and disease directly related to U.S. support for the Saudi blockade in the region. The simple fact is, America can best provide help in the Africa and the Middle East by dropping food and medicine – not bombs – on innocent people in need. 

Moreover, these conflicts have already cost thousands of American lives and are now estimated to cost nearly $16 trillion over the next 20 years. That money should be spent here at home creating good-paying jobs, repairing our infrastructure, conducting medical research, helping young people pay for college, and restoring our environment – just to name a few of the priorities we should be funding with hard-earned taxpayer dollars. 


GOP Lawsuit Could Jeopardize Health 
Care for 52 Million Americans with 
Pre-existing Conditions

"Pre-existing Conditions" may include 
more than you think

 
Republicans are back in court attempting to upend the Affordable Care Act and protections for 52 million people with preexisting conditions, and as our old friend, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Steve Sack points out, Americans are getting pretty tired of getting bounced around with the GOP routine. 

Nineteen Republican-led states are asking a Texas court to declare the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) unconstitutional. And if they succeed where Republicans in Congress failed in derailing the law, wealthy insurance companies would once again be allowed to deny health coverage to people with preexisting conditions – some 52 million Americans according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

“Preexisting condition” is a term many assume is limited to diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, just to name a few. But in reality, pre-existing conditions can encompass a much broader range of common conditions and situations. 

For example, under some insurance plans, being pregnant or considering an adoption could be considered a pre-existing condition, as could ongoing marriage counseling and even incidences of domestic abuse. The non-partisan advocacy group Consumer Watchdog lists other common and chronic pre-existing conditions such as acne, toenail fungus, allergies, tonsillitis, bunions and arthritis. In some cases, hazardous occupations such as mining, law enforcement, fire fighting or being a test pilot could be termed pre-existing conditions that could jeopardize health care coverage if this Republican effort were to succeed. 


Severe Fall Storms Hit Northland Bringing Heavy Rain, Strong Wind, 
and Snow

 
My staff and several constituents from across the 8th District shared some photos of the snow they woke up to last Thursday morning – as much as 5 inches in some areas.

 
Click on the picture above for KBJR TV video highlights of the storm that hit Duluth 
last week. 

Snow wasn't all the northland experienced last week. Heavy rain and strong winds wreaked havoc along the shoreline of Lake Superior - creating 20-foot waves and wind gusts as high as 86 mph. City officials in Duluth closed parts of Canal Park due to significant flooding and have reported considerable damage to local infrastructure, the lakewalk, and area businesses.


Our Week in Nisswa

 
After a long, cold, windy, and rainy week back in Minnesota, I thought it was the perfect time to put together the famous Nolan family chili dish. After all, who doesn't enjoy a good bowl of homemade chili? 

Our Week in Duluth

 
Senior 6th Judicial District Judge John E. DeSanto speaks at the Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center’s annual luncheon. Safe Haven is celebrating 40 years in the Duluth community this year. This past year, the shelter and resource center served nearly 1,500 survivors of domestic violence. My District Director Jeff Anderson attended this important community event on my behalf.

Our Week with Eleva-Strum School District 

 
Students and educators from the southern part of Minnesota's 8th District traveled to Strum, Wisconsin to visit and tour the Eleva-Strum School District's student run Cardinal Manufacturing facility. Learning is the main focus of the Cardinal Manufacturing program at the Eleva-Strum School District. Since 2007, Cardinal Manufacturing has been providing exceptional education opportunities for students to build professional, problem solving, and career skills. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen joined the students and educators for a tour 
and took these photos. 

Our Week in Crosby 

 
Charles Black Lance discussed “Education for Minnesota’s Native Americans” at Heartwood Senior Living. Mr. Black Lance’s presentation included a brief history of American Indian education in Minnesota and the motivations and barriers Native American students encounter in the education system. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tiffany Stenglein attended the event on my behalf.

Our Week in Pequot Lakes

 
The Pequot Lakes Fire Department held its annual Fire Prevention Open House. While the cold weather forced much of the event indoors, it didn’t deter these hardy Minnesotans from enjoying the event! Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tiffany Stenglein attended the Open House on my behalf.


Finally...

On this day in history: October 15, 2008

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummets 733.08 points, the second-largest percentage drop in the Dow's history 

 

Ten years ago, unchecked greed and recklessness by Wall Street millionaires and billionaires plunged the U.S. into the worst financial catastrophe since the Great Depression, and as a result, Congress imposed tough new rules and regulations to make sure it would never be repeated. The U.S. government and U.S. taxpayers bailed out Wall Street. But almost as soon as the crisis eased, Republicans in Congress began efforts to allow big banks and investment firms to go right back to the same irresponsible lending practices and lax regulatory policies that caused the 2008 crash in the first place. We simply cannot allow this to happen again.