Monday Report from Representative Rick Nolan


Trump Launches Attack on Reproductive Rights for 62 Million Working Women  

We need to keep building on progress for working women - not rolling it back as the Trump Administration is attempting to do. 

Dear Friend,

President Trump’s direct attack on the reproductive rights of some 62 million working women cannot be allowed to stand. The Trump Administration on Friday announced a new rule eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s (Obamacare) preventative care requirement that all employee insurance plans must cover or provide access to birth control without a co-pay. 

Let’s be clear – this action radically rolls back a half century of progress in women’s health that the American people support. As Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has pointed out, 86% of all Americans – 91% of Democrats and 86% of Republicans – favor policies that make it easier for women to get a full range of birth control methods. Nine out of ten women use contraception at some point in their lives. And the results speak for themselves.

Thanks in large part to the birth control provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), our Nation has reached the lowest rate of unintended pregnancy in 30 years, and teen pregnancies are at an all time low. Infant mortality rates have fallen. And in the ACA’s first year alone, insurance coverage saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on birth control medications.

Moreover, the widespread availability of birth control has expanded educational and career opportunities for women. According to one highly credible study, the pill is responsible for one-third of women’s wage gains relative to men since the 1960’s. And Bloomberg Businessweek magazine has ranked the invention of the pill as one of the top ten most transformative developments in the business sector over the last 85 years. We need to keep building on progress for working women – not rolling it back as the Trump Administration is attempting to do.

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.


First Strike Nuclear Attack Must Require Congressional Declaration of War

This map pinpoints 111 locations where some 23,300 nuclear weapons are either deployed, stored or being designed or removed. Just a handful of these weapons would be enough to destroy life as we know it on Planet Earth.

With the very survival of the world as we know it at stake, it is time for Congress to assert its Constitutional authority to declare war before any president can launch a FIRST STRIKE nuclear attack against another nation. With that hard, cold fact of the nuclear age in mind, I have cosponsored legislation to require a Congressional declaration of war before U.S. nuclear weapons can be launched – unless it has been determined that the United States is under immediate nuclear attack.

As President Nixon noted in 1974, “I can go back to my office and pick up the telephone and in 25 minutes, 70 million people will be dead.”

Nixon was correct. The President of the United States now has the sole power to launch a nuclear war that would effectively end the world as we know it, and kill every living thing on it. Within five minutes of a simple Presidential order to the Pentagon, hundreds of missiles would be airborne – enough to annihilate one billion people. Major cities would be literally vaporized, and the world as we know it would be unlivable. 

Again, to be clear, our Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 intentionally and specifically does not restrict the president’s ability to immediately order the use of U.S. nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack. The bill simply states, “a first-use nuclear strike . . . would constitute a major act of war.” And the Constitution clearly establishes that the power to declare war belongs to Congress alone. 

GOP Budget Cuts Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid - Adds More Tax Cuts for the Super Rich

Show me a your budget and I’ll show you your priorities. Click on the screen above to hear me speak about the GOP budget resolution on the floor of the House. 

Good budgets, good politics, and good lives are all about gratitude for the hard work and contributions of others. We demonstrate our gratitude by paying progress forward – investing in people and opportunities. And we have a lot to be thankful for. Unfortunately, the Republican budget resolution passed last week doesn’t reflect gratitude. Instead, it rolls back a century of progress and fails to advance the accomplishments that have made us a model for the world - doubling the life expectancy here in America in just a few generations.

The GOP strategy is to fund an enormous tax cut for the super-wealthy – paid for by working families. Their 10-year budget resolution would roll back a century of American progress that includes good paying jobs, clean air and water, healthy and safe working conditions, retirement benefits and health care. The rich would get richer at the expense of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, medical research, transportation, education, good paying jobs, and a host of human development programs that have helped build the most prosperous middle class the world has ever known.

More specifically, the Republican budget plan sets the stage for dismantling and privatizing Social Security and Medicare - turning Social Security over to Wall Street bankers and Medicare over to the costly private insurance industry. Social Security benefits workers have earned and paid into over a lifetime would be drastically reduced - and Medicare for seniors would be slashed by half a trillion dollars. Medicaid – which millions of elderly nursing home patients, disabled children, rural hospitals and others depend on for support – would be decimated with a trillion dollar cut.

The good news is that this Republican budget resolution is non-binding and unlikely to become law in its present form. But the direction they have set is terrible public policy. As the debate continues, I will be working for a much better budget that invests in America, in people and good paying jobs, and in opportunities for the middle class. 

URGENT! Congress Must Restore the Children’s Health Insurance Program

Some 9 million children, including almost 125,000 in Minnesota, depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for low-cost insurance. CHIP expired on September 30 due to congressional inaction, and I have joined in urging Speaker Ryan to bring bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the program up for an immediate vote.

Republican leaders have allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire, and Congress must act immediately to pass bipartisan legislation to prevent some nine million low-income children and expectant mothers from losing their health care. That’s the urgent message our Congressional Minnesota Democratic delegation delivered to Speaker Ryan last week.

Here in Minnesota, we use federal CHIP funds to provide a health care safety net to roughly 200 infants, 1,700 expectant mothers, and 125,000 children who don’t qualify for Medicaid. The state has scrambled to put together enough money to cover them through October, but those funds are fast running out, and extraordinary measures may be necessary to keep the program afloat. 

CHIP’s expiration on September 30th is one more example of government by crisis management, and it did not need to happen. President Trump and Republican leaders knew the deadline. But instead of scheduling a vote to pass a reauthorization bill that has solid bipartisan support, the GOP persisted with one failed attempt after another to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and take health insurance away from up to 31 million Americans. And now, some nine million vulnerable women and children who depend on the CHIP program could lose their health care coverage as a result. That must not be allowed to happen

Nolan Leads Effort to Ensure Top Quality, Affordable Child Care for Working Families 

Our Child Care for Working Families Act would provide universal access to quality early learning programs, boost funding for Head Start and improve pay and training for child care providers. 

We need to make top-quality, affordable child care available to every family in America. Millions of low-income working families are struggling to pay for early learning services that can cost upwards of $12,000 a year. So as a former teacher and Head Start director, I’m helping lead legislation to ensure that hardworking parents on limited incomes can provide their children with the best care their communities have to offer – without breaking the bank.

This is an investment we need to make to pay our prosperity forward, advance human development, and demonstrate gratitude for the help so many of us received as we began our own journeys through life.

Specifically, our Child Care for Working Families Act would establish federal-state partnerships to boost financial support for child care centers, expand Head Start to a year-around service, and provide better compensation and training for the teachers and staff. 

Under Governor Dayton, Minnesota has become a model for the Nation in providing voluntary pre-kindergarten education, and the results speak for themselves. Highly respected educators and economists have determined that top quality early learning programs can yield up to $16 dollars in long-term benefits for every dollar invested. Low-income students who attend early learning programs are much more likely to graduate from high school, get good paying jobs, and pay their own success forward to future generations.

Supreme Court Gerrymandering Case Could Trigger Big Boost for Nolan’s Restore Democracy Bill 

Demonstrators made their views known outside the U.S. Supreme Court last week as justices began considering a case to determine if Wisconsin Republicans violated the Constitution by rigging congressional districts to heavily favor their candidates. 

A key provision of our Restore Democracy legislation would get an enormous boost this fall if the U.S. Supreme Court determines that election maps rigged to heavily favor one political party over another violate the Constitution. The fact is, partisan gerrymandering has effectively rigged the system, and made all but a handful of congressional districts uncompetitive.

The future of our democracy depends on the honesty and integrity of our elections. And among many other revolutionary reforms, our Restore Democracy measure would put Congress on record to end gerrymandering and require states to establish independent commissions to handle reapportionment .

While we continue to build support for our measure, the Supreme Court last week began its review of a lower court ruling that Wisconsin’s Republican leaders redrew legislative and congressional district maps in a manner so partisan as to violate the Constitution’s First Amendment and equal rights protections. A decision by the Supreme Court to strike down the GOP gerrymandering scheme in Wisconsin could open the door to overturning similar plans in other states, and mark real progress in our campaign to change the way we do politics here in America.   

Time to Put a Stop to Unauthorized U.S. Military Operations in Yemen

It is time to immediately put a stop to unauthorized U.S. military actions in the Arab nation of Yemen that are contributing to what U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called “the world’s largest hunger crisis.” Some 19 million people are in desperate need of food and medicine as a result of hostilities being supported by the United States.

Earlier this year, I passed a bipartisan amendment to the Defense bill prohibiting funds to deploy U.S. ground troops into the civil war in the Arab nation of Yemen. But the U.S. is still involved in that conflict, providing mid-air support to refuel Saudi warplanes engaged in bombing innocent civilians across the region. So I’m helping lead another bipartisan measure to put a stop to the refueling as well, with a congressional vote to officially withdraw U.S. forces from any and all participation.

Unauthorized by Congress and largely kept secret from the American people, these actions by the Trump Administration are contributing to the starvation of millions of people, and strengthening support for anti-American terrorist groups including ISIS and Al Qaeda. The bombing campaign supports a blockade that prevents food and medicine from reaching some 19 million people in desperate need. Estimates are that a child dies every 10 minutes from starvation and disease directly related to these actions.

As I have long pointed out, U.S. involvement in endless wars of choice in the Middle East serve no purpose other than unintended consequences that build anti-American sentiment, support our enemies, and divert money and resources we need to rebuild America and create good paying jobs here at home. The only way to do good in the Middle East is to drop food and medicine – not bombs – on innocent people in need. 

Our Week in DC

Former Minnesota State Senator Becky Lourey and other Minnesota members of the Women's Action for New Directions (WAND) and the Women Legislators Lobby (WiLL) paid a visit to our office. These groups work to influence legislation to redirect excessive military spending toward unmet human and environmental needs. 

We met with Gina Kennedy of Isanti and other Minnesota members of the National Down Syndrome Society to discuss ways to encourage employers to provide opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month. 

As a lifelong hunter, I was delighted to meet with Minnesota Deer Hunters Association Executive Director Craig Engwall and other members of the group to review, among other things, our success in reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund.   

Louisiana-Pacific’s Dan Toivonen and other Minnesota members of the Forest Resources Association were in D.C. last week for their fall board meeting. This national trade association represents businesses that serve the U.S. wood supply chain.

Mike Dobb, a third generation tree farmer in Koochiching County, and other Minnesota members of the American Forest Foundation were in town last week to help promote a wide range of common sense measures to promote forest conservation, clean water and air, wildlife habitat, and sustainable wood supplies. 

Tonya Gajeski, Duluth Federal Prison Camp representative for the American Federation of Government Employees, paid a visit to our office to discuss ways to better support the men and women who staff our federal corrections programs. 

Chisago County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Bruce Brandenburg and Isanti County Sheriff Chris Caulk came in to discuss public safety issues and our efforts to expand high speed broadband Internet services throughout rural Minnesota and rural America.

Our Week in Braham

Lakes and Pines Community Action held its 53rd Annual Meeting at the Braham Community Center last week, with Minnesota Head Start Director Gayle Kelly delivering the keynote speech.
My Field Representative Rick Olseen reminded folks that early in my career, I directed a 19 unit Head Start program in Central Minnesota. In Congress, I continue to strongly support Head Start and the work of Community Action Councils to advance human development and end poverty.

Our Week Along the St. Louis River

The St. Louis River Alliance’s held its annual train ride to tour the progress on the St. Louis River Estuary clean up. Through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, $47.2 million federal dollars has been allocated to continue this great work and revitalize the area. Brynn Sias, constituent services director in our Duluth office, snapped this picture of some of the participants. 

Our Week in Duluth

Victims of the Las Vegas shooting were honored and remembered during a vigil at Peace Church in Duluth.

Our Week in Brainerd

Lakes Area Manufacturing Alliance sponsored “Good Morning, Manufacturing,” a breakfast event  held at Central Lakes College. Pictured above is the panel discussion on the topic Prototypes for a Future Workforce. From left to right: Matt Killian, Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce; Mike Dillon, Lexington Manufacturing; Matt Sundquist, Graphic Packaging Int’l; Tim Walker, Pequot Tool & Manufacturing; and Sarah Barret-Reiner, Barret Petfood Innovations. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tiffany Stenglein attended the celebration on my behalf.

Our Week in Backus

Backus Pine Mountaineer Senior Center celebrated the one-year anniversary of its re-opening. The nonprofit is operated by volunteers and serves a moderately priced full dinner meal, soup, sandwiches, and dessert from 11am to 12:30pm on Wednesdays. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tiffany Stenglein attended the celebration on my behalf.

Our Week in Rush City

Congress was in session and I was in Washington, D.C., so unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the annual meeting of the St. Croix River Education District "SCRED" in Rush City last week to accept in person their award as an Ambassador in Education. As a former teacher, this is a tremendous honor and I’m very grateful. Thanks to Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen for accepting the award on my behalf. In this photo, Minnesota Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius is speaking after accepting her Ambassador In Education certificate.

Our Week in North Branch

Unscrupulous scammers bilk tens of thousands of senior citizens out of their hard earned money every year. So last week, Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen joined former FBI Agent Joe Rogers at the Chisago County Senior Center to provide folks with tips on how to avoid getting fooled. 

Coming Up in Washington

The House takes up Senate-passed legislation to establish a National Clinical Care Commission within the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) to evaluate existing federal programs associated with insulin-related diseases like diabetes and to make recommendations to improve the coordination and leveraging of these programs. I cosponsored similar House-passed legislation earlier this year. We’re also expected to take up legislation to address hurricane damage and wildfires.


Morning Steam on Silver Lake - Virginia, Minnesota

On his way to an early morning meeting, Nolan Congressional Field Representative Jordan Metsa stopped to record this short video of steam rising over Silver Lake on Minnesota’s Iron Range. He even added some music. I hope you can take some time to enjoy Northern Minnesota’s fall colors before they’re all gone for the season. 

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