News from Representative Tom Emmer
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Dear Friend,

As a nation, we mourned the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. Her life and legacy are untouchable. She was a trailblazer who fought for equality and championed the rights of all Americans in her work.

I am glad to see President Trump nominate Amy Coney Barrett for consideration to the Supreme Court. I know she will uphold and defend the Constitution, and I hope she receives a swift and fair confirmation.

Last week, Congress voted to advance policies to support our veterans and improve the health care delivery system. This week is set to be another busy week, keep reading to learn more about what’s going on in Washington!


Honoring Our Nation’s Heroes

This week, we continued our work to recognize a special group of veterans in America:  our Atomic Veterans. Atomic Veterans are a unique group of veterans who were exposed to ionizing radiation during their service as part of their incredible sacrifices for this country.

I authored the Atomic Veterans Service Medal Act, which would award military service medals to these vets and grant them the proper recognition they and their families deserve.

Last week, my colleague Congressman Jim McGovern and I sent a letter to leadership of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees urging them to consider a provision that would issue a service medal to honor our nation’s Atomic Veterans. Read the letter here.

In addition to our Atomic Vets, we...

  • Introduced the Same-Day Accountability Veterans Enhancement (SAVE) Act to ensure the Veterans Administration has mechanisms in place to successfully offer same-day physical and mental health treatment to veterans in need;
  • Supported the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, to issue grants for entities outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs that provide suicide prevention and telehealth services and ensure that every VA medical center has at least one suicide prevention coordinator. It would also offer scholarships to students in relevant fields who agree to work as VA counselors, and it would increase the use of animals, sports, and other alternative therapies for veterans struggling with mental illness; and
  • Supported the Veterans Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment Act which would allow veterans to receive emergency suicide care at a VA facility or seek outside care when necessary.

All of our Veterans deserve timely care, and it is Congress’ job to ensure they receive it. Far too often we hear of veterans falling through the cracks. These bills take important, non-partisan steps, to get our vets the care they need.


Ending the Stigma

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it is important to take this opportunity to lend a helping hand to those in our community who need it the most. Every year, one in five Americans experience a mental health condition. Thousands suffer every day, and much of it goes unnoticed and untreated.

I have long advocated for expanded access to mental health resources. I am the author of the Expanding Access to Inpatient Mental Health Act, which would eliminate a loophole that limits mental health treatment and harms facilities that help provide it. 

While the reduction in the number of beds for psychiatric care started as a well-intentioned response to mass institutionalization, it has led to mental health providers being routinely ill-equipped to serve those in need. Under current law, some patients can be forced out of some psychiatric facilities, called Institutes for Mental Disease (IMD), for days at a time, with patients’ needs often unmet. To learn more about the IMD exclusion, take a look at the op-ed I wrote for the Star Tribune here.

Just last week, I voted for the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. This legislation would designate 9-8-8 as the universal telephone number for national suicide prevention.

I also voted for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act, which would require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and implement a plan to improve the services provided by the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It would also require the creation of a pilot program to examine the use of new communication platforms, like social media, to combat suicide.

These efforts along with my legislation are important steps forward in raising awareness around mental illness and the impact suicide has on a community. We must check on our loved ones and end the stigma by letting others know that they are not alone. I will continue to do what I can to make the resources available to everyone in need.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24/7: 1-800-273-8255.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental illness, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 800-950-NAMI OR TEXT “NAMI” TO 741741.


Acknowledging Those Who Protect and Serve

Every day, men and women in blue protect each one of us, our loved ones, and this nation. This week, I took the time to honor those who have chosen a life in uniform; who leave their homes for a shift not knowing if they will return, and who sign up to protect the rule of law.

Last week, I signed a pledge expressing my support and respect for law enforcement and committing to oppose any bill, resolution, or movement that would “Defund the Police.” Right now, we do not need less law enforcement – we need more community interaction between police and the people they serve.

I introduced the Community OutPost (COP) Outreach and Engagement Act, which would create a pilot program to promote the nationwide use of Community OutPosts like the St. Cloud Police Department’s “COP House”. A COP House is a residential home where nearby residents can receive critical services and build relationships with local law enforcement in that community.

Right now, engagement and familiarity can help keep communities safe. Law enforcement should be familiar with the neighborhoods and the residents they are sworn to protect. This effort will give them the resources they need to make these COP Houses a reality. I hope you will take time to thank a police officer for the sacrifices they make every single day!

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Congressman Emmer signing the Back the Blue pledge.


Clarifying the Regulatory Rules of the Road for Digital Assets

Last week, I introduced the Securities Clarity Act, which would promote clarity for businesses and individuals in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.

Regulations are necessary for consumer protection, but when they hinder the progress of blockchain-based technologies, they hold America back. They do not allow us to fulfill our promise as a nation that fosters innovation. The development of these vital technologies should not be impacted by government’s inability to adjust.

My Securities Clarity Act will allow America to compete in this new advancing space without sacrificing the consumer and investor protections that have made our capital markets the strongest in the world. Read more about my bill here.

I recently urged President Trump to have his Administration utilize blockchain solutions to respond to and mitigate the Coronavirus outbreak. Blockchain could assist with identification, securing supply chains, and authenticating registries, among many other uses.

Our investment in ensuring clarity for those in this space will help all Americans to have access to these amazing technologies.


Until next week, if you are in need of assistance or would like to share your thoughts with me, please write me an e-mail here.

To keep up with what we’re doing in Washington, follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!

Sincerely,
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