News from Representative Tom Emmer
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Dear Friend,

Yesterday, I was delighted to see Justice Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to the Supreme Court. America now has another talented and thoughtful jurist that will uphold and defend the Constitution, just as her mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia, did. As a parent, fellow Catholic, and member of the legal community, I admire Justice Barrett’s dedication to her faith, her family, and the law. I am glad she will bring those values to our highest Court.

We’re heading into the holiday season and that means at least one thing: we’ll inevitably get even more snow! This past week, we fought for health care providers, farmers, and our Minnesota National Guard. Take a look below at what we’re doing to support the sectors that need it the most during this time of uncertainty.


Strengthening Our Supply Chain and Supporting Our Farmers

Recently, I was awarded the American Farm Bureau Federation’s “Friend of Farm Bureau” award for the 116th Congress. For many of us in Minnesota, agriculture is a way of life. On behalf of the Minnesota’s Sixth District, it has always been a priority for me in Congress.

Whether it’s major commodities such as soybeans and hogs, or more specialized products such as sweet corn or green peas, Minnesota is recognized as an agricultural leader throughout the country.

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Congressman Emmer visiting Autumnwood Farm in Forest Lake, MN. 

As a former member of the House Agriculture Committee, I learned firsthand about the need to support our farmers in Congress. Early in my time in Congress, I authored the Stemming the Tide of Rural Economic Stress and Suicide (STRESS) Act which provides farmers with additional mental health resources. This effort has resulted in millions of dollars issued for programs to address rural mental health access.

I also introduced legislation to expand, improve, and expedite this program due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the toll it has taken on the mental health of our agricultural community. With disruptions to the supply chain, and farmers and producers having to make tough decisions to get by, it was an extra difficult year.

For dairy in our state, I introduced legislation that proposes a modification to the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program to allow newer dairy operations to have access to this important risk management program. I also supported funding for the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to support direct payments to farmers who suffered immense losses due to the disruption in the supply chain caused by the outbreak. I also sent letters to the Administration advocating for the inclusion of pork and turkey producers, as well as improvements to the program to maximize its impact.

I’ll always advocate for our agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers who feed and fuel our world.

Read more about my work on agriculture here.


Celebrating Halloween! 

This Saturday, October 31st is Halloween. In the United States, the first organized Halloween celebration occurred in Anoka, Minnesota! Today, it is known as the Halloween Capital of the World. Minnesota has rich traditions for Halloween. We are dedicated to trick or treat and celebrate whether we’re faced with rain, shine, or snow! (For those of you who remember the Halloween blizzard of 1991…) I have gathered resources below to provide for a safe Halloween!

Resources:

A bit of spooky related trivia for you: when a young Earl Bakken, who would go on to become the inventor of the pacemaker and the founder of Minnesota’s own Medtronic, began experimenting with medical technology, he was inspired by the classic movie Frankenstein. He went to the historic Heights Theater in his hometown of Columbia Heights, Minnesota to see the movie. When asked about this, Earl said, “The original film has a lot of devices with sparks flying. At the time, I thought, ‘that’s what I want to be, an electrical engineer. Maybe I’ll work with human bodies.’ That stuck for the rest of my life."

While Minnesota is home to the Halloween Capital of the World, we are also poised to become the medical device hub for the nation. With companies like Medtronic, Smiths Medical, Boston Scientific, Ecolab, Histosonics, and many more leading the charge.


Providing Relief for Hospitals 

This has been a difficult season for our health care providers and the health care industry. The COVID-19 outbreak presented many new challenges for our health care workforce. With that in mind, the Minnesota congressional delegation sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar expressing our concerns over the recently released Provider Relief Fund (PRF) reporting requirements, which change how health care providers document lost revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Congressman Emmer visiting Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton, MN.

The new guidelines require providers to use net operating income to calculate lost revenue – therefore increasing calculation complexity and potentially forcing hospitals to send much needed grant money back to the government.
 
These providers are already facing unprecedented economic challenges, and those challenges continue as our health care providers remain on the frontlines of confronting COVID-19. We must ensure these heroes do not suffer unnecessary burdens as a result of regulatory actions. Changing the terms of aid to our health care sector could prove devastating to a group of selfless individuals we need now more than ever.

Read the letter here.


Keeping Our National Guard Strong

This past week, I joined my colleagues in the Minnesota delegation in sending a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett, urging the Administration to monitor the C-130 fleet and prioritize the taxpayer’s funds.

Potential reductions are being considered that could negatively impact the Minnesota National Guard and their important efforts supporting humanitarian and disaster relief missions around the world. The C-130 is a heavily relied upon aircraft for the 133rd Airlift Wing based at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and the Duluth Air National Guard Base.

We asked the Administration to provide us information regarding the production of this fleet, and expressed our concerns that cuts could harm the Minnesota Air National Guard. You can read the letter here.


Thanking Our First Responders

Tomorrow, we recognize our nation’s first responders on National First Responders Day. These heroes respond immediately when there is danger, an accident, or an emergency. From Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics, to firefighters and police officers, these selfless individuals run towards potentially dangerous situations to protect us from harm.

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Congressman Emmer visiting with law enforcement at Veterans Lake in Ramsey, MN. 

Recently, with my support, the House passed the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Act (HERO) Act, which would support our first responders by creating a national database on suicide incidences among public safety officers and provide grants to support behavioral health and wellness programs. These high-stress jobs are difficult, and we must ensure that we are supporting those who face the selfless duty of helping others in their times of need.



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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