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Sens. Smith, Rounds Seek Input from Public on Rural Housing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate’s Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee, issued a request for input from stakeholders on Rural Housing Service programs.  Last month, the Subcommittee held a hearing to review the Rural Housing Service, with Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small as the witness.  The hearing was the first time a U.S. Department of Agriculture official had testified before the Senate Banking and Housing Committee in more than a decade.  Smith and Rounds’ hearing focused on ways to improve the agency’s rural housing programs.  The Senators are now requesting proposals from rural housing residents, housing advocates, community leaders, development experts, and other stakeholders.  “Without access to housing nothing else in your life works. Not your job, your health, your education or your family,” said Smith. “Sen. Rounds and I intend to work together to update and strengthen Rural Housing Service programs to meet the needs of small towns and rural places, and to support vibrant rural communities in Minnesota across the country.”  “Rural communities face unique challenges when trying to develop affordable housing, and the Rural Housing Service has played an integral role in making affordable homeownership a reality for many South Dakotans,” said Rounds. “I look forward to working with Senator Smith to improve, streamline and modernize the Rural Housing Service programs to better serve rural communities.”   Interested parties can submit their proposals directly to Rural_housing@smith.senate.gov by July 8th. Any submission may be made public, so submitters should not include confidential

Sens. Smith, Marshall Introduce Bipartisan Legislation Reduce Delays in Bringing Safe Eye Drops, Sunscreen to Market

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) introduced bipartisan legislation to clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate “combination products” – products that meet both the definition of drugs and devices. The bill would eliminate unnecessary confusion and turmoil in the industry and free up valuable time and resources within the FDA. “Our regulatory process around medical products should be clear and transparent,” said Senator Smith. “This bipartisan legislation would help clarify the FDA’s authority to regulate things like sunscreen, eye drops, and other ‘combination products’ so the agency can focus on important work like bringing low-cost products to market and improving public health.” “For decades, the FDA’s regulatory framework has provided appropriate oversight of drugs,” said Senator Marshall. “Unfortunately, this court decision has a far-reaching impact on the future of certain essential products physicians rely on to detect cancer, treat eye conditions, and more. I’m proud to join Senator Smith in introducing bipartisan legislation that reinforces the FDA’s longstanding processes that have made it a global leader in approving safe and effective medical products.”   The FDA has long taken the view that they have the discretion to regulate combination products including radioactive drugs, eye drops, and sunscreen as drugs. However, under a court decision – Genus Medical Technologies v. FDA – the agency is required to regulate these products as devices, which is a different and potentially more burdensome process. Transitioning to this new regulatory standard will take valuable time and resources away from other activities, like bringing

Klobuchar, Smith, Nolan Announce More than $5.6 Million Loan for Electric Grid Improvements in Two Harbors

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Representative Rick Nolan announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Cooperative Light and Power Association of Lake County a loan of $5,670,000 for infrastructure improvements. “This investment will strengthen the Northland’s economy for years to come,” Klobuchar said. “Projects like this not only boost the economy, but also support good-paying jobs and maintain the services Minnesotans rely on.” “Improving our electric grid infrastructure is vital to building a 21st century economy that works for everyone,” Smith said. “This investment will connect more Minnesotans with the power they need and spur rural development in the

Klobuchar, Smith Announce More Than $46 Million for Minnesota’s Basic Health Program, MinnesotaCare

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded $46,276,090 in additional payments to Minnesota for their Basic Health Program (BHP). Established by the Affordable Care Act, states have the option to create a BHP for low-income citizens, providing healthcare coverage to those who do not qualify for programs like Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CMS estimates that qualified health plan premiums in Minnesota would have been 18.8 percent higher if it was not operating their BHP, MinnesotaCare. “Minnesota has a long, bipartisan history of innovation and

U.S. Senator Tina Smith: We Must Ensure Veterans Receive Full Housing Benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/03/18]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) is helping to lead a bipartisan push to get the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to quickly clarify how it intends to “make whole” the more than 360,000 veterans in Minnesota and across the country who are at risk of being denied the full housing benefits they’ve earned. In response to recent reports that the VA plans to withhold retroactive payments for missed or underpaid monthly housing benefits from some veterans because it would create a backlog, Sen. Smith joined 12 of her Congressional colleagues in asking the VA’s Inspector General to investigate

Sen. Smith Demands Urgent Action on Climate Change in Floor Speech

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/06/18]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), in a speech on the Senate floor, demanded urgent action to combat climate change and spoke out against Trump Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) nominee Bernard McNamee’s troubling environmental record. Citing evidence from the latest National Climate Assessment, Sen. Smith pointed to threats to Minnesota if temperatures continue to rise. You can watch Sen. Smith’s speech here. “The problems of a changing climate are already known to us Minnesotans,” said Sen. Smith. “Our winters are milder than they used to be. We know that rain patterns are changing. We are prone to long hot, dry

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