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U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Colleagues Call on Biden Administration to Expand Access to Head Start

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined a group of her colleagues calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand and streamline eligibility for the Head Start program.  Expanded and simplified access would help ensure that more families in Minnesota and across the country are able to access affordable, high-quality childcare, education and health services and reduce administrative burden for programs.  Along with Senator Smith, the letter was signed by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “We write to ask the Department of Health and Human Services to expand access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education by using your existing authority to ensure that more young children and families are eligible for Head Start programs,” the Senators wrote to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.   The Senators continued, “For more than 55 years, Head Start programs across the country have provided vital early childhood education to children from low-income households. Additionally, Head Start programs provide wraparound support to parents and entire families, including health, wellness, and nutrition services. However, many families who could benefit from Head Start’s vital services earn slightly above the federal poverty level (FPL) and may be ineligible.” The Senators are urging Secretary Becerra to expand eligibility for the program to include families that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). “Minnesota Head Start programs support

Klobuchar, Smith Urge U.S. Department of Agriculture to Help Minnesota Farmers Respond to Avian Flu Outbreak

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) helps Minnesota farmers respond to the recent avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak. “We write with concern about the rapid spread of the H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus that has been confirmed in 19 commercial turkey flocks and 2 backyard flocks in 11 counties across Minnesota, already killing over a million birds,” the lawmakers wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “As the number one turkey producing state in the country, we are extremely concerned about the potential impact to the poultry industry should this outbreak of HPAI continue to spread.” “In order to contain the virus and minimize economic disruptions to Minnesota farmers and rural communities, we respectfully urge the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to allow for flexibility when farmers receive the devastating news that they have an infected flock,” the senators continued. “Being able to quickly contain infected birds to stop the spread of the virus and responsibly restock barns that are within a control zone are critical steps in helping this important sector of Minnesota’s agricultural economy.” Klobuchar has long worked to provide Minnesota farmers with the resources to weather livestock diseases and economic disruptions. During the 2015 outbreak, Klobuchar led bipartisan efforts to ensure USDA had the resources necessary to fight the outbreak and compensate farmers for

U.S. Senator Tina Smith In Floor Speech: “Contractors Have Been Left Out in The Cold, With No Back Pay”

**VIDEO RELEASE** WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/14/19]–Today, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) expressed disappointment that her bipartisan legislation is not included in the budget agreement to avoid another shutdown, but said she will keep fighting for these workers. In the speech, Sen. Smith reiterated her willingness to work with the White House and fellow congressional leaders so that steps can be taken to improve the bill and ultimately be passed into law. You can download video of Sen. Smith’s speech here[TK]. “During the longest federal government shutdown in history, thousands of Americans who serve as contractors to the federal government lost over

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith’s Joint Statement on Need to Fix Boundary Waters Reservation System

After Pressing Forest Service on Online Permitting Failure, Senators Say Delayed Relaunch of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Reservations is Unacceptable WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/22/2019]—Today, Minnesota’s U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith released the following statement after the United States Forest Service announced yesterday that the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) online reservation system launch will be delayed an additional week. Sens. Klobuchar and Smith—who last month called on the U.S. Forest Service to address technical difficulties with the new online reservation system for distributing BWCAW permits—called the delayed relaunch “unacceptable,” and said they will continue to press the Trump Administration

Sens. Tina Smith, Thom Tillis Lead Bipartisan Reintroduction of Bill to Support Health Care for “Atomic Veterans”

Senators Smith and Tillis, Congresswoman Meng Reintroduce Bill To Ensure Radiation-Exposed Veterans Who Cleaned Up Nuclear Testing Sites in Marshall Islands Receive Health Benefits WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/26/19]—Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) reintroduced their bipartisan legislation to secure health care benefits for “Atomic Veterans” who were exposed to harmful radiation when they cleaned up nuclear testing sites during the late 1970s. U.S. Representative Grace Meng (N-NY) reintroduced the House companion bill, and the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act would allow veterans who participated in the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll on the Marshall Islands to receive the same health care and benefits

U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Senate Democrats Continue Push for Affordable Child Care For Families in Minnesota, Across the Country

Senator Helps Introduce Legislation to Help Families in Minnesota, Across Nation Afford Comprehensive, High-Quality Child Care WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/27/19]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)—who last year launched “Child Care Access and Affordability” listening sessions across Minnesota—is continuing her work to ensure families in Minnesota and across the country are able to access high-quality childcare by supporting a comprehensive bill to address the skyrocketing cost of child care. The bill, called the Child Care for Working Families Act, would address child care costs in a number of ways. It would ensure that families do not have to pay a large percentage of their income onchild care and would provide universal

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