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U.S Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, Colleagues Press Postal Service for Details on How Facility Consolidation Could Impact On-Time Delivery of Mail-In Ballots

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) joined 17 of their colleagues in sending a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting information about how the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) plans to ensure the timely delivery of mail-in ballots throughout the ongoing 2024 election cycle and beyond. The request comes in light of USPS facility consolidations initiated under DeJoy, which have been temporarily paused following outcry from people all across the country as well as Congressional leaders. Through this process, USPS has greenlit the downgrading of 56 of 59 selected postal facilities nationwide — including in Minnesota. “USPS serves an essential function in American elections. On a nonpartisan basis, it securely processes, transports, and delivers election mail, including ballots. In 2020, the Postal Service overcame a series of challenges, including the onset of a global pandemic, to fulfill this critical mission. Impressively, it delivered 97.9% of ballots within three days, even as a record number of Americans voted by mail. For the 2022 midterm elections, USPS maintained this standard of excellence and delivered 98.96% of ballots within three days,”wrote the senators. “We applaud these achievements, but much has changed since 2022.” “In July 2023, USPS completed its first regional consolidation in Richmond, Virginia. A report from the USPS Inspector General found that the consolidation led to “a decrease in service performance for the Richmond region that continued four months after launch,”they continued. “Earlier this year, these delays led some local election officials to direct area residents to

U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Representative Brad Finstad Announce Investment to Strengthen Southwest Minnesota Manufacturing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and Representative Brand Finstad (R-MN01) announced a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington, Minnesota to help address the growing demand for skilled workers in robotics, hydraulics, welding and machining training. The grant will go towards purchasing and outfitting a mobile mechatronics classroom and customized welding trailer to expand manufacturing workforce training at the college’s campuses in Lyon and Nobles counties. This EDA investment is expected to create and retain 250 jobs and generate $1 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates. “Technical and community colleges play a critical role in meeting the demand for skilled manufacturing, and it’s fantastic to see the Biden administration investing in Minnesota schools that will help us train and educate the workforce of the future,” said Senator Tina Smith. “This grant will help us meet labor needs, create jobs, and ensure America leads in innovation.”  “Southern Minnesota has world-class technical programs that equip young people with the experience they need to modernize and meet the demands of today’s workforce,” said Representative Brad Finstad. “Minnesota West Community and Technical College has done great work to ensure the readiness of the next generation in the workplace, and I am happy to see that they receive the funding they need to continue to grow welding and robotics programs which will strengthen the skilled workforce in Minnesota’s First District.” This project is funded under the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023,

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith Announce Funding from U.S. Department of Agriculture to Help Expand High-Speed Internet Access in Rural Areas

WASHINGTON, June 27th, 2024 – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-Minn.) announced $25 million in funding availability from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase high-speed internet access in rural and Tribal communities. The funding is made available through the USDA’s Broadband Technical Assistance (BTA) Program, part of the Biden Administration’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to connect every community in America with affordable, reliable, high-speed internet. “We should be able to bring high-speed internet to every family in Minnesota— regardless of their zip code,” said Klobuchar. “This funding will ensure that the broadband upgrades going on across our state also

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces Federal Investment to Foster Local Zoning Reform in Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chair of the Senate Housing Subcommittee, announced $4 million in funding to assist localities around the Twin Cities trying to update local ordinances to build more affordable housing. The award will provide technical support to cities and towns already in the process of updating their zoning codes to incentivize more housing construction. The announcement comes on the heels of a visit from the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, who was in Minneapolis for a roundtable discussion on housing and a tour of a federally-funded affordable housing apartment made possible thanks

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Join Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Double Pell Grant Amounts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) joined their colleagues Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to introduce the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act of 2024, legislation that would nearly double the Pell Grant maximum award. During the 1975-76 school year, the Pell Grant was enough to cover three-fourths of the average cost of attendance at a four-year public college. Today, a Pell Grant covers less than 30% of tuition, fees, and living expenses. The Pell Grant program is the cornerstone of federal financial aid for higher education, serving over 6 million undergraduate students. Representatives

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Unveils Legislation to Repeal the Comstock Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. [6/20/24] —Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced a bill to repeal an arcane 1873 law, called the Comstock Act, that Republicans and anti-choice extremists want to misuse to ban abortion nationwide. Comstock has been cited recently by Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas in oral arguments during the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA and invoked in Project 2025 – broadly seen as a roadmap for a future Trump administration – as a way for an extremist, anti-choice administration to use unilateral executive action to effectively ban abortion nationwide.  “The Comstock Act is a 150-year-old zombie law banning abortion that’s long been relegated to the dustbin of

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