Notes From The Capital: March 2019

Securing Humanitarian Protections for Liberians

In the face of violence in Liberia, thousands of people came to the United States—many to Minnesota. Thanks to a humanitarian program (known as DED), they have been able to live legally in the United States. These are individuals with amazing resilience, fortitude and courage to uproot their lives in order to escape violence and come here.

I’m relieved to see that today the President extended DED status for Liberians, which was set to expire at the end of the month. I’ve been relentlessly urging the President to extend these protections—Liberians are our neighbors, our family, our friends. They are an integral part of our community and do important work for our state—especially in health care. The United States is their home, and they deserve the opportunity to become citizens. Congress must now act and create opportunities for citizenship.

Learn more here

Helping Students Understand the True Cost of College

Students and families in Minnesota shouldn’t be left in the dark when it comes to understanding the cost of college, but right now they’re often met with inconsistent and incomplete information. There is limited information early in the process of applying to and choosing colleges, and too often comparing financial aid award letters is challenging and confusing.

This month I introduced three bipartisan bills with Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa that would provide students and their families with better information about the costs of college from the initial college search, through the application process, to accepting financial aid. These bills would bring greater clarity and transparency to net price calculators and financial aid award letters, improve loan counseling, and help students make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives—how to pay for college.

We should empower our next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and community leaders with the information they need to make important choices about the cost and paying for college. This is a step in the right direction. 

Learn more here.

Closely Monitoring Storm Damage to Minnesota Farms

Every corner of Minnesota has been affected by winter weather this year, but recent blizzards and extreme snowfall have hit farmers in southeast Minnesota particularly hard. 

So this month I visited the area with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to get a better understanding of the situation and see what we can do to help. Gary and Corey of Olmsted County told me that they’re not milking on their family’s farm for the first time in 114 years because the storm forced them to sell most of their herd. Rob and Katie of Altura had a farm building collapse, which killed and injured some of their cattle, all of which were pregnant. And snow made some roads impassable, forcing some producers to dump thousands of pounds of milk that they could not get to market.

I’m grateful to the local producers, farm leaders, as well as federal and state agriculture officials who took the time to meet with me. Farmers in the area are facing significant economic and structural damage, and we need to make sure that they’re made whole.

Learn more here.

Working to Bring Down the Cost of Life-Saving Cancer Drugs

Thanks to cancer treatment advancements, people can take life-saving oral cancer medications. This means more people can now take the medicine they need without having to leave their homes, and in a far less intrusive way than traditional IV chemotherapy. 

But many people are having to shell out more money because insurance plans often don’t cover these drugs in the same way as IV chemotherapy. So this month I reintroduced a bipartisan bill with Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas to help make sure Americans don’t have to pay more for cancer drugs they can take in their own home without having to go to an infusion center.

We should be doing all we can to make life-saving cancer treatment more affordable for all Americans.

Learn more here