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Senators Smith, Rounds Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Spur Economic Development in Underserved Communities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to jumpstart economic development in economically distressed areas and address disparities in access to capital for underserved communities. The bill would strengthen and expand Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), which play a critical role in bringing capital and financial services to a wide range of underserved communities – from urban areas to small towns and rural communities to Tribal lands. “Unequal access to capital and financial services is a key driver of economic disparity in rural areas, communities of color, and Indigenous communities,” said Sen. Smith. “This legislation will jumpstart economic development in these communities by expanding and enhancing a program with a track record of effective capital investment and community development.” Their legislation—the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program Improvement Act, named for Community Development Financial Institutions–will extend authorization of the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, while making it more reliable and accessible to smaller CDFIs. This legislation will expand and improve a successful program that operates without a taxpayer subsidy and allows CDFIs to access long-term, stable funding. The CDFI Bond Guarantee Program was enacted in 2010 to provide long-term, low-cost capital to CDFIs, which use the funding for economic development activities in underserved communities.  The program’s authorization lapsed in 2014, but it has been extended on a year-by-year basis in annual appropriations bills.  Under current program rules, borrowers must have a loan size of at least $100 million – which means that the program can only

Senator Smith, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Help Make College Textbooks More Affordable

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Angus King (I-ME), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), along with U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO-02) introduced bicameral legislation designed to help students manage costs by making high quality textbooks easily accessible to students, professors, and the public for free.  The Affordable College Textbook Act would authorize a competitive grant program to support the creation of and expansion of open college textbooks—textbooks that are available under an open license, allowing professors, students, researchers, and others to freely access the materials. “Textbooks are a key part of a college education – but for too many students, their cost is exorbitant and a real strain on their budgets,” said Smith. “In Minnesota, we’ve seen how free, open access textbooks can make a huge difference and save students money—and I want more students to reap these benefits. This bill is a critical step in the effort to lower the cost of college for students.” “Students already are facing momentous barriers to obtaining a college education because of the rising costs of tuition.  On top of this, students are expected to shell out additional dollars to purchase expensive, required textbooks for their coursework,” said Durbin.  “Open textbooks are a tried and true way to save students money while ensuring they have access to quality instructional materials.  I’m introducing the Affordable College Textbook Act again to support students pursuing higher education.” “Textbooks are a central part of a college education – but for students already struggling to

Senators Smith, Young Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Farmers, Conservation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) re-introduced legislationto support farmers seeking to adopt conservation and innovative climate practices on their farms. The Conservation and Innovative Climate Partnership Act would bridge the divide between the innovative research taking place at land-grant universities and those who farm for a living by helping family farms adopt climate friendly strategies like planting cover crops and using no-till practices. “Strong farm programs that encourage sustainable conservation and climate practices help farmers maintain productive operations for generations to come,” said Senator Smith. “They also help us reduce greenhouse

Sen. Smith Leads Bipartisan Legislation to Safeguard American Food Exports and Protect Farmers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Chris Coons (D-DE), introduced bipartisan legislation to protect farmers in the event of animal disease outbreaks. The Safe American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would give the USDA clear authority to preemptively negotiate regionalization agreements for known animal disease threats, ultimately preventing unsafe agriculture exports from getting shipped around the globe and keeping trading markets open for American farmers with disease-free livestock. “I hear from Minnesota farmers all the time about the toll avian flu outbreaks have on families and the economy. Animal disease outbreaks can unnecessarily disrupt trade

Senator Smith, Colleagues Call on Fed to Strengthen Rules for Banks with Assets Over $100 Billion

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Angus King (I-Maine), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) wrote the Vice Chair for Supervision of the Federal Reserve (Fed) Michael Barr, calling on him to exercise the Fed’s authority to apply stronger regulation and supervision to banks with assets totaling $100 to $250 billion.  “The fall of both SVB and Signature, the near-crash of First Republic, and the struggles of other regional banks shed new

Senator Smith Leads Effort to Restore Birchdale Zip Code

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), announced she had secured changes from the U.S. Postal Service to address concerns from residents of Birchdale, Minnesota after a recent change to their zip code. Birchdale residents raised concerns about delayed and missing mail following a zip code change from 56629 to the Baudette, MN zip code of 56623. Thanks to Smith, USPS will now allow residents in Birchdale who live in the Baudette zip code to use either city and zip code as their mailing address. “Making Minnesotans’ lives better is the best part of being a Senator,” said Smith. “Being