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U.S. Senators Smith and Cassidy’s Bipartisan Amendment to Address Global COVID-19 Vaccine Access Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/03/22]— U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.)’s bipartisan amendment to improve global vaccine access was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act last week. The bipartisan amendment will analyze the United States government’s capabilities to retrieve soon to expire COVID-19 vaccine doses and send them to countries abroad. These efforts will help to address supply chain barriers to efficient global vaccine distribution and provide another opportunity for the United States to be a leader in building global capacity to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. The amendment is also co-sponsored in the Senate by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “Expanding worldwide access to COVID-19 vaccines is central to ending the pandemic,” said Sen. Smith. “This amendment will take important steps towards slowing the spread of this virus, allowing the United States to improve COVID-19 vaccine access for low- and middle-income countries, and leading the world out of the COVID-19 pandemic.” “Increasing global access to the COVID vaccine is vital to U.S. economic and national security,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our amendment ensures the United States is at the forefront of global vaccine distribution and supply.” The bipartisan amendment would: Require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to lead a federal study to identify the logistical requirements to collect unused and unexpired COVID-19 doses in the United States and distribute them to foreign countries. Study options for collecting unexpired COVID-19 vaccine doses, methods for collecting and shipping the doses to foreign countries, methods to

Klobuchar, Smith Announce Minnesota as Recipient of Nation’s First FEMA Resiliency Program Grant

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded the Minnesota Department of Public Safety the nation’s first Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program grant. This $171,000 award will update hazard mitigation plans for Jackson, Kittson, Marshall, Pope, and Red Lake Counties. “We can’t control natural disasters, but we can ensure our state has the resources to prepare for and mitigate damages,” Klobuchar said. “This federal funding will help Minnesotans plan ahead for extreme weather to protect their communities. I’m glad FEMA’s first grant of this type is heading to our state, and I will continue working to strengthen Minnesota’s infrastructure resiliency.”   “As we work to prevent the worst effects of climate change, we must recognize the harsh reality that extreme weather events will continue to get worse before they get better,” Smith said. “That’s why it’s essential to prepare for climate related disasters before they happen, not just clean up after. This program will help ensure communities in Minnesota are safer, stronger, and more prepared in the face of these challenges.” “FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities or BRIC program seeks to shift the focus from reactive disaster spending toward proactive investment in community resilience,” said Moises Dugan, acting regional administrator of FEMA’s Region 5. “As the first project to ever be funded under this program, we’re proud to support the state of Minnesota and their efforts to take action against

Merkley, Senators Introduce Bill to Make Public Transit Cleaner, Healthier, More Affordable

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, along with Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), today introduced a bill that would provide transit authorities with zero-interest loans to purchase electric buses—curbing emissions among the top source of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States, and cutting fleet maintenance costs by tens of thousands of dollars. “Climate chaos is threatening our future, and we need to act boldly and quickly to stop it,” Merkley said.“Electric buses mean lower operating costs as well as better health and less pollution, but

U.S. Senator Tina Smith: Education Department Taking a Step in the Right Direction for Teachers to Receive Promised Aid

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/10/18]–Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) released the following statement after the Education Department announced it will be instituting a process to help teachers who have been unfairly forced to repay thousands of dollars after grants they received were later, and often erroneously, converted to loans. “This is a great first step for all the teachers who have been fulfilling the service requirements for the TEACH Grant program, but who had their grants converted into loans—with back interest due—because of minor paperwork issues related to the overly complicated annual certification process,” said. Sen. Smith. “This annual paperwork process must be

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Lauds Bipartisan Farm Bill Deal; Says it Gives Farmers Much-Needed Certainty

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/11/18]—Today, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.)—who took a leading role in making sure Minnesota priorities are included in the 2018 Farm Bill as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee—was pleased to see House-Senate negotiators finalize the new Farm Bill for farmers, ranchers, foresters, rural communities, and tribes. Sen. Smith has repeatedly called for Congress to pass a strong, bipartisan Farm Bill and send it to the President’s desk. You can read the full committee report here.  “Farmers and ranchers—who face enough uncertainty with low farm prices and trade uncertainties—deserve the certainty that this bipartisan Farm Bill provides,” said Sen. Smith. “I was proud to work on several provisions in this

U.S. Sens. Tina Smith, Jerry Moran Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Make Life-saving Oral Cancer Medications More Affordable

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/12/18]—Today, U.S. Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) introduced legislation—also supported by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)—to make sure oral cancer drugs are covered in the same way as traditional (IV) chemotherapy to bring down costs for Americans suffering from cancer. Sens. Smith and Moran said their bipartisan bill, the Cancer Drug Parity Act, is needed to make sure that health insurance plans fairly cover advances in oral cancer medication. Currently, over 40 states—including both Minnesota and Kansas—and the District of Columbia have passed “oral parity” laws that stop insurers from charging more for

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