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Sens. Smith, Marshall Introduce Bipartisan Legislation Reduce Delays in Bringing Safe Eye Drops, Sunscreen to Market

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) introduced bipartisan legislation to clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate “combination products” – products that meet both the definition of drugs and devices. The bill would eliminate unnecessary confusion and turmoil in the industry and free up valuable time and resources within the FDA. “Our regulatory process around medical products should be clear and transparent,” said Senator Smith. “This bipartisan legislation would help clarify the FDA’s authority to regulate things like sunscreen, eye drops, and other ‘combination products’ so the agency can focus on important work like bringing low-cost products to market and improving public health.” “For decades, the FDA’s regulatory framework has provided appropriate oversight of drugs,” said Senator Marshall. “Unfortunately, this court decision has a far-reaching impact on the future of certain essential products physicians rely on to detect cancer, treat eye conditions, and more. I’m proud to join Senator Smith in introducing bipartisan legislation that reinforces the FDA’s longstanding processes that have made it a global leader in approving safe and effective medical products.”   The FDA has long taken the view that they have the discretion to regulate combination products including radioactive drugs, eye drops, and sunscreen as drugs. However, under a court decision – Genus Medical Technologies v. FDA – the agency is required to regulate these products as devices, which is a different and potentially more burdensome process. Transitioning to this new regulatory standard will take valuable time and resources away from other activities, like bringing

Klobuchar, Smith Announce Major Federal Funding to Support Biofuel Producers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded major federal funding to support biofuel producers in Minnesota through a program created by bipartisan legislation led by Klobuchar.  The funding will provide economic support to lower costs and offset market losses through the Biofuel Producer Relief Payments program. This program, created in December 2020, is based on the Renewable Fuel Feedstock Reimbursement Act, Klobuchar’s bipartisan legislation with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to provide relief to biofuel and renewable fuel producers that suffered market losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.  “Renewable fuel processing plants employ thousands of people in rural areas, purchase billions of bushels of commodities from farmers, and provide stability in our agricultural supply chain,” said Klobuchar. “I fought for this funding to ensure our farmers and biofuel processors have the support they need to get through the economic uncertainties resulting from the pandemic.” “Minnesota biofuel producers were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Smith. “This relief will help them get back on their feet and lower costs after more than two years of serious challenges. To keep our economy strong, it’s critical our renewable fuel producers have the resources they need to bounce back from pandemic related losses. I’ll keep working to direct much-needed federal relief to Minnesota communities so that we can rebuild a stronger, more resilient economy.” Specifically, USDA Rural Development will provide funding to the following producers: $14.2 million for

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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