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Klobuchar, Smith Announce Major Federal Funding to Establish New Antiviral Drug Development Center at University of Minnesota

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced significant federal funding to establish a new Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Center for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern at the University of Minnesota (UMN).  The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will provide $66.4 million in federal funding over three years for the University of Minnesota to house a new center for researching and developing coronavirus antivirals, especially those that can be taken at home or in an outpatient setting, and treatments targeting specific viruses with high potential to cause a pandemic in the future. UMN was only one of nine institutions across the country selected, and will be the only center in the Midwest.  “The University of Minnesota has long been a national leader in pioneering medical research and advancing innovation, from housing pioneering professor Charles Hewitt’s vaccine lab, to performing the world’s first kidney transplant to installing the first pacemaker,” said Klobuchar. “It’s only fitting that the University has been chosen to host this new institute for researching and developing antiviral drugs that can be taken outside the hospital setting, which will be critical to strengthening our response to infectious diseases and future pandemics.”  “Minnesota’s colleges and universities are hubs of innovation,” said Smith. “I’m pleased to see the University of Minnesota receive this award, which will establish a cutting edge antiviral drug research and development center. UMN has a long track record of scientific success and innovation. I’m confident this new

Sens. Smith, Brown, Feinstein Lead Senate Dems in Introducing Resolution Recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) led all 50 Senate Democrats in introducing a Senate resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month. On the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month, the senators’ resolution highlights the contributions LGBTQ individuals have made to American society, notes several major milestones in the fight for equal treatment of LGBTQ Americans, and resolves to continue efforts to achieve full equality for LGBTQ individuals. The resolution also recognizes how the U.S. Supreme Court’s pending decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could potentially undermine and erode other constitutional rights grounded in privacy, including the right for same-sex couples to marry or engage in consensual relationships without the risk of criminal prosecution. “This month—and all year round—we celebrate, recognize, and lift up the LGBTQ+ community,” said Senator Smith. “The freedom to live and love openly is fundamental. This Pride Month, we recognize the courage and accomplishments of those who have been on the front lines of the LGBTQ movement and recommit ourselves to the fight for justice and equality. I am proud to help lead this resolution.” “More than 50 years ago, the Stonewall Uprising, led in large part by trans women of color, brought national attention to the ongoing movement for justice that lives on today in Ohio and across the country,” said Senator Brown. “This Pride month – and year-round – we recommit ourselves to gender equality and to social, economic, and racial justice, and to defending marriage equality as the

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Presses Trump Administration to Ensure Federal Contractor Workers Receive Back Pay Amid Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/10/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)—along with 33 of her fellow Senate Democrats—called on the Trump Administration to direct federal agencies to work with contractors to provide back pay to compensate contractor employees for wages lost during the current shutdown. While Sen. Smith is working on legislation to ensure low-wage federal contractor employees receive back pay, she and her colleagues are also urging the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to use existing authority to partner with federal contracting officers and use provisions to modify terms of contracts so employees receive lost wages. “Contract workers and their families

U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s Statement on Continued Fight to Secure Back Pay for Federal Contract Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/13/2019]—Tonight, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) released the following statement highlighting the need to secure back pay for federal contractor employees who went without pay during the recent government shutdown. Sen. Smith expressed disappointment that reports indicate her bipartisan legislation is not included in the budget agreement to avoid another shutdown, but said she will keep fighting for these workers. “During the longest federal government shutdown in history, thousands of Americans who serve as contractors to the federal government lost over one month’s pay, through no fault of their own. These are people who work as security guards and clean office buildings, and work

U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Colleagues Introduce Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/16/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), along with her colleagues Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), introduced legislation to secure back pay for the federal contractor employees who continue to go without pay during the current government shutdown. The bill—the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act—aims to help low-wage federal contractor employees—including janitorial, food, and security services workers—who have been furloughed or forced to accept reduced work hours as a result of the government shutdown. You can read a summary of the bill here, and you can

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, Colleagues Push to End Shutdown Citing Over 4 Million Who Rely on Affordable Housing Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. [1/18/19]–Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), in a letter to President Trump signed by her and over 170 Members of Congress, emphasized the direct and immediate consequences of the shutdown on housing security for millions of households across the country. Both the short-term operations and long-term viability of affordable housing programs are dependent on Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) rental assistance initiatives. An estimated 2.2 million low-income households are among those at risk of eviction, including housing for thousands of veterans, seniors, and people living with disabilities.  The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Rep.