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U.S. Senators Smith and Lankford Introduce Legislation to Create Parity Within the Indian Health Care System

WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/12/22] – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced bipartisan legislation that would help achieve parity within the Indian Health System. The Urban Indian Health Confer Act will amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to confer with urban Indian organizations regarding health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) living in urban areas – a critical step that will create parity within the Indian Health System. “American Indian and Alaska Native people living in urban areas deserve an active voice in the policies that affect them,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “That’s why I introduced the bipartisan Urban Indian Health Confer Act which will help to facilitate the open and free exchange of information and opinions between federal agencies and urban Indian organizations. It is a critical step towards creating parity within the Indian Health System.” “We need the Department of Health and Human Services to communicate with all the Indian health organizations, including those serving urban areas, which is currently a disconnect in the process for Indian health care,” said Sen. Lankford. “Oklahoma has the second-largest urban Indian patient population, proudly serving patients in clinics in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Our common-sense bill ensures urban Indian organizations can partner with HHS just like any other federal health entity.” “Agencies have been operating as if only IHS has a trust obligation to AI/ANs, and that causes an undue burden to IHS to be in

Klobuchar, Bennet, Slotkin Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Strengthen Media Literacy Education and Improve Personal Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) introduced two pieces of bicameral legislation to strengthen media literacy education to teach Americans the skills to identify online misinformation and disinformation. The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act would create a grant program at the Department of Commerce to teach students digital citizenship and media literacy skills to help them think critically about online content. The Veterans Online Information and Cybersecurity Empowerment (VOICE) Act would create a grant program at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to teach veterans digital and media literacy skills as well as cybersecurity best practices to identify disinformation and online scams.  “Increasing media and digital literacy education can help combat disinformation and misinformation campaigns that seek to manipulate perceptions and sow division,” said Klobuchar. “These bills will provide students and veterans with the skills they need to make informed decisions about online content and protect themselves from exploitation.” “We need to equip communities with the tools to identify and avoid online scams, cyberattacks, and disinformation in the digital age. Our bills will strengthen resources for students and veterans to protect themselves online,” said Bennet. The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act would provide $20 million in federal funding over the course of four years for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to administer a grant program to support digital citizenship and media literacy in grades K-12. These grants would be available to local and state educational agencies,

U.S. Senators Klobuchar, Smith Seek Information on How Shutdown is Hurting Ability to Protect Americans From Robocallers and Scammers

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/24/19]—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to provide more information on how the shutdown is impeding the agency’s ability to protect consumers in Minnesota and across the country from robocallers and scammers. This month, reports indicated that the government shutdown could cause illegal and scamming robocalls to rise dramatically because the FTC is unable to administer key consumer protection programs or take enforcement action against bad actors. On Wednesday, Sens. Klobuchar and Smith joined an effort led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to call for FTC guidance on how to assist constituents hurt by robocalls and scams during

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Helps Introduce Legislation to Protect Tribal Programs In Minnesota, Across Nation From Future Funding Uncertainty

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/25/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) helped introduce legislation to protect federal and tribal programs from budget uncertainty caused by government shutdowns and short-term funding packages. Sen. Smith has heard concerns from tribal leaders in Minnesota as the current shutdown continues and a lack of federal funds puts critical programs at risk. The bill—called the Indian Programs Advance Appropriations Act (IPAAA) led by Senate Indian Affairs Committee Vice Chairman Tom Udall (D-N.M)—would authorize advance resources for programs and services within the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Currently, critical federal programs at the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development,

U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s Statement on Deal to Reopen Government

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/25/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) released the following statement following the announcement that an agreement was reached to end the current shutdown and reopen the federal government: “From the beginning, the government shutdown was a waste focused on a political symbol instead of real solutions. Finally, President Trump is realizing the increasingly harmful toll the shutdown is taking on our country. I’m glad a deal has been reached to reopen the government and focus on meaningful negotiations, but we still need to make sure federal contract employees get back pay—which is an issue I introduced a bill

Sen. Tina Smith Continues to Lead Push to Secure Back Pay For Federal Contract Workers Financially Devastated by Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/29/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), continued to lead the push to secure back pay for the thousands of federal contract workers who went many weeks without a paycheck during the 35-day federal shutdown. Unlike federal government employees who returned to work this week, the thousands of federal contract employees—many of whom serve in modestly-paid jobs—have no assurances that they will receive back pay to make up for the wages they missed during the shutdown. On Tuesday, Sen. Smith was joined at a Capitol Hill press conference by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), and a coalition of several other Congressional Democrats to discuss