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U.S. Senator Tina Smith Joins Colleagues in Push to Fight Food Insecurity as Benefits Cliff Approaches

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined 32 of her Senate colleagues in a push to extend child nutrition waivers ahead of their expiration and enact a robust set of child nutrition priorities. With school summer break already underway in many states, it is vital that Congress extends and expands these programs as low-income families are facing a steep benefits cliff when the waivers expire on June 30, 2022. In their letter to Congressional leaders, the Senators call for extended child nutrition waivers, the creation of a nationwide Summer EBT program, and expanded community eligibility (CEP), a flexible meal service option for school districts in low-income areas. These provisions are critical to fighting child hunger and food insecurity. “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the child nutrition programs and the role they play in keeping hunger at bay for millions of children across the country. As schools close for summer across the country, families will soon lose access to free school meals and be faced with the prospect of increased food insecurity, weight gain, and learning disruptions,” said the senators. “As Congress develops legislation to support families impacted by high food costs, we must help ease the burden of these challenges and ensure that these child nutrition programs can fully meet children’s nutritional needs while they are at school, afterschool and summer programs, and childcare.” “More must be done to fuel children’s health and learning as millions of families continue to struggle with the fallout of COVID-19. Extending the

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces Senate Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Ensure Minnesotans Aren’t Forced to Pay Ex-Spouses’ Student Debt

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that legislation she co-led to provide relief to individuals with consolidated loan debt with a spouse – including victims of domestic violence and financial abuse – has taken a major step towards becoming law. The billwould allow individuals to sever joint consolidation loans with a former spouse, which will provide long overdue financial freedom for vulnerable individuals who are being unfairly held responsible for the debt of a former partner.  While Congress eliminated the program to allow spouses to consolidate their loans in 2006, it did not provide a mechanism for severing existing loans, leaving thousands of people forced to pay the students loans of their former partners.  These loans also locked married couples out of federal programs to provide loan forgiveness for teachers, firefighters, and other public servants.  “It’s not fair for Minnesotans to be left on the hook for the students loans of a former spouse.  Survivors of domestic violence and financial abuse should not be tied to their abuser by student loans,” said Sen. Smith. “Sixteen years ago Congress ended a misguided loan program, but it did nothing to allow those who already had these loans a fair and appropriate way to cut ties. This bill will allow individuals to sever their joint consolidation loans that links them to a former partner – an especially important step for victims of domestic abuse.  I am pleased to announce the passage of this common sense bipartisan legislation in the Senate, and

Sen. Tina Smith Announces Technical Assistance Guide to Help Communities Unlock Resources From Infrastructure Law

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) announced a technical assistance guide to help state, local and Tribal governments navigate, access, and deploy resources from the new infrastructure law passed last year. The assistance comes after Smith held a hearing in April aimed at understanding how the infrastructure law could be most equitably and effectively implemented, particularly in small and rural communities. “The bipartisan infrastructure law is a landmark piece of legislation that will repair and expand our country’s infrastructure,” said Senator Smith. “But the work didn’t end when President Biden signed the bill into law. It’s critical we get technical assistance to local leaders so they have the tools

Sen. Tina Smith Joins Colleagues Blasting Data Brokers for Collecting and Selling Cell Phone Location Data of People Who Visit Abortion Clinics

WASHINGTON, D.C. [05/18/22]— U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) joined twelve of her Senate colleagues in letters to SafeGraph and, two data brokers, blasting the companies for collecting and selling the cellphone-based location data of people who visit abortion clinics and risking the safety of anyone seeking access to abortion services. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the senators are demanding answers about the companies’ data collection practices and calling on them to create a complete and permanent ban on these and similar practices. “Anti-abortion activists have already used location data to

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces Hearing Aimed at Improving Rural Housing Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. [05/18/22]—Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) – Chair of the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development (HTCD) – announced she will be leading a hearing on rural housing programs. Members of the committee will hear from Xochitl Torres Small, Under Secretary for Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture about the agency’s rural housing programs. The hearing will take place on May 25, 2022 at 2:30 pm ET. “Without access to housing nothing else in your life works. Not your job, your health, your education or your family,” said Senator Smith. “We know that the housing crisis is hurting communities across the country,

Sen. Smith, Rep. DeSaulnier Introduce Legislation to Limit Benefit Denials in Pension and Health Care Plans

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11) introduced legislation to protect workers’ and retirees’ rights to retirement and health benefits under employer-sponsored plans. “I believe that access to a court is a fundamental right.  But too often, workers and retirees are being wrongly denied the benefits they’ve earned or forced to jump through hoops to access benefits they were promised,” said Senator Smith. “It’s outrageous that employers are able to deny – often unilaterally – workers the right to appeal a claim denial in court, or impose huge burdens that make it nearly impossible to win a