Sen. Cramer Statement on Reinstatement of Moratorium on Coal Lease Sales on Federal Lands

Source: United States Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

BISMARCK – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement on the district court decision to reinstate a moratorium on coal lease sales on federal lands:

“Coal is an essential component of our nation’s energy strategy, especially in North Dakota and our neighboring states. A suspension of federal coal leases is insulting to working Americans who as taxpayers and citizens own the land and mineral resource. Not to mention it cuts vital revenue and jobs out of local and state economies and puts a dent in reliable and affordable electricity. Yet again, Judge Morris has proven himself a judicial activist, choosing to disrupt based on how he wishes the law was written rather than how it has clearly been interpreted for decades. His ruling is illogical and illegal and deserves to be challenged.”

Murkowski Fights to Secure Anchorage Borough Priorities through FY2023 Appropriations Bills

Source: United States Senator for Alaska Lisa Murkowski

08.12.22

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently published the majority’s proposal for the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) appropriations bills. As a senior member of the Committee and Ranking Member of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) included $491 million in Congressionally Directed Spending for more than 130 local projects throughout Alaska, which includes over $141.2 million to directly support the Municipality of Anchorage. 

 

“The return of Congressionally Directed Spending presents incredible opportunities, particularly in a state like Alaska with so many unique needs. By taking the power out of the hands of D.C. bureaucrats and empowering taxpayers to have a greater voice in the appropriations process – we can make a real difference in the lives of Alaskans,” said Senator Murkowski. “I’ve heard from leaders across the Anchorage Borough, including Mayor Bronson, about their greatest needs, and I’m proud to continue to fight for those priorities. Within the current FY2023 appropriations bills, I’ve secured significant funding for the Anchorage Borough, alone. This funding will bolster public health and safety, improve hard infrastructure in support of education and healthcare, address long-standing challenges of the safe disposal of wastewater, improve the quality of life for military members and their families, and so much more. I am committed to ensuring that the needs of all Alaskans are always well-represented.”  

 

“As our state’s biggest city, I’m pleased to see these significant appropriations planned for Anchorage. With so many pressing needs across our community, it’s imperative these projects and efforts get the funding they require,” said Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson. “I want to thank Senator Murkowski and her staff for taking our requests to heart, and going to bat for Anchorage. These funds would help advance work at the Port of Alaska; enhance public safety; support our heroic Anchorage Police officers; confront homelessness; create jobs; and safeguard public health. It’s encouraging to see these types of results when we work together as Alaskans at the local and national level.”

 

Anchorage Borough Congressionally Directed Spending Allocations 

 

Public Safety and Homelessness:  

·         Anchorage:?$7.5 million to Providence Community Foundation to provide permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness in Anchorage. 

·         Anchorage:?$1.6 million to Rural Alaska Community Action Program to address the Anchorage homelessness issue through improving and expanding permanent supportive housing facilities. 

·         Anchorage:?$500,000 to the University of Alaska Anchorage to implement a forensic training program for healthcare providers and advocates.? 

·         Anchorage:?$250,000 for law enforcement technology and equipment, specifically for the Anchorage Police Department to replace and upgrade cameras. 

·         Anchorage:?$1.7 million for law enforcement technology and equipment, specifically for the Anchorage Police Department to replace radios.? 

·         Anchorage:?$2 million for replacement of police vehicles. 

·         Anchorage:?$500,000 to the Municipality of Anchorage to replace the roof of the Anchorage Emergency Operations Center.? 

 

Water, Wastewater, and Environmental Hazards: 

 

·         Girdwood:?$2.5 million for a sewer access project, for the safe disposal of wastewater in Girdwood. 

·         Anchorage:?$13 million to the Municipality of Anchorage for the safe disposal of wastewater in Anchorage. 

·         Eagle River:?$4.5 million to the Municipality of Anchorage for the safe disposal of wastewater in Eagle River. 

·         Statewide:?$300,000 for the University of Alaska Anchorage to study the need and economic feasibility of constructing and operating a hazardous waste processing facility and landfill in the State of Alaska. 

·         Anchorage:?$4 million to implement the Municipality of Anchorage’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan. 

 

Public Health and Education:  

·         Anchorage:?$5 million to Southcentral Foundation towards construction of the Fireweed Specialty Dental Clinic. 

·         Anchorage:?$2.25 million to the University of Alaska to renovate UA’s facilities for nursing education, telehealth training, and inter-professional education programs. 

·         Anchorage:?$1.2 million to update and improve the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center. 

·         Anchorage:?$290,000 for Providence Alaska to establish and launch the Alaska Psychiatry Residency Program. 

·         Anchorage:?$500,000 to the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center to establish a new Dental Assistant Training Apprenticeship. 

·         Anchorage:?$2 million for a Southcentral Foundation Workforce Development Program, to provide resources and support to students training as nurses, certified medical assistants, dental health aid therapists, and as behavioral health providers. 

·         Anchorage:?$750,000 for construction of a Crisis Stabilization Center at Providence Alaska Medical Center. 

·         Anchorage:?$400,000 to the Alaska Center for FASD to connect individuals with FASD to services. 

·         Statewide:?$1 million to the University of Alaska Anchorage to expand UAA’s business development services to rural and young entrepreneurs in Alaska. 

·         Anchorage:?$6 million to the Alaska Community Foundation to support the preservation, processing, and digitization of records of Alaskan leaders. 

 

Military:  

·         Anchorage:?$63 million to build an aircraft maintenance hangar at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. 

·         Anchorage:?$5.2 million to remove PFAS contaminated soil on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. 

 

Infrastructure Upgrades:  

·         Whittier:?$1.2 million for well field upgrades. 

·         Anchorage:?$5 million to the Port of Alaska to make site improvements. 

·         Girdwood:?$1.6 million to replace the Ruane Road culvert in Girdwood. 

 

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The Senate Appropriations Committee recently published the majority’s proposal for the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) appropriations bills. As a senior member of the Committee and Ranking Member of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) included $491 million in Congressionally Directed Spending for more than 130 local projects throughout Alaska, which includes over $141.2 million to directly support the Municipality of Anchorage. 

 

“The return of Congressionally Directed Spending presents incredible opportunities, particularly in a state like Alaska with so many unique needs. By taking the power out of the hands of D.C. bureaucrats and empowering taxpayers to have a greater voice in the appropriations process – we can make a real difference in the lives of Alaskans,” said Senator Murkowski. “I’ve heard from leaders across the Anchorage Borough, including Mayor Bronson, about their greatest needs, and I’m proud to continue to fight for those priorities. Within the current FY2023 appropriations bills, I’ve secured significant funding for the Anchorage Borough, alone. This funding will bolster public health and safety, improve hard infrastructure in support of education and healthcare, address long-standing challenges of the safe disposal of wastewater, improve the quality of life for military members and their families, and so much more. I am committed to ensuring that the needs of all Alaskans are always well-represented.”  

 

“As our state’s biggest city, I’m pleased to see these significant appropriations planned for Anchorage. With so many pressing needs across our community, it’s imperative these projects and efforts get the funding they require,” said Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson. “I want to thank Senator Murkowski and her staff for taking our requests to heart, and going to bat for Anchorage. These funds would help advance work at the Port of Alaska; enhance public safety; support our heroic Anchorage Police officers; confront homelessness; create jobs; and safeguard public health. It’s encouraging to see these types of results when we work together as Alaskans at the local and national level.”

 

Anchorage Borough Congressionally Directed Spending Allocations 

 

Public Safety and Homelessness:  

·         Anchorage:?$7.5 million to Providence Community Foundation to provide permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness in Anchorage. 

·         Anchorage:?$1.6 million to Rural Alaska Community Action Program to address the Anchorage homelessness issue through improving and expanding permanent supportive housing facilities. 

·         Anchorage:?$500,000 to the University of Alaska Anchorage to implement a forensic training program for healthcare providers and advocates.? 

·         Anchorage:?$250,000 for law enforcement technology and equipment, specifically for the Anchorage Police Department to replace and upgrade cameras. 

·         Anchorage:?$1.7 million for law enforcement technology and equipment, specifically for the Anchorage Police Department to replace radios.? 

·         Anchorage:?$2 million for replacement of police vehicles. 

·         Anchorage:?$500,000 to the Municipality of Anchorage to replace the roof of the Anchorage Emergency Operations Center.? 

 

Water, Wastewater, and Environmental Hazards: 

 

·         Girdwood:?$2.5 million for a sewer access project, for the safe disposal of wastewater in Girdwood. 

·         Anchorage:?$13 million to the Municipality of Anchorage for the safe disposal of wastewater in Anchorage. 

·         Eagle River:?$4.5 million to the Municipality of Anchorage for the safe disposal of wastewater in Eagle River. 

·         Statewide:?$300,000 for the University of Alaska Anchorage to study the need and economic feasibility of constructing and operating a hazardous waste processing facility and landfill in the State of Alaska. 

·         Anchorage:?$4 million to implement the Municipality of Anchorage’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan. 

 

Public Health and Education:  

·         Anchorage:?$5 million to Southcentral Foundation towards construction of the Fireweed Specialty Dental Clinic. 

·         Anchorage:?$2.25 million to the University of Alaska to renovate UA’s facilities for nursing education, telehealth training, and inter-professional education programs. 

·         Anchorage:?$1.2 million to update and improve the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center. 

·         Anchorage:?$290,000 for Providence Alaska to establish and launch the Alaska Psychiatry Residency Program. 

·         Anchorage:?$500,000 to the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center to establish a new Dental Assistant Training Apprenticeship. 

·         Anchorage:?$2 million for a Southcentral Foundation Workforce Development Program, to provide resources and support to students training as nurses, certified medical assistants, dental health aid therapists, and as behavioral health providers. 

·         Anchorage:?$750,000 for construction of a Crisis Stabilization Center at Providence Alaska Medical Center. 

·         Anchorage:?$400,000 to the Alaska Center for FASD to connect individuals with FASD to services. 

·         Statewide:?$1 million to the University of Alaska Anchorage to expand UAA’s business development services to rural and young entrepreneurs in Alaska. 

·         Anchorage:?$6 million to the Alaska Community Foundation to support the preservation, processing, and digitization of records of Alaskan leaders. 

 

Military:  

·         Anchorage:?$63 million to build an aircraft maintenance hangar at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. 

·         Anchorage:?$5.2 million to remove PFAS contaminated soil on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. 

 

Infrastructure Upgrades:  

·         Whittier:?$1.2 million for well field upgrades. 

·         Anchorage:?$5 million to the Port of Alaska to make site improvements. 

·         Girdwood:?$1.6 million to replace the Ruane Road culvert in Girdwood. 

 

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Peters Statement on Inflation Reduction Act Heading to President to Be Signed into Law

Source: United States Senator for Michigan Gary Peters

08.12.22

Landmark Bill Will Lower Costs for Families, Make Historic Investments to Tackle Climate Change and Create Jobs

DETROIT, MIU.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) released the following statement after the Inflation Reduction Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives today and now heads to President Biden to be signed into law. Peters helped the Senate pass this landmark bill on Sunday and highlighted this week how it will provide relief to Michiganders.

“We are on the verge of lowering costs for Michiganders and Americans across the country in a significant way. The Inflation Reduction Act will soon be law, lowering prescription drug prices and health care costs, making the most consequential investments in combating climate change, all while creating American jobs, incentivizing U.S. manufacturing, fighting inflation and lowering the deficit.”

The Inflation Reduction Act will:

  • LOWER PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS: Would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and cap out-of-pocket costs to $2,000 annually, which will lower prescription drug costs. It also will reduce the cost of insulin, capping at $35 per month co-pays for seniors on Medicare plans. Peters previously cosponsored legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and lower the costs of insulin and save patients’ money.
  • LOWER HEALTH CARE COSTS: Would reduce Affordable Care Act premiums for millions of Americans for three years, through 2025. Without this provision, millions of Americans could have faced higher health care premiums for quality coverage.
  • INVEST IN CLEAN ENERGY & DOMESTIC MANUFACTURING, COMBATS CLIMATE CHANGE: Would make historic investments in tackling climate change, while lowering energy costs, increasing clean energy production and reducing carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030. It includes clean energy tax credits for consumers and manufacturing. The consumer tax credits are for electric vehicles and encourage families to make their homes more energy efficient and run on clean energy. The bill would also provide manufacturing incentives including tax credits to encourage the onshoring of supply chains and accelerate domestic manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and critical minerals. Together, these measures would create economic opportunity and create jobs, improve our energy security and accelerate development of clean energy technologies, and help confront the climate crisis. This would also boost our economic competitiveness against other countries, including China. As Chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters helped secure provisions to repair and maintain DHS facilities to protect workers from toxic substances, such as PFAS, and save taxpayer dollars by improving energy efficiency. He also secured a provision to encourage the use of environmentally friendly building materials in disaster recovery efforts.
  • REDUCE DEFICIT & FIGHT INFLATION: Would fight inflation and bring down the deficit. It would also make the biggest corporations and the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share, while there are no new taxes for families making $400,000 or less and no new taxes on small businesses. The savings in this bill will be accomplished by closing tax loopholes and enforcing the tax code. This includes a measure to impose a one percent tax on corporate stock buybacks.
  • PROVIDE THE POSTAL SERVICE WITH SAFE AND EFFICIENT DELIVERY VEHICLES: The future of the auto industry is electric, and this bill makes investments in an EV future that will help drive innovation, jobs and economic opportunity. As Chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters helped secure major investments for the U.S. Postal Service to purchase electric delivery trucks as they continue to add more Next Generation Delivery Vehicles and other vehicles to their fleet. The funding would also enable the Postal Service to invest in charging infrastructure. Peters has led efforts to ensure the Postal Service acquires more electric vehicles. In part due to his urging, the Postal Service announced that they intend to expand their electric vehicle purchase order to at least fifty percent. Peters convened a committee briefing in April with USPS to discuss efforts to modernize the Postal Service’s aging delivery vehicle fleet – including by acquiring electric vehicles and prioritizing union-made vehicles. Last year, he sent a letter to Postal Service leadership urging them to prioritize the acquisition of electric vehicles to ensure the fleet is sustainable for the Postal Service and for our environment.
  • ENSURE EFFECTIVE USE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS: The legislation includes additional resources, which Peters helped secure as Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to support the Government Accountability Office’s efforts to conduct oversight of the spending and implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Inflation Reduction Act has received broad support from the American people, economists across the spectrum and organizations representing patients, consumers, seniors (including AARP), unions, small businesses, employers, physicians, nurses and disease advocacy groups. A group of 126 leading economists – including several from Michigan – wrote, “this historic legislation makes crucial investments in energy, health care and in shoring up the nation’s tax system. These investments will fight inflation and lower costs for American families while setting the stage for strong, stable, and broadly-shared long-term economic growth.” Moody’s Analytics said, “…the Inflation Reduction Act will lean against inflation over the next decade. It also adds a bit to growth… and it is more than paid for with tax hikes on large corporations and the well-to-do.”

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Murkowski, Sullivan Enshrine Former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens’ Arctic Legacy through Grand Opening of Arctic Security Studies Center

Source: United States Senator for Alaska Lisa Murkowski

08.12.22

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) took part in the grand opening of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies. The center, named after the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, will support defense strategy objectives and policy priorities through a unique academic forum, while also developing robust international networks of security leaders.

“The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies—I’m so proud to be able to say that. Ted always watched out for us here in Alaska. He dedicated his life to building our state and was also the first Senator to embrace the “Arctic-ness” of America. He set the foundation, which is why it is so fitting this center bears his name. To go from vision, to concept, to this moment so quickly is a testament to all of the people who worked so hard to make this a reality. From today forward, the Stevens Center will further focus our strategic thinking about the Arctic. It will help us turn ideas into concepts, concepts into action, and action into results. And, with partners across the Arctic, it will work together in a spirit of cooperation, just as Ted and Dan always did. This center will help us truly embrace our role and responsibility as an Arctic nation,” said Senator Murkowski. “I’m proud to have been a driving force in establishing and funding this initiative. It was an honor to be with true supporters of the Arctic at the grand opening for the Center – to let America, and the world, know: the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies is open for business.”

“When I arrived in the Senate in 2015, I was stunned by the lack of seriousness and attention given to the Arctic region from our most senior defense leaders,” said Senator Sullivan. “The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, which I was able to pass in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, demonstrates just how much progress we’ve made. The Ted Stevens Center further cements Alaska as the center of gravity for America’s Arctic security operations, policy and research and will enable our country to confront an era of authoritarian aggression with confidence and sound Arctic policy crafted by the world’s best and brightest experts, including those who know the Arctic best—Alaskans. I want to thank Senator Murkowski for initially conceiving of the idea and working to appropriate funds for the center, and Congressman Don Young for carrying it across the finish line in the House.”

“This endeavor has been a Congressional and Executive Branch of government success. Specifically, this milestone is an achievement for the Alaska Congressional Delegation and the DoD team, and those of us standing up the center are honored to be a part of the team and are thrilled to see how far we have collectively come in this matter in a relatively short time. The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies achieving Initial Operating Capacity as defined by the Pentagon approved Center Plans, Objectives and Milestones (POAM) on 1 July 2022 was a significant objective for the Center’s initial advancement.  Tomorrow’s opening ceremony is a public acknowledgement by the Stevens Center and our DoD leadership of the importance of the combined team effort which is building capacity in Arctic and Climate Security research & analysis, executive education and strategic engagement activities to provide a soft power complement to the hard power investments the United States is making in and across the Arctic…in support of our national interests across region in collaboration with our Allies and Partners. We at the Center are truly grateful for the support of the DoD and the support of the U.S. Congress, in particular, the Alaska Congressional Delegation,” said Randy “Church” Kee, Maj Gen, USAF (Ret), Senior Advisor, Arctic Security Affairs.

“Establishing the Ted Stevens Center is a clear and tangible example of the importance of the Arctic region to the fundamental security interests of our nation. Although the Center is located in Alaska, it will link the global community to the Arctic and play a central role in addressing the full spectrum of security issues unfolding before us. Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan have championed our new Center and by doing so, have ensured our nation and our state are well positioned to address future challenges throughout the region,” said Dr. Michael Sfraga, Chair & Distinguished Fellow of the Polar Institute and Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission.

“Ted would be so honored to have his name associated with a vitally important Center as well as experienced leadership and staff.  He was passionate about Arctic research and action – ensuring our country is well-prepared for any threat.  Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan have done just that in working to secure authorization and funding for the Center.  We are grateful to the leadership of the Administration for their support of an Arctic commitment benefiting our country and the world. Ted often commented, ‘Alaska’s strategic location and capabilities prepare us to respond expeditiously to protect our nation.’  As he characterized it, ‘We live along one edge of an incredible vast region – home to half of the world’s population, an emerging superpower, and a malevolent nuclear regime,’” said Catherine Stevens, widow of the late Senator Stevens and member of the Stevens family. “We are also eager to follow how the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies will partner with the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Asia Pacific Studies, and continue the legacy of getting things done, as Ted and Dan did through their strong friendship and referred to each other as ‘brothers’.”

“The Ted Stevens Center will create a lasting presence by the DoD in Alaska of a high level strategic center of excellence. The TSC as it develops can not only further education but can help align interests across the polar region. A mission which includes new polar technologies can uniquely add value to existing efforts in the military mission.  Alaska Natives and our vast network of relational and familiar ties across the Arctic, together with our growing capabilities working together with the Ted Stevens Center can help sustain deep collaboration and critical understanding as we continue building our partnerships,” Julie Kitka, President of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN).

Background: The Ted Stevens Center, the first DoD regional center in the Arctic and the first new DoD regional center since 2000, will support defense strategy objectives and policy priorities through a unique academic forum, while also fostering strong international networks of security leaders. The DoD has five Regional Centers covering Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Near East-South Asia, and the Western Hemisphere—making this the sixth DoD Regional Center and the only one specifically focused on the Arctic.

Senators Murkowski and Sullivan sponsored this initiative in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the late Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) successfully included the provision in the House’s version of the NDAA, which was eventually signed into law. Through her role as an appropriator, Senator Murkowski secured $10 million for the Stevens Center in the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations package. The Center’s aim is to support defense strategy objectives and policy priorities through a unique academic forum and to foster strong international networks of security leaders to support multilateralism and diplomacy in the region. The Stevens Center will serve as a soft power tool to support and strengthen the advances DoD is making in the Arctic, using security cooperation, research and academia, and diplomacy.

Related Issues: Arctic

Rosen, Cortez Masto Announce Funding to Support Low Emission Buses Across Nevada

Source: United States Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV)

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) announced that the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) will receive $6.7 million to fund the purchase of three hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and safety improvements along bus routes across Las Vegas. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe will also receive $115,000 to expand transit options for Pyramid Lake residents.

“Nevadans rely on public transit every day, and we can create a more sustainable future by increasing transportation options powered by clean energy,” said Senator Rosen. “The millions of dollars that Nevada is receiving will help modernize our public transportation system and lower our carbon emissions as our state leads the transition to a renewable energy economy.”

“These grants will help Nevada invest in clean, reliable public transportation, and I’m proud to have advocated for this funding,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “As we continue to work towards a sustainable future, it is essential that we encourage more innovative and green transportation improvements across the Silver State.”

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Low or No Emission and Buses and Bus Facilities Grant Programs provide funding to state and local governments for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses and facilities. Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen wrote a letter of support for the RTC funding, which will help the RTC procure three hydrogen fuel cell electric buses, solar lighting for 250 bus stops, and pedestrian detection and collision avoidance software for nearly half of the RTC’s 800 transit buses.

Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen helped pass provisions in the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act to support clean-energy production and deployment of clean transportation options. The Inflation Reduction Act that passed the Senate last week also includes provisions to support low-emission vehicles. Senator Rosen has been a leader in fighting for clean energy transportation and jobs. She has supported federal funding for clean, renewable transportation options through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law she helped write and pass.

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Van Hollen, Cardin, Colleagues Urge USAID to Clarify the Continuation of International Family Planning and Health Programs Post-Dobbs

Source: United States Senator for Maryland Chris Van Hollen

August 11, 2022

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) in urging USAID to clarify to its international partners that the recent Dobbs decision from the Supreme Court would not affect U.S. global health assistance spearheaded by the agency. In a letter Thursday to USAID Administrator Samantha Power, Senators Van Hollen and Cardin and Senators Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Angus S. King, Jr. (I-Maine), Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) ask for details on how and when USAID is relaying this vital information, particularly as “the U.S. is the largest donor of bilateral family planning and reproductive health assistance” in the world. 

“It is imperative that the agency proactively and clearly communicate with in-country partners about the impact of Dobbs on programs funded by U.S. global health assistance. This is to ensure that USAID-funded organizations do not mistakenly believe they must cease providing family planning and reproductive health services due to the Dobbs decision,” the lawmakers wrote. “Given the evidence of poor implementation of U.S. policy related to the Mexico City Policy and reports of overbroad interpretation of the Helms Amendment, USAID must be vigilant to prevent further misinterpretations by organizations and programs funded by U.S. global health assistance from occurring in the future.”  

“As we fight to protect access to reproductive rights across the country, the U.S. government must be clear about our commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights abroad — especially in light of the lingering impact of the harmful global gag rule,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “It’s critical for in-country partners that receive U.S. global health assistance to know the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade does not hinder the services they can provide. Everyone deserves access to health care, here and globally. Thank you Senator Ben Cardin for your leadership on this important issue.” 

“As an economic superpower and the world’s largest donor to global health initiatives, the U.S. exerts a tremendous influence on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, girls, and gender-diverse people globally. This influence is evidenced in the long-lasting impacts of the Global Gag Rule,” said Giselle Carino, CEO of Fòs Feminista. “The overturning of abortion rights in the U.S. is a critical moment to ensure that USAID is well positioned to support rather than hinder the advancement of sexual and reproductive justice around the world. We thank Senator Cardin for leading this effort.”

“Abortion is health care. Everyone, no matter who, no matter where, must have access. When people don’t have access to abortion, they face greater economic struggles, their children have fewer resources; women, pregnant people and providers can go to jail; many people are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term; and being pregnant and giving birth is riskier than having an abortion,” said Anu Kumar, Ipas President and CEO. “The devastating impact of overturning Roe v. Wade extends beyond our borders. People, thousands of miles away—who are already adversely affected by US policies like the nearly 50-year-old Helms Amendment and the Mexico City Policy—will be affected. USAID must minimize the global harm of the Dobbs decision by ensuring USAID-funded organizations provide the full range of family planning and reproductive health services, including abortion in countries where it is legal. Access to reproductive health care, including abortion, is a human right.”  

The full letter can be found below and at this link.

Dear Administrator Power: 

Thank you for your leadership as we continue to grapple with dynamic development challenges across the globe. On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and held that the right to abortion is no longer protected by the U.S. Constitution. Since the decision was released, there has been widespread confusion regarding the legal status of abortion in the U.S. Given the uncertainty domestically, the influence that this decision has in countries receiving U.S. foreign assistance, and past issues communicating the impact of U.S. policy changes abroad, we urge the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to convey clearly to in-country organizations and partners that the Dobbs decision does not impact the ability to provide a full range of legally authorized family planning and reproductive health services allowed prior to the decision. 

USAID plays a key role in increasing access to family planning and reproductive health care around the world. Currently, the U.S. is the largest donor of bilateral family planning and reproductive health assistance to increase opportunities for voluntary healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. Ensuring everyone has access to these services is an essential component of a number of USAID’s policy priorities, including improving maternal and child health, reducing HIV transmission, advancing LGBTQI+ inclusive development, and promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. These policy priorities are critical to advancing overall global health, political stability, economic development, and environmental sustainability, and are in line with the Biden-Harris administration’s National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality

In addressing USAID’s family planning and reproductive health priorities, a significant challenge USAID faces is ensuring in-country organizations and partners receive timely, accurate information regarding U.S. policy that impacts the services that partner organizations can provide. This challenge has become especially apparent in the context of the implementation and revocation of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule (GGR). For example, an April 2022 report based on organizations in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe on the revocation of the Mexico City Policy, found that “the consensus among implementing partners and advocates… was that the [U.S. government]’s communications related to the revocation of GGR were insufficient, and that guidance for implementing the policy change was wholly lacking.” Further, according to a May 2022 GAO report, implementing partners that declined U.S. funding due to the Mexico City Policy highlighted that, despite USAID actions to inform staff and implementing partners, “lingering confusion about the policy continued to reduce collaboration even after its rescission.” 

Further, the combination of the Mexico City Policy and Helms Amendment has had a chilling effect on USAID grantees, leading to their reluctance to offer abortion services where legally permissible and even to provide information and counseling about all pregnancy options consistent with local law. Current U.S. law, through the Leahy Amendment, specifically allows for the provision of information and counseling about all pregnancy options in programs funded by U.S. foreign assistance. Nevertheless, in 2021, organizers of a USAID-sponsored conference, citing the Helms Amendment language in their contract, canceled a presentation on telemedicine abortion research from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Considering USAID’s challenges communicating the revocation of the Mexico City Policy and appropriately implementing of the Helms Amendment, it is imperative that the agency proactively and clearly communicate with in-country partners about the impact of Dobbs on programs funded by U.S. global health assistance. This is to ensure that USAID-funded organizations do not mistakenly believe they must cease providing family planning and reproductive health services due to the Dobbs decision. Given the evidence of poor implementation of U.S. policy related to the Mexico City Policy and reports of overbroad interpretation of the Helms Amendment, USAID must be vigilant to prevent further misinterpretations by organizations and programs funded by U.S. global health assistance from occurring in the future. 

To that end, we request that you respond in writing to the following questions: 

  1. What steps has USAID taken to date and what plans does the agency have to ensure in-country partners understand that the decision in Dobbs does not impact their ability to provide the full range of family planning and reproductive health care services as permitted by law, including information and counseling about abortion consistent with local law?
  2. A May 2022 GAO report listed actions USAID took to inform staff and in-country partners about the revocation of the Mexico City Policy, but despite those actions, confusion remained. What steps is USAID taking to address the information gaps that have led to confusion and prevented access to essential care?
  3. What steps has USAID taken to date and what plans does the agency have to inform programs funded by U.S. foreign assistance about their ability to provide information and counseling regarding all pregnancy options, where permitted by local law?

In addition to a written response, we request a staff briefing on this matter. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this request. 

Sincerely,

Shaheen Visits Downtown Berlin Following Announcement of $19 Million RAISE Grant

Source: United States Senator for New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen

August 12, 2022

**Earlier: Shaheen Visits Bethlehem Public Library, Hikes Franconia Ridge Trail** 

Shaheen in downtown Berlin

  Shaheen in Bethlehem Public Library

Shaheen on Franconia Ridge Loop trail

(Berlin, NH) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited downtown Berlin following the announcement of $19 million in federal funding from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program through the U.S. Department of Transportation. Shaheen walked through downtown with Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier and local leaders to discuss what this groundbreaking award means for Berlin.   

This federal funding will be used to install a snow-melting system using waste heat or steam from Burgess Biopower, which will revitalize downtown and encourage tourism year-round. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen historically secures robust funding for the RAISE grant program, which is formerly known as the BUILD or TIGER grant programs.  

“I was thrilled to visit Berlin today to meet with Mayor Grenier, Burgess Biopower leaders and local officials to share excitement and hear about plans to utilize this groundbreaking $19 million award. I applaud the City for devising a creative project to install a snow melting system that will be powered through clean energy, improving public safety and helping draw tourists year-round. This award is at the heart of innovation, economic growth and energy efficiency – a triple win for Berlin,” said Shaheen. “I’ve advocated for this project over the years, and I’m truly elated to see Berlin officials’ diligent work to reinvent downtown pay off. I’ll continue to advocate for funding that helps towns across the Granite State evolve and innovate.”  

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen historically secures robust funding for the RAISE grant program, which is formerly known as the BUILD or TIGER grant programs. This announcement comes on the heels of the Inflation Reduction Act clearing the Senate, which contains significant North Country benefits that Senator Shaheen fought to secure, specifically in support of New Hampshire’s forest-based economy. In November, Shaheen lauded a similar RAISE grant that was awarded to the City of Manchester. Shaheen was a lead negotiator of the bipartisan infrastructure law, which provided $7.5 billion for the RAISE grant program. 

Earlier in the day, Shaheen stopped by Bethlehem to meet with members of the town’s Energy Commission and Clean Energy NH staff to discuss their partnership to increase energy efficiency in Bethlehem’s public buildings. Shaheen highlighted key clean energy provisions that she helped secure through the Inflation Reduction Act, which recently passed the Senate.  

“Clean energy projects reduce energy costs for towns, create jobs, prepare our businesses for the 21st century economy and protect our environment. It was great to stop by Bethlehem today to review the town’s cutting-edge solar projects and arrays, as well as hear the latest in rural energy advocacy and education,” said Shaheen. “I’m pleased today’s visit comes as the Inflation Reduction Act soon passes Congress – legislation which marks the greatest action to combat the climate crisis in U.S. history. I’m excited to see this bill signed into law soon so communities like Bethlehem have additional resources to ramp up investments in clean energy projects of the future.”   

Shaheen also visited Franconia to hike the Old Bridle Path-Falling Waters Trail at Franconia Ridge Loop following her successful push to secure a $1.125 million Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) award to restore the Franconia Ridge Loop Trails. Restoration efforts will concentrate on installing structures to better define the trail to keep hikers from veering off the path and trampling fragile alpine vegetation, as well as installing rock steps and water bars to protect the trail from further erosion. 

“I enjoyed lacing up my sneakers and hiking on the beautiful Franconia Ridge Loop trail. While hiking, I met with local officials about upcoming restoration efforts that are needed due to the increased interest in outdoor recreation. We discussed how a $1.125 million award I secured will address crumbling structures and support fragile vegetation across the trail. This funding will make a real difference for hikers’ safety and restoration of the trail,” said Shaheen. “Our state’s booming outdoor recreation economy is fueled by hikes like the Franconia Ridge Loop Trail, and I’ll continue to advocate for resources to ensure these sites are preserved for generations of Granite Staters to enjoy.” 

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen helped secure $69,047,000 for projects across New Hampshire through the CDS process in FY22 legislation that was signed into law. Shaheen recently announced more than $89 million in CDS awards that she secured in Senate Democrats’ FY23 government funding proposal for 95 New Hampshire projects, including water infrastructure, health care facility investments, educational training, resources to combat homelessness and food insecurity, support for substance use disorder programs and much more.   

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Hoeven Statement After Federal Judge Reinstates Obama-era Policy Suspending Federal Coal Leases

Source: United States Senator for North Dakota John Hoeven

08.12.22

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today issued the following statement after a federal judge reinstated an Obama-era policy to suspend lease sales for coal on federal lands. 

“The moratorium on federal coal leases threatens the availability of reliable and affordable electricity, which is why we worked to rescind this burdensome policy,” said Hoeven. “Federal mineral rights are frequently intermixed with private and state-held minerals, preventing the development of significant portions of North Dakota’s coal resources, preventing landowners from exercising their mineral rights and depriving federal, state and local governments of the revenue from mining operations. We should instead continue to develop all of our available energy resources, including our vast coal, oil and natural gas reserves, while using the latest, greatest technology to ensure good environmental stewardship.”

Hoeven previously supported efforts during the Trump administration to rescind the federal coal lease moratorium and continues working to ensure the U.S. can continue utilizing all of its abundant energy resources. This includes:

  • Pushing back on the Biden administration’s harmful energy agenda and working to pass legislation like his:
  • Advancing efforts to crack the code on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies.

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Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Ensure U.S. Forest Service is a Good Neighbor to Ranchers

Source: United States Senator for North Dakota John Hoeven

08.12.22

Senator Meets with McKenzie County Grazing Association, Working to Maintain Equitable Access to National Grasslands

WATFORD CITY, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today met with members of the McKenzie County Grazing Association, where he outlined his efforts to ensure the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) acts as a good neighbor to local ranchers and maintains equitable access for grazers to the National Grasslands. In particular, Hoeven discussed proposed changes to the USFS rangeland directives.

Last year, the senator led the North Dakota delegation in pressing the USFS Chief to extend the public comment period for the proposed directives, stressing the broad presence of federal land in North Dakota and its impact on the state’s ranchers. In response, the agency agreed to extend the comment deadline, giving livestock producers and grazing groups the necessary time to review the changes and provide thorough feedback to the agency. Hoeven continues working to ensure the USFS works with local stakeholders and that any new rangeland directives are made in consultation with grazers. To this end, the senator also secured a commitment from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Homer Wilkes, who oversees the USFS, to visit North Dakota and to work collaboratively with grazers and local stakeholders.

“We’re working to ensure the USFS maintains fair and equitable treatment for our ranchers, because they know this land best and have long been good stewards of our natural resources,” said Hoeven. “That means consulting with grazers, taking their input and relying on their expertise for any changes to the rangeland practices. The vast amount of federal land in North Dakota presents real challenges for many industries in our state, including our ranchers, and it is essential that the USFS and other federal agencies act as good neighbors.”

North Dakota is home to 1.1 million acres of national grasslands, representing nearly one third of total grassland acres managed by the Forest Service. The rangeland management directives are the primary source of administrative direction to Forest Service employees regarding the rangeland management program.

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MONDAY: Heinrich To Discuss Benefits Of Recovering America’s Wildlife Act With NMSU Student Wildlife Society, State Leaders

Source: United States Senator for New Mexico Martin Heinrich

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – On Monday, August 15, at 2:30 p.m. MT, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will meet with members of the New Mexico State University (NMSU) student chapter of The Wildlife Society and researchers from the NMSU Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology to discuss the important role the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act can play in wildlife conservation efforts.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act invests in proactive, on-the-ground conservation work led by states, territories, and Tribal nations to support the long-term health of fish and wildlife and their habitat all across America. These locally-driven, science-based strategies would restore populations of species with the greatest conservation need.

Since introduction in the Senate in July 2021, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act has gained significant momentum with 36 bipartisan sponsors and cosponsors, and its principles are backed by over 60 Tribes and 1,500 organizations representing state fish and wildlife agencies, sportsmen and women, conservation groups, and industry associations and businesses. The landmark conservation bill also received the endorsement of the Washington Post Editorial Board this week.

The bill was voted out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) in April and awaits consideration on the Senate Floor.

***Press interested in attending should RSVP at press@heinrich.senate.gov***

WHO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)

WHEN: Monday, August 15, at 2:30 p.m. MT

WHERE: New Mexico State University, Gerald Thomas Hall, 940 College Dr, Las Cruces, NM 88003

RSVP: press@heinrich.senate.gov