Heinrich, Luján Welcome Senate Confirmation Of N.M. U.S. Attorney Nominee

Source: United States Senator for New Mexico Martin Heinrich

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) issued the following statement after the Senate confirmed Alexander M.M. Uballez by voice vote to be the next U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico. The nomination was previously reported out of committee on a strong bipartisan vote of 20 to 2.

“Mr. Uballez is the lead federal prosecutor we need to uphold the law and effectively take on New Mexico’s public safety challenges. With experience prosecuting both federal and state crimes, Mr. Uballez is familiar with the very real impacts of crime on the lives of New Mexicans. He has been at the forefront of advancing innovative approaches to help solve long-running public safety challenges in our state—both inside and beyond the courtroom. We thank our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for the strong bipartisan support and are pleased to see Mr. Uballez’s nomination now confirmed by the full Senate,” said Heinrich and Luján. 

Senators Heinrich and Luján both highly recommended Mr. Uballez for this position and welcomed President Biden’s nomination in January.

Mr. Uballez has served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico since 2016. From 2012 to 2016, Mr. Uballez was an Assistant District Attorney in the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque. From 2011 to 2012, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Santa Fe. In 2011, Mr. Uballez served as a fellow in the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Uballez received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 2011 and his B.A. from Pomona College in 2008.

U.S. Attorneys serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the U.S. Attorney General. They are appointed by, and serve at the discretion of, the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. Each U.S. Attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer of the U.S. within their particular jurisdiction.

 

Rosen Joins Senate NATO Observer Group in Statement of Support for Finland, Sweden Accession to the Alliance

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

Rosen Joined NATO Observer Group Last Month  

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) joined her colleagues in the bipartisan Senate NATO Observer Group in a joint statement of support for Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO in response to the respective nations announcing their intent to join the transatlantic alliance:

“The Senate NATO Observer Group welcomes today’s announcement by Finland and Sweden that they will begin the formal application process to join the NATO Alliance in pursuit of peace and prosperity in Europe. NATO has helped preserve our world order for more than 70 years, but as Putin’s campaign of violence in Ukraine continues and as he looks elsewhere to spread his malign influence, Finland and Sweden’s entry into NATO at this moment is paramount to countering his threats to global security, and especially to nearby, vulnerable nations,” said the Senators. “Finland and Sweden are longstanding NATO partners who already share the collective values that guide our alliance. This demonstration of their intent proves that there are different paths to NATO membership, and we welcome the addition of two highly-capable and enduring partners to join the alliance officially.” 

The Senate NATO Observer Group was first established over twenty years ago in 1997 by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) to serve as a connection between the Administration, NATO, and the U.S. Senate. After being disbanded in 1997 due to a lack of NATO enlargement rounds, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) re-established the Group in 2018 with an expanded mission to closely monitor and inform Senators outside of national security committees about defense spending commitments of Alliance members, the process of upgrading military capabilities, the Alliance’s counter-terrorism capability, NATO enlargement and the ability of NATO member states to address non-conventional warfare. The Group is made up of seven Democrats and seven Republicans in total.

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Feinstein Supports Confirmation of California Federal Judges Thompson, Sykes

Source: United States Senator for California – Dianne Feinstein

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement after the Senate voted to advance the nominations of Judge Trina Thompson to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and Judge Sunshine Sykes to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California:

“Judges Thompson and Sykes are two extremely well-qualified sitting judges, and I’m proud to support both of their nominations. They will make excellent additions to the already impressive bench of federal judges in California.

“Judge Thompson has served on the Superior Court for Alameda County since 2002. She previously served as a juvenile court commissioner and a defense attorney, including five years as a public defender.

“Judge Sykes has served on the Superior Court for Riverside County since 2013. She previously served as deputy county counsel and worked as a legal advocate for vulnerable populations with the Juvenile Defense Panel and California Indian Legal Services.

“These women clearly have the experience necessary and their professional backgrounds will add greater diversity to California’s federal courts.

“When these two judges are confirmed, that will make 10 new district court judges in California and three judges to California-based seats for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals since the beginning of this Congress. The president is nominating and the Senate is confirming consistently well-qualified judges to the bench to fill vacancies and address a judicial emergency.”

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Cornyn Discusses Ukraine Visit and Support for Aid

Source: United States Senator for Texas John Cornyn

“The Ukrainians’ spirit and will to defend their country remains unbroken and undaunted, and Putin’s plans have failed, and failed miserably. We saw this firsthand when we had a chance to visit Kyiv this weekend.”

“This funding, this support, this military and humanitarian support, is not strictly an act of altruism on our part. We are doing this also because allowing Ukraine to defend itself is in our best interest.”

“The cost of the United States doing nothing, of simply turning over this democracy, and our security, and our economy to Putin, well, that’s greater than any cost that could come by a supplemental appropriation.”

WASHINGTON – Today on the floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed last week’s congressional delegation trip to Ukraine, Sweden, and Finland, and how the U.S. benefits from helping Ukraine. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video can be found here.

“We visited not only President Zelensky in the presidential palace but also visited two of what we hope will be the next members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, namely, Sweden and Finland.”

“The Ukrainians’ spirit and will to defend their country remains unbroken and undaunted, and Putin’s plans have failed, and failed miserably. We saw this firsthand when we had a chance to visit Kyiv this weekend.”

“He and his advisors warned us about the possibility of global food shortages caused by Russian blockade[s] of Ukrainian ports. This will lead to widespread famine not just in Europe, but throughout Africa, and spread the pain far afield from Europe.”

“This week, as we know, the Senate will consider a supplemental funding bill to provide Ukraine with even more security and humanitarian assistance. I know there are some who disagree with more funding for Ukraine. To them, I would say this funding, this support, this military and humanitarian support, is not strictly an act of altruism on our part. We are doing this also because allowing Ukraine to defend itself is in our best interest.”

“We can’t kid ourselves by thinking Putin would simply end with his brutal conquest of Ukraine.”

“Of course, in this situation, the cost of the United States doing nothing, of simply turning over this democracy, and our security, and our economy to Putin, well, that’s greater than any cost that could come by a supplemental appropriation.”

“I’m grateful to Leader McConnell for putting together this past weekend’s trip. I found it enormously educational.”

Sen. Cramer: HHS Awards $4.3 Million in Head Start Funds to North Dakota Tribal Communities

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

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) announced today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a total of $4,272,883 in Head Start Indian Grants to North Dakota tribal communities. HHS awarded the following:

  • $1,647,772 to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians;
  • $1,218,684 to the Three Affiliated Tribes; and
  • $1,406,427 to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. 

The funds come through the Head Start and Early Head Start programs, which promote school readiness for young children and toddlers from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development as well as early learning, health, and family well-being.

Sen. Cramer, Colleagues File Amicus Brief on Kerr v. Planned Parenthood

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

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) joined Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tim Scott (R-SC) on an amicus brief requesting the Supreme Court take up Robert Kerr, SC Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) v. Planned Parenthood and Julie Edwards.   

“As this case illustrates—deepening the split between the circuits over whether a private citizen may bring a § 1983 action to enforce an alleged right under the Medicaid Act’s any-qualified-provider provision—the law remains muddled. This uncertainty undermines the separation of powers and principles of federalism. Private enforcement suits, especially class actions, are costly exercises often spanning years. Such suits make the courts, rather than agencies designated by Congress, the front-line arbiters of the legislation. And the states cannot know in advance the commitments they are making when accepting federal funds,” stated the brief.

“This case presents an ideal opportunity for doing so so—making clear that third parties are never entitled to enforce Spending Clause legislation unless Congress creates an express right of action. That will not only resolve the split among the lower courts in this case, but in all Spending Clause cases. It will also bring a new measure of predictability to state and federal budgeting,” continued the brief.

When Congress passed the Medicaid Act, federal lawmakers gave states the authority to decide which providers are qualified to participate in a state’s Medicaid program. In 2018, South Carolina deemed abortion clinics unqualified to receive Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood and one of its clients then sued the SCDHHS in federal court.

The amicus brief argues Congress intended for states to be able to make their own determinations as to which providers could participate in the Medicaid program, and that clients of delisted providers should not have been granted standing to sue the state on the providers’ behalf.

Senators Cramer, Graham, and Scott are joined by Senators John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Steve Daines (R-MT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jim Risch (R-ID), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Braun (R-IN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), John Kennedy (R-LA), Rick Scott (R-FL), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and 105 House members.

Click here to read the amicus brief.

Murphy Statement on Greek Prime Minister’s Joint Address to Congress

Source: United States Senator for Connecticut – Chris Murphy

May 17, 2022

WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday released the following statement after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ address to a joint meeting of Congress:

“As we push back against the global current of autocracy, the longstanding ties and shared values between the U.S. and Greece are more important than ever. That’s why I traveled to Athens last year, and I’m so proud that Greece has been a critical partner in supporting Ukraine. Today I was especially glad to hear of Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ intentions to diversify energy sources and end their reliance on Russian oil and gas,” said Murphy. “Connecticut is home to a large Greek-American community, and I was honored to be joined by Rep. Kavros DeGraw, a proud member of that community.”

Murphy brought Connecticut State Representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw as his guest to the address. Murphy traveled to Greece last year on a CODEL with U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), where they met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and young Greek leaders to reaffirm the U.S.-Greece relationship.

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Senator Markey, Senator Collins, Senator Warner and Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce Bills to Bolster Alzheimer’s Research

Source: United States Senator for Massachusetts Ed Markey

Washington (May 17, 2022) — A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a pair of bills that would cement and build on the important progress that has been made to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Alzheimer’s costs our nation an astonishing $321 billion per year, including $206 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. If we continue along this trajectory, Alzheimer’s is projected to claim the minds of 12.7 million seniors and nearly surpass $1 trillion in annual costs by 2050.  In 2021, family caregivers provided 16 billion hours of unpaid care for loved ones with dementia.  Nearly half of baby boomers reaching age 85 will either be afflicted with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone who has it.

 

In 2010, then-Rep. Markey authored the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) in the House of Representatives with then-Senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) who authored the law in the Senate. NAPA convened a panel of experts, who created a coordinated strategic national plan to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.  The law is set to expire soon and must be reauthorized to ensure that research investments remain coordinated and their impact is maximized.

 

The NAPA Reauthorization Act—authored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ)—would reauthorize NAPA through 2035 and modernize the legislation to reflect strides that have been made to understand the disease, such as including a new focus on promoting healthy aging and reducing risk factors.

 

The Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act—authored by Senators Collins, Markey, Capito, Warner, Moran, and Menendez—would continue through 2035 a requirement that the Director of the National Institutes of Health submit an annual budget to Congress estimating the funding necessary for NIH to fully implement NAPA’s research goals. Only two other areas of biomedical research – cancer and HIV/AIDs – have been the subject of special budget development aimed at speeding discovery.

 

“More than a decade has passed since I first introduced the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) to create a federal framework to prioritize Alzheimer’s patients and direct billions of dollars in funding for medical research. More than seven years have gone by since my Alzheimer’s Accountability Act mandated the National Institutes of Health hold itself accountable to fulfilling the promises set forth in NAPA by submitting its research budget directly to Congress. While these landmark pieces of legislation have increased funding for Alzheimer’s research more than five-fold, the fight to prevent, treat, and cure this disease continues. Today, I am proud to partner with Senator Collins on legislation to reauthorize NAPA and extend the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act so that we can redouble our commitment to Alzheimer’s patients and their families and ensure that disproportionally impacted populations aren’t left behind in the groundbreaking research that will ultimately lead to a cure,” said Senator Markey, a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease.

 

“We have made tremendous progress in recent years to boost funding for Alzheimer’s research, which holds great promise to ending this disease that has had a devastating effect on millions of Americans and their families,” said Senator Collins, a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease.  “The two bills we have introducing today will maintain our momentum and make sure that we do not take our foot of the pedal just as our investments in basic research are beginning to translate into potential new treatments. We must not let Alzheimer’s define our children’s generation as it has ours.”

 

“Consistent research and investment into Alzheimer’s disease is crucial to better understand and treat this illness and help patients, their families, and their caregivers,” said Senator Warner.  “I know all too well the pain and suffering associated with Alzheimer’s disease, as my own mother battled the illness for close to 10 years.  As co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, I am proud to introduce these two pieces of legislation that will continue the transformative work being done to find effective ways to mitigate, treat and ultimately cure Alzheimer’s.”

 

“More than a decade ago, I cosponsored, and Congress passed, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which has since played an important role in ensuring Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are a priority at NIH and other federal agencies,” Senator Capito said. “Now, more than ever, as more Americans and their families are living with the effects of Alzheimer’s, we must keep up this momentum, continue to make critical research investments, and fight for all those impacted by this disease. Both of these bipartisan bills work toward our shared goals, and I’m proud to introduce them today with my colleagues.”

  

“Our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and the development of new treatments has made significant progress since the National Alzheimer’s Project Act was first signed into law in 2011,” said Senator Moran. “In my role on both the HELP and Appropriations Committee, I remain committed to providing necessary resources so we not only maintain NAPA’s progress but expand it to help end this horrible disease.”

 

“In the years since I lost my mother to this devastating disease, I have only increased my commitment to fighting for other Alzheimer’s patients and their families by securing important programs and funding,” said Senator Menendez. “These bills are a bipartisan commitment to continuing our important and critical work to ensure we emerge victorious in this fight.”

 

“Thanks to the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), we’ve made tremendous progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The passage of the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act is the next important step to continue the work of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and ensure that the nation continues to prioritize addressing Alzheimer’s and all other dementia,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “On behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the sponsors for introducing this important bipartisan legislation to help improve the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s throughout the country. The Alzheimer’s Association looks forward to working with our tireless advocates and these congressional champions to advance this bipartisan legislation.”

 

“The passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act more than a decade ago was a turning point in our nation’s fight against Alzheimer’s, fundamentally changing the trajectory of disease research for the better,” said George Vradenburg, chair and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is thankful to Sen. Collins for her leadership on behalf of patients living with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones. We look forward to working with her and other members of Congress to reauthorize NAPA and continue driving toward an end to Alzheimer’s disease.”

 

Markey, Trahan, Clark, Pressley, Massachusetts Delegation Request Abbott’s Timeline to Replenish Commonwealth’s Baby Formula Supply

Source: United States Senator for Massachusetts Ed Markey

Washington (May 17, 2022) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Congresswomen Lori Trahan (MA-03), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Assistant Speaker of the House, and Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) led the Massachusetts Delegation, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representatives Richard Neal (MA-01), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), William Keating (MA-09), Seth Moulton (MA-06), and Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), in sending a letter to Abbott Laboratories Chairman and CEO Robert Ford requesting information on the company’s plans to replenish its Similac baby formula in Massachusetts. Similac is the exclusive baby formula brand for Massachusetts residents using the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, and widespread shortages have persisted following Abbott’s recall of Similac products.

 

“For Bay Staters, Abbott’s Similac baby formula is the exclusive brand for WIC. Thus, although Abbott’s recall has impacted states across the country, it has fallen disproportionately on states like Massachusetts that have contracted with Abbott,” the lawmakers wrote. “In fact, it has been nearly impossible for the parents of roughly 22,000 infants across our Commonwealth who rely on WIC to reliably find a supply of baby formula.”

 

In February, Abbott recalled Similac and other baby formula brands after the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received four complaints of infant illness, including two infants that later died, after consumption of products manufactured at the company’s factory in Sturgis, Michigan. Abbott announced an agreement yesterday with the FDA to reopen the facility, but the drop in production has left many Massachusetts families struggling to find formula that works for them. In communities like Lawrence where most families purchase formula using WIC, many stores only stock Similac and are facing extreme shortages.

 

“Clearly, this is unsustainable. The health of thousands of infants is depending on Abbott to rapidly address the serious issues at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, that led to a bacterial contamination precipitating the recall on February 17, 2022, so Similac production can be restarted as soon as it is safe to do so,” the lawmakers continued. “At the very least, we hope you can agree that rationing food for infants who desperately need nutrients to grow up strong and healthy is not an acceptable outcome.”

 

The lawmakers requested Abbott’s answers to the following questions by Friday:

 

  1. What is your timeline for fixing the contamination at this facility, and when can families anticipate full production capacity to resume?
  2. Once the facility is ready to restart production, how long will it take to replenish the supply of baby formula so that states like Massachusetts will stop experiencing shortages?
  3. In the meantime, what steps are you taking to mitigate these shortages and, in particular, how are you prioritizing states like Massachusetts whose exclusivity agreements through WIC have caused families to suffer from the shortages most acutely?
  4. What steps will you take to ensure that this type of shortage does not happen again?
  5. What criteria are you using to determine who receives formula on a case-by-case basis?
  6. Do you have any prioritization guidelines in place to ensure equitable distribution of formula?

 

A copy of the letter can be accessed HERE.

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Sullivan Statement On Record High Alaska Gas Prices

Source: United States Senator for Alaska Dan Sullivan

05.17.22

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) released the following statement today on Alaska gas prices averaging a record-high of $5.00 per gallon. 

“Today, Americans, especially in my home state of Alaska, are paying the price for Joe Biden’s destructive energy policies,” Sen. Sullivan said. “The sad truth is, the pain Americans experience each time they try to fill up their vehicle is part of an intentional plan by this administrationbeholden to the ultra-leftto drive up prices in order to ‘accelerate’ the transition to renewables. 

“Since day one of his presidency, Joe Biden and his team have waged an unrelenting war on my home state and, moreover, American energy. They have restricted energy production at every opportunity: just look at their recent actions in Cook Inlet and the NPR-A. They have killed and delayed pipelines and infrastructure, strong-armed the financial sector to blackball American energy, and appointed radical anti-energy officials to our nation’s highest financial posts. 

“I implore Joe Biden to abandon the radical left’s destructive anti-American energy agenda. There is another way. We can protect the environment AND unleash American energy. Read my American Energy, Jobs & Climate plan, Mr. President.”

Background:

Today, Alaska gas prices reached an average of $5.00 for the first time ever. Alaska currently has the sixth most expensive gas in the nation. Gas across the U.S. also averaged a record $4.52 today – the eighth consecutive day gas prices reached record highs. 

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