Rep. Peterson's Newsletter and Questionnaire 7/6/2020
4th of July fireworks in HANCOCK
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) went into full effect this week. The agreement modernizes aspects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and expands export opportunities for Minnesota’s dairy farmers. I supported the USMCA on its path through Congress and I’m happy to see the agreement reach this important milestone.
I introduced the Reinvigorating Lending for the Future (RLF) Act with Rep. John Katko (R-NY) to defederalize capitalization grants through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Revolving Loan Fund Program. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would remove red tape that discourages organizations from utilizing the Revolving Loan Fund and gives more control back to local organizations to support business development and job growth.
In the House, I voted against H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act because it fails to pay for the transportation investments we need and was bogged down by unrelated spending we cannot afford. Our country is in critical need of funding for transportation infrastructure and that is especially true in our rural communities. I’m hopeful that negotiations with the Senate will yield a more balanced approach.
The House unanimously passed an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program lending deadline from June 30th to August 8th. This extension has already passed the Senate and will allow the more than $130 billion in remaining funds allocated to the program to be applied for and granted to small businesses struggling due to the coronavirus.
I hope you enjoyed your Fourth of July weekend and were able to celebrate the ideas and values that America was founded on, even during the pandemic.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Serving the 7th
Photo from the Murray County Historical Museum Facebook page
The Murray County Museum in Slayton has a copy of my May 11, 2020 newsletter in its archives, as part of their effort to capture the stories of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting area residents. The newsletter included details of how my staff helped Mark York, of Lake Wilson, get home after being stranded in Ghana when travel restrictions were imposed. Museum Site Coordinator and Collections Manager Rose Schmidt noted that the coronavirus crisis is a historical event and in the future, there will be questions about what it meant for Murray County residents like Mark. You can visit the Murray County Museum at 2480 29th Street in Slayton or online at https://murraycountymn.com/museum/.
My office is ready to help constituents with any number of issues, including difficulties caused by the pandemic. If you can't get an answer from a federal agency in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, my office may be able to help resolve a problem or get you the information you need. While we cannot guarantee you a favorable outcome, we will do our best to help you receive a fair and timely response to your problem.
USMCA Goes Into Effect
Screenshot from Farmers for Free Trade’s virtual roundtable
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) went into effect on July 1st and I was happy to participate in Farmers for Free Trade’s virtual roundtable celebrating the occasion. I supported the USMCA from the beginning and was a strong advocate for the proposal as it worked its way through Congress. Implementation of the USMCA is a positive sign for agriculture during this difficult time and I am thankful we were able to get the job done. I will continue to monitor the implementation to ensure our trading partners abide by their agreements.
Introducing Bill to Expand Local Meat Processing
I introduced the bipartisan Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act to create a grant program to help custom and state-inspected meat and poultry processing facilities reduce the cost of attaining Federal inspection. The program would provide grants of up to $100,000 for planning and any capital investments associated with attaining Federal inspection. Due to the current disruption in the meat and poultry supply chains, the bill would not require matching funds for Fiscal Years 2020 or 2021. The bill would also require USDA to work with States to determine what improvements to the Cooperative Interstate Shipment program should be made.
Urging President Trump to Uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard
I led a bipartisan letter with 32 members of the House Biofuels Caucus urging the President to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denies the 52 “gap year” waiver petitions it received for past Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance years. EPA has undermined the RFS through its illegal use of small refinery waivers and the President should use his authority to prevent further harm to farmers and biofuels producers. Approving the 52 gap year petitions would reduce demand for biofuels by an additional 2 billion gallons and further harm the rural economy.
Reinvigorating Lending for the Future (RLF) Act
I introduced the bipartisan Reinvigorating Lending for the Future (RLF) Act with Rep. John Katko (R-NY) to defederalize capitalization grants through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Revolving Loan Fund Program. The Revolving Loan Fund is an important tool in the rebuilding of our rural economies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would give more control back to local organizations to support business development and job growth.
Unfunded Mandates Accountability & Transparency Act
I’m proud to share that the National Taxpayers Union has endorsed the Unfunded Mandates Accountability and Transparency Act which I introduced last week with Representative Foxx. The bill will increase transparency about the costs of unfunded federal mandates and help prevent federal agencies from issuing regulations that put extraordinary burdens on small businesses and on state and local governments.
Opposition to H.R. 2, Moving Forward Act
Our country is in critical need of funding for transportation infrastructure and that is especially true in our rural communities. I voted against H.R. 2 because it fails to pay for the transportation investments we need and was bogged down by unrelated spending we cannot afford. I am disappointed that partisan politics and a one-sided process have stalled out a desperately needed infrastructure package, but am hopeful that
Last week, I ask what you think is the most accurate statement when describing the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what you said:
Thinking about the coronavirus in the U.S., what do you think is the most accurate?
Garden Valley Technologies Annual Meeting
Garden Valley Technologies CEO & General Manager Tim Brinkman
My staff aide LeRoy Stumpf attended Garden Valley Technologies’ (GVT) 115th annual meeting. Taking the continuing health risks from COVID-19 into consideration, the Board of Directors decided to hold the meeting virtually. Attendees had to the option to join via Zoom, dial in by phone, stream the meeting from their computer or mobile device, or watch the meeting live on GVTV local channels. The meeting went well under the direction of Board President Byron Ness, Treasurer Allen Paulson and CEO/General Manager Tim Brinkman. Garden Valley Technologies serves a large area of Western Minnesota with good quality telephone, TV, and broadband services.
Congressional Art Competition – Last Call to Vote!
An entry to the Congressional Art Competition for the 7th District of Minnesota.
Voting for the People’s Choice Award in the 2020 Congressional Art Competition ends on July 8. There are 10 finalists posted on my Facebook page. Make sure to “like” your favorite and help select the winner.
Cost Share Deadline Extended
The New Markets Cost Share program has extended the deadline for fourth quarter applications. E-commerce, contract merchandising, in-store demos, or tradeshow expenses made between March 16 and July 31 are eligible for reimbursement through the AGRI New Markets program. The deadline had previously been set for June 30. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
July 15 Tax Deadline
Minnesota taxpayers have until July 15 to file state and federal tax returns for 2019. To facilitate social distancing, here are some electronic options to assist you with your taxes:
- File tax returns.
- Get refunds.
- Submit tax payments.
- Free File on IRS.gov.
- MilTax for military and eligible veterans.
Hunger Impact Partners
Free take-home meals will be available for Minnesota students this summer through the USDA Summer Food Service Program. You can find distribution sites on the Free Meals for Kids app, by calling 1-888-711-1151 or visiting https://hungerimpactpartners.org/.
Apply for the Dream Big Awards
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is recognizing the best American small businesses through the Dream Big Awards. The awards program seeks to celebrate small businesses and their contributions to economic growth. A business must operate primarily in the United States, provide support to their community, as well as either have less than 250 employees or gross revenues less than $20 million in 2018 and 2019. Deadline to apply is July 17th.
The State of Minnesota has launched a new website staysafe.mn.gov for all guidance created by state agencies to help businesses, organizations, and individuals stay safe while Minnesota continues to open.
Other updates can be found at the State of Minnesota’s COVID-19 dashboard at mn.gov/covid19. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is providing additional updates and Material and Resources for COVID-19 response. To get tested, talk to a doctor, local clinic, or Find Testing Locations near you.
Additional information can be found on my website at collinpeterson.house.gov/covid-19-resources.
Economic Impact Payments
The Economic Impact Payments (EIP), also referred to as stimulus checks or individual rebates, are a major piece of the CARES Act.
Call the IRS EIP phone number at 1-800-919-9835 to find information to frequently asked questions and have the option to speak with a representative. Additional information and answers to common questions can be found on the IRS’s Economic Impact Payment Information Center page, which has recently been updated.
Haven’t received your EIP? You can initiate an EIP payment trace. Find out more from the IRS.
- Filers: Check on the status of your EIP by visiting the IRS’s Filers: Get My Payment web-portal. Accessing Get My Payment more than one time per day may lead to getting locked out of the portal with no way to get it unlocked.
- Non-Filers: For Americans that are not required to file taxes, make sure you still receive your payment by using Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here by October 15.
- Social Security & SSI Guide – View the guide for Social Security and SSI Recipients.
- EIP Prepaid Debit Cards – Some people will be receiving their EIP by prepaid debit card. Learn more at www.eipcard.com.
- Scams – The IRS urges you to beware of schemes offering you a faster path to your Economic Impact Payment and other phishing schemes. Don’t engage potential scammers online or on the phone. Learn more about EIP related scams.
Stepping Up in the 7th
Twice a year for the past five years, Titan Machinery in Marshall has sent payloaders and forklifts to Battery A of the 1-151 Field Artillery unit of the National Guard, based out of Marshall, to help load equipment for transport to Camp Ripley. This year, the Marshall-area Beyond the Yellow Ribbon committee recognized Titan Machinery with Yellow Ribbon Achievement Award, presenting a certificate of appreciation and Yellow Ribbon coin to Titan Machinery general manager Troy Schmitt and parts manager Rich Gregoire. As a former National Guardsman, I appreciate Titan Machinery’s continued support of our service members.
This Week in History
On July 2nd, 1863, 262 members of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment charged on a much larger Confederate force at the Battle of Gettysburg. The Minnesota volunteers succeeded in slowing the Confederates’ advance but took on 215 casualties – amount to 82% of their unit. The next day, the remaining soldiers helped repel Pickett’s charge. Private Marshall Sherman captured the flag of the Twenty-eighth Virginia Regiment in the process, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at Gettysburg.
The captured flag is still in the possession of the State of Minnesota, despite numerous requests from Virginia to return the battle-won flag.
Private Marshall Sherman (St. Paul) with the captured Confederate flag.
Photo from the Minnesota Historical Society.
Views from the 7th