Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 1/18

Jan 18, 2013 Issues: Financial Services, Veterans

Inauguration of President Andrew Jackson

First Inaugural Ceremony held outside the U.S. Capitol (1829)


Dear Friends,

This week the House of Representatives read the U.S. Constitution aloud to ring in the new session of Congress.  I became a cosponsor of the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, a bill that would require an audit of the Fed, and also signed onto a letter urging the facilitation of US-Russian adoption cases currently held up in politics.  This newsletter includes information about a new microloan program available from the USDA as well as the VA's transition to a paperless claims processing system.

This Sunday, as we prepare for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, I will be hosting an Open House in my office for constituents from the 7th District who are making the trip to Washington D.C. for this historic event.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District


On the Floor

Reading of U.S. Constitution

On Tuesday, Members of the House of Representatives came together to read the U.S. Constitution aloud in the House chamber.  This was the second time in our nation's history that this founding document has been read in its entirety on the House floor.  Click here to view the reading of the U.S. Constitution on 1/15/2013

Audit the Fed

This week I became a cosponsor of H.R. 24, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2013.  I was a cosponsor of this legislation when it passed the House in the last Congress, and I look forward to further action on this legislation in the current 113th Congress.  H.R. 24 would direct the Comptroller General to complete an audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board as well as the Federal Reserve Banks and submit a detailed report of the findings to Congress within 90 days of completion.  Over the years I have been consistent in my support for an audit of the Federal Reserve's lending practices.  One of the main reasons I voted for the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation is that it included an audit of the Federal Reserve's lending practices.  The financial crisis and subsequent bailouts of major financial institutions made it clear that we need to cut down on irresponsible, risky activities by those who manage the American economy.

Letter Urging Facilitation of US-Russian Adoptions

I recently signed onto a letter urging the facilitation of adoption cases already in process between the U.S. and Russia.  A number of adoption cases that have already been initiated are being snared in the political drama of the recent Dima Yakovlev Law that restricts adoptions between our two countries.  We must stand united against child abuse and child neglect, and that is why I joined my colleagues in urging the facilitation of current cases that are unnecessarily held up.

Peterson Statement on President's Gun Proposals

"We all want to avoid tragedies like the recent shooting in Newtown, and I believe Americans want to do everything we can to make sure our kids are safe. The President has now put forward his proposals. There are some good ideas, some bad ideas, and some new ideas. There are ideas that have been tried before with limited success and some that would require significant new resources and spending. Some also require significant cooperation from states and other entities.

"As I've said before, I want to remain open to all ideas put forward that have the potential to make things safer for our kids. The devil is always in the details, so I'm going to keep an open mind and not make any decisions until I've seen the specific legislative language and the specific language in any executive orders that are proposed. And I stand willing to work with anybody, including the President, on ideas that will help to keep our kids safer."

 USDA to Offer Farm 'Microloans'

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced a new microloan program designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000. The new microloan program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations.

Press Release from the USDA

VA Transitions to Paperless Processing System

On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced its nationwide transition to paperless processing of Veterans' disability claims.  The new electronic claims process system should provide a more efficient processing operation, more consistent claims processing, and help eliminate backlog.  As of last month 18 VA regional offices had already implemented the new system, and by the end of this year the VA is on track to have all regional offices fully transitioned.

This Week in American History

It may be hard to imagine today, but at this time in 1906 the United States was on the verge of a serious ice famine.  Due to a monopoly in the ice industry, prices would frequently skyrocket as lack of competition allowed the ice trust to charge customers higher rates.  Ice famines became an all too frequent concern especially during warm winters, when ice companies blamed a summer price increase on mild weather that produced insufficient stocks.  Those hardest hit during these ice famines were the poor, who could afford to buy their ice only in small quantities.  The invention of refrigeration and ice-making machinery brought the ice industry back to an even playing field, and its widespread benefits include not only cheap drinks but also improvement in food quality and public health.