Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 1/19/2018

Jan 22, 2018 Issues: Congressional Issues, Health

Minnesota River

Dear Friends,

This week, the House of Representatives passed a bill to fund the government through the middle of February, including a long-term reauthorization of funds dedicated to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This action is long overdue for Minnesota, which was set to exhaust their federal CHIP funding. As it currently stands, a funding measure needs to pass in the Senate and be signed by the President to avoid a government shutdown. While I supported the funding bill in the House, I am increasingly concerned about the high cost these short-term extensions have on our military, and other vital government functions Minnesotans rely on. Families and businesses couldn’t effectively budget one month at a time, and it is definitely not how the greatest country in the world should be run. I am hopeful that Congress can do the right thing and keep the government operating, and come to a long-term agreement that funds the government through the end of the year. If such a deal comes together soon, I look forward to heading home for a district work period where I will meet with Minnesotans on a number of issues including a few agriculture listening sessions. Check out my website for more details.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue

I met with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week to discuss the operation of the Conservation Reserve Program as well as potential policy changes to CRP.  Since Secretary Perdue’s arrival, he has shut down enrollments to the CRP continuous program with the cap on CRP almost reached, and has stopped the Farm Service Agency from taking applications for CP-42 Pollinator Habitat contracts.  We also discussed the outlook for farm bill passage.  Secretary Perdue has indicated that USDA will be releasing farm bill “principles” to share what the Secretary has heard in his travels and that reflect the Administration’s goals for farm policy.

Minnesota Hospital Association

Lorry Massa (President and CEO), Ben Peltier (Vice President, Legal and Federal Affairs), Matt Anderson (Senior Vice President of Policy)

Representatives of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) visited my office this week to provide their perspective on opportunities and challenges facing Minnesota’s hospitals. We agree that the 340b drug pricing program must be preserved to help safety-net providers lower the cost of medications for rural Minnesotans. According to MHA data, approximately one-third of the state’s hospitals are located in the 7th District, including more than half of its critical access hospitals. I will continue to work closely with these facilities to improve care and support rural health systems.

Pheasants Forever

This week, I met with Dave Nomsen with Pheasants Forever to discuss CRP reforms in the farm bill. We talked about the importance of increasing acres for the program and how to do it in a budget-neutral way. The CRP is an important conservation and wildlife habitat program that benefits many Minnesota producers. I am committed to simplifying the program, bringing more acres into the program, and making it more easily accessible for farmers.

Small Grains Update Meeting

This week, my staff attended several Small Grain Update Meetings sponsored by the University of Minnesota Extension and wheat, corn, and soybean growers. These meetings continued discussions among the farmers about what 2018 will bring for the rural economy. Our farm economy faces price insecurity and a continuously changing market. I will work to protect our famers and ensure the upcoming farm bill brings much needed clarity and security.


Opioid Op-Ed

This week I submitted a letter to the editor to several Minnesota newspapers calling on President Trump to declare a public health emergency in response to the current opioid crisis. You can read my letter below:

Last summer, President Trump’s national opioid commission recommended that he declare the opioid epidemic a “national emergency” or a “public health emergency.” It was my hope that the President would choose the former, which would have allowed for the use of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to combat addiction. Instead, the president chose to declare a 90-day public health emergency which is set to expire on January 23. As we approach this deadline, it is clear that little has been achieved as a result.

Over the course of the past 90 days, the President has not dedicated any new funding or resources to combat addiction. Instead, he announced an awareness campaign that has yet to be seen. The Trump Administration also continues to operate without a Secretary of Health and Human Services or Director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, both of which are crucial leadership positions needed to develop federal addiction strategy.

Public and state health officials largely agree that increased funding is needed to mitigate the crisis. For that reason, I have asked President Trump to declare a national emergency and fully fund more than 30 federal programs that support prevention, treatment, law enforcement, and recovery initiatives. I have also asked the Office of Management and Budget to provide Congress with a comprehensive proposal to provide additional funding in the next supplemental appropriations bill.

Drug overdose deaths in greater Minnesota have steadily increased since 2000, and the Minnesota Department of Health estimates that the majority are caused by opioid abuse. Now more than ever, Congress and the Trump Administration need to take immediate, effective, and consequential action to reverse this trend.

Pipestone 4-H Meats Team Wins First in Nation

The Pipestone 4-H meats judging team placed first at the Western National Roundup competition this month, beating 10 other teams from across the U.S. All four members placed in the top 10 for individual competition with Sam Bobendrier placing second, Colton Raatz placing third, Reid Homann placing seventh and Issac Berg placing tenth. Congratulations to the whole team on all your hard work!

This Week in American History

On January 16, 1874 Willmar Village was incorporated. The township was surveyed and mapped in 1869 and was named for Leon Willmar, an agent for European investors in the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company. In 1901, Willmar was officially established as a city and remains the Kandiyohi County seat.

Minnesota Delegation Cheers on the Vikings

This week, Senator Klobuchar hosted the Minnesota Congressional Delegation for lunch. These delegation events are a chance to bring everyone together collaborate on doing what’s best for Minnesota. We are all cheering on our favorite team this weekend – Skol, Vikings!

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what was Spotted in the Seventh? Each week, the newsletter will feature a landmark or site somewhere in Western Minnesota. The first person to name the location wins! The location of the photo as well as the winner will be revealed in the next newsletter.

This week’s location is where 2018 Super Bowl hopeful and Vikings player Adam Thielen, began his football career…

Congratulations to Shirley Evans of Kerkhoven, who was the first to correctly identify last week’s location as the Edward J. Devitt Courthouse and Federal Building in Fergus Falls!

Share your guess on our website –