Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/13

Jul 13, 2012 Issues: Veterans


Dear Friends,

This week the House Agriculture Committee approved our version of the 2012 Farm Bill.  As this bill continues to move through the legislative process, I look forward to the work ahead and remain hopeful that we can finish the bill and put it on the president's desk in the next few months.  In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives passed important legislation to help disabled veterans and eligible survivors.  Finally, we celebrate Minnesota's recent recognition for excellence in medical care as our state was ranked first in the nation according to a recent study.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

House Ag Committee Advances Farm Bill

After nearly 15 hours of debate, the House Agriculture Committee on July 12 approved H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, by a vote of 35-11.

I’m pleased this step is behind us and we can continue to move forward to finish the 2012 Farm Bill and send it to the President before the current bill expires on September 30. The bill’s commodity title will work for all parts of the country and includes continued support for the no-cost sugar program and the Dairy Security Act reforming outdated dairy programs.

There are now only 12 legislative days before the August District work period. If the House leadership fails to bring up this farm bill before the work period, they will jeopardize one of the economic bright spots of our nation’s fragile economy. Farmers need the certainty of a five year farm bill. We cannot wait for the mess that will occur during the lame duck and, frankly, I think an extension of current farm policy potentially creates more problems than it solves. I am hopeful the House leadership gets this right and brings the bill to the floor shortly, so we can ultimately finish the bill in September. It’s time to move past the partisan games and get to work.

Text of Peterson's opening statement

More info on the 2012 Farm Bill

MPR Coverage of the 2012 Farm Bill Debate

House Passes Cost-of-Living Benefit Increase for Disabled Veterans and Survivors

Disabled veterans and their survivors who collect benefits would get a cost-of-living increase under legislation the House passed Monday. The boost, which would take effect Dec. 1, is expected to be 1.3 percent. The bill (HR 4114) passed by voice vote. The Senate is expected either to move on its version (S 2259) or take up the House measure sometime this month. The aim is to send a bill to the president’s desk before August.  The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that it will provide more than 3.6 million veterans and survivors with compensation benefits in fiscal 2013. Survivors eligible for compensation include spouses, unmarried children younger than 18, children 18 or older who are permanently incapable of self-support, children between the ages of 18 and 22 who are enrolled in school, and certain parents.

Minnesota has the Best Medical Care in the Country

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced this week that Minnesota has the best medical care in the country and is ranked number one top among all other states.  We've always known that Minnesota has some of the best health care in the world and this year we've proved it.  This annual report entitled the State Snapshots provide State-specific health care quality information, including strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. The goal is to help State officials and their public- and private-sector partners better understand health care quality and disparities in their State.  Minnesota has always been a leader in state collaborations between the public and private sectors and this year it has paid off. 

Minnesota is ranked first in care at medical clinics, fourth in care at hospitals, eighth in nursing homes, and overall Minnesota ranks third for care of patients with acute conditions, seventh for chronic care and 11th for preventive care.  While there is always room for improvement it is nice to know that it's not just a talking point and that Minnesota really has some of the best health care in the country.  As I've always said if the rest of the country did things like Minnesota we wouldn't be having this health care debate.

Recent Vote on the Affordable Care Act

This week, a “symbolic” vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act was scheduled on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives; the same day that members of the House Agriculture Committee passed a strong, bipartisan farm bill to send to the House floor.

While Republican leadership has brought up repeal 33 times for “symbolic” or political reasons, they continue to stall on legislation like the farm bill, agriculture appropriations bills, and tax and budget reform bills.

I opposed repealing the Affordable Care Act in its entirety because I want to work on real reforms to this law. Most people want to keep provisions like the elimination of pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults stay on their parents’ insurance, and filling in the Medicare prescription drug donut-hole, and I believe we can build on these reforms while fixing the other problems with the law.

Ice Cream Month

In 1984, President Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. 

This year, National Ice Cream Day will take place on July 15. 


Peterson Pics

Senior Citizen Program at the Red Lake County Fair in Oklee (7/13)
Pictured in top photo are John Lerohl (County Commissioner) and Clayton Haugen (Mayor of Oklee)

Roger and Shirleen Wyland (Glyndon) visited with me at my Washington D.C. office (7/10)

Meeting with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (7/10)

I met with Mike Tupa (Electrical Group Manager, Dakota Supply Group, Employee Owned Company) to talk about energy and tax issues (7/12)