Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 9/7/2018

Sep 10, 2018 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Health

Marshall County

Dear Friends,

This week, the House Committee on Agriculture convened a public meeting of the Farm Bill conferees. In my remarks I stressed the importance of enacting a Farm Bill before federal agriculture programs expire September 30th. I was happy to hear similar comments be made by conferees from both sides of the aisle. The farm economy is hurting. Shrinking markets, falling prices and severe weather have challenged producers in the seventh district, and around the country. American producers need Congress to put differences aside and seek compromise to enact a Farm Bill that will help America’s farmers and ranchers.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Farm Bill Conference Committee Public Meeting

This week in Washington, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts convened a public meeting of the conferees on H.R. 2, the new farm bill.  The meeting offered members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees as well as conferees from outside committees a chance to sit down together and discuss our priorities for the farm bill. In my comments, I stressed the importance of getting a farm bill done for those producers, consumers and rural advocates who are counting on it. I was encouraged to hear the same thoughts back from conferees on both sides of the aisle. Both Republicans and Democrats recognize the challenges that farmers and rural communities face right now, and although we may have different ideas of how to get there, we’re all around the same table working towards a farm bill we can pass and send to the President to sign into law.

In addition to this week’s public meeting of the conferees, House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders and our staff have been meeting and working on the bill for weeks, fine-tuning the range of programs within the farm bill that people count on. I came back to Washington several times throughout the August work period to continue progress on the bill and in addition to this week’s public meeting, there were several meetings with Chairman Conaway, Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow, and I to look for additional ways to move the farm bill forward. Our goal is to get this done by September 30. Minnesota’s farmers have told me that’s what they need, and I’m going to do everything I can to get it done.

For a full transcript of my opening remarks, click here. Video of the opening remarks can be found here.

Medicare Cost Plans

Recently, more than 38,000 Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) of Minnesota beneficiaries wrongly received termination notices for their Medicare Cost Plans. Although the national transition toward a Medicare Advantage market will still cause more than 320,000 Cost Plans to sunset in Minnesota by the end of 2018, it is likely that some of you received termination notices by mistake. If you are a BCBS Cost Plan enrollee who received a termination notice, contact your provider to ensure that you are receiving accurate information about your coverage options.

Crop Insurance Professionals Association

Matthew Allen (ELBOW LAKE), Rebekah Solem and Travis Keister (Blue Earth)

My staff aide Rebekah Solem met with Minnesota representatives of the Crop Insurance Professionals Association, Matthew Allen and Travis Keister. They discussed the importance of crop insurance and the status of the farm bill, as well as the response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program, which is intended to minimize the impact of foreign retaliatory tariffs. The group expressed their thanks for my steadfast commitment to protecting crop insurance.

National Electrical Contractors Association

Representatives of the National Electrical Contractors Association, Ed Christian, Gregory Rick, and Zachary Flurer, stopped by my office to discuss a number of issues facing contractors across the industry. Issues like taxation, healthcare, education and workforce training impact electrical contractors and other small businesses. I will continue working to ensure a strong economy – one that is supportive of small business.

USO Military Spouse Care Package Program

Members of my staff helped assemble care packages for military spouses on Wednesday. Throughout the summer, the USO conducted The Salute to Military Spouses, a six-month spotlight on the contributions and challenges of military spouses. The campaign aimed to raise public awareness of the unique issues that affect the spouses of service members. As part of the campaign, the USO will extend its Care Package Program to include a Military Spouse Care Package Program. This fall, the program will allow deployed service members the opportunity to send a free USO care package directly to their military spouse.

This Week in American History

Dr. Floyd Lewis // Dr. C. Walton Lillehei

On September 2, 1952, Doctors Floyd Lewis and C. Walton Lillehei performed the first hypothermic open-heart surgery at the University Hospital in Minneapolis. During the procedure, the patient, a five-year-old girl, had her body temperature lowered to 79 degrees. She recovered, leaving the hospital eleven days later.

What’s the Story?

The retail industry is among the largest employers in the seventh district. With over 10,000 retail establisments, retail supports an estimated 84,000 jobs in western Minnesota. Small businesses provide rural communities with products and services that would otherwise not be available. I will continue to advocate for federal policies that support our retailers and other small businesses because I know how important these establisments are for folks in Minnesota. This plaque from the National Retail Federation is displayed in my office in Washington, D.C.

“Books that Shaped Me”
Drue Schwitters