News from Representative Tom Emmer

Dear Friend,

Tomorrow, our nation will witness another peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. As we embark on this new chapter in our country, I wanted to remind you of some words by Martin Luther King Jr., who we remembered and honored yesterday as a nation:

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

We must listen to each other and work together. I take the words of Martin Luther King Jr. very seriously; if we do not find a way to work across the aisle and build on our shared values, we will not be the prosperous country we once were again.

I look forward to working on nonpartisan solutions to the problems facing the American people. Efforts like providing mental health assistance to agriculture and rural communities, and finally passing the Abby Honold Act, which I work on with my fellow Minnesotan, Senator Amy Klobuchar, are at the top of my legislative priority list for the new Congress.

I’ll continue finding ways to seek out the values we share and work together on issues we have in common that impact the American people.

Supporting Teachers as Schools Reopen

On December 16, 2020, Governor Walz made an announcement that elementary schools can return to an in-person learning model this week. I believe that in-person learning is vital for our students and this is finally the right move forward for our children who are eager to get back to the classroom.

However, I understand the concerns of our educators and adults who work in learning environments and who want to keep themselves and their students safe. In support of our teachers, I introduced the Safe Teachers Assistance and Return To School (STARTS) Act to assist teachers who have returned to the workplace to teach our children. The legislation increases and extends the educator expense deduction for teachers purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) out-of-pocket.  


This effort would temporarily increase the current teacher tax credit from $250 to $1,000 for the 2021 and 2022 tax years. The increase is dedicated to the out-of-pocket purchase of PPE, which includes masks and sanitization supplies.

Teachers have done their best to keep educating our children through these difficult times, and they know what it takes to ensure a safe learning environment. We must help reduce the financial burden of any purchases they make to meet those safety and educational goals.  

In-person learning is vital, and so is the physical and financial health of our teachers. These teachers deserve our support as they assume the responsibility of safely reopening our schools.

ICYMI: New COVID-19 Assistance Available

Economic Impact Payment for Individuals:

As part of the COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress in December, another round of stimulus checks were issued for qualified Americans. Recently, the Internal Revenue Service urged people to visit for the most current information on the second round of Economic Impact Payments rather than calling the agency or their financial institutions or tax software providers.

The IRS and the Treasury Department began issuing a second round of Economic Impact Payments at the end of December 2020.

To check the status of both your first and second payments, use the Get My Payment tool, available in English and Spanish only on


Small Business Assistance Available

First Draw Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information:

  • The Paycheck Protection Program resumed January 11, 2021, to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll.
    • These funds can be used for payroll costs, including benefits, and may also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations.
  • The Small Business Administration will initially only accept First Draw PPP Loan applications from participating community financial institutions.
  • If you are a borrower, you can be matched with a qualified PPP lender using SBA Lender Match.
  • SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses.

Who qualifies?

  • Small businesses that have 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors.
How do I apply?
  • You can apply for a First Draw PPP Loan until March 31, 2021.
  • If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download the following PPP borrower application form to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender:
Second Draw Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information:
  • Eligible businesses may now apply for a Second Draw PPP loan.
  • You can apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan from January 13, 2021, until March 31, 2021.
  • To be matched with a participating lender, visit SBA Lender Match.
  • If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download the following PPP borrower application form to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender
  • For most borrowers, the maximum loan amount of a Second Draw PPP Loan is 2.5x average monthly 2019 or 2020 payroll costs up to $2 million. For borrowers in the Accommodation and Food Services sector, the maximum loan amount for a Second Draw PPP Loan is 3.5x average monthly 2019 or 2020 payroll costs up to $2 million.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans:
SBA is currently accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications from all qualified small businesses, including agricultural businesses and private nonprofit organizations. The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to coronavirus (COVID-19). To apply, visit here.

Fighting for Minnesota-made Renewable Energy

As a member of the House Biofuels Caucus, I joined a bipartisan letter to the Trump Administration urging that they immediately reject the issuance of waivers for some oil refineries that obfuscate the Renewable Fuel Standard.

I have long supported the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and believe that any last-minute approval of oil industry waivers would be detrimental to the Midwest, and to Americans who have struggled through this pandemic.

Our farm communities need support, and this effort, should it go forward – would undermine that.

Until next week, if you are in need of assistance or would like to share your thoughts with me, please write me an e-mail here.

To keep up with what we’re doing in Washington, follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!



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