News from Representative Tom Emmer

Dear Friend,

Last week, Congress passed its sixth COVID related package. Unlike the previous bills, this was a wholly partisan effort as House and Senate Democrats opted to move forward without Republican input. The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 “relief” package directed only 9% of its overall funding to public health efforts, and it failed to target the funding to the areas of greatest need. Instead, the government finds itself printing nearly $2 trillion in new money, despite more than $1 trillion in previous COVID funds remain unspent.

Businesses and families continue to need support in order to survive this pandemic. There’s no question. But, our current rate of spending brings with it the threat of a new kind of crisis, one our children and grandchildren will be forced to confront. For these reasons, I could not support the bill. You can read my statement on the House of Representatives vote on this package here.

The vote on COVID relief wasn’t the only thing that happened last week. Keep reading to learn more about our work to represent Minnesota’s Sixth District in Congress…

Farmers Feed and Fuel the World

Last week, I joined the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce and members of our agriculture community for the Central Minnesota Farm Show. No matter how big the challenge, our growers and producers have always adapted to find new and innovative ways to feed the nation. This pandemic, however, has heightened the awareness of many Americans to the fact that our food comes from someplace other than just a grocery store. Our farm families work long days year-round to ensure that we have food on the shelves and on our tables, and I’m proud of the work Minnesota’s farmers do to provide for the nation.

 Watch my remarks here.

The Central Minnesota Farm Show was a great opportunity to share what Congress is doing to direct resources to our growers, producers, and processors. I also discussed some of my concerns with the Biden Administration’s current approach to agriculture.

Upon entering office, President Biden froze payments from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), a program authorized and funded by Congress. The regulatory freeze was explained as a routine review of previous Administration policies. However, CFAP was created to provide rapid relief to our agriculture community in light of the pandemic, and the need for this critical funding remains.

I also called attention to a proposal from the Biden Administration which would be detrimental to farm families who have worked for years on estate plans designed to encourage younger generations to continue living and working on the family farm.

The new Administration has expressed its intent to increase the capital gains tax to 39.6% from the current 23.8%. These plans would also require taxes be paid on unrealized gains for farmers who pass away. With the vast majority of ag assets tied up in land, buildings, and equipment, we’re hearing from farmers concerned with these proposed tax changes. I’ve weighed in with the Administration about the significant financial impact these changes will have on ag families and those seeking to inherit a family farm.

To further support our farmers, I signed on as a co-sponsor of my friend and colleague Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) Flexibility for Farmers and Ranchers Act, which would allow farms to properly calculate the size of their business in order to receive a fair PPP loan amount.

Currently, the Small Business Administration only allows for net income in the PPP loan application. The CARES Act and the follow up COVID-19 relief package in December excluded farm partnerships because of the misunderstanding that these are mainly large corporate operations, which isn’t the case.

Often times, partnerships like these are father-son or cousin-cousin operations that utilize LLCs for tax purposes. Legislation like this will aid our farmers who are in need right now.

For those farmers who get up to go to work every day in order to supply the food on our tables – thank you.

Ensuring Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

This year has been a difficult one for most Americans. Many of us have experienced increased stress as we work from home or look for a new job. However, in some households, the risk for family and domestic violence has increased dramatically.

For those who are experiencing violence at home, it’s imperative we act now to help them and provide funding for resources to aid victims of sexual assault and violence across the nation.

I joined a bipartisan letter asking that funding go towards the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA) in a future coronavirus relief package. We need to do everything we can to support those who are victims of these terrible crimes.

Earlier this year, I also reintroduced the Abby Honold Act to require the Justice Department to award grants to law enforcement agencies to implement evidence-based practices and trauma-informed techniques when responding to sexual assault cases. This training seeks to avoid retraumatizing the victims in order to secure accurate information about the attacker. You can read more about the Abby Honold Act here.

Leading the Way in Health Care

On Friday, I joined the Minnesota Hospitals Association at their annual Health Care Leadership Institute.


Representative Emmer speaking to members of the Minnesota Hospitals Association.

We discussed a number of issues important to hospitals throughout Minnesota, from the expansion of telehealth services, to Medicare Advantage, and the current status of the vaccine distribution. We covered a lot of ground!

One focus of our discussion was on the need for bipartisan collaboration on expanding access to mental health services. While the stigma surrounding mental health is still very real, that wall is quickly coming down. I hope to receive bipartisan support on a bill I recently reintroduced, the Expanding Access to Inpatient Mental Health Act, which corrects an antiquated exclusion that limits the delivery of mental health care.

Currently, Medicaid beneficiaries are among the highest risk population for mental health concerns and struggles with substance abuse, but Medicaid still relies on a 50-year old framework that places a cap on the number of beds provided for patients. The framework also limits the number of days a patient can receive care, without consideration for what the patient may need.  Eliminating this exclusion will allow individuals to receive the care best tailored to their specific diagnosis.

Along with this effort, I joined my colleague, Democrat Congressman David Trone to introduce the Behavioral Health Coordination and Communication Act. This bill would create an Interagency Coordinator to address the currently disjointed federal efforts associated with mental health initiatives. Effectively, this bill would streamline federal efforts on mental health care services and improve communication to focus the government’s response to mental health and substance use disorders.

Supporting Our Nation’s Heroes

For too many veterans, the physical and mental toll of military service often causes long-term effects that our men and women in uniform will deal with for the rest of their lives.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed the VA Vaccine Act, which expands the Veterans Administration’s authority to provide COVID-19 vaccines to all veterans and their caregivers. I supported this effort because veterans should be eligible for the vaccine, regardless of their disability rating or their eligibility to enroll in VA health care system services.

I also became a co-sponsor of the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, which establishes a pilot program allowing veterans with PTSD to work with service dogs. It directs the VA to issue grants to nonprofits who teach veterans how to train and handle service dogs.

Veterans participating in the program would be allowed to keep their dogs after the program’s completion. The bill also directs the VA to assess whether veterans participating in the program had improved psychological function.

I am open to supporting our veterans in every way possible. Whether through mental health care, or increased access to medical services – our veterans deserve the best our country can offer.

Announcing the Congressional Art Competition: Calling Aspiring Artists! 

Each spring, my office participates in the Congressional Art Competition. We accept art from high school students throughout the Sixth Congressional District. The first-place winner gets to have their art hanging in the halls of the U.S Capitol in Washington, D.C! Visit my website for more information.


Find the application and more information about the Art Competition here.

REMINDER: Apply for Young Women’s Leadership Program TODAY

As we continue Women’s History Month, I want to remind you all that my office will be hosting the sixth annual Young Women’s Leadership Program. This great program is designed to highlight the amazing achievements of Minnesota women and inspire the next generation of women leaders.

The program gives young women the chance to learn firsthand about different career options from women who have built successful careers in Minnesota.



Participants of this program will be able to take part in open roundtable discussions with their peers and women professionals, all while hearing stories, receiving guidance, and gaining valuable insights.

Last year’s program was conducted via Google Meet and it went incredibly well. I look forward to hosting the event virtually again this year with another inspiring group of young women.

To learn more about this program and how to apply, click here

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!

Once again, thanks for staying up to date with the work we are doing for Minnesota’s Sixth District.


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