Kevin Cramer

Kevin Cramer

NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota Health Care Leaders Tell Cramer and Burgess: ‘Lift Regulations and Let Us Innovate’

2017/02/23

BISMARCK, N.D.  – North Dakota health care leaders delivered a unified message to one of the chief House architects of health care reform in Congress – “Lift regulations and let us innovate.”

Congressman Kevin Cramer hosted Congressman Mike Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas), chair of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, for a Health Care Reform Roundtable in Bismarck today.  They were joined by Senator John Hoeven and Governor Doug Burgum, who listened to state officials and legislators, health insurance providers, medical and hospital association leaders, patient advocates, and administrators from hospitals and long term care centers across North Dakota.

Cramer and Burgess said they expect committee action in the next few weeks on the first Obamacare repeal and replace legislation.  The Energy and Commerce Committee, which Cramer is a member, has jurisdiction for the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration and Indian Health Service.

In replacing Obamacare, Cramer said Congress is addressing a health care law now in its death spiral.  “This law is no longer sustainable and will fail on its own if we don’t take action.  It is time to focus on solutions as we begin fixing something that is really broken.  Today’s message is we need regulatory relief, more state flexibility, and more patient choices. One thought we heard over and over today was ‘let innovation happen.’  We are fortunate in North Dakota to have a governor who knows how to innovate,” Cramer said.  

“There is great energy and enthusiasm in the House to develop a patient-centered alternative to the current Obamacare law,” Burgess said.  “Agency heads can provide immediate relief by lifting regulations.  In Congress, our first step will be a reconciliation bill that will repeal significant portions of Obamacare, implement a period of stability for patients, and include some replacement provisionsCongress will then consider separate legislation to strengthen insurance markets and address other related concerns.”

Cramer, Burgess and Hoeven stressed new legislation will continue to cover pre-existing conditions and keep children on their parents’ policies to age 26.  They also support expanding health savings accounts to further incentivize the creation of a consumer-driven health system.

State Medicaid administrators hoped for more flexibility to design the best program to provide a safety net for the most vulnerable.  “Lifting unreasonable Medicaid regulations would free up resources to develop a more effective program,” said Maggie Anderson, director of Medicaid Services for North Dakota.  Others said the Medicaid’s preventative health and addiction coverage helps control costs and encourages greater stability for recipients to maintain their health and support their families. 

Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread said before Obamacare, “health insurance in North Dakota was not broken. Insurance markets hate unpredictability and uncertainty and that’s what we have had for the past six years.  I hope new legislation will give power back to the states and let us create plans that work for our people.  As a small state, we can be nimble and reinvent programs that could lead the nation.”

“More than anything, we need regulatory relief,” said Shelly Peterson, president of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association.  “There are $800 million in Obamacare regulations not yet implemented. With fewer regulations we could offer much more for less.”

With roundtable discussions such as today’s gathering of North Dakota healthcare leaders, Hoeven said Congress is doing what was not done when Obamacare was passed. “We are giving everyone a voice and a chance to have a say in the process to design the best possible product we can.”

Burgum said unlike Obamacare, new health care legislation must be actuarially sound.  “It must encourage provider productivity, reduce regulations, and allow flexibility to move dollars upstream.  In North Dakota we are trying to reduce the size of government by 25 percent.  With 19 percent of our state budget being spent on Medicaid, we have a challenge before us to develop a program that lowers underlying costs.” 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is one of two primary House committees with the jurisdiction to develop legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.  As the most senior medical doctor in Congress, Burgess is a strong advocate for legislation aimed at reducing health care costs, improving choices, reforming liability laws to put the needs of patients first, and ensuring there are enough doctors in the public and private sector to care for America’s patients and veterans.  Born in Rochester, Minn., Burgess has represented the 26th District of Texas, located north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, since 2003.

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Adam Jorde

Communications Director

Rep. Kevin Cramer | North Dakota

1717 Longworth HOB | O: 202-225-2611

Mobile: 202-308-3853

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Cramer Holding ‘Coffee with Cramer’ Town Hall in Fargo Thursday

2017/02/21

Contact: Adam Jorde at 202-308-3853

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer will host a Coffee with Cramer town hall Thursday in Fargo.  It is scheduled from 1 to 2 p.m. at Beans Coffee Bar, located at 5675 26th Ave. S.

As North Dakota’s only member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Cramer has made constituent outreach a top priority.  "The best part of public service is the public,” said Cramer.  “My Coffee with Cramer events, along with my weekly Talk Radio Town Halls, afford me access to North Dakotans that serves me and our state well. 

This is the 36th  Coffee with Cramer townhall Cramer has held across North Dakota, and the fourth in Fargo since taking office in 2013.  Other Coffee with Cramer locations have been Bismarck, Casselton, Cavalier, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Garrison, Grafton, Grand Forks, Harvey, Hillsboro, Jamestown, Larimore, Linton, Lisbon, Mandan , Mayville, Minot, Rugby, Stanley, Steele, Tioga, Valley City, Wahpeton, Watford City and Williston.

According to the Capitol Hill government issues website Legistorm.com, Cramer has held the most town halls of any Member of Congress.  Since taking office in 2013, Cramer has held 415 town halls, 171 more than the Member of Congress with the next highest number of town halls.

Cramer holds weekly radio town halls for more than two hours every week that are heard statewide Wednesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. central on four North Dakota stations: KFYR 550 AM (99.7 FM) in Bismarck, 1100 AM The Flag in Fargo, KLTC 1460 AM in Dickinson, and KTGO 1090 AM in Tioga; Wednesday afternoons from 1:30-2 p.m. on the Rob (re)PORT, WDAY 970 AM; and Thursdays from 10-10:30 a.m. on KNOX 1310 AM in Grand Forks, and 10:30-11:00 a.m. on KHND 1470 AM in Harvey. 

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Cramer Announces Mobile Office Hours in Northwood and Larimore March 1

2017/02/20

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer has scheduled mobile office hours in Northwood and Larimore on Wednesday, March 1.

Mobile Office Hours allow constituents to receive assistance with casework from the Congressman’s staff. “Many issues are raised through various forms of contact with me and my offices. Having members of my staff in Northwood and Larimore allows more time for those with concerns and questions to explore solutions with people in a position to help,” said Cramer. “I realize it's not always easy or even possible for people to get to my district offices. Mobile office hours brings these services closer to constituents.”

Individuals from the Northwood and Larimore areas are encouraged to stop by the mobile office for help with veterans and Social Security benefits, Medicare billing problems, immigration issues, military records or medals, or for assistance with any other federal agency.

Mobile Office Hours—Wednesday, March 1

 

Northwood Community Center—11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

              6 Raymond St. N

Northwood, ND 58267

 

Edna Ralston Library—1-2:30 p.m.

              116 ½ Towner Ave.

Larimore, ND 58251  

 

Contact Emily Custer, Cramer’s Constituent Services Representative, with any questions. Her email is Emily.Custer@mail.house.gov and her phone is 701-738-4880. 

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CRAMER: Statement on the Confirmation of Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator

2017/02/17

Congressman Kevin Cramer issued the following statement today about the U.S. Senate confirming Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

“I am pleased Mr. Pruitt was finally confirmed as our next EPA Administrator.  With his healthy skepticism of agency power, Administrator Pruitt will return environmental protection to the states where it rightfully belongs.  For North Dakota’s ag and energy economy, Pruitt will be one of the most significant appointments by the Trump Administration.  I look forward to the EPA rolling back their Waters of the U.S. rule as well as other harmful regulations such as the Clean Power Plan, and other greenhouse gas emission rules,” said Cramer. 

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CRAMER: Dakota Access Pipeline and Ag Issues Discussed in Meeting with President Trump Today

2017/02/17

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Kevin Cramer discussed several issues of importance to North Dakota in a meeting with President Trump at the White House today. Cramer was among about a dozen House members who were invited to the White House because they were early supporters of Trump during last year’s presidential campaign. 

“It was an honor to meet with the President at the White House today,“ Cramer said.  “I had the opportunity to visit with him about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the need for federal law enforcement support at the protest site.  I also brought up several agriculture commodity concerns of  North Dakota producers. Despite his very busy schedule today, President Trump was attentive and interested in these and the other issues we discussed.  I hope this is just the first of many opportunities I have to share with him what is on the minds of North Dakotans.“

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CRAMER: Legislation Ensures Lifeline Program Remains Under State Authority

2017/02/16

Listen to Audio Recording Here

   

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Kevin Cramer and Senator Deb Fischer introduced legislation today in the House and Senate preventing fraud and abuse in the Lifeline Program.

The bill, the Preserving State Commission Oversight Act of 2017, amends the Communications Act of 1934 to protect a state public utility commission‘s role in policing and designating eligible telecommunications carriers for participation in in the Lifeline program. 

Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers through the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Universal Service Fund.  In 2005, Lifeline discounts were made available on pre-paid wireless service plans, in addition to traditional landline service.  Most recently, the Lifeline program has begun providing assistance for broadband access.

Last year, the FCC announced plans to remove state oversight of the program and replace it with a National Verifier program.  In June, Cramer, along with Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.), led a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of 25 Members of Congress in sending a letter to then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler expressing concerns about these proposed changes.  The letter asks the FCC to consider the important role that states play in reducing waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program.

A bipartisan coalition of Public Service and Utility Commissioners in 37 states, including North Dakota, sent a letter to the FCC saying these changes “can only increase fraud and abuse of the Lifeline program, and can only undermine existing complementary State Lifeline programs.”

The Lifeline program, often referred to as “Obamaphone,” has been under intense scrutiny due to flexible eligibility requirements and abuse. In April 2016, the FCC issued a $51 million fine to a California-based company, Total Call Mobile, for signing up tens of thousands of ineligible Lifeline consumers and pocketing nearly $10 million in additional profits.

“In a program where waste and fraud have run rampant for years, removing the ability of states to police companies participating in the Lifeline program can only lead to further misuse of public funds,” said Cramer.  “The FCC doesn’t have the authority, the manpower, or the local knowledge to police the entire program at a national level.  That’s why the states are so important in maintaining the integrity of this program.”

Before becoming a member of the House of Representatives in 2013, Cramer served on the North Dakota Public Service Commission for 10 years. In Congress, Cramer is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FCC.

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Cramer Issues Statement on President Trump Signing the Law Blocking the Stream Protection Rule

2017/02/16

Listen to Audio Here

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 16, 2017

Contact: 202-578-9428

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Kevin Cramer issued the following statement following President Donald Trump signing into law  today legislation blocking the Department of Interior Stream Protection Rule. (SPR). Cramer co-sponsored  H.J. Res. 38, which passed the House Feb. 1 and the Senate Feb. 2.  The bill disapproves the SPR, which implements regulations on surface coal mining nationwide based on its impact on aquatic environments in the Appalachian region.  A vocal critic of the regulation since first proposed, Cramer opposed its adverse effects to the coal industry and subsequently electricity consumers.

“Today signals yet another milestone in our quest for a brighter future for jobs in the coal industry and the promise of low-cost energy. The American people sent a clear message in November they are tired of job-killing regulations from Washington.  Working together, this Congress and President Trump are committed to continuing to free our nation from regulations like the SPR that stifle economic growth, stifle job creation and increase energy costs to consumers and businesses and frankly, do nothing to help our environment. These  were far too commonplace in the previous Administration. I want to thank President Trump for keeping his campaign promise to make reducing the regulatory burden on hard-working Americans a top priority.  I look forward to working with him on many more efforts like this to steer our ship of state back in the right direction.“

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CRAMER: House Approves Bill Blocking HHS Family Planning Regulation

2017/02/16

Listen to Audio Here

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 16, 2017

Contact: 202-578-9428
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer supported a joint resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today disapproving a Department of  Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation limiting state choices on dispersing funds for family planning clinics.  The resolution, which Cramer co-sponsored, passed by a vote of 230 to 188.

H.J. Res 43 blocks an Obama Administration regulation which was finalized last December limiting state choices on Title X funding for family planning and related services to low-income individuals in local communities. The regulation prevents states from eliminating abortion providers from Title X grant distributions and was widely perceived as an attempt by the Obama Administration to require states to fund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business. Prior to the December regulation, states had the ability to provide Title X funds at their discretion, and could choose to only provide grant funding to healthcare providers that did not provide abortion services.

Cramer said states should retain the right to decide how federal funding for family planning should be used in their communities.  “This bill will again give states authority to use Title X money for other health care providers, including community health centers and hospitals that offer a full range of health care services, including family planning, but do not perform abortions,” he said. “The American people have supported Congress for more than 30 years in its efforts to prevent their tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions, and this legislation returns authority to states to carry out these wishes in their disbursement of federal funds.”

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) provides an expedited legislative process for Congress to disapprove of administrative rules through joint disapproval resolutions. Regulations issued by executive branch departments and agencies, independent agencies and commissions are subject to CRA disapproval resolutions.  Under this law, there is a 60-day period in which to pass a resolution of disapproval from when the rule is reported to Congress.  When both the Senate and House pass a disapproval resolution that is signed by the President, the rule either does not go into effect or is considered as not having gone into effect.

Organizations supporting H.J. Res 43 include, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Life League; Anglicans for Life; Bound4LIFE International; CareNet; Catholic Medical Association; Christian Medical Association; Citizens Against Government Waste; Concerned Women for America; Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Faith and Freedom Coalition; Family Research Council; Focus on the Family; Heritage Action; Liberty Counsel Action; Life Issues Institute; Life Legal Defense Foundation; Live Action; March for Life Action; National Black Pro-Life Union; National Right to Life; Radiance Foundation; STOPP International; Susan B. Anthony List; and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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CRAMER: Experience from Dakota Access Pipeline Consultation Process Can Provide Insight for Future Infrastructure Projects

2017/02/16

Click Here to View Cramer’s Hearing Comments

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 15, 2017

Contact: 202-578-9428

  WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Kevin Cramer questioned witnesses on the consultation process during the permitting of the  Dakota Access Pipeline  in an Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing today. Cramer sits on this subcommittee.

The hearing examined opportunities to create jobs, grow the economy, strengthen the workforce, and improve energy security through energy infrastructure projects. It also considered solutions to bring greater transparency, accountability, and predictability to the energy infrastructure permitting process.

Joining industry and union leaders were witnesses Chad Harrison, councilman at-large for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Joey Mahmoud, project director for the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Also participating in the panel were Terry O’Sullivan, General President of the Laborer’s International Union of North America; Rex Ferry owner and CEO of VEC, Inc., on behalf of the National Electric Contractors Association, and Kim Kann, a citizen speaking on the effects of eminent domain on family farms.

Cramer joined other committee members seeking clarification from Harrison and Mahmoud on issues related to the consultation process between the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access Pipeline developers during the permitting process for the project. The tribe’s opposition to the pipeline led to protests at the construction site in Morton County that halted work for several months.  Construction resumed last week on the $3.7 billion private project that will deliver as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day from northwestern North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to connect to existing pipelines in Illinois.

“We can’t litigate history through this one project, but we can look at how we can do better going forward,“ Cramer said.

 

Click here to view the entire hearing.

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CRAMER: Appointment to U.S.-Canada Group Will Strengthen Understanding of Shared Interests, Concerns

2017/02/15

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman Kevin Cramer has been named by Speaker Paul Ryan as one of four Members of the House of Representatives to serve on the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group.

 

The announcement of the appointment coincides with this week’s state visit to Washington by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  Cramer is co-chair of the House Northern Border Caucus, which consists of Members from districts along the Canadian border who work to encourage good relations between the United States and Canada.

 

Since 1959, the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group has brought together approximately 24 legislators from both nations for annual meetings to discuss matters of mutual interest, to find points of junction in national policies, start dialogue on points of discrepancy, promote exchange of information, and encourage better understanding between the governments of Canada and the United States.

 

Cramer said the importance of this group to northern border states like North Dakota cannot be overstated.  “The economies of Canada and the United States are closely intertwined, with billions of dollars of goods traded across our border every day,” Cramer said. “Canada is North Dakota’s largest trade partner and we share many interests as it relates to agriculture, energy, and defense. In the defense space, the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry will play an increasing role in border protection, as well as joint military missions in the Arctic region. I look forward to being part of this prestigious group and the many opportunities it will offer to make the bond between our nations even stronger.” 

 

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Contact Information

1032 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2611
Fax 202-226-0893
cramer.house.gov

Kevin Cramer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. He serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings appointed Kevin Cramer to three sub-committees including Energy and Mineral Resources, Public Lands and Environmental Regulation and Indian and Alaska Native Affairs. House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith appointed Mr. Cramer to the Energy Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over such science as hydraulic fracturing and clean coal technologies, and as Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, which has general and special investigative authority on all matters within the jurisdiction of the full-committee. Congressman Cramer also serves along with Rep. Bill Owens (NY-21) as Co-Chairman of the Northern Border Caucus, fostering continued growth in the U.S.-Canada relationship.

Cramer has a distinguished career in public service. In 1991, Kevin was elected Chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party, making him the youngest member of the Republican National Committee. From 1993 to 2000, he served in Governor Ed Schafer’s cabinet, first as State Tourism Director from1993 to1997, then as State Economic Development & Finance Director from 1997 to 2000. From 2000 to 2003, Kevin was Executive Director of the Harold Schafer Leadership Foundation, which connects emerging leaders from the University of Mary with community business leaders. In 2003, then-Governor John Hoeven appointed Kevin to the Public Service Commission, and in 2004 he was elected to the position, gaining over 65% of the vote. He was re-elected in 2010 with 61.5% of the vote in a three-person contest.

As North Dakota Public Service Commissioner, Cramer helped to develop and oversee the most dynamic economy in our nation. He worked to ensure North Dakotans enjoy some of the lowest utility rates in the nation, enhancing their competitive position in the global marketplace. An energy policy expert, Cramer understands our country’s energy security is integral to our national and economic security.

A strong advocate for the free market system, Cramer has a proven record of cutting and balancing budgets, encouraging the private sector through limited, common sense regulations and limited government.

Cramer has a B.A. degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, a Master’s degree in Management from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, and was conferred the degree of Doctor of Leadership, honoris causa, by the University of Mary on May 4, 2013. He is a native of Kindred, North Dakota where he received all of his primary and secondary education. Kevin and his wife, Kris, have two adult sons, Ian and Isaac, two adult daughters, Rachel and Annie, a seven-year-old son, Abel, and a new granddaughter, Lyla.


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