Kevin Cramer

Kevin Cramer

NORTH DAKOTA

CRAMER: House Approves Amendments to Senate Energy Bill, Votes to Send to Conference

2016/05/26

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer announced a number of energy bills were passed by the House of Representatives today as amendments to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act. This bill was passed by the Senate in April, and with today’s approval by the House, the legislation advances to a conference committee.

The House amendments consist of 37 bills already passed by the House, which advance energy infrastructure development, modernization and protection, enhance domestic energy security, and promotes energy efficiency and government accountability. Most address programs administered by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Interior (DOI).

Cramer said the Senate and House bills cover a broad array of energy policy issues but have differences in authorization levels and scope, which will be worked out in the conference committee.

“Over the past decade, North Dakota has been at the center of the nation’s dramatic increases in domestic energy production,” said Cramer.  “While we have lifted the crude oil export ban, there is a lot more to be done within energy policy. This legislation addresses some bipartisan matters, but in this time of changing market dynamics, new regulations, and emerging threats, creating new energy security and reliability challenges I look forward to reaching agreement on these issues and moving on to other challenges in energy policy."

Cramer highlighted the following bills included in the S. 2012 amendments:

H.R. 8 -- the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015 passed the House last December. It includes an amendment sponsored by Cramer that authorizes voluntary vegetation management within 150 feet of the exterior boundary of the right-of-way near structures.  The bill requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to expedite  the review process for federal energy related applications, such as certain pipeline applications, and to make certain information available on its website. It streamlines the regulatory process for authorizing liquefied natural gas exports by establishing a 30-day deadline for DOE to act on applications. It requires the Secretary of the Interior to identify and designate National Energy Security Corridors for the construction of natural gas pipelines on Federal land.

In addition, H.R. 8 directs the Secretary of Energy to develop and adopt procedures to enhance communication and coordination between the DOE, federal partners, state and local governments, and the private sector to improve emergency response and recovery. It creates an interagency task force to coordinate with Canada and Mexico on mutually-beneficial energy policy decisions affecting North America. It repeals a provision included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that requires a 100 percent reduction in “fossil fuel-generated energy,” such as coal and natural gas, in all new and modified federal buildings by the year 2030. And, it directs DOE to establish a clearinghouse to disseminate information regarding available programs and financing mechanisms that could be used to help retrofit and build more energy-efficient schools.

H.R. 1937 -- the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015 was co-sponsored by Cramer and passed the House last October.  It requires the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to more efficiently develop domestic sources of minerals and mineral materials of strategic and critical importance to economic and national security and manufacturing competitiveness in the United States.

H.R. 538 -- the Native American Energy Act facilitates the development of energy on Indian lands by reducing Federal regulations that impede tribal development of Indian lands.

Read More

CRAMER: Kari’s Law Brings Peace of Mind to Travelers

2016/05/25

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed  Monday H.R. 4167, the Kari’s Law Act of 2015.  This bill requires multi-line telephone systems to have a default configuration that allows users to directly dial 911 from any phone or dialing facility, without the need for additional digits or prefixes.  Co-sponsored by Cramer, the bill was passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Cramer is a member.

The bill was inspired by an East Texas mother killed in a hotel room in 2013 by her estranged husband.  Her nine-year-old daughter tried calling 911 from the hotel room four times but wasn’t able to get through because she didn’t know to dial another nine to reach an outside line. 

“Kari's Law pushes for direct 911 access in all multi-line phone systems across the country. It ensures that any traveler staying in a hotel shouldn’t have to wonder in an emergency if a call to 911 will go through.  These changes will not be costly to implement, and will bring peace of mind to anyone in need of 911 emergency services.”

Read More

CRAMER: Zika Vector Control Bill Helps Stop Mosquito Breeding

2016/05/25

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Kevin Cramer called today’s passage of H.R., 897 - the Zika Vector Control Act a common sense companion bill to H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week.  H.R. 5243 appropriated an additional $622 million, on top of the $589 million already repurposed from unused Ebola funds, to fight against the spread of the disease.

“It is just common sense to use all tools possible to prevent the spread of what has been determined to be a dangerous virus,” said Cramer.  “H.R. 897 addresses onerous new regulations that have completely hamstrung mosquito control activities, the same activities that can stop mosquito breeding and the spread of the Zika virus. Mosquito control efforts are already regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its new regulations have made it extremely expensive and nearly impossible to control mosquito populations.” 

He said mosquito control districts from across the country, faced with already tight budgets, have warned of operational disruptions of varying degrees because of the legal issues and increased costs associated with EPA’s unnecessary and duplicative permitting requirement.

“Any disruption will expose a large portion of the population to mosquitos that may potentially be carrying dangerous exotic diseases, such as Zika virus or West Nile virus,” Cramer said. “Hospitalization and rehabilitation costs, loss of productivity, decrease in tourism, and demonstrably negative impacts on horse and livestock production are only a small part of the costs that, while difficult to quantify, will further strain public resources.”

The bill clarifies Congressional intent regarding regulation of the use of pesticides for control of exotic diseases such as Zika virus and West Nile virus, as well as for other lawful uses in or near navigable waters. It amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to prohibit the EPA or a state from requiring a permit under the Clean Water Act for a discharge from a point source into navigable waters of a pesticide authorized for sale, distribution, or use under FIFRA, or a residue resulting from the application of the pesticide. Point source pollution is waste discharged from a distinct place, such as a pipe, channel, or tunnel.

 

###

Read More

HOEVEN, CRAMER ANNOUNCE FINAL PASSAGE OF NATIVE AMERICAN CHILDREN’S SAFETY ACT

2016/05/23

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven and Congressman Kevin Cramer today announced that the Senate and now the House have passed S. 184, the Native American Children’s Safety Act, which Hoeven authored and introduced in the Senate. Congressman Cramer led the effort to get the same legislation, H.R. 1168, passed in the House June 1, 2015. S. 184 passed by voice vote today. The measure now goes to the president’s desk for signature. The legislation implements protections for Native American children placed by tribal courts into the tribal foster care system.

“Our bill ensures that Native American children living on reservations have all of the same protections when assigned to foster care that children living off the reservation have,” Hoeven said. “The measure requires background checks for all adults living in a foster home, which will help to protect children placed there at an already difficult time in their lives.”

“Native American children are more than two-and-a-half times more likely to be victims of abuse or neglect than other American children,” said Cramer.  “And, children exposed to violence are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, suffer from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic disorders.  The standards in this bill mirror existing national requirements for non-tribal foster care placements, ensuring tribal children receive care at least equal to the protections afforded non-tribal children.”

Currently, there is no requirement that Native American tribes conduct background checks on everyone living in the foster care house, yet there has been abuse and harm committed by adults living in the same foster care home as the children. 

The Native American Children’s Safety Act requires background checks to be conducted on all adults living in a potential foster home before a tribal court may place a child in that home. The check would include a national criminal records check and a review of child abuse or neglect registries in any state in which the individual under review has lived in the preceding five years.

A background check would also be required of any adult who moves into the home after placement. To ensure the ongoing safety of children placed in foster care, a certified home would be periodically subject to another round of checks before it could be recertified. Tribes also have the flexibility to require additional checks if they want.

Highlights of the Native American Child Safety Act:  

  • Requires that all prospective foster care parents and adults living in the home undergo a background check prior to the placement of a Native American foster care child 
  • Requires that background checks include checking for criminal activity as well as state and tribal child abuse and neglect registries  
  • Requires that adults who join the household after the foster care child has been placed there also undergo background checks 
  • Requires that foster care homes undergo recertification periodically, to ensure they remain safe for foster care children 
  • Allows a tribe the flexibility for additional requirements that they determine necessary within its existing authority.
  • The bill sets out that the Department of Interior will work with Tribes to establish necessary procedures to ensure the safety of foster care children 
  • The bill requires the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which currently does not conduct these background checks in every case when placing Native American foster care children in foster care homes, follow these same requirements when acting on behalf of the Tribes  
Read More

CRAMER - FY2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill Improves Readiness, Increases Medical Services for Veterans

2016/05/22

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer says the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2017, which passed the House of Representatives Thursday, improves readiness and increases medical services for veterans.

H.R. 4974 provides $81.6 billion in discretionary funding to house, train, and equip military personnel, provide housing and services to military families, help maintain base infrastructure, and fund veterans’ benefits and programs. This is $1.8 billion above Fiscal Year 2016 levels, and $1.2 billion below the President’s budget request.

“We have an obligation to support our military,” said Cramer.  “This bill increases VA funding to provide greater access and improved medical services to our veterans.  It includes good government provisions that increase oversight for VA programs and supports our active-duty troops and their families with improved housing and military facilities.”

The bill includes an amendment that prohibits funds from being used to modify a military installation in the U.S. to provide temporary housing for unaccompanied alien children. Similar language was inserted the National Defense Authorization Bill the House passed yesterday. The Grand Forks Air Force Base was under consideration for housing unaccompanied alien children, which Cramer opposed.  On January 12, Cramer met with officials from the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss his concerns with this proposal.  On February 8, Cramer announced the Grand Forks Air Force base was no longer being considered.

Also included in the bill is report language requested by Cramer directing the Veterans Administration (VA) to consider mobile units that could operate in either rural or urban underserved areas. These units would have the capacity to provide preventive and primary healthcare services, education about the availability of benefits for female veterans, and outreach.

The bill language directs the VA to provide a report to the Committee on Appropriations 60 days after the enactment of legislation.  The report is to describe how a mobile medical unit program designed for women would be structured, whether the geographic concentration of female veterans makes such a program feasible, areas in the country with female veterans who currently lack access and for whom the mobile units would be appropriate, and the likely cost of a mobile unit program, including vehicles, equipment, staffing, and information technology.

“Women veterans, especially those in rural and underserved areas, have unique health challenges that mobile units could address,” said Cramer of the proposal.  “I look forward to advancing this concept further when the feasibility report is completed.”

The major provisions of the bill are as follows:

Military Construction: The bill provides a total of $7.9 billion for military construction projects—a decrease of $305 million below the enacted Fiscal Year 2016 level and $250 million above the President’s request. This includes funds for large and small construction and renovation projects on military bases within the U.S. and around the globe. Of the amount provided for military construction projects, $172 million is provided for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) projects, including European Reassurance Initiative projects.

Military Family Housing: The bill provides $1.3 billion to fund construction and operation and maintenance of military family housing for Fiscal Year 2017. This is $84 million below the Fiscal Year 2016 level and the same as the budget request. The funding will ensure quality housing is sustained for all 1.3 million military families currently served by the program.

Military Medical Facilities: The bill includes $304 million for construction and alterations for new or existing military medical facilities, which is the same level as the President’s budget request, and a decrease of $303 million from the Fiscal Year 2016 enacted level. This funding will allow for continued support and care for 9.8 million eligible beneficiaries, including our wounded troops abroad.

Department of Defense (DOD) Education Facilities: The bill includes $246 million for essential safety improvements and infrastructure work at four DOD Education Activities facilities located within the U.S. and overseas.

Guard and Reserve: The bill includes $673 million for construction or alteration of Guard and Reserve facilities in 21 states, an increase of $122 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 enacted level.

NATO Security Investment Program (NSIP): The bill provides $178 million - the same as the President’s request and $43 million above Fiscal Year 2016 - for infrastructure necessary for wartime, crisis, and peace support and deterrence operations, and training requirements. The funds will support responses to the challenges posed by Russia and to the risks and threats emanating from the Middle East and North Africa.

Guantanamo Bay:  The legislation continues language to prohibit the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station and a provision to prohibit funding for construction of any facility within the U.S. to house Guantanamo detainees.

Veterans Affairs (VA): The bill includes a total of $176.1 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, an increase of $13.4 billion above the Fiscal Year 2016 level. Discretionary funding alone for VA programs in the bill totals $73.5 billion, an increase of $2.1 billion, or 3 percent, above the Fiscal Year 2016 level. Approximately $63.3 billion of this discretionary total was provided last year via advance funding in the Fiscal Year 2016 Appropriations bill. Further, in response to the Administration’s request, the bill provides an additional $850 million in

Fiscal Year 2017 funding to address additional health care needs such as treatment of hepatitis C, long-term care for veterans, support services for caregivers of veterans, and to fight homelessness among veterans and their families.

Oversight: Due to troubling mismanagement reports at the VA, a recent history of wasteful spending, and to increase the efficiency and quality of care to our veterans, the legislation includes significant oversight and accountability provisions. Some of these provisions include limiting transfers between construction projects, reporting on bid savings, limiting changes in the scope of construction projects, and restricting the agency from taking certain spending actions without notifying Congress.

To stop taxpayer funded rewards to under-performing or poorly performing employees, the legislation also prohibits all VA senior executive service managers from receiving bonuses.

VA Medical Services: The bill funds VA medical services at $52.5 billion – providing for approximately 7.0 million patients to be treated in Fiscal Year 2017. Within this total, funding includes: $7.8 billion in mental health care services; $164 million in suicide prevention activities; $284 million for traumatic brain injury treatment; $7.2 billion in homeless veterans treatment, services, housing, and job training; and $250 million in rural health initiatives.

VA Electronic Health Record: The bill contains $260 million for the modernization of the Veterans Affairs electronic health record system. To help ensure our veterans get proper care through the timely and accurate exchange of medical data between VA, DOD, and the private sector, the bill includes language restricting funding until the VA demonstrates progress on the system’s functionality and interoperability of the system with DOD, and requires that the VA meet milestones regarding functionality and management.

Disability Claims Processing Backlog: The bill provides $180 million for the paperless claims processing system, $153 million for digital scanning of health records, and $27 million for centralized mail. In addition, the bill continues rigorous reporting requirements to track each regional office’s performance on claims processing. The bill also includes funding of $156 million, a $46 million increase over the Fiscal Year 2016 level, for the Board of Veterans Appeals to support 242 new staff to tackle claims appeals and other needs resulting from the progress in reducing the claims backlog.

Construction: Major and minor construction within the VA is funded at approximately $900 million, as requested by the Administration. The bill continues the requirement that a non-VA entity manage VA construction projects that cost over $100 million, and provides funding for the purpose.

VA Mandatory Funding: The bill fulfills mandatory funding requirements such as: veteran disability compensation programs for 4.8 million veterans and their survivors; education benefits for nearly 1.1 million veterans; and vocational rehabilitation and employment training for more than 140,000 veterans.

Advance Appropriations: The bill contains $66.4 billion in advance Fiscal Year 2018 funding for veterans’ medical programs—the same level as the President’s request. This funding will provide for medical services, medical support and compliance, and medical facilities, and ensure that our veterans have continued, full access to their medical care needs. The bill includes $103.9 billion in advance funding for VA mandatory benefit programs, as requested in the President's budget.

Related Agencies: The bill includes $241.1 million for related agencies funded in the bill. Agencies funded under this title include the American Battle Monuments Commission, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and Civil Cemeterial Expenses, which includes Arlington National Cemetery and the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.

The Department of Veterans Affairs serves approximately 48.3 million people or 14.8 percent of the total estimated resident population of the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as 21.7 million veterans and 26.6 million family members of living veterans or survivors of deceased veterans. The VA employs 350,000 people, making it one of the largest federal agencies in terms of employment.

 

Read More

CRAMER: House provides immediate funds for fighting Zika virus threat

2016/05/22

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Congressman Kevin Cramer issued the following statement after passage Thursday of H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act:

“Last night, the House made the responsible decision to pass Zika funding at no additional cost to the American taxpayer. With summer quickly approaching, the spread of Zika will be top-of-mind for expectant parents and so many others. The $622 million package will immediately help fund critical priorities such as mosquito control and vaccine development. This funding is on top of the $589 million that has already been repurposed from unused Ebola funds.  We will now begin work with the Senate to ensure that funding for Zika makes it to the president’s desk as soon as possible.”

 

Read More

CRAMER: North Dakota Understands Global Market Forces in Commodity Prices

2016/05/22

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer participated in a discussion Thursday on global oil market dynamics and their impact on oil-producing states like North Dakota. The discussion was part of a program, “The Innovation Revolution: A National Strategy for Energy Security,”  sponsored by Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), a non-profit organization committed to improving U.S. economic and national security through reduced oil dependence.

Cramer and public affairs consultant Jonathan Baron covered the topics of the current state of the global oil market, the problem of oil price volatility and their effects on the industry in the United States. 

“North Dakota has been well positioned for the recent slowdown in the oil industry,” said Cramer.  “As an agricultural state, North Dakota is used to global market forces affecting commodity prices.”

He discussed H.R. 4559, the United States Commission on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Act of 2016, a bill that creates a commission to investigate and offer policy recommendations to anti-competitive actions taken by OPEC. Cramer is a co-sponsor of the bill.

“We do not need to apologize for looking out for American interests first,” said Cramer about the commission the legislation would establish.  “This legislation sends a message other countries can’t get by with the suppression of oil prices. True price discovery requires a level playing field.”

Cramer has an extensive background in energy regulation and development, serving nearly 10 years on the North Dakota Public Service Commission during the dynamic development period of the Bakken oilfield. He is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and introduced the Keystone Pipeline Bill at the beginning of this Congress. He also played a lead role in passage of lifting the crude oil export ban last December.

Read More

Cramer’s Huey Helicopter and ICBM Amendments Part of National Defense Authorization Bill

2016/05/18

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two amendments co-sponsored by Congressman Kevin Cramer were approved during the consideration of H.R. 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. This bill, which passed the House today by a  vote of 277-214, authorizes and prioritizes funding for the Department of Defense and military activities and construction, and sets military personnel strengths.

The first amendment directs that there be an acquisition strategy for replacing the Vietnam-era UH-1N (Huey) helicopters by FY 2018. The Hueys are assigned out of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, as well as Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and are responsible for securing the three missile fields covering an area of approximately 32,0000 square miles. These helicopters must be able to respond to an imminent threat to the missile fields in a moment’s notice.  The bill includes $14.1 million requested in Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation funds, as well as $98.3 million for procurement to replace the helicopters.

“The Air Force identified deficiencies in speed, range, and payload limitations back in 2003 and has been neglecting the issue ever since,” said Cramer. “Now due to a failure to act in a timely manner an undue burden has been placed on taxpayers and it has created a major gap in our security.” 

The other amendment, co-sponsored by Cramer, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) prohibits funds from being expended to reduce, or prepare to reduce the responsiveness or alert level of U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).  In addition, the amendment requires a report on the ability of the Air Force to ensure the ICBM force is capable of deploying multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles on Minuteman III ICBMs.

“Reducing our ICBM alertness is reducing our readiness,” Cramer said during floor debate on the amendment today. “The whole point of the National Defense Authorization Act is to ensure our military readiness.  The ICBMs have been a very effective deterrent to enemy aggression for decades.  This amendment is simply a deterrent to those who would try to reduce our readiness by reducing our alertness and reducing the number of ICBMs.  This would be a dangerous step contrary to longstanding policies of our defense and a certainly bad posture.” 

Other provisions in the bill that relate to North Dakota are:

  • Directs the Secretary of Defense to develop a technology roadmap for addressing gaps to counter potential threats from terrorists using small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) technology, with an emphasis on technology to support tactical level units, and fixed, high-value defense assets.
  • Encourages the Department of Defense, the FAA, and NASA to continue collaborative efforts to solve UAS research issues.
  • Directs the Air Force, for remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) basing decisions, to assess the ability of a military installation and its associated or adjacent training areas to support the unit or mission, the capacity of a military installation to accommodate the unit or mission, the costs associated with the stationing, basing, or laydown action, and encroachment and environmental considerations. Further, the bill is supportive of basing criteria that leverage available Air Force infrastructure and existing quality of life and base support facilities, and pairs RPA units with related missions.
  • Includes $575.6 million for MQ-9 Reaper UAS procurement and recommends an increase of $14.0 million for the development, non-recurring engineering, and integration of a tactical datalink capability onto the MQ-9 platform. The Air National Guard out of Fargo is transitioning to the MQ-9 from the older MQ-1.
  • Prohibits any military installation from being used to house unaccompanied alien children.  The Grand Forks Air Force Base was under consideration for housing unaccompanied alien children, which Cramer opposed.  On January 12, Cramer met with officials from the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss his concerns with this proposal.  On February 8, Cramer announced the Grand Forks Air Force base was no longer being considered.
  • Encourages continued planning and establishment for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node system, which acts as a critical communications gateway and data relay on the EQ-4B Global Hawk flown out of the Grand Forks Air Force Base. 
  • Encourages the Secretary of Defense to expedite and complete the fielding of modern radiation detection equipment across the force to meet existing critical requirements for personal dosimeters. Maintaining adequate equipment is of critical importance for the safety of U.S. forces in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear environments. Arrow-Tech, Inc., in Rolla, N.D, is an experienced manufacturer of personal dosimeters.
  • Affirms Congressional intent to reject the budget request to authorize any additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds. 
  • Extends the authority for the special pay for nuclear-qualified officers extending a period of active service, the nuclear career accession bonus, and the nuclear career annual incentive bonus until December 31, 2017.
  • Eliminates the different treatment under the Survivor Benefit Plan accorded members of the Reserve Component who die from an injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during Inactive-Duty training, as compared to the treatment of members of the Armed Forces who die in the line of duty while on Active Duty.
  • Directs the Secretary of Defense to report on the feasibility of allowing disabled veterans with a 30 percent disability rating or higher; or who have been awarded a Purple Heart the use of the commissary and exchange stores on the same basis as a member of the armed forces entitled to retired or retainer pay. Cramer is a cosponsor of H.R.1292, the Disabled Veterans Commissary and Exchange Store Benefits Act, which permits a veteran with any compensable service-connected disability, and the veteran's dependents, to use commissary and exchange stores on the same basis as a member of the Armed Forces entitled to retired or retainer pay.

Other highlights of H.R. 4909:

  • Includes a total of $610.5 billion, which includes $574 billion for base defense requirements and $35.7 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)
  • Makes key investments into critical programs the military services identified that will improve troop readiness but were unfunded in the president’s budget
  • Maintains Army end strength at 480,000 and provides for additional Marines and Airmen
  • Includes a 2.1 percent military pay raise, 14 additional F/A-18 E/F Hornets, 11 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, and fully funds additional unfunded requirements
  • Prohibits the transfer of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to the U.S., prohibits the closure of the facility, and prohibits the transfer of the naval base to Cuba
  • Improves Congressional oversight of the Pentagon and counterterrorism operations
    • Includes reforms to the Goldwater-Nichols Act to increase accountability
    • Requires additional counterterrorism operational briefs to Congress
  • Provides the resources to combat Islamic extremists and to assist foreign security forces through the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund
    • Provides direct funding to Kurdish, Sunni, and other local forces combatting ISIS
  • Supports the train and equip programs for Iraqi Security Forces and vetted Syrian forces
    • Maintains reprogramming requirements and withholds 25 percent of funds for Iraqi train and equip until a comprehensive plan is submitted to Congress
  • Increases funding for the European Reassurance Initiative to support our European allies and counter Russian aggression
    • Authorizes $150 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative
  • Increases funding for Israeli cooperative missile defense to $600 million and includes funding for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling coproduction, and Arrow 3 coproduction
  • Improves access to health care for troops and their families
Read More

CRAMER: LEGACY IRA Increases Charitable Giving Incentives

2016/05/17

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation authored by Congressman Kevin Cramer has been introduced to the House Ways and Means Committee by its Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL). H.R. 5171, the LEGACY IRA, authorizes tax-free IRA rollovers on gifts which benefit charities and provide taxable retirement income for donors.

Cramer presented testimony on the LEGACY IRA before the Tax Policy subcommittee during a recent listening session sponsored by the Ways and Means Committee where tax policy ideas were heard from colleagues who are not members of the committee. Cramer has worked on charitable, benevolent and philanthropic projects throughout his career.

“Since its enactment in 2006, the charitable IRA rollover has helped millions of donors contribute to charities that feed the hungry, care for the sick, house the homeless, and provide countless other services for those in need,” Cramer said in his testimony.

Under current law, individuals age 70½ or older are allowed to make direct contributions from an IRA of up to $100,000 per year to public charities and to private operating and conduit foundations without having to report the IRA distributions as taxable income. Cramer voted for making this provision permanent in the PATH Act last December.

H.R. 5171 is bipartisan legislation that allows the annual ceiling on transfers from a donor’s IRA for a life-income plan to be $400,000, with the qualifying age being 65 or older. For individuals 70½ or older, the combined ceiling for direct and life-income transfers from their IRAs would be $400,000, with a $100,000 cap for direct transfers. The only authorized income beneficiaries of the life-income plans are the individual IRA owner, their spouse or both. At death, the assets in the plan go directly to the named qualified charity or charities and not to family members.

Cramer gave the example of the LEGACY IRA making it possible for a retired middle income donor at age 65 to make a $100,000 IRA contribution to an alma mater or charity that also provides for a charitable life income, such as an annuity.  “This is good for the charity, good for the donor, good for the economy and good for the government,” he said.

Cramer said he believes the tax code should stand firmly on the side of those who give to their neighbors. “Having been involved in philanthropic causes throughout my adult life, I have personally experienced the power of giving and its ability to change lives and communities,” he said. “By empowering this new segment of charitable givers, the LEGACY IRA can expand the number of citizens who have a vested interest in the health and well-being of their communities.”

Read More

CRAMER: Opioid Abuse Affects All Walks of Life

2016/05/13

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer debated in support of legislation confronting the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic this week in the House of Representatives. The House passed 18 bills addressing various issues related to opioid addiction as it relates to veterans, pregnant women and their babies, residential treatment programs, opioid reversal drugs, education initiatives, support for treatment of abusers by doctors, and law enforcement’s efforts to combat drug trafficking and education initiatives.

Following their final passage with wide bipartisan support, the bills were packaged into one piece of legislation today to be brought to a conference committee with the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act legislation passed by the Senate in March.

Cramer’s floor speech was in support of H.R. 4641, which establishes an inter-agency task force to review, modify and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication. Introduced by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA, this was one of 10 bills first heard in the Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Cramer is a member, before coming to the floor for final passage.

“With heroin addiction now being three times greater than it was just a decade ago, we know it doesn’t matter if you live on an Indian reservation, a farm, in the middle of a city, a suburb, or a small town,” Cramer said. “It doesn’t matter your lot in life, your income level or social status. This opioid abuse crisis affects people of all walks of life. It’s time we acknowledge this and deal with it at this level.”

Cramer said H.R. 4641 takes advantage of the collective talent of those who deal with opioid issues every day. “I believe it’s the beginning of a profound solution. I applaud the efforts of my colleagues who brought this issue to this chamber and grieve with so many parents. In Fargo, this year alone there have been a minimum of 10 fatal overdoses because of this crisis. I will stand shoulder to shoulder with anybody and everybody in this this chamber, as well as the chamber on the other side of the Capitol, to help solve this problem.”

Read More

Loading legislation ... one moment please
Loading votes ... one moment please

There is no media available for this member

Contact Information

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

Committee Assignments

Energy and Commerce

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.


Serving With