WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer supported several bills passed by the House of Representatives today to improve benefits for veterans, including one he co-sponsored, which ensures automatic cost-of-living (COLA) increases for veterans.
Cramer is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1329, the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2017. The bill increases the amounts paid to veterans for disability compensation and to their survivors for dependency and indemnity compensation by the same COLA increases that Social Security recipients will receive in 2018.
This legislation covers veterans disability compensation, compensation for dependents, clothing allowance, and surviving spouse benefits. Cramer said Social Security recipients automatically receive annual COLA increases determined by the executive branch, based on the Consumer Price Index. With the passage of this bill, COLA rate changes for veterans will no longer require legislative action.
“The point of the bill is to permanently tie together the two rate increases to avoid any potential payout stall for veterans and their dependents,” Cramer said. “This bill gives veterans and their families the peace of mind they deserve as they plan their financial futures. Many veterans depend on these benefits to assist with their housing, food, and other necessities, so it is essential they keep up with the cost of living. This is the least we can do for our veterans.”
Other veterans bills passed this week include:
H.R. 2288, the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, reforms the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appeals process by giving veterans more options. Specifically, veterans could choose between three options: to waive a hearing and the ability to submit additional evidence, submit additional evidence and have a hearing, or transfer jurisdiction to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
H.R. 1725, the Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2017, requires the VA to report on the Department’s Acceptable Clinical Evidence initiative in reducing the necessity for in-person disability examinations within 180 days of enactment. It also requires an annual report to Congress for Fiscal Years 2018-2024 regarding claims in which the VA determined the private medical evidence was unacceptable.
H.R. 467, the VA Scheduling Accountability Act, requires VA medical center directors to annually certify compliance with the VA scheduling directive, prohibits VA medical center leaders from receiving awards or bonuses if their facility fails to certify compliance, and requires VA to ensure that directives and policies apply to each VA office or facility uniformly.
H.R. 1005, directs the VA to enter into an agreement or a contract with state veterans homes to pay for adult day health care for a veteran eligible, but not receiving nursing home care, due to a service connected disability rating of 70 percent or more.
H.R. 1162, the No Hero Left Untreated Act, requires the VA to carry out a one-year pilot program to treat a limited number of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, or opiate addiction or who have experienced military sexual trauma by using magnetic resonance therapy.
H.R. 1545, the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act, requires the VA to disclose information about any individual, veteran or non-veteran, who is prescribed medication by a VA employee or authorized non-VA provider, to a state-controlled substances monitoring program to prevent misuse and diversion of prescription medicines.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer testified before the House Natural Resources Committee today in support of his bill H.R. 2199, the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act.
The FLAIR Act authorizes the U.S. Department of Interior to conduct a review of its federal property holdings and consolidate its findings into one database system – a move that would improve federal land management, resource conservation, and environmental protection, all while reducing land ownership conflict and saving taxpayer dollars.
The bill, sponsored by Cramer and originally co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), was introduced to address the vulnerabilities with federal land management acknowledged in a study conducted by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Below is Cramer’s testimony given this morning at the House Natural Resources hearing.
“Chairman McClintock, Ranking Member Hanabusa, and members of the subcommittee: thank you for this opportunity to provide testimony in support of my bill, H.R. 2199, the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform Act, otherwise known as the FLAIR Act.
The federal government is the largest landowner in the United States, managing an estimated 660 million acres, or one-fourth of the total land area. A study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that managing federal real property is an area of the federal government most susceptible to waste, fraud, and abuse. Federal land managers often do not have a precise picture of exactly what lands the federal government owns because there is not one accurate database of federal lands and their boundaries. A coinciding problem is the government wastes tax dollars by operating copious amounts of inaccurate and out of date inventories – and more than 100 different property systems to report real property data. Simply put, the current system tracking the federal government’s real property is inefficient and redundant. This inefficiency should not be the case when one reliable, regularly-maintained database is available through cutting-edge geographic information systems (GIS) technology.
That is why I introduced H.R. 2199, with Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin, to authorize the Department of Interior (DOI) to increase transparency and efficiency by conducting an inventory of its federal property holdings and integrating the findings into one database that can track and manage property. The FLAIR Act would improve data management to help eliminate fraud, waste and redundancies. By adopting the FLAIR Act, we can improve federal land management, resource conservation, and environmental protection, all while reducing land ownership conflict and saving taxpayer dollars in the maintenance of one, efficient database.
I encourage the Subcommittee to give the FLAIR Act full consideration. Thank you very much to Chairman McClintock and Ranking Member Hanabusa for holding the hearing, and for the opportunity to provide testimony.“
WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer issued the following statement after the Trump Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2018 Presidential Budget Request to Congress:
“I appreciate the President’s commitment to cutting the deficit and balancing the budget for the first time in several years. I’m also grateful we have a President that takes America’s commitment to national defense seriously. That said, I believe some of the cuts requested – particularly the drastic cuts aimed at the federal crop insurance program – are misguided and fail to address the biggest drivers of debt in our country. So while his guidance is appreciated, it is Congress that holds the power of the purse and we will continue to address the federal deficit and budget priorities accordingly.
According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress has only enacted the President’s budget request six times in the last century.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in observing National Police Week and by supporting several bills ensuring police officers have the tools needed to do their job and keep the public safe.
National Police Week began in 1962 as a way to honor law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, and presents the opportunity for all Americans to express appreciation for their law enforcement officers.
“Every day, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers around the country protect their fellow citizens from harm, keep the peace, and carry out justice,” said Cramer. “The bills passed by the House of Representatives this week honor their sacrifices and ensure those who harm law enforcement officers are brought to justice.”
The bills passed by the House of Representatives this week include:
WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer issued the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) today to return the internet to its previous Title I classification, thereby restoring the light-touch regulatory framework which has allowed the internet flourish.
“I applaud FCC Chairman Pai today for restoring our internet freedom by rolling back President Obama’s decision to tie Depression-era, utility and railroad style regulations to the internet. Under the guise of the title ‘Open Internet Order’ and ‘Net Neutrality,’ liberals have tried to convince the American public that there’s something wrong with our internet today, and that the federal government should regulate it to make sure it remains ‘free.’ Clearly, they didn’t get the message that adding more regulations doesn’t help consumers, startups, or rural broadband providers – it hurts them. Take the rotary phone for example, which was in-service for nearly half-a-century with barely any innovative upgrades due to the overly regulated phone network that allowed monopolies to flourish – we can all thank Title II for that. You see, innovation happens when someone disrupts the marketplace, and turns conventional wisdom on its head, but Title II regulations don’t allow for disruption to occur. The internet was the ultimate disrupter and allows new businesses to thrive anywhere in the world – including farm towns in North Dakota. To be clear, this debate was never about keeping the internet ‘free.’ It was about giving the federal government more power over who uses the internet and for what purposes. We all support a free and open internet, and I’d be more than happy to work with my Democrat colleagues in Congress to ensure it stays that way through appropriate legislation. But it isn’t in the best interest of anyone to allow the federal government to take control of the internet through the use of Title II regulation.”
In 2002, broadband internet access was classified by the FCC as an “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act, exempting it from the heavy hand of Depression-era FCC regulation. This light-touch approach to regulating the internet created an environment where ISPs invested billions to bring broadband to more Americans and providers like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix were free to develop innovative new services. The Obama administration politicized the issue in an effort to bring the internet under greater regulatory control. In 2015, the FCC reclassified broadband service as a “common carrier” under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, subjecting it to the full suite of FCC regulation.
Adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom NPRM begins a process where the public is given an opportunity to comment on it. Any potential changes to current regulations will occur after the FCC reviews the public’s comments. After the comment period concludes, the FCC will draft and adopt a formal order.
Congressman Cramer is the at-large representative for the great state of North Dakota, and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which has direct oversight over the FCC. Cramer has been opposed to reclassifying the internet as a Title II Common Carrier from the very beginning. In 2009, when he was Chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission, Cramer wrote a letter to the New York Times saying “we should not fix what isn't broken.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded the Devils Lake Regional Airport Authority a $2.4 million grant.
The grant will be used for aircraft rescue and fire fighting safety equipment as well as to rehabiliate the airport’s runway and taxiway. Read more about the grant here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer issued the following statement during debate on H.R. 2154, a bill to rename the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center in Fargo, North Dakota, as the Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center. The bill, which was sponsored by Cramer, passed the House of Representatives by voice vote.
Thank you Mr. Speaker, and thank you Mr. Davis and my colleague Mr. Peterson from across the Red River in Minnesota for their support for the renaming of the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center. For all the reasons that Representative Peterson talked about, it is a world class facility in a world class town, and I think it should be named after a world class guy. I had the opportunity to serve under Ed in his cabinet when he was governor for eight years. His intellect and his commonsense are matched only by his boundless energy and his eternal optimism – qualities he brings to every job including his work as Secretary at the Department of Agriculture. When he was recognized by his former governor colleague, President George W. Bush, and asked to join the Administration in that department, it was really a remarkable thing – not just for agriculture, not just for Ed, but for our state. North Dakota is number one in production of many crops. Agriculture is the number one industry in our state. It is what makes North Dakota what North Dakota is – the ability to feed hungry people in a growing world. And Ed brought that commonsense to the USDA, and that work ethic that works the land so effectively. I feel this bill is a fitting tribute to him. It’s a celebration, not only of his accomplishments, but of agriculture in North Dakota and across the entire Red River Valley. I would note that our two Senators have a companion bill in the Senate – introduced by Senator Hoeven and cosponsored by Senator Heitkamp – and they support this effort as well. I appreciate the work of the committee. I appreciate the work of Ed Schafer, and look forward to a celebration someday in the renaming of this facility.”
Click here to view the entire exchange on the House floor today between Reps. Kevin Cramer, Collin Peterson, and Rodney Davis.
WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate voted down the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule entitled “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation.”
“Let’s be clear, a vote against this CRA is a vote against the workers and families in Western North Dakota. To say I’m extremely disappointed in the Senate’s voting down of this CRA today – which would have revoked Obama’s job-killing BLM Methane Rule – is an understatement. It’s a huge missed opportunity to protect our energy jobs in Western North Dakota and across America, and any senator who voted against this CRA should be ashamed of themselves. I thank Senator Hoeven for his unwavering support for the BLM Methane CRA, and I hope we see stronger support from our senators for America’s energy industry in the future.”
Even without Congress, the Trump Administration has already indicated it will repeal this rule, however, the CRA that failed today would have made it impossible for a future president to rekindle this harmful rule. On February 3, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its resolution of disapproval for this rule which was cosponsored by Congressman Cramer. In March, Cramer called on the Senate to bring the BLM Methane CRA resolution up for a vote before the deadline for disapproving the BLM rule is reached.
WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer issued the following statement after Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed approving an application by the State of North Dakota for state primacy over Class VI injection well activities. Under final approval, the State of North Dakota will serve as the primary regulatory body over geologic storage of carbon dioxide within state boundaries.
"Nearly four years after North Dakota first made the request, the EPA – under new management – is finishing its work on the State’s application to regulate carbon capture within their state boundaries. As a former North Dakota Public Service Commissioner overseeing environmental programs such as the Surface Mine Coal Reclamation Act, I know first-hand how efficiently and responsibly the State of North Dakota exercises these delegated powers. With the State’s expert staff and long history of leading environmental programs, it only makes sense for them to take over as the primary regulator of carbon capture regulations. The announcement today is a victory for our State, and I’m grateful for the Administrator Pruitt’s swift action on this request.”
The State of North Dakota requested to be the primary regulator over Class VI CO2 storage in June 2013. Since then, the application to the EPA has remained open. In an August 2016 letter, Cramer questioned then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on why a decision hadn’t been made regarding North Dakota’s request.
Following today’s proposed approval a 60-day public comment period will begin after which EPA will make a final decision on North Dakota’s application.
Congressman Kevin Cramer is the at-large representative for North Dakota and sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the EPA.
BISMARCK, N.D. – Congressman Kevin Cramer announced his public schedule for the next seven days. Listing of events is below. All times are local.
Monday, May 8
Coffee with Cramer
Classic Rock Coffee Co.
1408 2nd Ave S
Tuesday, May 9
Meeting with Dustin Wagner
220 E Rosser Ave
328 Federal Building
Meeting with Corby Kemmer
220 E Rosser Ave
328 Federal Building
Wednesday, May 10
Meeting with Jason Elbert, ND Building Trades
220 E Rosser Ave
328 Federal Building
Thursday, May 11
Coffee with Cramer
1400 Collins Ave
Coffee with Cramer
313 N 26th St
Contact Adam Jorde for all state and national press inquiries.
1032 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.
Interview on Agweek TV on House passing my bill to rename a USDA building in Fargo as the Edward T. Schafer Researc… https://t.co/e1jR61r6hc
The House just passed several bills to help our veterans including one that increases the amounts paid to veterans for disability compensation
Great meeting with students from Concordia College and chatting about the roles of the federal government and its regulatory impact on American
Don't forget, we're holding an informational evening in Bismarck tomorrow night for prospective students who are interested in applying for one
ICYMI: My interview on Agweek TV on the House passing my bill to rename the Red River Agricultural Research Center in Fargo as the Edward T.
Catch up on the North Dakota news coming out of Washington from last week. Last week was National Police Week in Washington where the House