Congresswoman Betty McCollum's eNewsletter
Nonprofit Community Joins Congresswoman McCollum in Community Policy Forum
Roughly 200 representatives from Minnesota nonprofits and foundations attended a policy dialogue this week focused on how to strengthen Minnesota communities by improving the partnership between nonprofits, foundations and the federal government.
"There is a big disconnect between the federal government and the nonprofit and foundation communities," said Congresswoman McCollum. "I saw this problem in the State House, and now I see it in Congress. Government leaders always expect nonprofits and foundations to be part of the solution without making them a part of the conversation."
Although the nonprofit sector plays a significant role in the U.S. economy and is critical for the implementation of government policies and programs, no federal entity is responsible for promoting the success of the nonprofit sector as a whole. In an attempt to bridge that gap, Congresswoman McCollum introduced the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act in June. This bipartisan legislation takes the first steps toward integrating the nonprofit sector into the federal policymaking process by establishing formal structures in Congress and federal administrative agencies focused on the success of nonprofits. To date, H.R. 5533 has 20 cosponsors and is officially supported by over 500 nonprofit organizations across the country.
Congresswoman McCollum Fights for Central Corridor
Over 50 House Republicans, including Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Congressman John Kline (R-MN), are calling for the elimination of congressionally directed projects (earmarks) from federal funding legislation set to pass after the November election. Such an action would reduce federal funding to Minnesota by millions of dollars and cripple vital jobs and infrastructure projects like the Central Corridor LRT between St. Paul and Minneapolis. Congresswoman McCollum immediately hit back, citing the threats to progress and recovery across Minnesota.
"For Republicans - including a Minnesota Republican - to call for eliminating the Central Corridor earmark and the thousands of jobs it will create will hurt Minnesota and make our state less competitive," said Congresswoman McCollum. "Additionally, this proposal cuts earmarked funding for Dakota County criminal justice projects and the Minnesota National Guard's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program - projects that impact my district and my Republican colleague's district."
In 2007, Democrats reformed this process by cutting the number and dollar amount of earmarks, and instituting new transparency requirements that allow the American people to see requests online.
Federal funding for nearly 20 projects in Minnesota's Fourth Congressional District have been included in House Appropriations bills for the Fiscal Year 2011.
Congresswoman McCollum Supports Cost of Living Increase for Social Security Recipients
Today, the Social Security Administration announced that there will be no automatic cost of living increase for 2011. This marks the second consecutive year that Social Security retirees, veterans, and people with disabilities will see no increase in their monthly Social Security benefit. Congresswoman McCollum joined House Democrats in supporting legislation to provide over 50 million Social Security recipients a one-time $250 payment.
"Although the economy is slowly recovering, millions of Americans still face rising living expenses. The most vulnerable Americans - seniors and disabled individuals -struggle daily to make ends meet," said Congresswoman McCollum. "This small, one-time bump will prevent Social Security recipients from falling further into poverty."
Congresswoman McCollum Tackles Health Care Concerns for Seniors
This week, Congresswoman McCollum met with seniors in St. Paul to discuss how the new health care law will affect them. Thanks to Democratic leadership, passage of health care reform will have numerous benefits for American's seniors. It strengthens the basic Medicare benefit package, includes an annual wellness visit, lowers prescription drug costs, and phases out the Part D donut hole. For retirees under age 65 and not yet eligible for Medicare, a reinsurance fund was created to help employers maintain their retiree health coverage. In addition, new health plans will include coverage for recommended preventative services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, without any cost-sharing requirements.