FARMFEST: Sen. Smith’s Record Shows Strong Bipartisanship and Effectiveness to Get Things Done for Minnesota

For Immediate Release:
August 4, 2020

U.S. Senator Tina Smith has proven time and time again that she is a senator who can get things done. In the Senate, Sen. Smith has a solid record of working across the aisle to get things done for Minnesotans.

Sen. Smith has had over a dozen of her bills and provisions signed into law. She has worked with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski to expand mental health services, Republican Senator Mike Rounds to improve rural health care,  Republican Senator Rob Portman to protect the tax exempt status of rural co-ops, and worked to lower the cost of insulin with Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy–and many others.

Additionally, Sen. Smith worked extensively on the Farm Bill, which passed with strong bipartisan support (87-13) and included key provisions she authored or championed.


October 2018: Sen. Smith & Sen. Murkowski’s Bill To Improve Access To Mental Health Services Was Included In The Opioid Package And Signed Into Law. From the Star Tribune: “U.S. Sen. Tina Smith has had to master many things quickly in the months since she was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to fill the seat of former Sen. Al Franken after his resignation last December.  Smith wasted little time, producing a flurry of lower-profile but substantive legislative proposals and forming relationships with senators in both parties. She teamed up with Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski on a measure to expand student and community mental health services as part of a larger opioid package.” [CQ, 9/17/18; H.R. 6, Roll Call 210, 10/24/18; S. 2533, 3/12/18; Star Tribune, 10/19/18]

  • Brainerd Dispatch: Sen. Smith & Sen. Murkowski’s Bill To Improve Mental Health Options “Would Particularly Help Young People Living In Rural Areas[.]” “U.S. Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced a bipartisan bill Monday to expand mental health services in the school system. The Improving Access to Mental Health Services Act would bring mental health professionals who work in the National Health Service Corps into schools and communities. The bipartisan legislative effort would allow communities in Minnesota, Alaska, and across the country to bolster their mental health treatment options for children—and it would particularly help young people living in rural areas who often lack adequate access to these services.”  [Brainerd Dispatch, 3/13/18]

December 2018: Senate Passed Farm Bill 87-13 With Sen. Smith’s Provisions and Legislation Included. “The five-year farm bill also shores up dairy price supports, reaffirms sugar beet subsidies, guarantees crop insurance for farmers, funds mental health programs for those facing bad commodity prices, and deals with animal disease, agricultural loans and land conservation. Members of the Minnesota delegation devoted themselves to several specific farm bill programs. Among them were: Sen. Tina Smith: expansion of broadband internet in rural Minnesota and rural health liaison…Smith praised the preservation of SNAP, saying that 15 million Americans are experiencing food insecurity…The Senate rebuked the House with an overwhelming bipartisan vote for a farm bill that touted its commitment to SNAP. The conference committee took out the work requirement in exchange for job-training programs.” [Star Tribune, 12/11/18]

  • Smith’s Bill With Sen. Rounds To Create A “Rural Health Liaison” At USDA, Whose Job Was To Focus Federal Health Efforts On The Needs Of Rural America, Was Included In The Farm Bill And Signed Into Law. “On healthcare, Smith has focused on rural needs. She has taken a leadership role on the bipartisan Senate Rural Health Caucus, meeting with rural hospital CEOs, health providers and patients in Minnesota about their challenges. She worked with Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota to create in the Senate Farm Bill a ‘Rural Health Liaison’ at USDA whose job will be to focus federal health efforts on the needs of rural America.” [S. 2894, 5/22/18; H.R. 2, 12/20/18; DL-Online, 11/1/18]

April 2019: Sen. Smith’s Bipartisan Protecting Access To Biosimilars Act, A Bill Focused On Bringing Lower-Cost Insulin To Market with Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy Was Signed into Law. [S. 1140, 4/11/19]

December 2019: Sen. Smith’s Bipartisan Kay Hagan TICK Act, Which Authorized $150 Million In Federal Funding To Help Combat Tick-Spread Diseases, Was Included In The Year-End Appropriations Bill And Signed Into Law. “Jersey Shore Congressman Chris Smith (R – Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean) has announced that two major health bills related to Lyme Disease that he authored and attached to an end-of-year, must-pass spending package passed by the House 297-120 this week and they are expected to become law by the end of the week when signed by President Donald Trump.  The first bill, the TICK Act, creates a ‘new whole-of-government national strategy to combat Lyme’ and other tick borne diseases.  It also authorizes $150 million in federal funding for Centers of Excellence and important Lyme initiatives at the local level.  […] Smith introduced the TICK Act earlier this year alongside by Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN) in the House and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tina Smith (R-MN) in the Senate.” [WOBM, 12/19/19]

January 2020: Sen. Smith’s RURAL Act, Which Fixed A Provision In The 2017 Tax Bill That Risked Eliminating The Tax-Exempt Status Of Rural Eclectic Co-ops, Was Included In The 2019 Year-End Appropriations Package And Signed Into Law. “Passage of the RURAL Act by Congress and signing by President Donald Trump in late December is good news for Nobles Cooperative Electric, which faced the potential of losing its tax-exempt status simply by receiving Federal Emergency Management Agency grants for damage caused by the 2019 ice storm. The one-page RURAL Act, introduced by Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), was introduced early in 2019 to fix a mistake in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The 2017 tax law changed the way government grants could be calculated by cooperatives. The grants were suddenly calculated as income, endangering the tax-exempt status cooperatives have when keeping non-member revenues below 15%. For Nobles Cooperative Electric (NCE), still awaiting FEMA money from the April 2019 ice storm, authorization of the RURAL Act was crucial.” [The Globe, 1/11/20]

March 2020: Sen. Smith’s Plan to Provide Free Testing for COVID-19, Regardless of Insurance Coverage, was Included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Signed Into Law. [S. 3499, 3/12/20]

March 2020: Sen. Smith’s Mitigating Emerging Drug Shortages Act to Help Prevent Drug Shortages Was Included in the Bipartisan CARES Act. [S. 2723, 10/29/19]

These successes have been in the best interest of Minnesotans, providing access to health care, economic relief, job training, and broadband.

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