Hoeven Reviews December Legislative Accomplishments, North Dakota Priorities

Senator Holds Year-End Roundtable with Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today held a roundtable in Bismarck with local officials and business leaders to outline key legislative accomplishments that he worked to advance throughout the year and that Congress included in legislation passed this month. Hoeven worked with his congressional colleagues to address North Dakota’s priorities and meet the needs of the state’s families, schools, businesses and farmers across a wide variety of areas, including energy, tax, education, transportation and regulatory policy.

“We secured important priorities for our state and nation,” Hoeven said. “We lifted the ban on crude oil exports, provided tax relief, restored local control over education standards and ensured stronger funding for long-term infrastructure projects. These accomplishments will provide considerable benefits for our businesses and our families by promoting greater economic growth and local autonomy.”

Senator Hoeven helped to successfully pass the following measures through Congress this December:

Lifting the Ban on Crude Oil Exports

  • Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy Committee, repeatedly called for the repeal of the outdated crude oil export ban and cosponsored bipartisan legislation earlier this year to do just that.
  • Allowing crude oil exports will support domestic energy production, grow the nation’s economy, provide good jobs for workers, reduce fuel costs for consumers and enhance the security of the U.S. and our allies.

Tax Relief for Small Business and Farmers

  • Approved tax relief totaling $680 billion over ten years.
  • Included a permanent extension of Section 179 with the $500,000 limitation and a five-year extension of bonus deprecation, important provisions that provide small businesses certainty and flexibility in planning their long-term finances.
  • Extended permanently the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for private investments made in affordable housing. The credits are used by the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency alongside state programs to ensure an adequate housing supply is available for the state’s workers and their families.
  • Provided relief from Obamacare’s costly and burdensome mandates, including a two-year delay of the tax on businesses that pay their employees’ health care plans and a two-year delay of the Medical Device Tax.        

Regulatory Relief for Farmers and Ranchers

  • Blocked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from reinstating the Waters of the U.S. Interpretive Rule, preserving the general agriculture exemption under the Clean Water Act for farmers and ranchers.

Restoring Local Control over Education

  • Passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, education authorization legislation that repeals No Child Left Behind, restores local control over education standards, replaces one-size-fits-all accountability requirements with state-designed systems and ends the Common Core mandate.
  • Strengthened Impact Aid for schools affected by the loss of property taxes due to nearby military bases and other federal land.
  • Included a provision based on legislation offered by Senators Hoeven and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to bolster Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Providing Flexibility in School Nutrition Requirements

  • Approved Hoeven’s school nutrition reform amendment, which gives flexibility to schools struggling to comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) whole-grain and sodium standards during the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Allows schools to retain the original USDA whole-grain requirement of 50 percent, rather than requiring that 100 percent of all grains served be whole-grain rich.
  • Prevents the Administration from requiring further reductions in sodium, which have already been brought down to the Target 1 level. Further reductions in sodium are not currently supported by scientific evidence and would be difficult for schools to achieve due to increased costs and limited available food products that children would actually eat.

Passing a Five-Year Highway Bill

  • Passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a five-year highway bill that is fully paid for.
  • Provides North Dakota with more than $1.3 billion, increases annual funding for the state by $23 million per year, up to $263 million, provides $76 million over five years for transit projects in the state and enables more than 100 projects in the state to move forward.
  • Includes Hoeven’s Driver Privacy Act, legislation that establishes in law that the owner of a vehicle is also the owner of any information collected by an Event Data Recorder (EDR).
  • Restores the $3 billion that was cut from crop insurance earlier this year.