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D.C. Memo: I want my, I want my MFP

photo of corn field with silos in background
REUTERS/Dan Koeck
Twenty members of Congress, many in districts that are competitive in 2020, released a statement asking Appropriations Chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) to ensure farmers receive Market Facilitation Program payments, which provide payments to farmers impacted by the trade war.

The D.C. Memo is a weekly recap of Washington political news, journalism, and opinion, delivered with an eye toward what matters for Minnesota. Sign up to get it in your inbox every Thursday.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, an update on the trade war, Klobuchar travels the county, and the president tweets.

But before that, a quick note: MinnPost is one of two Minnesota outlets with at least one full-time reporter out in D.C. Our work, and this newsletter, relies on readers like you to keep going. If you can donate or become a monthly sustaining member, please do! It means we can do more journalism, cover more stories, and get you this newsletter each week.

Now let’s get on with this.

Climate strike

Isra Hirsi is the co-director of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, an organization dedicated to stopping the climate crisis. But she’s also the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis. These two facets of her identity, among many, compete for her attention as she tries to deal with the climate crisis, writes Leila Ettachfini in a profile for VICE:

This puts Isra in a tricky position: She’s both a symbol of supposed racial and religious equality in the U.S. — the kind that makes white women grin proudly at Black Muslim girls that aren’t even her — and a teenager trying to figure out who she is in the wake of her mother’s own colossal assertion of identity, all while staring down the serious task of literally saving the world. Faced with the pitfalls of imposed national visibility (harassment, safety threats, tokenization, bullying), she’s challenged with figuring out how to channel that attention to the thing that actually sets her apart: her vision for environmental justice.

On Friday, in what is likely to be one of the largest environmental protests in history, young people around the globe will march to demand climate action in solidarity with climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The situation in Jammu and Kashmir

This week Omar organized a letter sent by six members of Congress in reaching out to U.S. officials in India and Pakistan to request that they encourage the Indian and Pakistani governments to de-escalate the crisis in Jammu and Kashmir, where citizens have been disappearing and targeted by the Indian government. The members wrote, in part:

Several of our offices have heard from several Kashmiri-Americans who have, like Kashmiris around the globe, been unable to reach their family members and loved ones within Jammu and Kashmir. Although the reporting of what is happening inside Kashmir has necessarily been piecemeal and incomplete because of the communication shutdown, the reports we are all receiving are harrowing. These include allegations of forced disappearances, mass detentions, rape and sexual assault, and the targeted detention of political, economic, and social leaders.

‘Political pawns in today’s trade war’

Twenty members of Congress, many in districts that are competitive in 2020, released a statement asking Appropriations Chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) to ensure farmers receive Market Facilitation Program payments, which provide payments to farmers impacted by the trade war.

“I will not support any further attempts to use our farmers as political pawns in today’s trade war,” said Minnesota Two’s Rep. Angie Craig. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota’s Seventh signed on as well.


The committee’s bill reflected these changes Wednesday, including continuation of the payments in the stop-gap spending bill.

Last month, when I talked to Minnesota Soybean Growers’ Association President Jamie Beyer, she told me:

“We appreciate recognition through the MFP program that farmer-built markets have been damaged, but would rather have trade than aid.”

Trump tweets about Omar

President Trump on Monday shared a misleading video on Twitter that falsely claimed Omar was partying on 9/11. The clip was actually from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner on 9/13. The video was taken down by its creator, but the president’s tweet is still up. Trump has not acknowledged that the video made false claims or apologized.

“It is unconscionable that the president of the United States would so casually promote falsehoods that threaten the life a member of Congress elected by the people of Minnesota,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein. “Action must be taken by Twitter against the president and the source of the false information.”

Omar asked the website what they would be doing to combat misinformation: “The President of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk,” she said on Twitter. “What is Twitter doing to combat this misinformation?”

The president next door

It’s been a busy week for Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

On Sunday, Klobuchar kicked off a “Day of Action” in Iowa, opening two campaign offices: Des Moines and Council Bluffs. Ahead of another visit to Iowa this weekend, Klobuchar announced six more endorsements from former Iowa legislators.

The Minnesota senator will not be attending the Iowa People’s Presidential Forum, where organizers tell me her campaign did not respond to their policy questionnaire, but she will be attending the “event of the weekend,” the annual Polk County Steak Fry. Both events are at the same time, over several hours. So far, only Former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will attend the People’s Presidential Forum.

A recent poll from nonprofit pollster Focus on Rural America has Klobuchar at 8 percent, but just about every other poll has Klobuchar polling at between one and three percent.

Before heading to Iowa again this weekend, Klobuchar embarked on a “Blue Wall” tour, visiting Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania to speak to the typically Democratic voting states that flipped Republican by a hair in 2016 presidential election.

In other news

Quote of the week

“Isra earnestly described her arrival to climate consciousness as ‘really, really late in the game.’ She was 15,” writes Leila Ettachfini.

What I’m reading

Sarah Parvini for the LA Times: Family separation and refugee cap reinvigorate Jews’ activist roots

In Los Angeles, progressive Jewish activists are taking to the streets to push back against family separation and the Trump administration’s refugee cap. In an era when the president, and Republican members, say that Democrats don’t support Jews, very visible pushback against the administration from parts of that same community offers a significant contradiction.

Sarah Kleiner Chris Zubak-Skees for the Center for Public Integrity: You Donated To Kids With Cancer. This Vegas Telemarketer Cashed In

Telemarketers, saying that they will take your money to help stop cancer or help veterans, are paying themselves most of it. This is a story I’ve been following for some time. Reporters at places like CPI have been covering it for what feels like ages, but there’s been little regulatory action from Congress.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: gschneider@minnpost.com. Follow at @gabemschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/20/2019 - 01:33 pm.

    “Trump has not acknowledged that the video made false claims or apologized.”

    In other news, the sun appeared to rise in the east this morning.

  2. Submitted by Joe Duffy on 09/20/2019 - 04:33 pm.

    Your analysis of the plight of farmers as a result of President Trump’s trade war with China is superficial and incomplete. While it is true many farmers are suffering, I haven’t seen or read about any organizations or groups protesting en masse the President’s lack of genuine concern about the farmer’s plight as he tells them to “be patient” as the trade war roils on. Rural America supported Trump mightily. And, to insult to injury, the billions the President and some politicians think are such a noble gift actually are dollars coming from the public purse – taxes paid by you, me and even the farmers themselves. It isn’t money coming from some magic wand in the White House or the President’s pocket.

  3. Submitted by Robert Ahles on 09/20/2019 - 08:35 pm.

    Trump’s tariffs are really taxes on all Americans and do nothing to lower health care costs or improve our roads and bridges. Some experts believe that these tariffs on just China alone will cost Americans close to $125 billion. I’m shocked that no one from the GOP is doing anything to stop it. I hope Trump and the GOP run on their tariffs in 2020.

  4. Submitted by Robert Ahles on 09/20/2019 - 08:38 pm.

    U.S. government to pay $BILLIONS in tariff-related aid to farmers.

    You don’t hear much about Republican socialism, because it all goes to big companies, big farmers and the very rich.

    Average Americans now get to pay TWICE. First to cover the welfare bailout to farmers and Second to pay for the higher cost of food and consumer goods due to the new tariffs.

    None of that money is going to “family farmers, instead it is corporate welfare to industrial farm conglomerates.

    Will consumers get a welfare check when the prices of food go up due to tariffs, spending on the farmers bailouts, and inflation?

  5. Submitted by Brian Gandt on 09/24/2019 - 04:07 pm.

    The party of personal responsibility should be telling farmers that they should pay the price for their vote.

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