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What Minnesota’s delegation is planning to do during Congress’ summer vacation

Yes, they’ll be at the Fair.

Rep. Betty McCollum, fourth from left, touring a Permafrost Research Tunnel at ERDC’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory facilities near Fairbanks, Alaska.
Rep. Betty McCollum, fourth from left, touring a Permafrost Research Tunnel at ERDC’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory facilities near Fairbanks, Alaska.
Office of Rep. McCollum

At the beginning of August each year, the occupants of Capitol Hill start to trickle out of their D.C. offices and back to their hometowns: Congress is out of session for nearly all of August, giving lawmakers time to meet with constituents in their home states and take a little break.

Though the House has been out of session since last week, the Senate isn’t quite there yet. Senators are working to come to an agreement on President Joe Biden’s huge infrastructure package, and Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith said that she expects senators to stay in town until the infrastructure package and an accompanying reconciliation budget deal have both come to a vote. An infrastructure vote could happen this week.

After the Senate votes conclude, all 10 members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation will head home to the North Star state. Whether it’s fun activities or professional business, here’s what Minnesota’s lawmakers will be up to during their time at home.

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Sen. Amy Klobuchar joins Smith and the rest of the Senate in staying in Washington while they attempt to come to a vote on the infrastructure package.

“I hope to make it home soon,” Klobuchar said.

“This August, I will be traveling around the state, from the farms of southern Minnesota to businesses in Moorhead to infrastructure projects in Duluth and everywhere in between,” Klobuchar said. The senator’s main focuses will be on the economy, getting Minnesotans vaccinated and hearing from people around the state.

“I’m also excited to go back to the Great Minnesota Get-Together,” Klobuchar said. “Like so many Minnesotans who had to miss out on their traditions last summer, I can’t wait to enjoy some of my favorite foods like pork chop on a stick and fried cheese curds. I encourage all Minnesotans to stop by my booth at the corner of Judson and Underwood to say hello.”

Sen. Tina Smith

Smith said she didn’t have details on her full work schedule in Minnesota due to the Senate working until they come to a vote on the infrastructure package. But she did have one thing in mind for coming home: Attending the State Fair.

“My favorite fair foods are fried green tomatoes and bacon on a stick,” Smith said. “I’m kind of a traditionalist. I like my old tried and true favorites, but every year I like to try the new stuff.”

Rep. Jim Hagedorn, First District

First District Rep. Jim Hagedorn is currently battling kidney cancer, but that isn’t stopping him from attending some events while home in Minnesota. He will attend the groundbreaking of the State Veterans Home in Preston, which he says was one of his “top priorities since taking office” and that it will be “critical to helping veterans and their families obtain the care they deserve.”

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Rep. Angie Craig, Second District

Second District Rep. Angie Craig said she’s “thrilled” to be back in Minnesota for the recess.

“It’s always such a pleasure to see familiar faces, meet new friends and learn from the incredible communities that make Minnesota such an incredible place to call home,” Craig said. “I’m also excited to host a bipartisan group of my colleagues on the Agriculture Committee, who are traveling to the Second District to hear directly from Minnesota farmers & ranchers how we can better support the hardworking Americans who help to feed the world.”

Craig was at Farmfest in Redwood County last week, where she participated in forums and heard from Minnesota farmers about their thoughts on how Congress can better support agriculture in her district and across the country.

This week, Craig will host a field hearing in Farmington for the Ag Committee’s General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee. And later this week, Craig will be hosting Michigan Republican Rep. Peter Meijer for a daylong tour of the Second District, as part of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Congressional Exchange Program, which is designed to build better relationships and encourage bipartisanship in Congress.

“I look forward to reminding the American people that there is more that unites us than divides us – by participating in the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Congressional Exchange Program with Michigan Congressman Peter Meijer,” Craig said.

Rep. Dean Phillips, Third District

Rep. Dean Phillips announced Thursday that he will launch a “Common Ground Tour” across Minnesota’s Third District while he’s home this month. This tour is aimed at “bringing Americans of all political perspectives and backgrounds together in pursuit of the common good.”  The conversation series will kick off with a visit from Rep. Dusty Johnson, a Republican lawmaker from South Dakota. The pair will visit Minnesota businesses and attend the State Fair together.

Rep. Dean Phillips
Office of Rep. Phillips
Rep. Dean Phillips visiting Machinery Hill at the Minnesota State Fair as a child and an adult.
Speaking of the Fair, Phillips is a lifelong Fair fan and attendee, and this will be his 51st appearance. His team was quick to point out that this year would have been his 52nd had the Fair not been closed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Phillips’ favorite Fair fare is corn, Turkey-to-Go sandwiches and deep-fried cookie dough.

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Rep. Betty McCollum, Fourth District

In her role as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Fourth District Rep. Betty McCollum was conducting oversight of Department of Defense facilities in Alaska last week.

When she gets back to Minnesota this month, McCollum is planning to help get the word out to constituents about the American Rescue Plan and how it benefits Minnesotans – particularly around the Child Tax Credit expansion and what folks need to do to get access to the tax break.

McCollum says she looks forward to visiting with family, attending community events and celebrating the return of the State Fair.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, Fifth District

During the August recess, Fifth District Rep. Ilhan Omar plans on meeting with constituents, attending the State Fair, holding a town hall on August 24th, and spending time with family. According to her team, Omar is looking forward to holding her first in-person outdoor town hall since the start of the pandemic.

Rep. Tom Emmer, Sixth District

Sixth District Rep. Tom Emmer was another attendee at Farmfest last week, taking part in some panels and speaking with constituents. Stearns County, which he represents half of, is the highest dairy producing county in the state of Minnesota, so it’s usually a priority for him to attend. Emmer is also looking forward to the Game Fair in Ramsey  later this month, and of course the State Fair.

On a panel at Farmfest, Emmer was asked about unemployment benefits and the upcoming expiration of additional weekly unemployment payments. He responded, and showed the crowd a meme.

“I will guarantee you that Jim Hagedorn, Michelle Fischbach, every one of the members of our delegation, this is the number one issue that we hear about when we travel the state or beyond. In fact, I just got a meme that I wanted to read you that somebody sent me,” Emmer said, pulling out his phone. “It’s a sign in front of a restaurant that says ‘the employee shortage is so bad that long-haired freaky people can now apply.’ This is a really serious issue.”

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As a dairy fan, Emmer is looking forward to visiting the all-you-can-drink milk stand at the State Fair at the end of this month.

Rep. Michelle Fischbach, Seventh District

Along with a few other members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation, Seventh District Rep. Michelle Fischbach attended Farmfest, where she spoke on panels including one with Rep. Tom Emmer to discuss the work they’re doing to support Minnesota’s agriculture workforce.

Emmer said during a panel discussion that Rep. Fischbach “is leading a new generation of Republicans at the House Ag Committee.”

Fischbach has been busy so far during the August recess, attending the Stearns County Fair and the Albany Heritage Days parade. She also went to Clinton to tour an assisted living facility and examine the damage from a recent grain elevator fire.

Fischbach is also planning to attend the State Fair.

Rep. Pete Stauber, Eighth District

Pete Stauber, who represents Minnesota’s Eighth congressional district,  has already been enjoying his time back home in Minnesota. He tweeted a picture last week of his target shooting setup to prepare for the upcoming deer hunting season. Stauber also visited Pine City over the weekend, meeting constituents at the Pine County parade.