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SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

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McConnell, Wyden, Polis, Massie Join To Advance Industrial Hemp Research

Requesting USDA to clarify industrial hemp’s eligibility for federal research grants 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) today sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to clarify that industrial hemp research programs are eligible for existing federal research dollars. The letter was signed by a total of 12 Senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives.

“It appears that USDA has the authority to award competitive grants for the development of industrial hemp,” the members wrote in the letter. “Nevertheless, it seems the USDA has provided conflicting information regarding whether the agency is willing to exercise its authority to award existing federal grant dollars for the research of industrial hemp.”

Industrial hemp is used throughout the world in thousands of products, including paper, fabrics, lotions, canvas, rope, and construction material. Under the Agricultural

Senator Mitch McConnel (R-KY) photographed at the Capitol on December 2, 2008.  Photograph by Karen Ballard

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) photographed at the Capitol on December 2, 2008. Photograph by Karen Ballard

Act of 2014, institutions of higher education and state departments of agriculture are permitted to launch industrial hemp research pilot programs if certain conditions are met. Twenty-six states have authorized industrial hemp pilot studies or production.

However, USDA has yet to clarify whether these programs are eligible for research dollars as other research programs that focus on the industrial uses of commodities are. Some individuals seeking clarity from the USDA on this issue report being told by USDA officials that “it is not worth it to apply” for research funds, whereas a Dec. 23, 2014 internal USDA memo suggests that the USDA is supportive of industrial hemp research and may be willing to award funds for that purpose.

“Due to this lack of consistency, researchers are reluctant to apply for federal funds because of the large amount of time, effort, and cost that goes into any grant application,” the members wrote in the letter.

The members asked Secretary Vilsack:

  1. Does USDA interpret current law as providing the agency with the authority to award existing and competitive federal funds for the research of industrial hemp?
  2. If the answer is yes, what steps is USDA taking to disseminate that information and work with interested parties in the competitive grant process?

The signed text of the letter is available here. Signatories include Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), and Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY), Rod Blum (R-IA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Mark Takai (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Peter Welch (D-VT), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), John Yarmuth (D-KY), and Ryan Zinke (R-MT).

SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

President Warned Not to Skirt Law that Bans Bringing Guantanamo Terrorists into U.S.

‘If the President wants to be able to import Guantanamo terrorists into Americans’ backyards, he’s going to have to persuade a majority in Congress to change the law. Just last week, big bipartisan majorities in Congress voted twice to underline the point. We overwhelmingly passed a defense authorization bill with a clear, bipartisan prohibition on the President moving Guantanamo terrorists into our country.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding Guantanamo terrorists:

“Years ago, then-candidate Obama made a campaign promise that has not withstood the measure of time or the realities brought by terrorism.

“He said he wanted to close the secure detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Ever since, he has pursued policies that willfully avoided the targeting chain of capture, interrogate, build intelligence, and target.

“It turns out, the reality of closing the secure detention facility is a lot harder than making promises on the campaign trail. It’s an incredibly complex issue with grave national security concerns for the citizens of our country and our allies. That fact that the President has never been able to present any kind of serious plan to Congress seems to say a lot.

“We hear he’s finally working on one now. We will of course give consideration to what he sends. We will of course keep an open mind. It doesn’t mean Congress is going to agree with him — it’s going to be a very tough sell because it is hard to understand why indefinite detention for terrorists on United States soil is preferable to detaining terrorists who cannot be released in Guantanamo. This is especially true when one considers the fact that bringing terrorists here presents serious risks that simply do not exist if we keep the terrorists in the secure facility there.

“This much is crystal clear though: If the President wants to be able to import Guantanamo terrorists into Americans’ backyards, he’s going to have to persuade a majority in Congress to change the law.

“Just last week, big bipartisan majorities in Congress voted twice to underline the point.

“We overwhelmingly passed a defense authorization bill with a clear, bipartisan prohibition on the President moving Guantanamo terrorists into our country.

“We overwhelmingly passed a veterans funding bill with a clear, bipartisan prohibition on the President improving military facilities for the detention of Guantanamo terrorists in our country.

“The Senate has voted many times in recent years to enact these bipartisan protections.

“We’ve enacted them in Congresses with split party control.

“We’ve enacted them in Congresses with massive Democratic majorities.

“The President has signed them into law.

“So if the President wants to bring Guantanamo terrorists into the United States, he has to change the law.

“That’s the opinion of the President’s own Attorney General.

“She was asked directly this week if the President could ignore legislation passed by Congress that prohibits him from transferring Guantanamo detainees to American soil.

“This is what she said. ‘The law currently does not allow for that.’

“Let me repeat that. ‘The law currently does not allow for that.’

“This is what the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, a woman appointed by President Obama himself, had to say on his ability to import Guantanamo terrorists into our country.

“This isn’t exactly a revelation to anyone. The fact that the President is now contemplating flouting the law in pursuit of a campaign promise from years ago means that it’s apparently necessary for his own Attorney General to remind everyone that the law is the law.

“There are a multitude of other reasons not to bring these dangerous individuals into our country. I plan to continue reminding my colleagues of them here on the floor.

“If the President ever presents some kind of plan we can actually debate, I’m sure there will be several different views on it. I’m sure we’ll each have a lot to say. I’m sure the President will make his pitch to convince Congress that moving terrorists into American communities is a good idea.

“Like I said, it will be a hard sell. But the President should make his case if he feels passionately about it.

“For now though, we should all at least be able to agree with what one of our Democratic Senate colleagues recently said of the President: ‘He’s going to have to comply with the legal restrictions.’”

SOURCE:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Published on Nov 19, 2015

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding Guantanamo terrorists.

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SOURCE:  STRAKKA RACING / CISION

Strakka Racing wants to shine in Sakhir

As sun sets on a challenging year, Strakka Racing aims to shine in the desert

As sun sets on a challenging year, Strakka Racing aims to shine in the desert

After qualifying eighth under the floodlights at Bahrain’s stunning Sakhir circuit, Strakka Racing is looking forward to what is set to be a highly competitive final round of the 2015 World Endurance Championship season. After a short delay to the evening’s activities due to a lack of circuit floodlighting, Strakka’s Nick Leventis and Jonny Kane headed out on track to deliver a combined time of 1:52.260 in temperatures that still reached 24°C.

With a strong emphasis on tyre management for the race, factoring in how much the track will ‘rubber in’ after more use, the team is confident of being able to race hard in the six-hour enduro that sees nine cars taking part this time in the LMP2 class. “It’s been a character building year with a few more setbacks than we could have ever predicted,” says team principal Dan Walmsley. “My biggest disappointment is the on track results don’t reflect the effort and determination shown by everyone in the team, technical partners, suppliers and also, the fans this season. We’ve not given them much to cheer about but through social media and the support they bring to the tracks means we won’t give up until the end of the year. As an example, WEC fans have even cakes baked for us at nearly every round. Thank you for pushing us to do better and work hard for more in 2016.”

Tomorrow’s race will start at 3pm local time (12pm UK time) before the team prepares for the Rookie Test when Lewis Williamson and Tio Ellinas will take over the Gibson 015S. Spending time with the team today, Lewis was eager to make the most of his chance to drive an LMP2 car. “It’s my first time here but I’ve been on Strakka’s sim, read all the instructions and listened to the engineers to make sure I make the most of this opportunity.”

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