WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06), Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) unveiled a series of measures aimed at resolving the prolonged closure of the border between the United States and Canada and assisting impacted small businesses.
“The Northwest Angle is a historic and iconic piece of Minnesota that has seen its recreational businesses, and the livelihoods of Minnesotans, devastated by the border closure. Access to Angle has been severely restricted for far too long and American businesses continue to suffer. This new program will provide a temporary lifeline for hardworking Minnesotans as we continue to work to reopen the border and restore commerce to this important part of our state,” said Congressman Emmer.
“The closure of the northern border has been devastating for Minnesotans living in the Northwest Angle, who remain cut off from the mainland and whose businesses have been left to go bankrupt. Even with highly effective vaccines driving infection rates way down, there does not appear to be an end in sight. The families and businesses of the Angle need the Biden Administration to engage with Canada on a bilateral solution to a problem that has remained unresolved for far too long,” said Congresswoman Fischbach.
“For the past year, communities along the northern border have suffered as the result of the U.S.-Canada border closure. My colleagues and I have heard from Minnesotans who have been separated from their families, from business owners and employees who fear for their livelihoods, and from Northwest Angle residents who find themselves isolated from the rest of their country. This situation is dire, and it is past time to find a solution. That’s why I am proud to help lead legislation that will pressure the Biden Administration to do the right thing and work with Canada to find a bilateral solution to this issue,” said Congressman Stauber.
The representatives introduced the Assistance Needed for Great Losses Experienced in Isolated Northern Lakes Economic Territory Act, known as the ANGLE Act, which would create a forgivable loan program for “remote recreational businesses” impacted by the northern border closure. To be eligible for a forgivable loan, a business must have experienced a loss in revenue greater than 50 percent from March 1, 2020, until December 31, 2020.
In addition, the representatives introduced legislation to create a corridor to facilitate cross-border travel for individuals with negative COVID-19 tests. The bill would also require the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security to begin negotiations with the Canadian government for a border reopening.
Finally, in a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the representatives urged a swift, mutually agreeable resolution to the border closure.
“We ask that you expeditiously allow for travel to and from the non-contiguous United States through Canada in order to facilitate regular commerce with the community and allow for American citizens to reunify with their property or loved ones,” the letter reads. “While we appreciate that Canada has challenges of its own in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe that there are solutions that can allow for American citizens to travel freely to the Angle while minimizing or altogether eliminating risk of further spread.”