Washington Correspondent

Washington correspondent Jim Spencer examines the impact of federal politics and policy on Minnesota businesses, especially the medical technology, food distribution, farming, manufacturing, retail and health insurance industries.  

Previously, he worked as an enterprise reporter in Minneapolis, writing on topics including Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, lake pollution caused by residential development, unintentional shootings of children, suicide among senior citizens, and budget cuts to homebound care for the disabled.


U.S. House passes small-biz aid bill introduced by Minnesota's Dean Phillips

The legislation, which also must be passed by the Senate, would extend repayment deadlines and loosen some of the spending rules for the small business loans.


'Truly scurrilous behavior' by scammers increases as pandemic continues

An upending of social norms helps set the stage for a growing roster of unsavory pitches.


Medtronic's profit and sales fall sharply, as hospital procedures ramp down

The medical device maker saw its sales drop 25% in the February-April period.


UnitedHealth, HealthPartners offer employer guides to get employees back to workplaces

One an app, the other a bundled group of services, they are based on CDC guidelines.


Senate panel debates employer immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits

Congress is considering whether immunity should be granted for a limited time as businesses reopen.


Owner of Famous Dave's, Granite City chains gets $13 million federal loan

Famous Dave's, Granite City owner says firm needed access to capital.


3M files 5 more lawsuits claiming fraud in sales of N95 masks

The manufacturer says businesses tried to sell Florida officials nonexistent N95 masks. 3M said it will donate any damages recovered to COVID-19-related nonprofit organizations.


JBS reopens Worthington plant to kill pigs without processing them

Minnesota's biggest pork processing plant reopened for grim duty: killing pigs without turning them into food. The job will help farmers who are contending with barns that are full and crowded by new pigs being born every day.


Trump order compels meat processing plants to reopen

The rare move to use the Defense Production Act to compel plants to stay open comes as union leaders press for more testing of workers.


Small business loan recipients include not-so-small Minn. companies

At least four publicly traded companies, one with more than $100 million in sales, received forgivable loans.