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.


Minnesota exports drop 17% because of the coronavirus

Industries such as communications equipment, agricultural and construction machinery hit hard in June due to virus, report says.


58 Minnesota firms with political connections received large PPP loans

State officials defended their participation in the program, noting they followed all of the rules and used the money as it was intended.


Checks aside, D.C. finds little to agree on for new stimulus plan

Minnesota delegation disagrees on size and scope of new aid, showing the scope of partisan fight taking place nationally.


Report finds short-term insurance policies touted by White House lacking

U.S. House report recounts dozens of cases of consumers denied coverage for medical conditions with policies pushed as alternative to ACA.


Minn. breweries, golf courses, law firms get $1M-plus in loan help

The forgivable loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program can mean "the difference between a not-very-good year and a disastrous year," a brewery leader says.


It's hard to avoid backspin as Minnesota dance schools reopen during COVID-19

South Metro Dance Academy, like other person-to-person businesses, has been shattered by COVID-19


Panel of scientists recommends stronger guidelines on PFAS

Right now, only a few specific ones have been banned or limited in use.


Minnesota business groups oppose visa suspensions for foreign workers

President Trump's order called shortsighted, draws opposition.


St. Paul mayor asks Congress for sweeping police reforms

He is seeking broad national police accountability reforms, including standards that would outlaw chokeholds or neck restraints like the one that cost George Floyd his life at the hands of Minneapolis police.


Virus downturn leaves winners, losers among Minn. companies

Factors such as existing cash reserves and credit lines played a role, but so did luck. Companies generally responded quickly to pandemic-forced disruptions in the economy, but the costs of COVID-19 have not spread equally.