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Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014
Strong families (07/11/14)
Years of economic pain and uncertainty have taken their toll on middle class families. Too many continue to struggle. Worries over everyday affordability and long-term financial security persist in Nebraska and across the nation. Those Americans who have jobs are often underemployed, forced to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Still, some families can't get ahead...
Highway Bill: Less bureaucracy, more flexibility (05/30/14)
Strengthening our infrastructure has long been an important policy focus of mine. As I travel the state meeting with Nebraskans and visiting their businesses, I am often reminded that roads are the lifeblood of Nebraska that connect our busy cities with sprawling rural communities. A modern infrastructure is key to economic growth, attracting new businesses, and ensuring public safety...
Taxed at every turn (04/18/14)
Each year, April 15 serves as the dreaded deadline for all Americans to file their taxes. Nebraskans, especially small business owners, spend hours going through their records to fill out the necessary forms and meet the IRS' seemingly endless reporting requirements. An estimate from the National Taxpayer Advocate last year indicates Americans collectively spend 6.1 billion hours and $168 billion on efforts to navigate our confusing tax code and file taxes...
Good-paying jobs (04/03/14)
Whenever I speak with Nebraskans looking for work, they always tell me one thing: they want a good-paying job so they can provide for themselves and for their families. Rather than holding back economic progress with an outdated tax code, burdensome regulations, and government-driven uncertainty, Congress should pass policies that actually help the unemployed obtain good-paying jobs...
Bolstering a splintered nation (03/27/14)
Many Nebraskans have been closely following reports of the current situation in Ukraine and growing tensions with Russia. The Senate recently took action to approve legislation that provides aid to the Ukrainian government. The bill authorizes the State Department to provide assistance to Ukraine for recovering assets linked to corruption of Ukraine's former President. ...
Bolstering broadband (01/24/14)
Geographic hurdles and population density challenges have left many Nebraskans in rural areas without broadband service. Urban residents, too, face problems with aging and outdated telecommunications infrastructure. Insufficient Internet access and dropped phone calls are more than mere inconveniences. They are a threat to public safety, they hinder economic development, and they isolate entrepreneurs working hard to connect with customers and suppliers across the nation...
Going pink (10/24/13)
While October brings colder weather, fall activities, and the beginning of the holiday season, this month also marks an opportunity to bring attention to an important cause: breast cancer awareness. Every woman can relate to the worry and anxiety felt when having a yearly mammogram. It's not uncommon for women to retake the test or have a follow-up ultrasound, because their mammograms showed "irregularities" or signs of what might be breast cancer...
More work ahead (10/18/13)
This week, an agreement was signed into law to reopen the government and avert the risk of a possible default. I, along with many of my colleagues, have fought tooth and nail against the implementation of the flawed healthcare law, which is already killing jobs and driving up premiums for Nebraskans. ...
A simple truth (10/11/13)
It's a simple truth that a government should not intentionally make life harder for its people. The bad habit of governing by crisis management and the failure to get our fiscal house in order have made life difficult for Americans. In Nebraska and in so many other states across this nation, we actually work together -- and not just on small bills, but also on the big issues. ...
A busy month ahead (09/05/13)
After spending the August work period visiting with our constituents, Congress is now gearing up for a busy month of legislative business. The situation in Syria has captured the attention of the president, lawmakers, and the American people. As Nebraskans know, the president is calling for a military response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his own people...
A month of the good life (08/30/13)
During the Senate's state work period for the month of August, I traveled across the state speaking with Nebraskans, touring businesses and medical centers, and holding roundtables with various groups and industry leaders. Starting in Omaha and Lincoln, I made my way from eastern Nebraska all the way up to Chadron and then west to Gering and Scottsbluff before heading down to Holdrege and McCook, making stops in many other towns along the way...
Of phony scandals (08/16/13)
Several months ago, the American people learned the disturbing news that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) intentionally targeted and "slow walked" the applications of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. Since then, Members of Congress have held a number of hearings to identify the individuals and policies responsible for this harassment. I'd like to share with you some new details we've learned from the ongoing investigation...
Bringing accountability to Washington (08/16/13)
Nebraskans are no strangers to the stories of wasteful government spending. The most egregious examples are well documented by my colleague, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), in his annual "Wastebook" and other reports. They range in activities that are anywhere from strange, to simply absurd -- and they are all sad, but true...
Facing reality on the president's climate change plan (07/26/13)
Last month, President Obama delivered a speech on climate change during which he announced his plans to increase regulations and impose a costly national tax on affordable energy sources. He intends to enact this proposal through executive action, avoiding Congress and the citizens they represent. Specifically, the president will authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue new carbon emission standards for existing power plants...
Taxed 'til death (07/18/13)
"Two things in life are certain," Benjamin Franklin noted, "death and taxes." Two hundred years later, Franklin's observation remains as true as ever. During Franklin's time, however, death itself was not always a taxable event. In the years immediately following the American Revolution, the death, or "estate" tax was levied sporadically -- and temporarily -- to finance wars throughout the nineteenth century...
A report on the Middle East (07/12/13)
Last week, with the Senate out of session for Independence Day, I joined a small group of senators on an official fact-finding mission to the Middle East. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, it is especially important for me to visit with other policy and military leaders in this volatile region, including United States commanders. ...
A lasting solution for students (06/07/13)
Nebraskans may recall last summer's partisan squabble over student loan rates, which were set to expire and subsequently rise on millions of college students across the nation at the height of the presidential campaign. It was the hope of many Americans, myself included, that the end of the last campaign would lead to, at a minimum, a decrease in the number of manufactured political battles -- particularly fights over issues on which Republicans and Democrats agree...
Being prepared (05/30/13)
This week, severe weather warnings and alerts were issued across the state. Eastern Nebraska experienced flooding from heavy rain, while hail, high winds, and tornadoes swept across central and western Nebraska. The recent horrific tornadoes in Oklahoma remind us that natural disasters aren't just heartbreaking news stories quickly forgotten, but rather are enduring challenges for the impacted families and communities...
For love of country (05/24/13)
Each year, Nebraskans mark Memorial Day in a number of different ways. Quiet ceremonies at cemeteries, Main Street parades filled with children and veterans proudly waving American flags, and backyard barbecues and neighborhood get-togethers are common traditions across the state...
A heavy hand (05/20/13)
By now, most Nebraskans are familiar with a series of alarming news reports regarding a disturbing pattern of government overreach. In the past week, a number of scandals have developed and are now embroiling Washington, D.C. On May 10, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) admitted to deliberately targeting and delaying the applications of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. ...
The Huskers' hero (05/03/13)
Childhood is a time for growing -- growing bodies, growing minds, and growing hearts. It is a special, brief time given to us by God to live without fear or physical pain, or the burdens of responsibility. For too many children, though, childhood is very different. Many are forced to grow up too quickly and learn hard lessons of courage from the cruel, unyielding teacher of sickness...
$890,000 on nothing (04/25/13)
"U.S. government spends $890,000 on nothing" -- it sounds like a bad joke, but it's no laughing matter. The Washington Post recently reported, "This year, the government will spend at least $890,000 on service fees for bank accounts that have nothing in them. At last count, Uncle Sam has 13,712 such accounts, each with a balance of zero."...
A Lesson in political courage from across the pond (04/11/13)
From the Senate's earliest days, new senators have respected a ritual of remaining silent during floor debates for a period of time ranging from several months to several years, depending on the era. This is, of course, largely a symbolic gesture. But newly elected senators respect the tradition to show they are committed to using their first days in office to learn the traditions, practices, and procedures of the Senate before speaking on the floor...
The worth of water (04/04/13)
Benjamin Franklin once quipped, "When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." Franklin understood that while water is an essential part of daily life, many of us take it for granted. We use water to cook, clean, and nourish crops. Water sustains individuals and livestock alike; it is used to transport passengers and goods. Water is undoubtedly one of our most precious natural resources. As such, wise water management should be a top priority...
Rolling back regulations (03/28/13)
Few Americans will ever forget being told Congress had to first pass the healthcare law "to find out what is in it." Well, almost exactly three years ago, the bill was passed and now we know the secret ingredient: 20,000 pages of new federal regulations, amounting to a towering stack of paper 7 feet 3 inches tall...
From the Sandhills to Capitol Hill (03/22/13)
Before arriving to Washington, I lived and worked on our family ranch for 41 years with my husband, Bruce, in the Sandhills of Nebraska. With daily chores and caking cattle around Sunny Slope Ranch, I quickly developed an appreciation for the lay of the land. ...
A trillion dollar tax hike (03/18/13)
It was an historic week in the United States Congress. For the first time in 92 years, Congress began the budget-making process without first receiving a budget from the president. This effort was a necessary step given that the president's budget has been delayed for over a month, despite legal requirements for a timely submission to Congress...
Joining the conversation (03/07/13)
As an elected representative of the United States Senate, my priority is serving the needs of my constituents in Nebraska. A highlight of my job both in the state and in Washington is speaking with fellow Nebraskans about the issues affecting them in their daily lives...
73,608 (02/21/13)
In less than a week, automatic "across-the-board" budget cuts will go into effect, dangerously slashing the defense budget as well as jeopardizing thousands of American jobs. While Nebraskans know we must cut out-of-control government spending, I believe we should sensibly target these cuts at wasteful federal programs, not critical national security priorities...
2 problems, 1 solution: certainty (02/15/13)
Like many Nebraskans, I watched the president's State of the Union address hoping we would hear specific policy proposals to address our nation's ongoing economic challenges, including our $16 trillion national debt. I was disappointed that instead of offering realistic ideas to cut government spending, the president focused his speech on plans to increase spending under the pretext of job creation...
Cutting the red tape (02/07/13)
For far too long, the federal government's reach has extended more and more into the everyday lives of citizens and businesses across Nebraska. Constituents often share with me, both in my office and as I travel the state, that we have got to get to work cutting all of the red tape coming out of Washington...
Nearly 1,400 days and counting (02/01/13)
The last time the Senate passed a budget resolution was on April 29, 2009, or nearly 1,400 days ago. Think about it: the last time the Senate passed a budget, the iPad didn't even exist. Nebraskans understand that the only way to get our fiscal house in order is to get government spending under control. A budget is essential when you're running a family or business, it's even more essential when you're running the federal government...
A visit to Offutt, a word on rules (01/25/13)
Recently, members of my state staff and I visited Offutt Air Force Base, which serves as home to the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). We began the visit to Offutt with a discussion of the 55th Wing with Colonel John Rauch. The "Fightin' Fifty-Fifth" operates a variety of aircraft to conduct operations from Offutt and other locations around the world. I was very impressed with the fine work they do and I am grateful for their service...
Time to get to work (01/10/13)
On January 3, I had the privilege of taking the oath of office and becoming Nebraska's 39th United States Senator. I am grateful that members of my family and so many friends traveled from Nebraska to share this special day, and I am honored by the trust placed in me by Nebraskans. ...
U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer
Note from Washington
Deb. Fischer of Valentine, Nebraska, was elected to the U.S. Senate on Nov. 6, 2012. Previously, she served two years in the Nebraska Legislature, representing the 43rd District.