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Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014
The status of our economy (07/11/14)
As Nebraska's economy continues to grow and unemployment remains low, the national economy is another story. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase of 288,000 non-farm jobs in June, reducing the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent. These numbers sound like positive news; however, they do not tell the whole story. About six years after the economic crisis began, our economy still has not fully recovered...
Holding Japan accountable in trade negotiations (05/30/14)
When Japan joined negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in 2013, I was optimistic we could expand market access for Nebraska exporters in one of the world's largest economies. Japan has a historically closed market, but recently had shown signs of progress. By joining the TPP negotiations, Japan agreed to eliminate barriers as part of an ambitious comprehensive agreement...
Solutions for our budget and the economuy (04/18/14)
Last week, the House of Representatives passed a budget plan which honestly accounts for the federal government's spending, proposes solutions to balance the budget in 10 years, and grow our economy. This plan stands in stark contrast to current policy which will continue to spend more money than we have, burden our economy, and plague future generations with trillions of dollars of debt...
Religious freedom must be protected (03/28/14)
The United States was founded in part on the idea of religious freedom. It is no coincidence the First Amendment to the Constitution ensures the 'free exercise' of religion. However, two cases argued before the Supreme Court this week will test whether this basic right truly extends to all Americans, or if the federal government now has the power to force individuals to violate the tenants of their faith...
Protecting American interests through trade (01/24/14)
After years of negotiations, the United States signed and approved trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea in 2011, and all three agreements went into effect in 2012. Each of these agreements brings mutual economic benefits and expands export opportunities for Nebraska goods and products. They also help protect American interests...
Negotiations must continue (10/18/13)
After 16 days of stalemate, Congress and the President agreed to temporarily reopen the government and avoid default. While this solution is far from ideal, it was the only remaining option to continue negotiations over our long term fiscal challenges, including the President's health care law...
Back-to-school opportunities for students (09/10/13)
The Labor Day holiday is now behind us, marking the traditional end of summer and the beginning of a new school year for students. As students head back to the classroom, Nebraskans should be aware of several resources and opportunities available through my office...
Your input is important (08/30/13)
During the last several weeks I have traveled across the Third District to meet with Nebraskans, answer questions, and most importantly, to listen to your thoughts and concerns on the issues facing our country. Public input is a critical element of our republic, and helps me better represent our district in Congress...
We need tax reform, not a money-grab (08/16/13)
The Last week, President Obama announced in a speech he would be willing to look at reforming the corporate tax code, but only if a sizeable portion of the savings would be used for more government spending. While the President's interest in corporate tax reform is a welcome sign, this plan does not address the underlying need for tax reform...
Delay of health care mandates should apply to all (07/19/13)
Earlier this month, the Obama Administration announced it would delay enforcement of the employer mandate -- a major component of the President's 2010 health care law which requires businesses to provide government-approved insurance for their employees or pay a fine. The delay was justified by the Administration as a way to allow businesses more time to prepare for the burdensome reporting requirements created by the law...
The House approach to immigration reform (07/12/13)
The United States Senate recently passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill. However, the House will not 'rubber stamp' the Senate bill. Our founders intentionally designed the House and Senate differently, and intended each chamber to act its will. We have the right and responsibility to consider all issues, including immigration, using a different approach...
A long-term solution for student loan interest rates (06/06/13)
Without action, millions of recent college graduates and other borrowers could see the interest rates on their student loans double on July 1 of this year. To prevent this problem, House Republicans passed H.R. 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, a long-term solution to stop the rate hikes next month, and to get politicians out of the business of setting student loan interest rates...
Health care law expands IRS authority (05/31/13)
Americans of all political persuasions are rightfully outraged by recent revelations of political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Adding to the concern, the IRS will be the chief enforcer of the many new health care mandates set to be implemented during the next year. The improper conduct and mismanagement at the agency have raised serious questions about the ability of the IRS to handle such broad new responsibilities and powers...
Fighting for our veterans (05/24/13)
Memorial Day is a time set aside every year to honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to our nation. We also thank all of our veterans who have defended our freedoms. While we can never adequately express our gratitude for the sacrifices of America's veterans, I am working with my colleagues to ensure our heroes have access to the care and resources they deserve...
The importance of congressional oversight (05/20/13)
It has been a busy week in Washington. Congress is investigating several situations including the targeting of certain political organizations by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and reports the Secretary of Health and Human Services may have improperly solicited outside funds to help implement the health care law. Many important questions remain, underscoring the need for Congress to continue its oversight of the executive branch...
All-of-the-above strategy to reduce energy prices (05/13/13)
Despite the recent cold weather and snow storms, summer is quickly approaching which likely means higher energy prices. Nebraskans will not only feel the pain at the gas pump, we could face higher home electric bills, and pay more for just about every product because of higher transportation and production costs...
How much is $1 trillion? (05/03/13)
A few years ago, it was far more common to discuss budgets and costs of programs in the billions of dollars -- a staggering sum of money. However, after years of government growth it has become increasingly necessary to discuss Washington spending in terms of "trillions" rather than "billions" of dollars...
Learn About Educational Opportunities at Academy Open House (04/26/13)
Nebraska has no shortage of patriotic young people willing to serve their country. Each year, young men and women from the Third District attend our nation's prestigious Service Academies. These institutions provide a first-rate higher education and unmatched opportunities for young people looking to achieve their potential in education and service...
Simplifying America's tax code (04/12/13)
It is mid-April which means the Huskers' spring game has been played, warmer weather should be upon us soon, baseball has resumed, and of course -- tax season. Every year, American families and businesses work to compile all the necessary documents, receipts, and records to file their taxes before the April 15th deadline. ...
Health care update on law's third anniversary (03/28/13)
It has now been more than three years since the controversial health care law was pushed through Congress and signed by President Obama. Since the law was passed premiums have increased, health care costs continue to rise, small businesses have been burdened, and the estimated price of the law continues to increase. Unfortunately, several recent reports and studies conclude the effects of the law are more painful than initially expected...
A balanced budget to renew American prosperity (03/22/13)
The budget process is one of the most basic functions of government - to set priorities of how to best use tax dollars. Every year, Congress and the President are required by law to agree to a 10-year budget resolution to manage our nation's long-term finances. However, for too long we have not used the budget process to improve the fiscal condition of our country...
Meeting the food demands of the future (03/15/13)
Nebraska farmers are among the most efficient and productive in the world. Our producers have embraced new technologies and techniques to produce an abundance of crops, opening the door to increased trade and helping to feed the world. These advances have not only helped American agriculture thrive, but also play a critical role in meeting global food demands of the present and future...
Restoring the legislative process (03/08/13)
Many Americans, including myself, are often frustrated by the inability of Congress to get important legislation passed. Congress was unable to agree to a new long-term Farm Bill last year. The Senate has not passed a budget in nearly four years. And it seems like Congress and the President are locked in constant showdowns to avoid the latest ceiling, cliff, or shutdown...
Replacing the sequester with responsible cuts (03/01/13)
The so-called "sequester" is the latest showdown to grip the attention of Washington and the nation. The House of Representatives voted twice to replace these arbitrary cuts before the March 1 deadline with commonsense reductions and reforms. However, these cuts are now in effect because the President and the Senate have yet to propose and pass a viable alternative...
Restoring three separate, but equal branches of government (02/25/13)
The founders of our American Republic deliberately designed a federal government with three separate but equal branches; the legislative branch to pass laws, the executive branch to enforce laws, and the judicial branch to interpret and review laws. Through a system of checks and balances, the founders sought to prevent any one branch of government from having too much power...
We cannot ignore our debt (02/15/13)
This week, President Obama delivered the annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. The speech is a great tradition and it is an important opportunity for the President to share his vision with Congress and the American people. While there were positive elements of the speech, I was disappointed President Obama did not say anything to indicate he has a serious plan to address our nation's most urgent problem -- out-of-control federal spending and debt...
Addressing the root causes of violence (02/08/13)
The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has caused grief and reflection across the nation. I join all Nebraskans and Americans in mourning the victims and in prayer for their families and friends. Such an act of horror naturally invites debate over what can and should be done to protect children and prevent senseless acts of violence in the future...
Good news in agriculture (02/01/13)
This week, an important agreement was announced which will ease some restrictions on beef imports from the U.S. to Japan, the largest beef market in Asia. Japan will now permit the import of U.S. beef and beef products from cattle less than 30 months of age, an increase from the previous limit of 20 months. This change is expected to result in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional exports of U.S. beef to Japan in the coming years...
A culture of life (01/17/13)
The Supreme Court issued its controversial Roe v. Wade decision, which forced states to legalize abortion on January 22, 1973. Rather than ending the debate, the pro-life movement has continued and made some progress over the last 40 years. However, much work remains to protect the sanctity of innocent life, and I have worked with my colleagues in both parties to bring pro-life legislation to the floor and advance the rights of the unborn...
The debate on spending continues (01/04/13)
The House, Senate and President all recently agreed to last-minute legislation to stop automatic tax increases and delay arbitrary defense spending cuts known collectively as the "fiscal cliff." The President had consistently said the fiscal cliff must be resolved through a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction including new tax revenues as well as spending cuts. ...
Honoring our veterans (11/09/12)
Nebraskans take great pride in service to our nation. Our state is home to more than 150,000 veterans, and we recognize and respect their contributions to our nation's security and freedom. Every Veterans Day we honor those who have served our nation in uniform, but this year I would like to make two requests...
Nation should learn from Nebraska's succeess (10/19/12)
The national economy is bleak. Four years after a deep recession, unemployment remains stubbornly high at 7.8 percent, and economic growth has slowed to 1.3 percent. Families and small businesses are struggling to make ends meet. As wages and benefits have been cut, prices of electricity, gas, food, and health care continue to rise. Clearly, we are not headed in the right direction...
Acting now to save Medicare (08/17/12)
As I have been traveling through Nebraska's Third District during the August work period, I am reminded about the fiscal situation facing our country. I hear from Nebraskans concerned about the future of Medicare and whether it will continue to be effective in the future...
Mandate limits consumer choice (08/10/12)
The controversial Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring employers to cover the full cost of contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs took effect on August 1, 2012. The requirement, a result of the President's health care law, has caused strong opposition because it forces some religious organizations to violate their beliefs, infringing on their constitutional right to religious freedom. ...
Keeping a close eye on Russia (07/27/12)
America's relationship with Russia is complex. Russia is currently the world's ninth largest economy and growing. In 2011 alone, Nebraska exported $154 million worth of goods to Russia, which directly supported an estimated 560 jobs here at home. However, I and many others remain concerned regarding Russia's recent behavior and trading policies...
Miscellaneous Tariff Bill keeps Nebraska manufacturers competitive (07/24/12)
America's economy is stagnant and showing few signs of growth. The private sector is being strangled by government regulation, an overly-complex and uncompetitive tax code, and uncertainty generated by the threat of tax increases, an onerous health care law, and the ever expanding national debt...
Using Nebraska's resources to power our economy (07/12/12)
As our economy struggles, the lack of bipartisan solutions from Congress only adds to our frustration. While House Republicans are working to reduce the burden of government, cut wasteful spending, and streamline government programs to encourage economic growth, not hinder it, more than thirty House-passed bills aimed at private sector job creation and growth have idled in the Democrat-led Senate. ...
Certainty encourages economic growth (07/09/12)
The U.S. economy added just 80,000 jobs in June and the national unemployment rate remained above 8 percent for the 41st consecutive month. With millions of Americans out of work or underemployed, it is the latest indication the President's policies of massive deficit spending, increased federal regulation and calling for added taxes on America's small businesses are failing to create economic growth...
Health care bill must be repealed in full (06/29/12)
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of the President's health care law, Nebraskans deserve to know what the decision means and what steps Congress will take to repeal the law in full to lower health care costs while increasing access to care...
President continues to bypass Congress (06/22/12)
Earlier this month, President Obama announced he was changing deportation and work rules for some illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children. However, this change in policy was not the result of legislation, but rather a unilateral decision by the President without the approval of Congress...
How is overregulation impacting you? (05/22/12)
While Nebraska continues to see a strong job market, the national economy remains weak with unemployment above 8 percent for 39 consecutive months. The tepid pace of growth is due in large part to the overregulation coming out of Washington, paralyzing employers with uncertainty. And just as a rising tide lifts all boats, the opposite is also true. Failure to rein in out-of-control regulations will result in lasting damage to our country, and all Americans will pay the price...
Keeping our commitment to Israel (04/27/12)
Keeping Our Commitment to Israel This past week marked the 64th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. From day one, the United States and Israel have enjoyed a strategic partnership based on shared democratic values, friendship, and respect. With the escalating instability in the Middle East and the threat of a nuclear Iran, it is as important as ever we stand firmly with our most important ally in the region...
Looking at the future of Nebraska agriculture (04/20/12)
Agriculture is a bright spot in our nation's economy, sustainably meeting growing demands to provide food, feed, fuel and fiber for the world. Nebraska's producers are masters of efficiency and make high-quality products. As the landscape continues to evolve, public policy will have to change with it. Getting these policies right is the key to the continued success of our farmers and ranchers and the reason why I serve as co-chair of the Modern Agriculture Caucus...
It's about people (03/09/12)
The most fulfilling aspect about representing the people of Nebraska's Third District is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of my constituents. Through casework and timely constituent services, my staff in Nebraska and Washington assist individuals on a daily basis who are trying to maneuver through the federal bureaucracy...
Nebraska producers are anxious for a sustainable farm bill (03/02/12)
Our nation faces unprecedented economic challenges, and rural communities are certainly not immune. Agriculture plays a critical role in the economic outlook of Nebraska, our country and the entire world. In fact, the typical Nebraska farmer feeds 155 people per year, a great source of pride for our state. So, it goes without saying the next Farm Bill is critically important to Nebraska's agriculture economy, and we must get it right...
We must protect conscience rights (02/24/12)
Religious liberty is America's first and founding principle. Our nation was built and settled by generations of people who fled the tyranny and religious oppression of their homelands. Our Founders sought to preserve religious liberty by ensuring this nation protected against the establishment of any law impeding the free exercise of one's religious beliefs. ...
We need a serious budget (02/10/12)
As a former chairman of the House Budget Committee once said, "If you can't budget, you can't govern." Budgeting is one of the most basic things people do. Families and businesses in Nebraska budget every day, figuring out what their needs are and how they are to be met...
Reformed Essential Air Service vital for rural Nebraska (02/03/12)
When talking to residents in the Third District, issues of access are often discussed: access to health care, veteran services, and, certainly, transportation. One important initiative which facilitates transportation access is the Essential Air Service (EAS). ...
It's about the future (01/30/12)
This past week President Obama delivered his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Traditionally, this speech has been a chance for the President to outline his agenda for the coming year. After more than three years of economic hardship, this was the time to chart a new path forward to put our nation back on a sounder fiscal and economic footing...
Supreme Court must strike down entire health law (01/13/12)
President Obama's unpopular health care law is back in the news again, but not for the reasons its supporters would like. In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will take a hard look at the law to decide whether it passes constitutional muster. The question at the heart of the legal challenge brought by 26 states, including Nebraska, as well as the National Federation of Independent Business is whether the federal government has the constitutional authority to force every American to buy and maintain health insurance -- the so-called individual mandate.. ...
New trade partnership will benefit Nebraska (12/30/11)
As we close the book on 2011, there is no question political brinksmanship prevented opportunities for America to move forward. There were, however, consequential, bipartisan accomplishments which will benefit the country. One area where Republicans and Democrats, Congress and the White House were all able to come together was advancing an aggressive trade agenda...
Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season (12/16/11)
As families and loved ones gather across the Third District over the coming days to celebrate Christmas, I want to extend my season's greetings to you and your family. During this time of year, our thoughts and prayers go out to the men and women, and certainly their families, who sacrifice so much to defend our freedoms...
Comprehensive tax reform key to rebuilding our economy (12/09/11)
The November jobs report, which showed nearly twice as many Americans dropped out of the labor force than found work, underscored the deep and systemic problems still affecting the economy. One of those areas is our outdated tax code. Over the years, it has grown too complicated and cumbersome, and it is fundamentally unfair. There are many drivers of our sluggish economy, but we never will recover the jobs lost during the recession unless we undertake comprehensive tax reform...
We must redouble our efforts to end Washington's unsustainable spending (11/23/11)
Over the past several weeks, Washington has had multiple opportunities to address the nation's massive spending problem. Instead, the only thing Congress was able to accomplish was prove again how broken Washington has become. Despite the setbacks, we must redouble our efforts to end the unsustainable spending going on in our nation's capital...
Much to be thankful for this season (11/18/11)
The holidays are a special time to reflect on the past year, to celebrate, and to give thanks for the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy as Americans. President Ronald Reagan reminded us of our blessings in his 1982 Proclamation on Thanksgiving Day: "I have always believed that this anointed land was set apart in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love of faith and freedom.". ...
Remembering our nation's heroes (11/11/11)
On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the guns in Europe fell silent and the War to End All Wars was over. And on that day every year thereafter, Americans have come together to remember the sacrifices made by the veterans who took up arms on their behalf to defend freedom...
Nebraska cannot wait on stalled jobs bill (11/04/11)
Last month's jobs report did not offer much to feel good about the state of the American economy. October marked the 33rd straight month of joblessness above eight percent, a post-World War II record and job growth slowed to a four month low. Unemployment remains at nine percent. ...
Obama jobs plan is more of the same (10/21/11)
For 32 consecutive months the national unemployment rate has been at or above 8 percent. Today, it stands at 9.1 percent. Nearly 14 million Americans continue to look for jobs as average family incomes are dropping and the poverty rate is rising. Maintaining the status quo is unacceptable...
A pivotal moment for the economy (10/14/11)
After nearly five years of delay and political gamesmanship the trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea finally passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support. It was a pivotal moment for America's economy. With these agreements our economic and national security will be strengthened; and more opportunity will be created for our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and workers...
Rural post offices are critical to the 3rd District (10/07/11)
The U.S. Postal Service is an integral part of American life, especially in rural communities. In rural areas like the Third District, residents rely on the USPS for the delivery of prescription drugs, retail purchases, business mail, and cards from loved ones. In fact, you are likely reading this column in a newspaper delivered through the mail...
Standing up for the U.S.-Israel relationship (09/30/11)
Last week, during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) began the process to be recognized as an independent "state." The P.A. submitted a now-pending request to the U.N. Security Council for consideration. If the proposition does not pass the Security Council, the Palestinian leadership then may attempt to bring its efforts to the floor of the U.N. General Assembly for an up or down vote by all members...
Helping you cut government red tape (09/19/11)
Much work remains to reduce spending, shrink the size of government, and get our economy moving again. It is an honor to partner with you to craft and support legislative initiatives, such as expanding international trade, eliminating burdensome regulations, and working to pass comprehensive tax reform, which will strengthen the Third District of Nebraska and restore opportunity for future generations. ...
An agenda for economic growth (09/09/11)
The solution to grow our economy lies in creating an environment where Americans see more opportunity through job creation, not through an expansion of government's reach. For more than two centuries, American workers and innovators have been the engine of an economy envied around the world because they had the ability to create, invent, hire, and expand without a looming uncertainty of the government's role in their business...
Regulatory reform on the horizon (09/01/11)
By law, the Executive Branch is required to annually document and make public the number of new regulatory actions it plans for the coming year. The Obama Administration recently posted information for 2011 online which revealed the regulatory onslaught is not being scaled back, but rather expanded...
Working toward comprehensive tax reform (08/26/11)
The U.S. economy grew a meager 1% from April-July 2011 as a result of weak consumer spending and stalled exports, highlighting the sluggishness of the recovery. This growth rate needs to be twice the amount or higher to create jobs and generate economic growth for full revitalization to occur. ...
The strain of high energy prices (08/19/11)
A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found 69% of respondents said they had been affected "a great deal" or "quite a bit" by the increase in gas prices this year. Average gas prices have recently fallen, but they remain 90 cents higher per gallon than a year ago. These higher costs continue to strain families, farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and seniors across the Third District of Nebraska...
Back to school in the 3rd District (08/12/11)
The month of August means it is time for students and teachers across the Third District to prepare for a new school year. Planning new lessons, meeting new classmates, and readjusting to the school schedule are just a few of the transitions which will be faced in the coming days. It is an exciting time of year. As the back-to-school season begins, I wanted to update you on the opportunities and services my office provides for students, teachers, and parents...
The time for a balanced budget is now (07/25/11)
From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson to Ben Franklin, balancing the budget united America's founders. Nearly 200 years later, in 1982, President Reagan declared his support for a balanced budget amendment, stating "only a constitutional amendment will do the job. ...
The big potential of small scale hydropower (07/08/11)
Hydropower is often thought to require massive dams and complex infrastructures to process millions of gallons of water to power entire cities. Small streams and irrigation canals are rarely considered resources to generate hydropower. In reality, the future of hydropower lies in these nontraditional sources...
International trade benefits Nebraska (06/20/11)
Opening markets around the world is critical to Nebraska's continued economic development. Trade creates opportunity for Nebraska farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and small businesses to expand, generate jobs, invest in new technology, and continue growing our economy. For example, Nebraska exported more than $5.7 billion in merchandise to international markets in 2010, directly supported almost 20,000 jobs...
The need to address our debt (06/07/11)
On June 2, 2011 Moody's Investors Services, a credit rating agency for government entities, issued a serious warning about the government's credit standing. Moody's cautioned its next rating for the U.S. will "depend on the outcome of the negotiations on deficit reduction. A credible agreement on substantial deficit reduction would support a continued stable outlook; lack of such an agreement could prompt Moody's to change its outlook to negative."...
Always remember (05/30/11)
Recently, the Arcadia High School Band from Valley County performed a number of patriotic songs at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. As the band closed with The Star-Spangled Banner a World War II veteran who was visiting the monument for the very first time rose from his seat and saluted the flag. This moving scene was a vivid reminder of the battles waged and the sacrifices made which allow us to enjoy freedom today...
An unsustainable path (05/23/11)
Each year the Medicare and Social Security Trustees release annual reports conducted by nonpartisan actuaries at the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The reports estimate future financial obligations and revenues of the programs, including the value of each program's trust fund...
Preserving our Second Amendment right (04/29/11)
Nebraskans have long held rights granted by the Constitution close to our hearts -- especially the Second Amendment right to bear arms. In total, an estimated 90 million Americans own more than 200 million guns. Many are used for sport and hunting, others are collectors' items, and still more are used for self-defense and security...
Moving forward (04/25/11)
With the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year, Congress can focus on solving the other problems which daily impact Nebraska families, workers and businesses. While progress has been made in many areas, there is much work left to do. The price of gas continues to rise; onerous regulations hamper businesses; and government spending needs additional cuts. ...
The critical need for fundamental tax reform (04/04/11)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With Tax Day approaching on April 18, the pain our burdensome, complicated tax system inflicts on Nebraska families, workers, and job creators will surface once again. A survey recently conducted by Rasmussen Reports found only 9 percent of Americans think the U.S. tax system is the best in the world. This truth is well-grounded in reality...
Strengthening our relationship with Israel (03/25/11)
The uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, and throughout the Middle East, have drastically changed the future political landscape of the region. However, as this volatile period is navigated, it is imperative we work to ensure United States foreign policy interests are protected, particularly our relationship with Israel and its security in the region...
The Committee on Ways & Means and You (02/28/11)
With its roots dating back to 1789, the Committee on Ways and Means is the oldest committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in fact, most of its jurisdiction is derived directly from our Constitution. It is an honor to have the opportunity to sit on a committee with such a rich history and great tradition. However, at the same time, it is humbling because this assignment enables me to serve Nebraskans on critical issues facing our families, farms, businesses, and ranches...
The fallacy of President Obama's budget (02/21/11)
The White House spent last week describing President Obama's budget as historic. Unfortunately, his proposal was neither inspiring nor compelling, and as a result, it was met with bipartisan opposition. Members of both parties share concerns the President's budget lacks the long-term vision to confront the serious fiscal and economic challenges we face and agree this proposal spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much...
Following Reagan's lead on regulation (02/14/11)
This month we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birthday of President Ronald Reagan. We not only celebrate his life, but also, and more importantly, the legacy he left to America and the world. Throughout his life, whether as an actor, spokesperson, governor, or President, he passionately pursued his vision for America, which was rooted in freedom, opportunity, and prosperity...
Farmers and ranchers: America's first conservationists (02/07/11)
Farmers and ranchers remain our nation's first conservationists. Nebraska's farmers and ranchers recognize the responsibility of good stewardship toward their land. However, they understand conservation not only applies to protecting their land, but to the animals in their care. ...
From time to time (01/28/11)
"He (the President) shall from time to time give to Congress Information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." -- Article II, Sec. 3, U.S. Constitution. Recently, President Barack Obama fulfilled his duty as outlined by the Constitution and presented his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress...
The time to repeal and replace is now (01/21/11)
Often when you're traveling in the wrong direction, the most prudent action is to stop and change directions. In direct opposition to the wishes of the American people, last year Congress passed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Despite promises to the contrary, the simple truth is this 2,800-page monstrosity is restraining our economic recovery and destroying jobs by burdening entrepreneurs and employers with tax increases, government mandates, and costly regulations...
Access to representatives an absolute necessity (01/14/11)
Serving Nebraska's Third Congressional District is the highest honor I could ever experience. Beyond representing Nebraskans on legislative matters, a significant part of my job is helping improve the federal government's accessibility and responsiveness when addressing the needs of Third District residents...
Starting the 112th Congress off right (01/11/11)
It happens every two year. Another session of Congress is sworn-in. Sometimes the majority party retains control. Sometimes, like this year, the previous minority party wins enough seats to retake the majority. When the 112th Congress convened recently, it was accompanied by a unique event. ...
New Year's Reolution: Protecting your identity (01/03/11)
This time of year, New Year's resolutions are a common topic of conversation. People dedicate themselves to losing weight, watching less television, and finally reading those books which have been piling up. To add to the list, one resolution we should all make a priority is taking steps to protect our identity from cyber-thieves...
Christmas greetings (12/27/10)
I want to take this week's column to wish all Nebraskans a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. During this time of year our thoughts and prayers go out to the men and women -- and their families -- who risk their lives to defend our freedoms. In his radio address to the nation on Christmas Eve 1983, President Ronald Reagan spoke eloquently about the sacrifices our men and women in uniform have made for our country. I have included portions of his speech below...
'Tis the season to fight higher energy prices (12/17/10)
American families are preparing for the holiday season, and doing so by paying the highest fuel prices in two years. Nationwide, gas prices are a hair's breadth from $3.00 a gallon and they are clocking in at $2.99 in Nebraska. This is up from $1.81 when President Obama took office...
Fighting tax increases during the lame duck session (12/03/10)
WASHINGTON -- Americans sent an unmistakable message last month: Washington needs to cut spending and steward taxpayer dollars in a fiscally responsible manner. For far too long -- and under both Republican and Democrat watches -- our nation's finances have been mismanaged and ruled by out-of-control spending...
Remembering to give thanks this holiday season (11/24/10)
The holidays are a wonderful time to reflect on the past year, to celebrate, and to give thanks for the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy. This past week, many of us joined families and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. President Ronald Reagan once commented, "Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day."...
Waiting is the hardest part (11/19/10)
As the old saying reads "waiting is the hardest part." Waiting also can be costly, especially when it comes to trade agreements which could boost our economy just when it is struggling to get back on its feet. Unfortunately, since 2007 our nation's agriculture producers have been waiting for action on a number of trade agreements which could strengthen our economy. ...
Honoring our nation's veterans (11/12/10)
Just a few days ago, our nation joined together to celebrate and honor the brave men and women who have defended -- and are still defending -- our nation from those who would stamp out freedom and democracy. In small towns and large cities, Americans of every political stripe and of all ages attended parades, heard speeches, and personally thanked veterans for their dedication to our country...
The value of research and development (11/10/10)
Throughout our nation's history innovators and entrepreneurs have played an integral role in creating American jobs, increasing productivity, and moving our economy forward. They have done so by pursuing new ideas and technologies. As a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, I have seen just how valuable research and development can be to our nation, and I'm committed to helping the private sector realize its full potential in exploring new frontiers...
Answering seniors' health care questions (11/01/10)
During the contentious debate surrounding the health care bill, Nancy Pelosi famously said, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it." Now that it is passed, however, there seems to be more confusion than ever. Even Andy Griffith is getting into the debate, starring in a round of Medicare television advertisements as part of a nationwide, taxpayer-funded campaign...
Another trillion dollar deficit (10/25/10)
It's plain and simple - you deserve fiscal responsibility from your government. Unfortunately, Washington has failed to live up to this basic tenet. Instead, through inaction and complacency of both political parties, Americans have been saddled with ever increasing federal spending, endless bailouts, and economic uncertainty...
Lame duck dangers (10/15/10)
When a football game goes into overtime or a baseball game goes into extra innings, fans are usually on the edge of their seats with excitement. Unfortunately, when Congress goes into extra innings it usually means bad things for American taxpayers...
Pushing back on the EPA's Overreach (10/08/10)
Over the last two years, the EPA has proposed burdensome new air and water regulations on everything from irrigation canals to methane from cows. We all know too well how these actions could negatively impact our nation's rural and agricultural economies...
Stop-gap measures poor substitute for action (10/01/10)
In a time when no spending bill, government takeover, or bailout is too big or too costly for this Congress, it may seem odd for the Democrat Leadership in Washington to leave town without even setting a budget. Yet this is exactly what has happened...
Stemming the tide of illegal immigration (09/24/10)
The controversy surrounding our nation's immigration system is just one more example of states and cities taking matters into their own hands due to enforcement failures by the federal government. As a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus, I am committed to promoting legal and safe immigration by discouraging illegal entry. We can do this through border security and removing incentives to break our laws and enter our country...
Jobs and tax increases (09/20/10)
Waking up looking forward to college bowl games is a tradition on New Year's Day. But this year, those small businesses struggling to create jobs may wake up to find themselves dealing with a $3.8 trillion headache instead of watching football. Unless Congress acts, a $3.8 trillion tax hike is set to take effect on January 1, 2011. What does this mean for you? The average Nebraska family will see their federal income taxes skyrocket from $3,461 to $5,090 -- an increase of $1,600...
U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith
Washington Report