Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after the Trump administration finalized an agreement to restore trade access for U.S. pork to Argentina for the first time since 1992.
“More good news for Nebraska agriculture today, as the Trump administration continues opening more markets to producers,” Smith said. “In June, U.S. beef producers gained access to China’s market, bringing an end to a 14-year ban. Now, our pork producers can sell to Argentine consumers for the first time in 25 years.
“I applaud these efforts to bolster U.S. agriculture. It is vital we continue working to increase market access for producers.”
Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade, and is the founder and co-chairman of the Modern Agriculture Caucus.
Smith also recently introduced a resolution in the House in support of negotiating a trade agreement with Japan.Read More
Social Security is a large portion of many Americans’ retirement incomes, and Congress is working on a number of solutions to strengthen the program and increase efficiency for beneficiaries.
At the end of June, I joined Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson of Texas in introducing the Providing Choice for Social Security Retirees Act. This bill would provide Social Security Old-Age (OASI) beneficiaries the option to claim a portion of their delayed retirement credit in a one-time, partial lump sum.
A modernized Social Security should allow seniors to make their own retirement decisions rather than pressure them to conform to a one-size-fits-all program. This additional option ensures seniors who choose to remain in the workforce beyond their full retirement age have greater flexibility to determine how they access their benefits. Workers have paid taxes into Social Security with the expectation their benefits will be there in retirement, and they should be able to choose the method of receiving these benefits which best suits their needs.
Another crucial part of strengthening Social Security is preventing fraud and abuse. I am a cosponsor of the Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Benefits Double Dip Elimination Act to prevent beneficiaries from receiving Social Security disability benefits and unemployment benefits at the same time. This is an important step to preserve Social Security disability benefits for those who truly are unable to work.
Unfortunately, fraud committed by those entrusted to administer Social Security benefits is also a concern. One example made the headlines earlier this year when Social Security Administration (SSA) Administrative Law Judge David Daugherty and Kentucky disability lawyer Eric Conn pleaded guilty in a scam involving $550 million in fraudulent SSA disability claims. As a judge with the responsibility to decide disability claims on behalf of the SSA, Mr. Daugherty admitted to accepting more than $600,000 in cash in exchange for awarding benefits in more than 3,000 cases brought forth by Mr. Conn.
Despite his guilty plea, the SSA still did not have the authority to revoke Mr. Daugherty’s retirement benefits. Under current law, Mr. Daugherty could only lose these benefits if convicted of criminal offenses related to treason and espionage. To close this loophole, I cosponsored the Holding SSA Employees Accountable Act to prohibit SSA employees convicted of a felony related to their official job duties from receiving their federal retirement benefits.
Addressing Social Security fraud is not just about going after those who have broken the law but also protecting current and future beneficiaries. When benefits are paid to ineligible individuals, it reduces resources for those who truly need access to these benefits and frustrates taxpayers who are expected to foot the bill.
In addition to protecting Social Security funds from fraud, we are also working to ensure the safety of Americans’ personal information. Ten years ago, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memo requiring all federal departments and agencies to eliminate the unnecessary use of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and look into alternative methods of identification. A report issued in July shows some progress has been made, but we still have a long way to go.
This is why I cosponsored legislation last Congress, which was signed into law, to remove SSNs from Medicare cards. On the Ways and Means Committee, we continue to work on ways to cut down on the use of SSNs in government and employer documentation.
We have a lot of important work to do to shore up Social Security and protect beneficiaries. By cutting down on fraud and providing more choices to retirees, we can create a stronger Social Security which better serves the American workforce.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after PenAir announced it has filed a request with the Department of Transportation to end Essential Air Service routes between Denver and Kearney, North Platte, and Scottsbluff.
“Commercial air service is necessary to connect rural communities with the national transportation network, and today’s announcement from PenAir on discontinuing its service in Kearney, North Platte, and Scottsbluff is causing understandable concern among Nebraskans,” Smith said. “I have long supported the Essential Air Service and fought against federal regulations threatening our small airports.
“Despite this discouraging news, I will keep working with the impacted airports to help ensure continued access to air service, which is a crucial tool for economic development in these communities.”
Smith serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Rural Caucus. His Small Airport Regulation Relief Act provision was included in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization signed into law in July 2016 to allow small airports to use enplanement numbers from 2012, before new pilot regulations took effect, to qualify for needed funding.Read More
Constituents of Third District Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) are invited to meet with a representative of his office at a mobile office on Tuesday, August 15, in Ainsworth.
At mobile offices, Third District residents can meet directly with one of Smith’s staff members about federal issues and take advantage of the services available through his office.
Smith, who has offices in Grand Island and Scottsbluff, will provide his mobile office and a staff member on Tuesday, August 15, at the following time and location:
Brown County Courthouse 148 West 4th Street, Ainsworth, NE 69210 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (CDT)
For additional information, please contact Congressman Smith’s Scottsbluff office at (308) 633-6333.Read More
Three decades after President Reagan signed the largest tax reform in our country’s history into law, our tax code is once again desperately in need of a pro-growth overhaul.
The good news is tax reform is at the forefront of our agenda, and a framework is in place. It will still be a heavy lift, as it should be, but we need to get it done.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity we have been building toward for years. Since 2011, the Ways and Means Committee has held more than 40 hearings on tax reform. This year’s hearings have focused on specific aspects of our plan, from increasing U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace to growing small businesses.
Among other insights gleaned from these hearings, one theme has remained clear: We cannot afford to wait any longer to reform our tax code. This is why we are committed to enacting tax reform this year. In fact, leaders from the House, the Senate, and the Trump administration issued a statement at the end of July declaring a united front and shared vision for moving forward.
Our plan for tax reform will lower rates, decrease the number of tax brackets, and increase the standard deduction so Americans can keep more of their paychecks.
Due to the complexity of our current tax code, Americans spend 2.6 billion hours each year filing individual income tax returns, with an annual compliance cost of $99 billion. This is an enormous economic drain. Our plan would expand the standard deduction and simplify the filing process to allow about 90 percent of Americans to file their taxes on a form the size of a postcard.
Nebraskans have continually called for the elimination of the death tax, which threatens farmers, ranchers, and small business owners. These producers and entrepreneurs take pride in their hard work, and many want future generations to continue it. The government should encourage their efforts, not stand in their way, and our plan will end this damaging tax once and for all.
Tax reform will benefit Americans across the country, but it is especially important to the livelihood of our rural economy. As the American Farm Bureau Federation observed, “Many of the provisions of the tax reform blueprint will be beneficial to farmers, including reduced income tax rates, reduced capital gains taxes, immediate expensing for all business inputs except land, and the elimination of the estate tax.”
To reap the greatest economic benefits of revamping our tax code, we need to focus on bold, permanent reforms. The certainty achieved through permanent reforms has the potential to drive double the economic growth as short-term tax cuts – which means more jobs, higher wages, and a healthier economy.
It has been 31 years since the last significant tax reform. Throughout the 31 days of August, the Ways and Means Committee is highlighting 31 reasons why we need tax reform this year. Check out the list at WaysandMeans.house.gov/31Reasons, and please continue to share your thoughts with me as we work to create greater opportunity through a simplified tax code.Read More
Members of Congressman Smith’s 2017-2018 Youth Advisory Council at their first meeting on Wednesday, August 2, at Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon. Front row (L to R): Rowe Sanctuary Director Bill Taddicken, Congressman Smith, Reganne Schrunk, Rece Jordan, Kathleen Esser, Mekenzie Beattie, Sarah-Kate Splichal, Samuel Johnson, Mia Kegley, Anne Pham, and Tommy McFarland. Back row (L to R): Rowe Sanctuary Director of Conservation Andrew Pierson, Ambrose Bykerk, Alice McDonald, John Brockmeier, Kaleb Strawhecker, Maxwell Jinks, Gavin Fox, Mark Taylor, Hunter Hawk, Katrina Meier, Michelle Boroff, and Emily Kouba. Photo courtesy of Cody Wagner, Rowe Sanctuary.
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) met this week with the Third District high school students who will serve on his Youth Advisory Council for the 2017-2018 academic school year.
2017-2018 Youth Advisory Council members include:
Mekenzie Beattie of Sumner, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller High School;
Michelle Boroff of Grand Island, Grand Island Senior High School;
John Brockmeier of Kearney, Kearney High School;
Ambrose Bykerk of Doniphan, St. Cecilia High School;
Kitra Cody of Cody, Cody-Kilgore High School;
Isaac Dodge of Callaway, Broken Bow Senior High School;
Kathleen Esser of York, York High School;
Gavin Fox of Grand Island, Grand Island Central Catholic High School;
Galdino Guzman of South Sioux City, South Sioux City High School;
Hunter Hawk of Chadron, Chadron High School;
Maxwell Jinks of Gothenburg, Gothenburg High School;
Samuel Johnson of Hastings, Hastings High School;
Rece Jordan of Valentine, Valentine High School;
Mia Kegley of Kearney, Kearney High School;
Emily Kouba of Auburn, Homeschool;
Alice McDonald of Phillips, Aurora High School;
Tommy McFarland of Grand Island, Grand Island Central Catholic High School;
Jaden McNeil of Hastings, Adams Central High School;
Katrina Meier of Pierce, Pierce High School;
Corey Parsons of North Platte, North Platte High School;
Anne Pham of Grand Island, Grand Island Central Catholic High School;
Nathan Sanchez of Scottsbluff, Scottsbluff High School;
Karmen Schmitt of Smithfield, Bertrand High School;
Reganne Schrunk of Valentine, Valentine High School;
Sarah-Kate Splichal of Sidney, Sidney High School;
Kaleb Strawhecker of Kearney, Kearney High School;
Mark Taylor of Chadron, Chadron High School;
Chase Vaught of Aurora, Aurora High School;
and Rita Woodraska of Valentine, Valentine High School.
Smith’s Youth Advisory Council is a forum for high school students to discuss opinions, thoughts, and concerns about local and federal issues with Smith throughout the school year. Through in-person meetings and other contacts, the Council provides students an opportunity for involvement and insight into their government and communities.
The Council is open to Third District junior and senior high school students. More information is available on Smith’s website at AdrianSmith.house.gov/YouthAdvisoryCouncil.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will meet constituents of the Third District during a mobile office on Monday, August 7, in Arthur and a coffee on Tuesday, August 8, in Elwood.
At both events, constituents can meet directly with Congressman Smith about federal issues and take advantage of the services available through his office.
Smith, who has offices in Grand Island and Scottsbluff, will hold these public meetings at the following times and locations:
Monday, August 7: Arthur County Mobile Office Arthur County Library 205 Fir Street, Arthur, NE 69121 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (MDT)
Tuesday, August 8: Coffee at Gosper County Senior Center Gosper County Senior Center 406 Ripley Street, Elwood, NE 68937 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (CDT)
For additional information, please contact Smith’s Scottsbluff office at (308) 633-6333.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after Japan announced it will raise its tariff to 50 percent on frozen beef from the U.S. and other countries with which it does not currently have trade agreements.
“U.S. beef producers have already been placed at a competitive disadvantage in the Japanese market due to our country’s inaction on trade,” Smith said. “Australia’s trade agreement with Japan has brought the tariff on its frozen beef down to 27 percent, compared to the nearly 40 percent tariff applied to U.S. beef. Now, with this hike to 50 percent, our producers will face nearly double the tariff as their Australian counterparts.
“We know U.S. beef tastes better, and our efficient producers can meet demand from Japanese consumers if trade barriers are removed. We can’t afford to wait any longer to work on a bilateral agreement with Japan, which is why I introduced a resolution in the House to urge the Trump administration to begin the process of establishing a trade agreement with this top trading partner.”
Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy. He introduced H. Res. 236, his resolution calling on the Trump administration to begin the process of establishing a trade agreement with Japan, in March.Read More
For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strayed from its intended purpose and instead has become a red tape factory with little to no accountability. Thankfully, the Trump administration is working to reverse this harmful trend.
Farmers and ranchers have been hit especially hard by the endless onslaught of EPA regulations, even though they are careful stewards of our land and water. Their livelihood depends on responsible usage of these resources, and the Nebraskans I talk with take this responsibility seriously. We all want clean air and clean water, which can and should be combined with the goals of economic growth and competitiveness.
One of the clearest examples of the agency’s new direction under the Trump administration is the proposal released by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to repeal the Obama administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS. This rule was one of the most flagrant abuses of regulatory power in modern history and threatened the future of agriculture. It would have given the EPA sweeping jurisdiction to regulate everything from ditches to prairie potholes, even on private land.
When the Obama administration finalized WOTUS in 2015, I introduced the House resolution to block the rule using the Congressional Review Act, or CRA. The Senate version of my resolution passed both chambers of Congress but was unsurprisingly vetoed by President Obama.
Now, the Trump administration’s proposal to repeal this rule is a welcome step toward certainty and relief for producers, landowners, and local communities. The formal proposal was released on July 27, and the public has until August 28, 2017, to submit comments to the agency at Regulations.gov.
The “Clean Power Plan,” another dangerous Obama administration regulation, threatened to force hundreds of coal-fired power plants to shut their doors, killing jobs and increasing the cost of energy. Earlier this year, President Trump signed an executive order at the EPA to dismantle these federal regulations and empower states to move forward with responsible energy development.
To this point, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has worked to undo more regulations in his short tenure than any other administrator in the history of the agency. The regulations issued by the Obama administration threatened entire industries and defied the Constitution with costly legislating through the executive branch. In April, Administrator Pruitt announced his “back-to-basics” agenda of “returning EPA to its core mission: protecting the environment by engaging with state, local, and tribal partners to create sensible regulations that enhance economic growth.”
As Administrator Pruitt reins in the red tape, I am hopeful we can see the agency refocus on important projects which have been languishing. For example, Missouri residents have been waiting 27 years for an EPA decision on how to clean up a toxic waste site. Administrator Pruitt has stated his commitment to resolving this and other long-awaited cleanup efforts.
Standing against federal overreach has been a priority of mine for many years, and I appreciate the Trump administration’s commitment to this effort. An EPA which prioritizes both protecting our resources and growing our economy is certainly a welcome change.Read More
Agriculture is the lifeblood of Nebraska’s economy. The industry faces many challenges, from low commodity prices to damaging fires and drought, which reinforce the need to ensure we are doing all we can in Congress to provide certainty in agriculture policy.
The next Farm Bill is scheduled for 2019. As we prepare to draft this important legislation, it is crucial to hear directly from producers about their ideas and concerns.
Earlier this year, I made stops in Scottsbluff and Aurora on my Farm Bill Listening Tour.At these open forums, Third District producers talked with me about what they feel is or is not working in the current Farm Bill. I appreciated their input and perspective, and I have already started communicating their feedback to some of my colleagues in Congress.
I am holding more Farm Bill listening sessions in August: Broken Bow on Tuesday, August 1, Beatrice on Thursday, August 3, and South Sioux City on Wednesday, August 23. Any interested Third District residents are invited to participate, and Nebraska Director of Agriculture Greg Ibach will also be in attendance. More information on locations and times for these sessions is available on my website at AdrianSmith.house.gov/FarmBillTour.
The Farm Bill covers a broad range of agriculture policies, including commodity programs, crop insurance, conservation, farm credit, rural development, and foreign and domestic food assistance. Our ultimate goal should be to create policies which strengthen American agriculture and provide the long-term stability needed to maintain our standing as the world leader in this industry. Producers also need a workable bill which offers tools for responsible risk management.
The next Farm Bill is another opportunity to strengthen these vital commitments.
One topic which came up repeatedly at my Scottsbluff and Aurora sessions is the importance of crop insurance. The 2014 Farm Bill had bipartisan agreement on strengthening crop insurance, encouraging producers to invest in efficiency enhancements while reducing the likelihood emergency disaster spending will be needed. We must continue to support this successful public-private partnership, and through it, the producers who manage risk.
Others who attended stressed the importance of opening new markets to sell our agriculture products. This remains one of my top priorities as a member of the Ways and Means Committee.
Jason Perdue, a young farmer from York and president of the York County Farm Bureau, testified before the committee on July 18 on the benefits to Nebraska producers under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). His willingness to share his expertise was greatly appreciated. I will continue to communicate the importance of agriculture trade to the Trump administration and my colleagues in Congress to assist producers in doing what they do best – feeding the world.
As co-chairman of both the Modern Agriculture Caucus and the Congressional Rural Caucus, I am focused on bridging the gap between urban and rural to help more people understand how the health of the agriculture industry impacts all Americans. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on my Farm Bill Listening Tour and hope to see you in August.Read More
2241 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Adrian Smith has earned praise for his leadership, hard work and dedication to Nebraska commonsense. Smith has tackled issues ranging from biofuels and other forms of domestic energy to transportation research and development to fashioning legislation promoting rural America.
Smith has consistently voted against tax increases, massive government bailouts, and was unwavering in his opposition of the misguided health care bill now creating massive uncertainty for our nation’s job creators.
Smith, a co-sponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment and a supporter of a Congressional earmark moratorium, has earned a reputation as a solid conservative through his votes to protect the rights of gun owners, efforts to limit the scope of government, and his strong pro-life voting record.
Smith, who serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, actively promotes access for Nebraska agriculture products in Asia, South America, and throughout the world. Nebraska’s $4 billion in worldwide agricultural exports creates $6.7 billion in additional economic activity. Smith supports trade agreements which will continue to create new opportunities for our agriculture producers and their products to keep Nebraska’s economy strong.
Smith’s assignment on the Ways and Means Committee also puts the Nebraskan on the front lines in the debate on how to create jobs, promote economic growth, and directly impact tax policy – such as the Death Tax which threatens family farms and ranches.
Smith’s also has introduced the bipartisan Small-Scale Hydropower Enhancement Act which would help stimulate the economy of rural America, empower local irrigation districts to generate revenue, and decrease reliance on fossil fuels by encouraging the use of small-scale hydropower projects.
The Gering native, whose family has called Nebraska home for six generations, was first introduced to politics by his grandfather. Prior to his election to Congress, Smith served his hometown as a member of the City Council. He then represented District 48 for eight years in the Unicameral.
He continues to reside in Gering.
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