The annual State of the Union Address is a great tradition and an excellent opportunity for the President to lay out his agenda to the Congress and more importantly to the American people. However, the agenda presented by the President during this year’s speech is out of sync with the clear message sent by voters in the November elections.
In electing Republicans to take control of the U.S. Senate, and to an historic majority in the House of Representatives, the American people rejected the President’s agenda of bigger government, higher taxes, more red tape, and enormous debt. The mandate was to change course; however, the President continues to argue for more of the same.
For example, the President called for massive tax increases to pay for more government programs and mandates. This plan is not serious because the President knows this would hurt our fragile economy, and has no chance of being passed in either the House or Senate. This proposal was simply a political stunt.
Meanwhile, I have been working with my colleagues on the Committee on Ways and Means to overhaul our outdated, uncompetitive, and unfair tax code. A plan which simplified the code would allow us to lower rates and reduce the massive cost of compliance, which would benefit our entire economy especially middle class families.
The President also used the address to promise more “free” giveaways to the American people such as two-years of community college. The House of Representatives has been working for years to reduce the costs of higher education, and to make it more affordable. Not only is the President’s plan unaffordable when our nation has more than $18 trillion in national debt, federal money is never “free” - there are always strings attached.
At a time when the American people want to reduce the role of government in their lives, this proposal would expand the grasp of federal education regulations further into higher education. The plan could also hurt college savings accounts which allow individuals to save for higher education tax free. About 65,000 Nebraskans currently use college saving plans. The President’s plan would tax these accounts in order to help pay for higher education for those who haven’t saved. This is incredibly unfair to those who have been responsible, and we must do better.
Nebraskans tell me they want Congress to work. They are tired of the politics of endless confrontation and showdown, and they expect their representatives to find common ground and agree on solutions. While I was disappointed the President focused his State of the Union on policies I believe divide us rather than bring us together, I am optimistic we can make progress on finding solutions during divided government.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) issued the following statement regarding the President’s State of the Union address:
“Nebraskans tell me they want Congress and the President to work together to find solutions to our national challenges. Unfortunately, the President’s State of the Union address focused on the same partisan policies which divide us rather than bring us together.
“Rather than seeking common ground with the new Republican Congress, the President suggested more taxes, more spending, more regulations, and more executive power. The American people flatly rejected this agenda in the last election. I hope the President will choose to work with us on serious proposals to empower individuals and families, encourage economic growth, and put our country on a better, more sustainable path.”Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today announced his nomination of 14 students to the U.S. Service Academies for the class entering the fall of 2015.
Members of Congress have the privilege of nominating young people for admission to the U.S. Service Academies, which includes the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The Service Academies offer a unique opportunity for motivated students to serve their country while undergoing a rigorous academic and physical regimen. In exchange for tuition, students agree to serve in the U.S. military after graduation.
“The students I am nominating for the U.S. Service Academies this year represent the best of the Third District,” said Congressman Smith. “Each has demonstrated excellence in the classroom and a strong commitment to their communities. I am grateful for their willingness to serve our nation at the academies and as future officers in the U.S. military.”
Seth Adams of Henderson, son of Larin and Pamela Adams, is a senior at Grace International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
Zachary Evans of Hastings, son of Mark Evans, is a senior at Hastings Senior High School. He has been nominated to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
Brandt Florell of Kearney, son of Clint and Melissa Florell, is a senior at Amherst Public School. He has been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
Adam Keating of Kearney, son of Matt and Jill Keating, is in his first year at the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School. He has been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
Christopher Lantz of South Sioux City, son of Jeff and Carrie Lantz, is a senior at South Sioux City Senior High School. He has been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Jesus Maese of Grand Island, son of Russell and Luz Keene, is in his first year at the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School. He has been nominated to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Matthew Mickey of Scottsbluff, son of Kristen and Tammy Mickey, is a senior at Scottsbluff High School. He has been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Connor Russell of Curtis, son of Christopher and Starlin Russell, is in his first year at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School. He has been nominated to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Logan Spencer of O’Neill, son of Wendell and Sharon Spencer, is a senior at Saint Mary’s High School in O’Neill. He has been nominated to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado.
James Swanson of Grand Island, son of John and Rachel Swanson, is a senior at Grand Island Senior High School. He has been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
David Trierweiler of North Platte, son of Michael and Deanna Trierweiler, is a senior at Saint Patrick High School. He has been nominated to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
Jacob Whisenhunt of Maxwell, son of Doug Whisenhunt, is a senior at Maxwell Public Schools. He has been nominated to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Calvin Wineland, Jr. of Cambridge, son of Calvin and Desiree Wineland, is a senior at Cambridge High School. He has been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Logan Woodward of Gering, son of Kevin and Kolene Woodward, is a freshman at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He has been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
Applicants met personally with Smith’s Academy Advisory Committee and were evaluated on academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, career motivation, personal traits, letters of recommendation, essays, and personal interviews. Each Academy will make a determination regarding appointments by April.Read More
Our nation’s immigration system is broken. Millions of people have illegally crossed into our country through a porous border or overstayed visas with no repercussions. Meanwhile, those who attempt to come here legally are met with a massive bureaucracy, years of waiting, and are still unlikely to be approved.
President Obama’s selective enforcement of the law, including a decision late last year to give legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants without the consent of Congress is making this crisis worse not better. As history has shown, amnesty only encourages more individuals to break our immigration laws.
Worse than the specific policy, not enforcing laws on the books sets a bad precedent which undermines our constitutional form of government. Our founders intended the executive branch to enforce the law – not to rewrite or ignore the laws it does not like. If the President wants to change immigration law, he should seek support in Congress to pass legislation.
Last month, the House, the Senate, and the President agreed to a bill funding the government through September of this year with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security which was only funded through February. In doing so, we delayed debate on the President’s immigration executive orders until Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate.
Now we are making good on our promise to address the President’s overreach. This week, the House passed H.R. 240, the Homeland Security Appropriations bill – which would fully fund the department with five amendments. Two of these amendments would specifically prohibit appropriated funds or user fees from being used to enforce the President’s executive actions or similar programs.
Another amendment to the bill would make clear the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should stop putting the interests of unlawful immigrants ahead of legal immigrants. Due to the President’s amnesty actions, law-abiding immigrants, permanent residents, and U.S. citizens are waiting longer for service at USCIS centers including the Nebraska Service Center in Lincoln. For example, a replacement citizenship certificate is currently taking eight months or longer to process.
This issue is far from resolved, and our bill with amendments cannot become law without being passed by the Senate and signed by the President. We cannot solve this problem on our own. Solutions will require both sides to work through regular order to come to an agreement. However, stopping the President’s overreach would be an important first step in this process.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) is encouraging high school students in Nebraska’s Third District to submit their artwork for the 2015 Congressional Art Competition by March 2, 2015.
“The Congressional Art Competition is a great opportunity for students to share their talent, and to promote the Third District to visitors from around the world,” said Congressman Smith. “I hope all interested students will submit their work so we can share the best our district has to offer in the U.S. Capitol and our congressional offices.”
The Nebraska Art Teachers Association is working with Smith to coordinate the competition. Official rules, guidelines and submission forms are available online at: http://www.nebraskaarteducators.org/congressional-art-caucus---grades-9-12.html.
The first place artwork will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Smith will display the runners-up in his Washington, D.C. and Third District offices. The Congressional Arts Caucus annually sponsors the Congressional Arts Competition for high school students from all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today announced Ansley Mick, a native of Bayard, has been promoted to Agriculture Liaison in his Scottsbluff district office. In her new role, Mick will be actively engaged in statewide agriculture issues, and will meet regularly with producers, agriculture groups, and other stakeholders.
“The Third District is the largest agriculture district in America, and it is critical my office have a strong point-person to work with this critical sector of our economy,” said Congressman Smith. “As a Nebraskan, and with her strong background in agriculture policy – Ansley is perfect for the job. I look forward to continuing to work with Ansley to serve producers and all Third District residents.”
Mick previously served as a Legislative Assistant in Congressman Smith’s Washington, D.C. office overseeing agriculture, trade, energy, and natural resources policy. She is a graduate of Chadron State College.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today voted in favor of the Homeland Security Appropriations bill which defunds the President’s attempt to bypass Congress to grant amnesty to millions who are illegally in the U.S.
“The President’s executive actions on immigration make it more difficult to fix our broken immigration system because amnesty encourages people around the world to violate our laws,” said Congressman Smith. “As promised late last year, the House has acted to stop this unilateral power grab and now it is up to our friends in the Senate to do the same.”
H.R. 240, the FY 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations bill fully funds the Department of Homeland Security with five amendments. These amendments would completely defund President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration to grant de facto amnesty to millions.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today made the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 3 to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and the Nebraska Supreme Court ruling against a challenge to the proposed route.
“Today’s vote in the House was a bipartisan endorsement of moving forward on this important infrastructure project. While previous attempts to pass this bill have been blocked in the Senate, I am hopeful a bipartisan majority in the upper chamber will have the votes to get it to the President’s desk.
“Instead of continuing to impede this needed project, the President has an opportunity now to make good on his promise to find common ground and improve our infrastructure. Today’s ruling by the Nebraska Supreme Court leaves no more excuses for delay. Whether he signs this bill or not, I hope he will see the urgency to support private investment in American jobs and energy.”
Earlier today, Congressman Smith participated in the debate of H.R. 3. Click here for video of the Congressman’s statement.Read More
Access to quality, affordable health care is one of our nation’s most difficult problems to fix and the President’s health care law is making these problems worse, not better. While everyone agrees there are problems with the law, the President and his allies have vehemently resisted making any changes. As the 114th Congress convened this week, addressing health care challenges is among my top priorities.
The employer-mandate included in Obamacare requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance to their workers. This is even true of veterans who already qualify for health care benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
To correct this problem the first bill passed by the new Congress was the Hire More Heroes Act. This legislation would exempt veterans with VA benefits from counting as employees toward the 50 employee threshold. Not only does it make sense to not require employers to provide health care to those who already have it through the VA, but this will also encourage businesses to hire more veterans – a win-win for job creators and those who have served our nation in uniform. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support.
To fix another element of the Obamacare employer mandate, the House passed the Save American Workers Act. This bill would define full time employment as 40 hours per week as opposed to 30 hours as currently defined by the law. This 10 hour difference encourages employers to schedule employees for less than 30 hours per week. Reduced hours and the resulting loss in wages are hurting low-income Americans the hardest.
I am also continuing to work to address some of the regulatory burdens which threaten access to quality, affordable health care in rural areas such as Nebraska’s Third District. Long distances between facilities and a shortage of doctors make access to health care in rural America challenging enough without the heavy hand of the federal government.
The 96-hour rule requires physicians at Critical Access Hospitals at the time of admission to certify Medicare and Medicaid patients will not be there more than 96 hours. Otherwise, the hospital must transfer the patient or face non-reimbursement. To address this problem, I have reintroduced the Critical Access Hospital Relief Act which would remove the 96-hour precertification requirement for patients at Critical Access Hospitals.
Physician supervision rules require a physician’s presence and supervision over nearly all routine procedures administered in hospitals. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) previously delayed enforcement of this rule for Critical Access Hospitals, as did Congress through 2014. However, as of January 1st these rules are once again being enforced. Therefore I have reintroduced the Rural Health Care Provider Relief Act which would delay physician supervision requirements at Critical Access Hospitals for at least a year and until the impact of the rules is studied.
These bills alone are not a silver bullet to solve our many health care challenges. However, they would be steps in the right direction toward greater access to care and reversing some of the damage caused by the health care law. I will continue to be an advocate for patient-centered, and market-based health care solutions which will lower costs, promote freedom, and expand coverage for all Americans.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) has reintroduced two bills to help ensure access to quality health care for rural Americans. H.R. 169, the Critical Access Hospital Relief Act would remove the 96-hour precertification requirement for patients at Critical Access Hospitals. H.R. 170, the Rural Health Care Provider Relief Act would delay physician supervision requirements at critical access hospitals for at least a year until the impact of the rules is studied.
“Long distances between facilities and a shortage of doctors make access to health care in rural America challenging enough without the heavy hand of the federal government,” said Congressman Smith. “These two bills would help ease the burden of arbitrary and burdensome regulations on Critical Access Hospitals, and ensure rural Americans are not placed at a further disadvantage.”
The 96-hour rule requires physicians at Critical Access Hospitals at the time of admission to certify Medicare and Medicaid patients will not be there more than 96 hours. Otherwise, the hospital must transfer the patient or face non-reimbursement.
Physician supervision rules require a physician’s presence and supervision over nearly all routine procedures administered in hospitals. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) previously delayed enforcement of this rule for Critical Access Hospitals, as did Congress through 2014. However, as of January 1, 2015 these rules are once again being enforced.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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