Much of our time in Congress is spent fighting overreach by the executive branch. In fact, a study just released by the Heritage Foundation found 20,642 new regulations have been added throughout the Obama presidency.
Growing regulatory burdens harm producers and consumers, individuals and families, and the overall health of our economy.
As summer begins, fuel demand will rise as more Nebraskans hit the road for vacations and activities. Consumers can enjoy greater savings at the pump when retailers have the opportunity to market more fuel options.
May is Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska, an opportunity to celebrate and renew our commitment to expanding consumer choice, diversifying our fuel supply, and promoting American energy independence.
Ethanol provides consumers with a competitive alternative. Unfortunately, arbitrary regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently prevent the sale of E15 during summer months. The EPA granted E10 a waiver from its volatility standards in 1990, but this waiver has not yet been extended to E15 – despite the fact E15 is cheaper and less volatile than E10.
For many retailers, the steps required to comply with EPA regulations makes E15 uncompetitive. I have introduced legislation to extend the waiver to E15, allowing it to be sold year-round.
To encourage further investment in renewable fuels, I also cosponsored the Biodiesel Tax Incentive Reform and Extension Act introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota. The bill would reform the biodiesel tax credit so it is only used for U.S.-produced fuel.
In addition to stifling energy innovation, regulations also threaten the affordability and accessibility of agriculture products. Many Nebraska farmers and ranchers have expressed deep concerns to me about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations on anhydrous ammonia.
OSHA bypassed the rulemaking process and issued an interpretive memo in July 2015 redefining regulations on anhydrous ammonia. This change impacts approximately 3,800 agriculture retailers and would cost the industry in excess of $100 million to comply, likely forcing small retailers to stop selling anhydrous ammonia and restricting producers’ access to this important input.
When issuing the memo, OSHA ignored federal statute requiring major regulatory actions to be published for public comment. Retailers and producers should be given the opportunity to voice their concerns through the formal rulemaking process rather than having yet another unilateral regulation forced upon them by this administration.
In response to outcry from Nebraskans on OSHA’s actions, I introduced the Fertilizer Access and Responsible Management (FARM) Act in the U.S. House to block this misguided regulation. Senator Deb Fischer has also been an active leader on the issue in the U.S. Senate.
When it comes to finding ways to cut red tape, your feedback is crucial. If you are willing to join me in this effort and share your story about how regulations have impacted you, your family, or your livelihood, please visit my website at AdrianSmith.house.gov/YourStory to send me a note. You can also learn more about my ongoing efforts to provide regulatory relief to Nebraskans at AdrianSmith.house.gov/RegulationRewind.Read More
Constituents of Third District Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will be able to meet with a representative of Congressman Smith’s office at mobile offices on Tuesday, June 7, in Red Cloud and Hastings.
A mobile office allows constituents to meet directly with one of Smith’s staff members about federal issues and take advantage of the services available through his office, such as assisting individuals with challenges they face while working with a federal agency, ordering flags flown over the U.S. Capitol, and booking tours in Washington, D.C.
Smith, who has offices in Grand Island and Scottsbluff, will provide his mobile office and a staff member on Tuesday, June 7, at the following times and locations:
Red Cloud Heritage Tourism and Economic Development 345 N. Webster Street, Red Cloud, NE 68970 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (CDT)
Adams County Courthouse – Board Room 500 W. 4th Street, Hastings, NE 68901 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (CDT)
For additional information, please contact Congressman Smith’s Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.Read More
Today, the Council for Affordable Health Coverage awarded Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE) its Affordability Champion Award for his leadership on lowering health costs. Specifically, Congressman Smith introduced H.R. 954, which would exempt individuals who have lost health insurance because of a failed Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) from paying penalties.
"We commend Representative Smith for his work to help Nebraskans and all Americans when their health coverage is lost because of a failed CO-OP," said CAHC President Joel White. "Hardworking Americans shouldn't have to lose coverage when a CO-OP disintegrates, and then pay a tax penalty for not having insurance."
Section 1322 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) established the CO-OP program after efforts to include a "public plan option," which would have put a government insurance entity in competition with private insurers, failed. Proponents claimed these non-profit, consumer-run health plans would improve coverage, increase competition, and provide a more affordable coverage option.
However, CO-OPs are not living up to these expectations. In fact, 12 of the original 23 CO-OPs have completely collapsed due to financial insolvency, forcing enrollees to find other coverage or go without and face a possible tax penalty. Moreover, CMS has placed at least eight of the remaining 11 CO-OPs on "Enhanced Oversight" or "Corrective Action" Plans to assist CO-OPs that are struggling financially and/or may not be able to repay their federal loans.
CoOportunity Health, which served 120,000 people across Nebraska and Iowa, received $146 million in government loans. Because of massive losses and an unsustainable model, the state of Iowa seized CoOportunity Health and liquidated it in January 2015.
"Americans should not be penalized under a law when the law's own failed program prevented compliance," said Representative Smith. "As more than half of the ACA's CO-OPs have already collapsed, and the others remain on shaky financial footing, we must ensure taxpayers get answers regarding how their money was spent and provide relief for the hundreds of thousands of consumers who lost coverage through no fault of their own. I am honored to receive this year's Affordability Champion Award, and I will continue pressing for legislative solutions to protect Americans from the growing burdens of the ACA."
To view pictures from the award ceremony, please click here.
About the Council for Affordable Health Coverage The Council for Affordable Health Coverage is a broad-based association of organizations representing consumers, physicians, small businesses, large employers, manufacturers and retailers, franchises, and insurers, working to lower health costs for all Americans.Read More
In recent weeks, I have had the privilege of welcoming hundreds of Third District veterans participating in hero flights to Washington, D.C. We can never adequately repay the debt we owe them, but I have been honored to express a small token of our appreciation by taking them onto the House floor and showing them around the U.S. Capitol.
Because of their service to this country, we have the opportunity to gather and thank our military heroes in the capital city of the free world.
As I greet these brave Nebraskans, I am mindful of those who fought beside them but never came home. Each year, as we observe Memorial Day, we remember and honor all the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom.
In the midst of the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan delivered his 1982 Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery. As he said of the fallen:
“Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper.
“Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we, in a less final, less heroic way, be willing to give of ourselves.
“It is this, beyond the controversy and the congressional debate, beyond the blizzard of budget numbers and the complexity of modern weapons systems, that motivates us in our search for security and peace. War will not come again, other young men will not have to die, if we will speak honestly of the dangers that confront us and remain strong enough to meet those dangers.”
Now, in 2016, we again face a dangerous world with the rise of radical Islam and continued aggressions by countries such as Iran, Russia, and North Korea. We need an honest dialogue about ways to confront real threats to our nation.
On May 18, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act, also known as NDAA, for Fiscal Year 2017. The bill authorizes the funding our men and women in uniform need to fulfill their missions and keep our military equipped.
President Obama vetoed last year’s NDAA, despite its passage with significant bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Our country cannot afford for the President to again put our troops and our national security at risk, especially in light of his mounting foreign policy failures and passivity toward both our allies and those who wish to do us harm.
The House also passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. This legislation provides the funding to equip military personnel, house military families, and maintain our bases and health care facilities. It also funds veterans programs, including much-needed improvements to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
As we continue to work on legislative solutions, my caseworkers are available to help any Third District veterans who need assistance with the VA. Please call my Grand Island office at 308-384-3900 to speak with my caseworkers about any issues you are facing with the agency.
Memorial Day is a dedicated time for us to honor those who gave their lives in defense of our great country. Mindful of their memory, our nation must keep its commitment to all who serve and have served by ensuring our military is fully prepared to confront the threats in our world today.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) questioned Social Security Administration Inspector General Patrick O’Carroll in a Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee hearing today about the Obama administration’s proposal, included in the President’s list of executive actions in January, to report all 4.2 million Social Security beneficiaries with representative payees to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
“Today’s hearing highlighted the outdated metrics on which the Obama administration is basing its proposal to limit the Second Amendment rights of millions of Social Security beneficiaries,” Smith said. “Decades-old listings are not a reliable measure of mental capacity to own a gun today, and the Social Security Administration continues to miss deadlines to update these standards.
“Assigning a representative payee to manage one’s finances does not mean a person is violent or dangerous, and it certainly should not be grounds to revoke constitutional rights. I will continue to oppose this gun control move by the Obama administration.”
Video of Congressman Smith’s exchange with Social Security Administration Inspector General Patrick O’Carroll.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) testified before the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee today on H.R. 954, his bill to exempt consumers who purchased coverage under a terminated qualified health plan funded through the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (co-op) program from paying Obamacare’s individual mandate penalties.
Thank you Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member McDermott, and subcommittee colleagues for being here today and allowing the opportunity to share ideas. I introduced a bill as a result of taxpayers facing penalties through no fault of their own due to losing health care coverage through the failure of Obamacare’s Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, or co-ops.
My bill would exempt taxpayers from the individual mandate if they lose health coverage because of the failure of the co-ops in their local area. Under my bill, the exemption applies for the remainder of the calendar year for those who lose coverage in the months of January through September, and through the next calendar year for those who lose coverage in October, November, or December.
With co-ops failing and other insurers choosing to pull out of the marketplaces, more than 650 counties, largely in rural areas, are projected to be covered by only one health insurance provider in 2017. This compounds the existing barriers impeding access to necessary, affordable health care for rural Americans.
Created under the Affordable Care Act, 23 co-ops were authorized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. They received nearly $2 billion in federal start-up funds, mostly in the form of loans. However, on December 23, 2014, the Iowa Insurance Commissioner filed a petition to liquidate CoOportunity Health, which was providing coverage to nearly 120,000 people across Nebraska and Iowa.
In 2015, an additional 11 co-ops discontinued operations. The 11 remaining co-ops also continue to lose money, including Community Health Options of Maine, the only one of these entities ever to have reported a period of profitability.
While taxpayers deserve an accounting of what went wrong with the co-ops, where this money went, and if these loans will ever be paid back, it is not the focus of today’s hearing or my testimony.
The premise of my legislation is simple – regardless of one’s opinion of the ACA, the facts remain: consumers were required to purchase health insurance under that law, many chose to purchase insurance through the state and federal health exchanges, and consumers in thirteen states who chose co-op plans lost coverage through no fault of their own.
Those consumers who made a good faith effort to comply with the law should not be forced to pay a penalty because the plan they chose ceased operation.
While CoOportunity is the only co-op to be liquidated in the middle of a plan year so far, experience tells us it may not be the last. Community Health Alliance of Tennessee was in danger of mid-year liquidation before HHS permitted it to halt enrollment, and recent reports indicate Community Health Options of Maine may be on the brink of collapse.
A recent lawsuit by the Iowa insurance commissioner against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over the distribution of risk corridor funds to CoOportunity may raise additional solvency concerns and drive liquidation decisions for commissioners overseeing the remaining co-ops.
I would also like to note, while Nebraska and Iowa consumers were provided a special enrollment period to select a new insurance plan, we should not assume one will be provided in the future.
In addition, depending on how quickly consumers choose a new plan during a special enrollment, they may still have uninsured months which could be subject to penalty. Some consumers who choose high deductible plans should not be penalized if the best decision for them is to wait until a new plan year rather than start over on a new deductible when they have already paid large sums toward a deductible in their previous plan.
True fairness would waive penalties for these taxpayers.
Again, I thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My bill is a simple solution which would provide a measure of relief for consumers who followed the law and purchased health coverage, only to lose it through no fault of their own. I look forward to working with you to improve our health care system. Thank you.Read More
Constituents of Third District Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will be able to meet with a representative of Congressman Smith’s office at mobile offices on Monday, May 23, in Pierce, and Tuesday, May 24, in Holdrege.
A mobile office allows constituents to meet directly with one of Smith’s staff members about federal issues and take advantage of the constituent services available through his office, such as assisting individuals with challenges they face while working with a federal agency, ordering flags flown over the U.S. Capitol, and booking tours in Washington, D.C.
Smith, who has offices in Grand Island and Scottsbluff, will provide his mobile office and a staff member at the following times and locations:
Monday, May 23
Pierce Public Library 207 W. Court Street, Pierce, NE 68767 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CDT)
Tuesday, May 24
Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce 701 4th Avenue, Suite 10, Holdrege, NE 68949 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (CDT)
For additional information, please contact Congressman Smith’s Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.Read More
Promoting economic development in our local communities is a crucial part of tackling the $19 trillion national debt. While we must address the structural issues underlying long-term spending, such as reforming our entitlement programs and ensuring the solvency of Social Security, economic growth is a far more effective way to address the deficit than raising taxes.
In the Third District, countless Nebraskans focus their efforts every day on creating opportunity and attracting greater investment in our state.
National Small Business Week, celebrated each May, highlights the many contributions small businesses make to our economy and communities. Small businesses create 63 percent of all new jobs, but red tape costs them an average of $11,724 per employee.
Rather than losing tens of thousands of dollars to the heavy hand of the federal government, business owners should be able to reinvest these resources and create more jobs.
In Congress, and especially through my role on the Ways and Means Committee, I am focused on increasing opportunity for Nebraska’s business owners and entrepreneurs. From expanding access to more markets for our exporters to simplifying our outdated, burdensome tax code, we can create a stronger economy which encourages innovation and economic development.
Additionally, I am continuing my Regulation Rewind initiative to fight back against overreaching federal regulations which stifle economic growth. More information on this effort can be found on my website at AdrianSmith.house.gov/RegulationRewind.
As I travel the 75 counties of the Third District, I am always impressed by the many Nebraskans working hard to grow opportunity in their communities. To celebrate their efforts, I will present my Excellence in Economic Development awards this year and announce the winners’ achievements in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Excellence in Economic Development award is designed to recognize individuals, businesses, and organizations in the Third District who strengthen their communities through innovation, hard work, and entrepreneurship.
In the past, winners have included a high school junior building custom trailers, small businesses providing essential and unique services, chamber members actively promoting their communities, and an international company making it a priority to hire Nebraskans. These awards provide an opportunity to showcase Nebraskans of all ages who work to make “The Good Life” even better.
Nominations for the 2016 Excellence in Economic Development awards are due by Friday, July 1. Forms are available at my Grand Island and Scottsbluff offices as well as on my website at AdrianSmith.house.gov/EconomicDevelopment. If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to call my Grand Island office at 308-384-3900.
It is an honor to recognize those who strengthen our communities, and I look forward to reviewing this year’s nominees. To all Nebraskans who work tirelessly to grow our economy, I will continue to support your efforts and pursue policies to get the federal government out of the way of your success.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) called today for nominations for the 2016 Excellence in Economic Development awards. Smith’s awards are open to individuals (including youth), businesses, and organizations in the Third District who – through innovation, hard work, and entrepreneurship – strengthen Nebraska’s communities.
The winning entries will be recognized by Smith before the U.S. House of Representatives.
Nominations are due by Friday, July 1. Forms are available at Smith’s Grand Island and Scottsbluff offices or online at AdrianSmith.house.gov/EconomicDevelopment.
“As I travel the 75 counties of the Third District, I am always impressed by the many Nebraskans working hard to grow opportunity in their communities,” Smith said. “These awards celebrate their efforts, and I look forward to reviewing this year’s nominees.”
For questions about the Excellence in Economic Development awards, please call Smith’s Grand Island office at 308-384-3900.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced H.R. 5213, the Fertilizer Access and Responsible Management (FARM) Act, today to repeal the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) interpretive memorandum which revoked the exemption for retail facilities from Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations for anhydrous ammonia.
Congressman Smith said:
“Anhydrous ammonia plays a crucial role in Nebraska agriculture as the most common source of nitrogen fertilizer for farmers. The compliance costs of this rule would likely force small retailers to stop selling anhydrous ammonia, restricting producers’ access to this important input.
“OSHA ignored federal statute requiring major regulatory actions to be published for public input. Retailers and producers should be given the opportunity to voice their concerns and share their expertise through the formal rulemaking process rather than having yet another unilateral regulation forced upon them by this administration.”
Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, said:
“Congressman Smith’s efforts to stop the implementation of these misguided OSHA rules that would add millions of dollars in new costs to Nebraska anhydrous retailers, and thus Nebraska farmers, are truly appreciated. Nebraska agriculture should not have to pay the price for new and unnecessary regulations that were predicated over an unfortunate incident that has now been determined to have occurred by a deliberate act. Congress should now work to immediately pass this important piece of regulatory relief.”
David Briggs, president and CEO of WESTCO in Alliance and chairman of the board of the Nebraska Cooperative Council, said:
“The Nebraska Cooperative Council applauds Congressman Smith’s leadership on behalf of Nebraska’s anhydrous ammonia fertilizer retailers and agricultural producers on this issue of significant economic impact. OSHA’s recent correspondence to Congress asking it not to interfere with enforcement of application of the PSM standard to retail anhydrous facilities while it conducts formal rulemaking requires that Congress act to stay any costly compliance and enforcement until such time as a new rule and the requirements of any new rule are known. Nebraska’s farmer-owned cooperatives appreciate the efforts of Congressman Smith and his staff in their prompt and thoughtful response to concerns raised by the Nebraska Cooperative Council and other Nebraska agricultural interests.”
Original cosponsors of this bipartisan bill are Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), and Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA).
Background In July 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) bypassed the rulemaking process and issued an interpretive memorandum redefining regulations on anhydrous ammonia, forcing retailers to comply with the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM) standard from which they were previously exempt.
This memorandum impacts approximately 4,800 fertilizer retailers and will cost the industry in excess of $100 million to comply. Federal law requires any regulatory action which has an economic impact of $100 million or more to be submitted to Congress and published for public review.
The Obama administration cited a 2013 ammonium nitrate explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas when issuing the regulatory memorandum. This week, federal investigators announced the cause of the explosion was arson.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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Another CO-OP closes because of Obamacare failures https://t.co/ldfQVvwDkT
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