Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith


Smith Introduces Small Airport Relief Act


Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today introduced the Small Airport Regulation Relief Act of 2014.  This bill would assist small, rural airports which are being threatened by a pilot shortage caused in part by new federal regulations.  New federal regulations require co-pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of flight time. 

Smith’s legislation would require the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to use enplanement numbers from calendar year 2012 when calculating appropriate annual funds for airports through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) for Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016.  It would ensure those airports which reached 10,000 enplanements in 2012 – before the new regulations – could use the enplanement numbers from that year.

“These small, rural airports successfully qualified for the Airport Improvement Program before the pilot shortage reduced enplanements,” said Smith.  “This legislation would ensure these small airports are not penalized twice by the unintended consequences of these new rules.”

The Airport Improvement Program provides funds for projects to improve infrastructure, including runways, taxiways, aprons, noise control, land purchases, navigational aids, safety and security.

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Smith Announces ‘Angels in Adoption’ Honoree


Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today announced Gloria Becker of Minden will be honored with the 2014 Angels in Adoption Award for the Nebraska’s Third District.

“I am proud to recognize Gloria Becker as this year’s recipient of the Angels in Adoption award,” said Smith.  “As a Parent2Parent Advocate for Right Turn, Gloria has supported dozens of families with her experience, knowledge, and warm and caring approach.  Gloria often goes above and beyond to offer families unwavering support and understanding as they work through the challenges of adopting foster children.  As an adoptive mother herself, Gloria embodies the love and generosity adoptive and foster parents across Nebraska share everyday.”

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Angels in Adoption initiative provides Members of Congress the opportunity to honor an individual or entity from their district which has made an extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of homes.

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes.

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American Leadership Needed in the World


President Ronald Reagan is known for ending the Cold War without armed conflict with the Soviet Union through a policy of Peace through Strength.  The Reagan Administration deterred the Soviets, terrorists, and others with military resources and a well understood willingness to defend our allies, freedom, and humanity around the globe.

The Obama Administration too often has taken the opposite approach: disengaging from the world, appeasing bad actors, and alienating traditional friends and allies.  The result has been growing chaos around the globe.

Among the President’s first acts in office was to “reset” relations with Russia.  Now, our former Cold War enemy seems to be reverting to its old ways.  Russian President Vladimir Putin has suppressed opposition and the free press.  Russia bullies its neighbors by withholding oil and gas supplies, and has seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.  

It appears very likely Ukrainian separatists armed by Russia shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 killing 298 innocent civilians including a U.S. citizen last week.  There have so far been no consequences for the separatists nor Russia for this atrocity.

Nor were there consequences in Syria when the dictator Bashar al-Assad gassed his own people in open defiance of the “red line” set by the President.  Regardless of whether setting this red line was a good idea or not; by stating a clear position and then failing to enforce it, he has undermined U.S. credibility with friends and foes alike.

Even areas once boasted as foreign policy successes have resulted in failures.  The United States helped topple the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya, only to have our Ambassador and three other Americans murdered in a terrorist attack which the Administration refuses to answer questions about.  The country remains mired in violence and instability and most of the terrorists remain at large. 

After the near defeat of the Iraq insurgency because of the 2007 surge, President Obama removed our troops against the advice of commanders on the ground.  Now Islamic extremists have taken over large sections of the country which is on the verge of a renewed civil war.

Our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel, is currently under attack from a barrage of Hamas rockets.  Rather than defend Israel’s right to protect itself, the only response of the Obama Administration has been to urge a cease fire.  Not surprisingly, the Hamas terrorists have not complied with calls for peace and civility.

All of these problems are rooted in a foreign policy lacking a strategy or overarching principles to guide our approach to world affairs.  As we disengage from the world, refuse to support allies and friends in need, and fail to enforce our own policies – our enemies are emboldened.

Engagement in world affairs and being a force for good does not mean we have to be the world police, or put boots on the ground in every conflict.  America is understandably war weary.  However, we must have principles and goals to advance our interests in the long-term, not just tactics to avoid immediate conflict.  As President Reagan proved, the best way to ensure peace is through American strength and resolve.

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Ethan Nelson Wins Student App Challenge


Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today announced Ethan Nelson of Dalton as the winner of the first annual House Student App Challenge for Nebraska’s Third District.  The nationwide competition promotes innovation and engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) among high school students who compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice.

Nelson’s app, titled Tower Defense, is a multi-level game.  Click here for a video demonstration of the game

 “It is an honor to announce Ethan Nelson as the winner of the first annual student app challenge,” said Congressman Smith.  “I hope his accomplishment will encourage more Third District students to pursue and excel in STEM fields.”

Earlier this year, Smith recognized Nelson for both being awarded the Congressional Award Bronze Medal, and as the runner up of the 2014 Third District Congressional Art Competition. 

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Smith Bill Would Require Advanced Notice When Unaccompanied Minors Moved to State


Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced H.R. 5129, legislation which would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to give states advanced notice when unaccompanied minors are to be placed in a state. 

HHS recently announced more than 200 unaccompanied, undocumented immigrant minors have been moved to Nebraska this year.  However, the State of Nebraska was never given this information by HHS, and the department has not provided details about the children and where they are living in the state.

“As our nation continues to find solutions to the surge of unaccompanied children crossing our border, it is critical HHS communicate with state governments when these children are placed in our communities,” said Smith.  “States like Nebraska need this information to better anticipate the impacts on social services, school systems, community health, and state and local budgets.”

H.R. 5129 is the House companion bill to legislation introduced by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) and co-sponsored by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) in the U.S. Senate.  Smith’s bill was introduced with original co-sponsors Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE).  

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Crisis at the Border


In recent weeks, I have heard from many Nebraskans concerned by the growing crisis at our southern border.  The problem of illegal immigration is nothing new, but this year there has been a surge of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children mostly from Central America crossing into our country. 

Families in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are sending their children alone to the United States because they believe they will have greater opportunities here.  They are also being encouraged by the belief children will be allowed to stay in the United States if they make it across the border – even if they are undocumented.  The President’s choice to not enforce certain immigration laws has only made this problem worse.

It is imperative we stop the flow of unaccompanied children to our country not only to protect our national security and sovereignty, but also to protect the children being sent here.  The border between the U.S. and Mexico is increasingly violent as rival drug cartels fight for territory and smuggling routes.  Unaccompanied children are especially at risk of being subjected to violence, human trafficking, and sexual predators.

The first step should be to secure the border.  President Obama should deploy the National Guard to help our border patrol enforce immigration laws.  The Administration has already started running commercials in Central American countries to dispel the rumors children will be allowed to stay in the U.S., and to warn parents of the dangers of attempting to cross the borders.  This is an important first step, but our rhetoric must be backed up with action.

While I and many others are sympathetic to the needs of the children already here, allowing them to stay indefinitely only encourages more to attempt this dangerous journey.  We need to work quickly to return these children to their home countries and families as quickly and safely as possible.

We need greater transparency about how many undocumented, unaccompanied children are in the country and where they are staying.  I and many others, including Governor Dave Heineman, were surprised to learn more than 200 unaccompanied child immigrants have been moved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to Nebraska.  I joined the Governor and several other members of the Nebraska delegation in writing to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to request more information so safeguards can be put in place to protect the health and safety of our communities as well as to protect Nebraska taxpayers from additional burdens. 

I have also introduced legislation requiring HHS to provide states with advanced notification about the undocumented immigrant children relocated to their state.  Senator Johanns has introduced the Senate version of this bill.

I will continue to work to resolve this problem because the well-being of the children and the security of our national borders are too important to ignore.  I have heard from many Nebraskans on this issue, and I welcome your feedback, ideas, and solutions to this crisis.  

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Smith to Hold Open House for Veterans in Chadron


Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will hold an open house on Friday, July 18, 2014 to meet with veterans, current members of the military, and their families.

“Veterans, our men and women in uniform, and their families have made sacrifices to defend our freedom,” said Smith.  “As chairman of the Rural Veterans Caucus, I am very concerned about recent reports of long VA waiting times and secret waitlists, as well as continued efforts to close the VA facility in Hot Springs.  I look forward to hearing from local veterans to discuss these and other issues important to them.”

The event is open to the media and the public.  Details are as follows:

Who: Congressman Adrian Smith, veterans, members of the military, and their families.

What: Open House for Veterans with Congressman Adrian Smith

When: Friday, July 18, 2014 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. MDT

Where: Veterans Service Office

250 Main Street

Chadron, NE

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The Status of our Economy


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.

There are now about the same number of Americans working today as before the recession began. Because of population growth we actually have not caught up with pre-recession employment levels.  To close the real jobs gap, including jobs lost and to account for population growth, we would need to see average job growth of 374,000 jobs per month for the remainder of President Obama’s term.  At the current 12-month average of 203,000 jobs per month, we would not close the real jobs gap until 2018.

The official unemployment rate also does not account for those who have dropped out of the labor force – those who have given up looking for a job altogether.  The Labor Force Participation Rate, which measures the number of employed Americans and those looking for work relative to the total population, is at the worst levels since the Carter Administration.

If you include those who have given up looking for a job, or those who never entered the labor force because of lack of opportunity during the recession, the real unemployment rate would be above 10 percent.  In fact, during the Obama Administration more working age adults have left the labor force than found new jobs by a ratio of more than 3:1.

This record looks especially bleak when compared with the recovery during the first term of the Reagan Administration. Despite a deep recession beginning during the Carter Administration in the late 1970’s, the economy strongly rebounded.  From 1983-1990 the economy grew almost 36 percent and 20 million new American jobs were created.

President Obama promised his policies of massive borrowing and spending would “stimulate” the economy into recovery.  So far these promises have fallen flat and the current rate of growth is simply unacceptable.  Too many Americans are hurting because they have been limited by an underperforming economy.

House Republicans have passed more than 40 bills to encourage economic growth by reducing the size, scope, and burdens of the federal government.  However, the Democratic leadership of the U.S. Senate refuses to act.  Perhaps they believe the economy is booming and see no reason to change their policies.  However, the truth behind the economic data shows this is not the case.  The American people, especially those in need would be better served by solutions to our economic challenges.  

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Trade Benefits Nebraska


Increasing international trade to boost our economy and benefit consumers is a rare bipartisan goal in Washington.  However, there is a misconception trade primarily benefits agriculture producers, and large companies.  While these groups certainly benefit from open markets, there are many examples in the Third District of small businesses, individuals, and communities who directly or indirectly profit from exports.

For example, Turkey Creek Furs in Crete is a Nebraska company which benefits from exports to China.  The company, which employs five people, purchases cattle and deer hides from small processors in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri.  They then sell the hides to a tanning facility which exports the processed pelts to China.  Even though Turkey Creek Furs does not export directly, the demand for their services and the additional opportunities they create for small processors would likely be far less without the ability to export to China.

While many think our trade relationship with China is a one way street, companies like Turkey Creek demonstrate otherwise.  Third District companies exported $1.2 billion of goods to China last year.  And exports in goods from the Third District to China have increased 33 percent since 2002.

Another example of a small business supported by trade is Brown Sheep Company in Mitchell.  Founded in 1980, this second-generation family business is now run by Robert and Peggy Wells.  As the name suggests, the company buys wool and spins it into high quality yarn.  The yarn is sold at retailers all over the United States and at 43 locations in six foreign countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Norway, and the United Kingdom.  Brown Sheep supports not only the Wells’ and several employees, but also many local wool producers.

Turkey Creek Furs and Brown Sheep Company are not alone.  Third District companies exported more than $5.4 billion of goods in 2013, supporting more than 80,000 jobs.  One of the Third District’s fastest growing export categories is agricultural and construction machinery.  Exports of these types of machines, such as center pivot irrigation systems, have increased by 21 percent since 2002.

Because of our dynamic rural economy and export market, I have invited Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to host a “Made in Rural America” regional forum in the Third District.  A forum in Nebraska’s Third District not only would be valuable to exporters, but also would highlight the importance of looking to new markets and future opportunities to grow our rural economy.  I hope Secretary Vilsack, Secretary Pritzker, and Ambassador Froman will consider this invitation.

International trade benefits all Nebraskans.  I look forward to highlighting more Third District success stories, and as a Member of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, working to expand new markets for Nebraska products.

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Smith Applauds Supreme Court Ruling on Hobby Lobby Case


Congressman Adrian Smith’s (R-NE) released the following statement after the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.  The Court decided closely-held corporations, such as Hobby Lobby, cannot be forced to comply with Obamacare mandates which violate their religious beliefs.

“Today’s decision is an important victory for religious freedom and conscience rights against the expansion of the federal government into our lives.  I applaud the ruling which reverses one of the many overreaches of Obamacare.  Certainly, there is more to be done.

“Moving forward we must continue to insist religious freedom is respected for all Americans, and to address the many problems of Obamacare.”

Smith joined with 85 members of the House and Senate in filing an amicus brief in support of Hobby Lobby.

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Contact Information

2241 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6435
Fax 202-225-0207

Committee Assignments

Ways and Means

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.

Serving With

Jeff Fortenberry


Lee Terry


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