Jeff Fortenberry

Jeff Fortenberry


Fort Report: Yezidi Red


Almost everyone is now familiar with the calamities ISIS is causing in the Middle East: the brutal campaign to conquer vast areas of Iraq and Syria and exterminate Christians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities. A lesser known reality is that Lincoln has the largest Yezidi refugee population in America. Through an unusual convergence of circumstances, members of this ancient, peaceful faith tradition, who have historically lived in Iraq, have found a new home in the capital of Nebraska. How did this happen? Many Yezidis stood side-by-side with our soldiers at the height of the Iraq War, putting themselves and their families at great risk while serving as military translators. In turn they earned their citizenship.

The House of Representatives and the United States Government have now declared that ISIS’ atrocities against Yezidis, Christians, and others is a “genocide.” Although I have known Lincoln’s Yezidi community for many years, they contacted me recently asking to come to my office, a kind gesture to thank me for my work on the genocide resolution. I responded, “That’s not necessary, but if you have some type of community celebration, please let me know.”

This past weekend I joined the community for the Yezidi New Year. What an extraordinary experience. Persons welcomed me with warm hearts and open arms, and I felt an immediate bond of friendship. The men lined up and created a type of tunnel walk to greet me with many placing a hand over the heart and slightly bowing as a sign of humble respect. Babies were crying, and everyone was rejoicing. I told a television journalist there that I felt proud to be an American.

One of the Yezidi speakers we heard from had been trapped atop Mount Sinjar in Iraq. He had to make a decision to save his family. His child had fallen on the mountain and had broken his leg, which still bears a foot long scar. With four children in tow and no provisions, he made a harrowing trek across the open desert. The little boy with the broken leg could no longer even cry, only gasp because his throat was so parched. But they survived. As he spoke, he said, “We are smile [sic], because God gives us hope.”

I was asked to give a few words. I thanked the community for their generosity and traced the origins of the genocide resolution. I explained how it serves as a gateway for further policy considerations regarding an ultimate security settlement in the Middle East that allows for the right of return, protection, and reintegration of ancient faith traditions into what was once a rich tapestry of religious diversity in the region. I also discussed the idea of designating the Nineveh Plain area as a safe haven with special security protections. These are big propositions with delicate and complicated dynamics, but the concepts were well received. 

We sat together and joined in a meal. The food was delicious. It kept coming and coming. I said one of the few Arabic words I know, which roughly translates to “big belly.” That got a laugh.

I asked all of the men who had served as military translators to come forward. I frankly thought there would be just a handful, that everyone else had met other refugee criteria. Instead there were a large number—impressive young men—trying to rebuild their lives, protect their families, preserve their tradition, and become good Americans. While everyone there recognized the ongoing nature of the tragedy, the ongoing suffering, the many people left behind, and the need for the right types of policy solutions, this day was simply to pause and rejoice.

There were three flags present: the American flag and the Nebraska flagged properly posted in their place of honor at the front on the gathering. On the wall hung a traditional Yezidi flag. It displayed a sun type emblem in the center and a background of what looked pretty close to Cornhusker red.

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Fortenberry Cosponsored National Bison Legacy Act Passes House of Representatives


Noem, Hoeven, Fortenberry, Clay, Heinrich, and Serrano announce passage of the National Bison Legacy Act

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) today announced that the National Bison Legacy Act, which he helped lead, passed the United States House of Representatives this week. The legislation names the bison as the National Mammal of the United States. Similar legislation was approved by the United States Senate in December. The legislation is expected to be sent to the President soon for his signature.

“In the midst of such a difficult political environment, it is good to pass legislation that is important to the American narrative. Bison have a storied history in Nebraska and are an important part of our nation's frontier heritage,” Fortenberry said. “By naming bison as our national mammal, we are supporting the ongoing preservation of this majestic species and their essential tie to the American experience.”

In addition to naming the bison as the national mammal, the National Bison Legacy Act (H.R. 2908) recognizes the historical, cultural and economic significance of the bison, which is the largest land mammal in America and a symbol of Native American heritage. The legislation was actively supported and led by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Representatives William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Kristi Noem (R-SD), and José Serrano (D-NY).

Fortenberry is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.


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Fort Report: Got Mail?


At my last town hall meeting in Bellevue, we had a robust discussion about the challenges facing America. A big surprise came afterward. A constituent told me he had received the invitation to the meeting that same day. Although the invitation had been sent in a timely manner, most people in the community saw it when they returned home from work—after the event. I found the whole thing quite embarrassing. 

Fortunately, through social media, email, and other forms of communication, a reasonable crowd attended the town hall. However, a similar problem occurred to a friend of mine, who stopped me to tell me about his own event, complaining that his invitations had never been received even though they had been mailed well in advance. I hear stories like this over and over again. 

For the most part, my encounters with the United States Postal Service (USPS) in Nebraska, on my personal time or through my office, have been quite good. I have always found persons with the post office eager to help, professional, and kind. Unfortunately, something has gone wrong with the process of late. Prescription drugs are late, bill payments are late, and personal correspondence is late. One person told me about the delay in receiving their heart medication, forcing them to seek pharmacy help until their mail-order prescription arrives. The complaints keep coming. The disruption is real, along with the long term negative impact on the USPS. 

I suspect the root cause of the problem has been the consolidation of mail processing in Omaha. Several local plants have closed. Even a letter going across Lincoln now has to go through Omaha first. According to postal delivery standards, first class letters, packages, and bulk mail dropped off in the communities of Lincoln, Norfolk, Columbus, Bellevue, and Nebraska City should be delivered in two to three days. In some cases, it is taking five to ten days. There are similar delays with first class mail in Platte and Madison counties as well. Years of declining mail volume likely triggered the changes that caused these disruptions. While I shared my concerns with the Omaha processing facility in 2015, the situation has not improved, despite a subsequent letter to the Postmaster General in Washington.

I have requested that the USPS Inspector General intervene and analyze the problems with the mail system in Nebraska. The goal is not to play the typical Washington blame game but to fix troubling mail mishaps. Not conforming to delivery standards could make the USPS less competitive, further reducing the customer base of the postal service. You deserve the highest level of service and my hope is to help the post office retain the reputation it has earned. 

The USPS has been under financial stress for many years due to a variety of factors. Tension exists between the necessary movement toward efficiency and consolidation, the declining use of services, and the constitutional dictate that the USPS deliver mail across the country. One problem for us is that rural communities can become the easiest target for post office closure. But in many of these places, post offices are not only hubs to send and receive mail—they are reinforcement centers of American society. The USPS has enacted some reforms, for example embedding post offices in retail structures. Rethinking government with an entrepreneurial spirit aimed at facilitating social vibrancy could help post offices co-join with other community services.

By consolidating processing plants in Omaha to cut costs, the postal service’s reputation has suffered through a deteriorating service model. Until this year, I rarely received complaints about the mail. Nebraskans value the postal service, and the postal service personnel I know reflect a genuine professionalism and spirit of public service. However, our state deserves a postal service undiminished by utility considerations that damage mail delivery standards. Since post offices are often centers of American community life, there is a balance between retaining the connection to community while enhancing operating efficiencies. 

Write me a letter and tell me what you think! 

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Fort Report: China


I recently traveled to China with a congressional delegation. As I boarded the Air China plane, the flight attendants were welcoming, accommodating, and professional. They seemed to take great pride in their work. One stood up before the passengers to give the usual spiel about how to buckle your seatbelt and negotiate other safety measures—a talk few people pay attention to. What then followed was quite unusual. The security team leader authorized by the Security Administration Act of the People’s Republic of China made an announcement: there will be penalties and punishments for noncompliance, including for “behaviors that would disrupt the normal order of the cabin.” I wrote a note to myself: “What a different world I’m entering.”

China is a country fraught with contradictions. China has a capitalist-communistic system; China seeks to overcome past humiliations with increasing aggressiveness; China has rapidly expanded economic freedom while restraining many others.

A brief review of recent history can perhaps give some insight. In the latter part of the 20th century, Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution starved millions and firmly established communist rule. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Deng Xiopeng delivered another model by ending agricultural collectivization and realizing the potential of the market system. The current President Xi Jinping has moved quietly to consolidate political power and reconcile a market economy with ancient tradition and collectivist control. He is considered the core, a fatherly figure of virtue who will shepherd China’s new ascendency. China is now repositioned as a rising power.

The underlying driver of it all is China’s economy. The country has a strong work ethic and dedication to individual advancement. However, a number of industries are state-owned. Until recently, China achieved an astounding 10% per year growth rate. At the same time, China’s economic development has great costs, contributing to extreme wealth disparity and severe environmental degradation. Beijing is so polluted that living there strikes five and a half years off an average lifetime. One Chinese person whispered to me, “What’s the point of all this economic growth if it kills you?” Interestingly, China is emerging as a world leader in advancing the use of renewable resources.

Regarding questions of security, China desires to overcome its past dominance by foreign powers. In relation to America, China claims that plenty of room remains in the Pacific for two superpowers. Yet shared power is a foreign concept to the Chinese. China values stability, yet expanding Chinese ambition in the South China Sea is disturbing the region’s normal nautical equilibrium. America pushes China to try and control its neighbor, North Korea, from its destabilizing and nationalistic militarism, but the effectiveness of China’s efforts has been unclear—and at this point matters may be beyond their control.

Finally, in a very privileged meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, we had a frank and open conversation about our need for friendship, honest discussion about differences, and harmonious relations. The congressional delegation and I talked about a range of issues including North Korea, the South China Sea, the issue of intellectual property rights, and censorship. I thought it was particularly important to use the Chinese concept of individual economic liberty to press for additional space for religious expression. I quoted China’s president, who has called for a spiritual and cultural renewal. In return, I received a polite and thorough answer about the Chinese constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom and the Confucian religious tradition. Ironically, as we were meeting, crosses were being removed elsewhere in the country in an ongoing “beautification” campaign that over two years has eliminated an estimated 2,000 crosses from churches.

As I wandered through Tiananmen Square under the watchful eye of the image of Chairman Mao, I felt safe from crime and any hostility, or even any security scrutiny. The Chinese citizens around me appeared to go about their business with a curious indifference to my presence. In the side streets, beyond the formal government buildings and urban skyscrapers, it was a bit of a different flavor; the people were welcoming and friendly, eager to smile and engage.

From my hotel room window, Beijing showed itself a thriving metropolis of modern offices, hotels, apartments, luxury retail, and neon lights. On closer examination, right below me, I saw an old neighborhood of traditional Chinese architecture, preserved from modern development: a maze of narrow alleyways, curving peaked roofs made of clay tile, and a type of functioning poverty. And next to that was another startling sight, what I believed to be a “Patriotic” Catholic Church, a 100 year old structure reopened after the Cultural Revolution. China truly is a curious mix of seemingly contradictory forces that marches toward ever increasing power.

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Fortenberry Statement on Approval of Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) today made the following statement after the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs approved its Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations bill.

“The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs legislation is the first appropriations bill to move forward in Congress this year,” Fortenberry said. “This priority demonstrates our highest level of support ever for veterans and their needs. This bill encourages the option of public-private partnerships in constructing VA facilities, which is significant for the Omaha VA project.”

“The bill also continues to promote and provide oversight for the important runway replacement at Offutt Air Force Base. This has been a priority of my Offutt Task Force and I am pleased that runway repairs remain a national security priority.”

Fortenberry made requests in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs report on the following projects with importance to Nebraska: promoting runway repairs and replacement for Offutt Air Force Base; supporting a public-private partnership to build a new Veterans Administration (VA) hospital in Omaha; and encouraging the VA to work closely with the Small Business Administration to further improve entrepreneurial opportunities for veterans. Fortenberry previously introduced the Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act (H.R. 3248).

Fortenberry serves as Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.


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Huffington Post Op-Ed: Nuclear Security and Its Few Constituents


As a graduate student, I once asked a prominent professor for a summary of the philosophical arguments for immortality. He was excited by the request and invited me to his lecture on the topic. While I considered this a great privilege, I could not manage scheduling the required four hours, so I politely declined. “Ah,” the professor said, “you asked me a question about immortality, but you do not have the time!”

The United States cannot afford to risk that same mistake on nuclear security. If we are to bring the probability of a nuclear catastrophe to as close to zero as possible, we must make the time. Understanding how nuclear threats have evolved and how to resolve them most effectively is an urgent national priority.

Imagine, for a moment, just one of several scenarios. A terrorist organization collects enough radiological material to set off what is called a “dirty bomb” in the stadium of a major city, triggering widespread harm and panic. A smuggled package on a container ship—with no need for a sophisticated weapons delivery system—explodes in a major United States harbor, causing widespread destruction and loss of life. Or worse yet, a reckless nation state actor such as North Korea’s autocratic strongman launches a missile attack against Seoul or Los Angeles. Each future scenario is alarmingly feasible. No one enjoys thinking about nuclear dangers, but ignoring them would amplify an ongoing threat to us all.

Click here to read the full editorial by Congressman Fortenberry. 

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Fort Report: Nuclear Security and Its Few Constituents


I want to take a moment this week to highlight the understated challenge of nuclear security in the world today. You might have heard news about last week's Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. With risks of terror growing amid rapid globalization, the world must prioritize developing the right nuclear security strategies. This critical issue has special relevance here in Nebraska, where we host Strategic Command: the nerve center of our nation's nuclear weapons program and nonproliferation efforts. I invite you to read my thoughts on this subject, which you can find below in a national editorial published today.

Huffington Post: Nuclear Security and Its Few Constituents
By Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, April 8, 2016

As a graduate student, I once asked a prominent professor for a summary of the philosophical arguments for immortality. He was excited by the request and invited me to his lecture on the topic. While I considered this a great privilege, I could not manage scheduling the required four hours, so I politely declined. “Ah,” the professor said, “you asked me a question about immortality, but you do not have the time!”

The United States cannot afford to risk that same mistake on nuclear security. If we are to bring the probability of a nuclear catastrophe to as close to zero as possible, we must make the time. Understanding how nuclear threats have evolved and how to resolve them most effectively is an urgent national priority.

Imagine, for a moment, just one of several scenarios. A terrorist organization collects enough radiological material to set off what is called a “dirty bomb” in the stadium of a major city, triggering widespread harm and panic. A smuggled package on a container ship—with no need for a sophisticated weapons delivery system—explodes in a major United States harbor, causing widespread destruction and loss of life. Or worse yet, a reckless nation state actor such as North Korea’s autocratic strongman launches a missile attack against Seoul or Los Angeles. Each future scenario is alarmingly feasible. No one enjoys thinking about nuclear dangers, but ignoring them would amplify an ongoing threat to us all.

Americans deserve assurance that our best and brightest minds are fervently engaged in their defense. They should be able to trust that policymakers on both sides of the aisle are working together for innovative and sustainable solutions to nuclear security concerns. In this age of anxiety and sound bite foreign policy, constituents should know that Congress is leading when it matters most.

The leaders who courageously helmed our formidable nuclear enterprise through World War II and the Cold War have passed the baton to a new generation of policymakers and scientists. Now, as our world grows more complex, the challenges of nuclear proliferation have multiplied. The binary concept of mutually assured destruction is no longer as relevant in an increasingly unstable geopolitical environment. Non-state actors play havoc with global treaties and normative rules, seeking to do horrifying harm. Rational responses cannot be guaranteed.

Despite these challenges, of all the important issues that come before Congress, nuclear security seldom surfaces in our national conversation outside highly specialized forums. The problem is real. The United States and our allies face a stark deficiency: nuclear security as a multidimensional issue with no longstanding organic constituency in Congress. That constituency must be built.

Recognizing the problem when I first came to Congress, the Nuclear Security Working Group was founded to advance this discussion and help prevent the unthinkable. While the analytical and tactical expertise rightly remain embedded in the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, the Department of State and other executive branch entities, Congress must create an agile policy environment in this age of globalization and swiftly advancing technology. We also need an awakening of citizen concern—and there is very little. The need for broader involvement extends in a particular way to millennials, the coming stewards of our nuclear security.

The community of responsible nations has much work ahead to achieve an ideal nuclear security settlement. Advances in reprocessing technology, nuclear power, and weapons infrastructure, once the exclusive domain of the nation state, pose serious ongoing proliferation concerns. Although many countries have altogether renounced pursuit of nuclear weapons, turbulent situations in the Middle East and elsewhere are worsening an already hazardous global nuclear dynamic. A new architecture for nuclear security demands an ongoing effort by the responsible nations of the world.

The fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Obama in Washington at the end of March represented another important step in securing loose nuclear materials and heightening collaboration. We need to sustain these international gatherings and multinational efforts to achieve an effective 21st century nuclear security strategy, one that prioritizes common ground on important strategic and nonproliferation priorities, in a cooperative campaign to make our world safer.

Looking ahead, I anticipate an augmented role for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a primary implementing agency of future verification initiatives. A revitalized spirit of unity, common purpose, and renewed dedication is essential to nuclear security in the 21st century. Our challenge is that we cannot react to a nuclear crisis; we must act to prevent one. If we have the time.


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Fort Report: Europe Must Fight


Not long ago the great cities of Europe were secure places of cultural strength. Today they are targets for ISIS and other terrorist organizations. Standing in solidarity with the citizens of Belgium, we mourn the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in Brussels. On Tuesday, jihadists orchestrated coordinated bombings at the Brussels Airport and the city’s Baelbeek metro station, suicide assaults that murdered 31 people in a grim replay of the horrifying attacks in Paris.

The maelstrom of violence is a consequence of reckless open border policies and naïve assumptions about the potential for multicultural conversion to Western economic and political freedoms. Although this week’s bombings are probably retaliation for the capture of the mastermind of the suicide strikes in Paris, Brussels has long contended with a seedbed of warped Islamic aggression, particularly in its Molenbeek neighborhood.

Middle East conflict and the resulting humanitarian catastrophe prompted some European leaders to embrace well intentioned but misguided immigration postures that have contributed to the largest migrant crisis since World War II. Nations from Greece to Sweden are confronting capacity issues and now deadly security risks. No immigration system can remain just and orderly without robust border protection measures.

Contributing to the problem is the absence of a European myth—a romanticized vision of cultural and political tradition. The new narrative is that particular countries decreasingly matter. Supra-national entities like the European Union forge a new settlement of administrative conformity to deal with the pressures of globalization. Originally, the European Union arose from fears of past nationalist movements such as Fascism that ravaged and sacrificed the continent on the altar of ruthless ideology. The European Union serves to check this dark past while also facilitating commonalities in commerce, travel, and enhanced understanding. However, the limits of bureaucratic management are reached when identity and self-preservation is at stake.

Unfortunately, the very idea of Europe is disintegrating. To turn this around, the continent should regain a healthy instinct of nations that places an emphasis on the interests of peoples with a shared culture, history, and political traditions. The continent’s vibrancy depends on sustaining the dynamism of longstanding local difference while maintaining proper pride in the ideals that bind and animate wider Western civilization. Nothing exists in a vacuum. The lack of a bonding identity, complicated by clashing cultural values, has created Molenbeeks in other major European cities. Self-isolating Muslim communities can help perpetuate an environment of mutual misunderstanding and distrust, breeding alienation, resentment, and hostility. Genuine multiculturalism is difficult without enculturation among immigrant populations.

Thousands of Europeans have left the continent for the battlegrounds of Syria and Iraq. These radicalized fighters—passport holders hardened by war and dedicated to jihadist militancy—pose a serious security risk to their countries of origin in the West. Even some so-called Americans have joined the ranks of terrorist organizations that are metastasizing across the Middle East and North Africa. San Bernardino demonstrated that the United States is far from immune to the cancer of ISIS expansion.

Our nation for decades has shouldered a great burden in confronting havoc throughout the world. We will continue to lead the fight against extremism, but not alone. A general assumption that we will maintain the majority of the heavy lifting in combating regional terror—coupled with the lack of will among some of our allies—has created a status quo that is unsustainable.

As we recover from the shock of the bombings in Brussels, we must reclaim a central principal. Europe must fight. Complacency is no longer possible. The combined effects of a drifting European identity and a lack of enculturation, further compounded by a migrant crisis, must be confronted with reason and resolve to keep Europe and the world safe. Only through this approach will Europe stabilize, regain a sense of vision, and remain a great source of welcoming cultural strength.

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Fortenberry Statement on Brussels Attacks


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) released the following statement after the attacks in Brussels this week: 

“As we recover from the shock of the horrifying terror attack in Brussels, we must recover two critical principals. First, Europe must fight. Complacency is no longer possible. Second, the security risks of the Middle East migrant crisis must be confronted and resolved to keep the world safe.”

Fortenberry is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Study Group on Europe.


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Omaha World-Herald Midlands Voices: Islamic State's horrific actions earn world's condemnation


Fortenberry, who represents the state’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House, and Sasse, who represents Nebraska in the U.S. Senate, authored resolutions regarding genocide.

In June 2014, for the first time in two millennia, the church bells in the city of Mosul, Iraq, fell silent.

Islamic State invaders had spray-painted blood-red symbols of the Arabic letter “n” on Christian property in the city. The letter is short for “Nazarene,” a derogatory term for Christians used by some in the region. The Islamic State gave Mosul’s ancient Christian population a choice: “Leave, convert or die.” Most fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

The expulsion of Christians was just one horrific example of the Islamic State’s ongoing brutality against ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East. Its so-called “caliphate” has waged a ruthless campaign of rapes, beheadings, crucifixions and forced conversions in the territory it rules with its dark theology.

The Islamic State’s systematic and targeted attempt to exterminate innocent groups also includes Yazidis, another vulnerable people in the region.

Nebraska is home to America’s largest Yazidi community. Many settled here after working side by side with our nation’s soldiers as translators during the Iraq War, placing themselves and their families at great risk.

After the fall of Mosul, the Islamic State continued its rampage and trapped tens of thousands of Yazidis atop Mount Sinjar, a barren mountain where they faced certain death with no food and no water. There was no place to bury their dead. Yazidis in Lincoln pleaded for action.

Following the call of Congress for an international humanitarian intervention, the U.S. began an air campaign against the Islamic State, launching strikes that proved decisive in ending the siege and preventing a catastrophic loss of life.

Day after day, Christians, Yazidis and other beleaguered minorities suffer in a particularly severe way for their faith. The Islamic State has taken away the conditions for life — as well as life itself — from these peoples.

It is important to note that innocent Muslims constitute the largest number of Islamic State victims. At the same time, the number of Christians in Iraq has fallen from 1.5 million to several hundred thousand. Unless they are hiding underground, in the areas of northern Syria and northern Iraq, they have been eradicated by the Islamic State.

A rapidly expanding international coalition has recognized the reality that the Islamic State is committing genocide. The European Parliament, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Pope Francis and presidential candidates in both parties, among many others, are standing in solidarity to name and decry this genocide. A bipartisan and ecumenical alliance has formed to confront the Islamic State’s barbaric onslaught.

At a time of deep political division in our nation, the House of Representatives passed a resolution 393-0 condemning the genocide. The statement was clear: Genocide is bigger than any partisan divide. The House spoke with one voice to properly recognize and condemn this violation of life and order. A companion resolution was introduced in the Senate that same day.

Secretary of State John Kerry and the State Department — the day of a congressional deadline to make a genocide determination — came to the same conclusion.

The horrific Islamic State violence against Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslim minorities is now called by its proper name: genocide.

We commend Secretary Kerry for making this important designation. The genocide is not only a grave injustice to these ancient communities — it is an assault on human dignity and an attack on civilization itself. The United States has now spoken with clarity and moral authority.

Recognizing Islamic State genocide has implications beyond defining the grotesque tragedy. Our stand will raise international consciousness, end the scandal of silence and create the preconditions for the protection and reintegration of ancient minorities into their ancestral homelands. The genocide designation creates a gateway for further policy considerations regarding the necessary security settlement that must come in the region.

Christians, Yazidis and others should remain an essential part of the Middle East’s once rich tapestry of religious and ethnic diversity.

They now have new cause for hope.

Click here to read the op-ed on the Omaha World-Herald's website. 


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Fortenberry Honored at Lincoln Yezidi Celebration

2016-04-25 18:02:37

Fortenberry discusses genocide designation with CNN's Elise Labott

2016-03-18 21:24:24

Fortenberry Discusses Genocide with Fox's Shannon Bream

2016-03-18 16:22:08

Fortenberry joins House leaders regarding his genocide resolution

2016-03-15 16:54:00

Fortenberry speaks after House unanimously passes his ISIS genocide resolution

2016-03-15 16:49:22

Fortenberry Remembers Scalia on 10/11 Pure Nebraska

2016-03-08 18:29:07

Fortenberry Speaks with Military Chiefs on Quality of Life in the Military

2016-03-04 16:59:01

Secretary Kerry Responds to Fortenberry on Genocide in the Middle East

2016-02-24 18:33:29

Fortenberry Discusses Pope Francis, Donald Trump with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren

2016-02-19 17:50:53

Fortenberry Remembers Justice Scalia with CNN’s John Berman

2016-02-16 20:39:05

Fortenberry discusses the Prayer Breakfast on EWTN

2016-02-11 14:51:27

Fortenberry Floor Speech on Nebraska Values

2016-02-03 18:05:08

Fortenberry Responds to State of the Union on C-SPAN

2016-01-13 16:27:53

Fortenberry floor speech on protecting life

2016-01-11 16:09:56

Fortenberry Remembers Chuck Clifford

2016-01-08 19:34:36

Fortenberry speaks on national security and protecting America

2016-01-07 17:56:42

Fortenberry honors nuns killed in El Salvador

2015-12-02 22:49:09

Fortenberry Speaks at Hearing on Russia’s Escalation in Syria

2015-11-04 19:29:55

Fortenberry Condemns Planned Parenthood Trafficking Scandal

2015-07-23 19:44:26

Fortenberry Supports Boys Town Commemorative Coin Act

2015-06-23 20:29:24

Contact Information

1514 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4806
Fax 202-225-5686

Committee Assignments


Jeff Fortenberry was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2004 to serve Nebraska’s First Congressional District. His work in Congress is rooted in the belief that the strength of our nation depends on the strength of our families and communities. Jeff is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which appropriates United States government expenditures. He serves on three subcommittees with importance for Nebraska: Agriculture, Energy and Water, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Jeff previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee where he placed particular focus on human rights concerns, Middle Eastern affairs, and nuclear weapons non-proliferation. He also represented Nebraska on the Agriculture Committee, where his work on two Farm Bills advanced opportunities for young and beginning farmers and promoted agricultural entrepreneurship.

Prior to serving in Congress, Jeff worked as a publishing industry executive in Lincoln, where he also served on the Lincoln City Council from 1997-2001. Jeff also has significant personal experience in small business, and early in his career he worked as a policy analyst for the United States Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations. Jeff earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and two master’s degrees, one in public policy. He and his wife Celeste live in Lincoln and have five daughters.

Serving With

Adrian Smith


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