With July upon us, we are now more than halfway through the first year of the 116th Congress. So far 2019 has been marked by partisan divides which have stood in the way of results.
There is much work to do to solve our nation’s challenges. Instead of focusing on impeachment or forcing the President to release his tax returns, Congress should be working on efforts to ratify the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), lower health care costs, and rein in our debt.
The partisan legislation the House has passed this year has no chance of being enacted into law. Recently, the Ways and Means Committee, on which I serve, agreed on a bipartisan legislation, only to see it turn partisan after it left committee. The devaluing of the committee process and changing legislation after it is voted on in committee is especially frustrating.
The disappointing trend of partisanship in the House continued this week with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – the annual law which directs military operations, and has a 58 year tradition of being bipartisan. While the House Armed Services Committee reported a traditional bipartisan bill, partisan provisions were tacked on afterward before consideration by the whole House. Some of these provisions include a backdoor attempt to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, removing key upgrades crucial to our nuclear deterrence, and blocking the President from addressing the crisis at the border. At the end of June, the Senate passed their bipartisan NDAA with a vote of 86-8. The NDAA passed the House on a party line vote of 220-197.
Partisanship is affecting our productivity. Democrats and Republicans have different visions for the future of our country; however, not working with the other party only leads to gridlock. We are missing or delaying opportunities to secure our nation’s borders, increase and open new export markets, and address the cost of health care.
When Congress works together, we can tackle important issues. In June, the House, Senate, and President agreed on a border security package which will improve the situation on the border, fight human trafficking, and give law enforcement at the border a pay raise. For the rest of 2019 and 2020, I urge my colleagues to find common ground and start working for more productive solutions.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today released the following statement expressing his disappointment with the EPA’s proposed rule on Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2020.
“The RFS has benefitted farmers and consumers for years and has wide bipartisan support. Unfortunately, the EPA’s proposed rule does not take into account the ongoing abuse of small refinery exemptions. These arbitrary exemptions to the RFS are damaging its integrity. By not addressing the small refinery exemption, the 2020 policy proposed by the EPA diminishes any gains from the President’s recent win on E15.”
Smith recently led a bipartisan letter to the EPA to stop these exemptions and to reallocate lost volume from past waivers. He also is a cosponsor of H.R. 3006, which would require any waivers to be submitted before the volumes are determined, so they can be reallocated.Read More
As recent trends demonstrate, we must take border security seriously. In May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped 144,000 people from illegally entering the United States – the most in one month since 2006. This incredible number of people is almost three times the population of Grand Island.
The number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the border outside of the 328 legal ports of entry has increased by 60 percent over last year. Last month, the United States apprehended 5,800 people in a single day, including one group of people numbering more than 1,000. Those guarding the border are unable to deal with the massive increase of people, while also continuing to fight drug and human trafficking. As this crisis worsens, it further undermines the legal process for immigrating or seeking asylum.
In June, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security wrote a letter urging Congress to heed warnings and provide sufficient resources and funding to combat this crisis. Congress should have immediately put politics aside to give our men and women at the border the support they need. Instead, it took weeks of watching the situation escalate before House Democrats decided to allow a vote on a bipartisan bill to provide $4.6 billion in emergency funding for border security.
The bipartisan bill contains provisions which will improve the situation at the border including safe shelter for unaccompanied children, increased funding to fight human trafficking, and well-deserved pay increases to law enforcement. It overwhelmingly passed in the Senate with a vote of 84-8 and in the House with a vote of 305-102.
President Trump has made the border a priority. He reached an agreement with Mexico to do their part, and on June 24, Mexico deployed almost 15,000 troops to the U.S. border. This comes on the heels of a previous agreement where Mexico deployed 6,000 troops to their southern border for security. Cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico is essential, and I thank the President for his leadership.
We still have much work to do. There is a humanitarian crisis happening right here on our own borders. It will not go away by pretending it isn’t there. We must acknowledge the problem, put politics aside, and fix it – it is well past time.Read More
On July 4, 1776, our founders introduced to the world a new idea of government. In this government, citizens would not look to a tyrant, monarch, or group of powerful people to provide for them, but would be free to provide for themselves and determine their own destinies. The American Dream – an idea anyone can achieve great things in this country – has its foundation in the Declaration of Independence.
Individual liberty is the root of the American Experiment. This idea was monumental and rippled through the world. Since then, our nation has risen to great challenges. We have fought and triumphed to become the greatest country on earth.
Americans strive to create our own opportunities. We never forget the principles, passion, and fortitude which make us unique. Ours is a country where those who put forth the effort are rewarded for their hard work. We do not want to be given what we have – we want to earn what we have.
This spirit has led us to accomplish many worthy achievements. We are the most generous nation in history. The United States accepts more immigrants, provides more humanitarian aid across the world, and funds more medical research than any other nation. This would not be possible without the drive of the American people to create a better life for themselves and those around them. Today, our experiment continues as we strive for more innovation, a higher quality of life and a brighter future for the next generation.
On each Independence Day we celebrate our country’s founding, along with the freedom and opportunity afforded us. Our founders encouraged Americans to celebrate our independence every July 4th, from “one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” This is a day where we reflect on our country’s achievements and the hope for our bright future. All across the United States we spend the day gathering with our family and friends, relaxing with backyard picnics, and of course watching fireworks. God bless, let’s celebrate our great nation and have a happy Fourth of July!
Trade agreements reduce trade barriers, which promotes economic growth and cooperative relationships between nations. Because 95 percent of consumers reside outside U.S. borders, we must constantly be looking for ways to increase access to foreign markets and ensure America’s competitiveness in an increasingly global marketplace. Negotiating trade agreements reduce tariffs between countries and open previously closed markets. Trade with foreign nations represents tremendous opportunities for the American economy.
Canada and Mexico accounted for almost 34 percent of all U.S. exports in 2018 – more than any other countries by far – with $298.7 billion and $265 billion in exports respectively. Nebraska exports more corn, wheat, and dairy products to Mexico than to any other country, and exports more ethanol to Canada than to any other country. Trade is crucial to agriculture, and it is clear we need North American trade.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was written more than 25 years ago and the world has changed dramatically since its enactment. President Trump has made the modernization of trade between our three countries a top priority, and has allowed us the chance to make some much needed updates.
NAFTA was the first international trade agreement which had provisions to protect intellectual property rights. The renegotiation of NAFTA, and the subsequent United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) provides an opportunity to update and improve provisions relating to innovation and intellectual property. USMCA – which has been agreed upon by all three nations’ leaders – would strengthen protections for patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
Perhaps just as important to innovation is the ability to develop a new product and have markets to sell it in. USMCA fast-tracks the patent approval process for American products in Mexico and Canada markets, while providing owners of intellectual property certainty their ideas will not be stolen.
This past week, the Mexican Senate has overwhelmingly voted to ratify the agreement. Unfortunately, we are seeing a delay in ratifying USMCA in Congress. Delaying the enactment of USCMA hurts American jobs, border security, agriculture, and innovation.
By law, the legislative process to enact this agreement must start in the House. On May 30, 2019, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer initiated the process for the House to take up the agreement. However, Speaker Pelosi has not indicated when or even if she will put this on the House floor for a vote. This indecision is costing all three countries.
USMCA is an improvement and a modernization of NAFTA, and will bring our countries closer together. Our producers, manufacturers, innovators, and countless others stand to benefit by the enactment of this trade deal. It is time to pass USMCA.Read More
Federal revenue continued at near-record highs in 2018, at $3.33 trillion. Unfortunately, this amount was not enough to cover the $4.2 trillion in spending last year, further exacerbating our $22 trillion in national debt. As President Ronald Reagan said, “The problem is not that the people are taxed too little. The problem is that government spends too much.”
Americans are being taxed enough already; it is well past time to get serious about reining in spending. Unfortunately, some in Congress have reached a different conclusion. We have seen multiple demands to raise taxes on middle class Americans to pay for new one-size-fits-all federal benefits. There have been proposals to raise taxes on Social Security, gasoline, firearms, carbon emissions, and even to repeal the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017.
This week, in the Committee on Ways and Means, on which I serve, a hearing was held on unprecedented tax increases as a part of a “Medicare for All” plan. Currently, 158 million Americans have their health care through employer-sponsored coverage – more than Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare combined. Through this proposal, every one of these hardworking Americans would have to give up their current health care, and instead be lumped into a single government-run health care plan. More than a million people in the state of Nebraska – more than half of our population – would be forced to give up their current coverage.
Instead of obtaining insurance through your employer or choosing a plan for your family, this system would be funded by us, the taxpayers. The estimated cost for Medicare for All is $32 trillion, on top of current government health care spending. If taxes were increased on every American by twice what they pay now, it would still not be enough to cover an additional $25,000 in taxes per household needed for this plan.
In the House Budget Committee this week, a hearing was held on climate change proposals, including the “Green New Deal.” Cost estimates for this proposal have reached up to $93 trillion, or more than four times our current federal debt.
The cost to taxpayers would be enormous – $60,000 per year for every family in the U.S. – to pay the cost of unobtainable goals such as becoming 100 percent powered by renewable energy in the next ten years. Currently, renewables accounts for 11 percent of the United States energy consumption. On top of increased taxes, this drastic change would result in electric bills rising to $3,800 per year per household.
I agree we must look for new solutions to our nation’s greatest challenges. I reject the idea of the American people being undertaxed. We need to look toward free-market solutions to solve these issues – not new government-run mandates and insurmountable debt. Both parties have the common goal of our nation’s success. It is our duty to find common ground, and come to the table to solve the issues facing our nation.
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.
Retweeted by repadriansmith
Retweeted by repadriansmith
Retweeted by repadriansmith
Great to see Nebraska’s own T-L Irrigation at the Made in America Product Showcase at the White House this morning! https://t.co/bYpFwFfGY3
Retweeted by repadriansmith
So far 2019 has been marked by partisan divides which have stood in the way of results. I urge my colleagues to fi… https://t.co/a8U3sNlFv8