As our united effort to overhaul the tax code continues this fall, we are reminded of what took place 31 years ago when President Ronald Reagan signed the last comprehensive tax reform bill into law on October 22, 1986. President Reagan’s observations at the bill-signing ceremony bear a striking resemblance to the situation we face today. Despite the inevitable challenges and disagreements ahead of us, just as President Reagan encountered, we must stay the course to finally provide the tax relief Americans need and deserve. President Ronald Reagan Remarks on Signing the Tax Reform Act of 1986 October 22, 1986 In a moment I’ll be sitting at that desk, taking up a pen, and signing the most sweeping overhaul of our tax code in our nation’s history.
… The journey’s been long, and many said we'd never make it to the end. But as usual the pessimists left one thing out of their calculations: the American people. They haven’t made this the freest country and the mightiest economic force on this planet by shrinking from challenges. They never gave up. And after almost three years of commitment and hard work, one headline in the Washington Post told the whole story: “The Impossible Became the Inevitable” and the dream of America’s fair-share tax plan became a reality.
When I sign this bill into law, America will have the lowest marginal tax rates and the most modern tax code among major industrialized nations, one that encourages risk-taking, innovation, and that old American spirit of enterprise. We’ll be refueling the American growth economy with the kind of incentives that helped create record new businesses and nearly 11.7 million jobs in just 46 months. Fair and simpler for most Americans, this is a tax code designed to take us into a future of technological invention and economic achievement, one that will keep America competitive and growing into the 21st century.
But for all tax reform’s economic benefits, I believe that history will record this moment as something more: as the return to the first principles. This country was founded on faith in the individual, not groups or classes, but faith in the resources and bounty of each and every separate human soul. Our founding fathers designed a democratic form of government to enlist the individual's energies and fashioned a Bill of Rights to protect its freedoms. And in so doing, they tapped a wellspring of hope and creativity that was to completely transform history.
… In the last 20 years we've witnessed an expansion and strengthening of many of our civil liberties, but our economic liberties have too often been neglected and even abused. We protect the freedom of expression of the author, as we should, but what of the freedom of expression of the entrepreneur, whose pen and paper are capital and profits, whose book may be a new invention or small business? What of the creators of our economic life, whose contributions may not only delight the mind but improve the condition of man by feeding the poor with new grains, bringing hope to the sick with new cures, vanishing ignorance with wondrous new information technologies?
… And now that we’ve come this far, we cannot, and we will not, allow tax reform to be undone with tax rate hikes. We must restore certainty to our tax code and our economy. And I’ll oppose with all my might any attempt to raise tax rates on the American people, and I hope that all here will join with me to make permanent the historic progress of tax reform. I think all of us here today know what a Herculean effort it took to get this landmark bill to my desk. That effort didn’t start here in Washington, but began with the many thinkers who have struggled to return economics to its classical roots – to an understanding that ultimately the economy is not made up of aggregates like government spending and consumer demand, but of individual men and women, each striving to provide for his family and better his or her lot in life.Read More
The office of Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will host Senior Services Fairs in Grand Island on Thursday, October 26, and Scottsbluff on Tuesday, November 14.
Officials from the Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) will offer one-on-one consultations with seniors on available plans. Seniors seeking assistance should bring a complete list of their prescriptions, including dosage information.
Experts will be available to answer questions about Social Security and veterans’ benefits. Nursing students from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) will also provide complimentary blood pressure screenings.
The Senior Services Fairs will be held at the following times and locations:
Grand Island Thursday, October 26 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (CT) Grand Generation Center 304 East 3rd Street, Grand Island*It is strongly recommended Grand Island attendees schedule appointments directly with SHIIP in advance of the fair by calling 1-800-234-7119.
Scottsbluff Tuesday, November 14 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (MT) Lied Scottsbluff Public Library 1809 3rd Avenue, Scottsbluff
For additional information, please contact Smith’s Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.Read More
Today, U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Representative Adrian Smith (NE-03) led a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao voicing concerns about the department’s plan to terminate the Essential Air Service program in Nebraska communities.
The EAS program is crucial to the continuation of air service to rural Nebraska. Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced plans to end EAS eligibility for Western Nebraska Regional Airport in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Kearney Regional Airport in Kearney, Nebraska.
The full text of the letter to Secretary Chao is available below.
October 16, 2017
The Honorable Elaine Chao Secretary U.S. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590
Dear Secretary Chao:
On September 29, 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an order (DOT 2017-9-23) regarding airport eligibility for the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. In the order, DOT announced its plans to tentatively terminate EAS eligibility for 27 communities, including the Western Nebraska Regional Airport in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Kearney Regional Airport in Kearney, Nebraska. Given the critical transportation services these airports provide to rural communities in Nebraska, we are concerned that DOT’s plan to terminate EAS support in these areas will significantly impact travel for rural Nebraskans.
This order comes as both Kearney and Scottsbluff are applying for a new EAS carrier after their previous carrier, PenAir, ceased operations on September 11, 2017. We have been encouraged by DOT’s efforts to work with these communities as they seek a new carrier to replace PenAir. We encourage further cooperation between DOT, Kearney, Scottsbluff, and North Platte, which was also affected by PenAir’s cessation of service. Eliminating EAS support at this time for Kearney and Scottsbluff would worsen an already difficult situation.
DOT’s order provides these communities with the opportunity to object to DOT’s findings and to petition for a waiver from the eligibility requirements. Given the negative impact the termination of EAS support would have on these communities, especially during their transition to a new carrier, we offer our support for any objections raised or petitions for waiver requested by Scottsbluff and Kearney airports.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to working with you to ensure that Nebraska’s rural communities continue to have access to vital commercial air transportation service.
Deb Fischer Ben Sasse Adrian Smith
Click here for a PDF of the letter.Read More
Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7, during which time seniors have the opportunity to review Medicare Advantage and/or Part D prescription drug plans to ensure their current selections still meet their needs or to enroll for the first time.
If they know their plans are continuing in 2017, beneficiaries who are satisfied with their current coverage do not need to take any action during open enrollment. However, plans and circumstances change from year to year, so it is strongly recommended all enrollees evaluate their options during each open enrollment period.
Medicare Part D is a voluntary program which creates competition among insurers to help more than 42 million Americans purchase their prescription drugs at affordable prices. The program has also cost less than half of the original projections – a big win for taxpayers.
There are 23 Medicare Part D plans being offered in Nebraska for 2018. Monthly premiums start at $20, and nine plans have no deductibles. Additional assistance may be available to low-income seniors.
As is often the case with federal programs, maneuvering through the enrollment process can be confusing and frustrating. Many people find it difficult to determine which plan is best for them.
My office is here to help. To ensure Third District seniors have access to the Medicare information they need, we will host our annual Senior Services Fairs on October 26 in Grand Island and November 14 in Scottsbluff. Seniors and caregivers can meet directly with Medicare experts to get their questions answered. Attendees should bring a complete list of their prescriptions, including dosing information, to find the plans best suited to their needs.
Officials from the Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) will offer one-on-one consultations with seniors on available plans. Experts will also be available to answer questions about Social Security and veterans’ benefits. Licensed pharmacists will provide prescription drug information, and attendees can take advantage of free blood pressure screenings.
The Grand Island Senior Services Fair will be held on October 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (CT) at the Grand Generation Center. On November 14, the Scottsbluff Senior Services Fair will take place at the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library from 9:00 a.m. to noon (MT). There is no cost to attend either event. Please call my Grand Island office at 308-384-3900 with any questions.
If you are unable to attend the Senior Services Fairs, there are other ways to review and select a Medicare plan. By visiting Medicare.gov, you can learn more about available options, check your current enrollment, and apply. You can also speak with experts by calling Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or the Nebraska SHIIP at 1-800-234-7119.
As you navigate the open enrollment period, please remember my staff and I are happy to answer your questions and help you gather the information you need to make informed decisions about your Medicare coverage.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) advocated for greater trade opportunities for Nebraska producers today in a bipartisan Ways and Means Committee member meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, as well as a Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing on opportunities to expand U.S. trade in the Asia-Pacific region.
On the meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, Smith said:
“We know the importance of NAFTA to Nebraska agriculture. Canada is the largest export market for U.S. agriculture products, and bilateral trade between Nebraska and Canada totals $1.9 billion a year. We had a productive discussion today about the importance of maintaining the gains achieved under NAFTA while strengthening the trade relationship between our two countries, and I am optimistic about the path forward.”
Ways and Means members meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
At the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing, Smith stressed the need for a bilateral trade agreement with Japan, especially due to Japan’s recent decision to raise its tariff to 50 percent on frozen beef from the U.S. and other countries with which it does not have trade agreements. The witnesses echoed the need to level the playing field for U.S. agriculture.
Click here for video of Smith’s comments in today’s Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing.
Smith introduced H. Res. 236, his resolution urging the establishment of a trade agreement with Japan, in March. Click here to read his column on the resolution.
Japan announced it would raise its tariff on U.S. frozen beef from 38.5 percent to 50 percent at the end of July. Click here to read Smith’s statement following the announcement.
Smith is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy.Read More
Congressmen Adrian Smith (NE-03) and Don Bacon (NE-02) welcomed 86 Nebraska veterans and their escorts to the U.S. Capitol this evening as part of the Hall County Vietnam Hero Flight. They also took the full group onto the House floor.
Click here or on the photos for high-resolution versions of the images.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule withdrawing from the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.
“President Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ threatened to force hundreds of coal-fired power plants to shut their doors, driving up energy costs across America,” Smith said. “Those hurt the most by these misguided, job-killing policies are typically the ones who can afford it least. I was pleased to see President Trump issue an executive order earlier this year requiring the EPA to re-evaluate these regulations, and by signing this proposed repeal, Administrator Pruitt is following through on his commitment to rein in the EPA’s red tape factory and empowering states to pursue responsible energy development.”Read More
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Representative Adrian Smith (Neb.-03) have nominated Matt and Jerri Phillips of North Platte, Nebraska as “Angels in Adoption” for 2017. Matt and Jerri adopted seven siblings, Kris, Cassidy, Amanda, Denise, Dylan, Sterling and Shelby, in March 2017. The children range in age from five to 15. Matt and Jerri also have four adult biological children and two grandchildren.
“Matt and Jerri’s story is an inspiring example of how adoptive parents can forever change the lives of children in need. With love, structure, and stability, the seven siblings are now flourishing. I am touched by the Phillips family’s willingness to keep these children together and give them a better life. It’s a privilege to nominate this remarkable family for such a well-deserved honor,” said Senator Fischer.
“The Phillips family received two nominations for this year’s Angels in Adoption award, a testament to their lasting impact not only in the lives of the children they have fostered and adopted but also in their community and our state. Matt and Jerri have made great sacrifices to create a forever home for seven adopted children, and it is an honor to join Senator Fischer in recognizing their extraordinary generosity, love, and commitment,” said Congressman Smith.
Founded in 2001, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), a non-profit organization, provides programs to bring together policymakers and individuals with direct foster care or adoption experience.
The “Angels in Adoption” program is coordinated by the CCAI. Each year, Members of Congress have the opportunity to nominate individuals, couples, and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions on behalf of children in need of families.Read More
We cannot continue to kick the can down the road on our national debt. It now exceeds $20 trillion, which equates to more than $60,000 for every American citizen. In the last eight years alone, the debt swelled by $9 trillion.
Our children and grandchildren will bear this burden. As my wife and I prepare to welcome our first child into the world, the fiscal crisis hanging over the heads of the next generation is a heavy weight. We need to take decisive action.
We know we can’t tax our way out of debt. The best way to bring down the deficit is by growing the economy through better tax policy and holding the line on spending.
This is why the House fulfilled its constitutional power of the purse by passing the Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution during the first week of October. This budget balances within 10 years and unlocks our ability to pursue pro-growth tax reform through reconciliation.
The reconciliation process, as created by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, requires designated congressional committees to find a certain amount of savings within their jurisdictions by a specified date if mandated by the annual budget resolution. Once the committees submit their recommended spending cuts, the Budget Committee produces one reconciliation bill for a vote. The bill cannot be filibustered in the Senate and only needs a simple majority to pass – 51 votes rather than the usual 60.
The House budget resolution instructs 11 committees to cut spending by a combined $200 billion in order to start paying down our debt. It outlines a pathway to $6.5 trillion in total deficit reduction over 10 years. It also reforms Medicaid and strengthens Medicare, two of the largest drivers of our debt. Additionally, it redirects resources toward securing our border.
With a budget in place, we can move forward on our tax reform framework introduced at the end of September to simplify the code. When Americans keep more of what they earn, they can invest more money into our economy. When businesses are incentivized by a competitive corporate tax rate and full and immediate expensing, they can create jobs and more actively drive economic growth. Pro-growth tax reform means more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks, which will transform our country’s fiscal course.
Doubling the standard deduction, or the “zero bracket,” increases the percentage of Americans’ income exempt from taxation. Nine out of 10 Americans will be able to file their taxes on a form the size of a postcard. Americans currently spend 2.6 billion hours each year filing individual income tax returns, with an annual compliance cost of $99 billion. Streamlining this process will help reverse the enormous drain on our economy caused by an overly complicated tax code.
The budget resolution passed by the House paves the way for the first comprehensive, permanent tax reform in more than 30 years. On the Ways and Means Committee, we are moving full-steam ahead on turning the framework into legislation to create a simpler, fairer tax code for all.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after voting in the Ways and Means Committee to pass H.R. 849, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
IPAB is an unelected 15-member panel created under Obamacare to cut Medicare costs. This board would have the power to limit access to medical treatments by reducing reimbursements for disfavored procedures, threatening the ability of physicians to provide these procedures and even to continue seeing Medicare patients.
“Our country was built on the separation of powers, but the consolidated, unchecked authority of Obamacare’s IPAB is a dangerous rejection of this wisdom,” Smith said. “We need to reform Medicare through the legislative process to provide greater accountability for doctors and patients in their decision-making; we should not rely on arbitrary cuts made by panel of unelected bureaucrats. I remain committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare in its entirety, and repealing IPAB is an important step to ensure seniors have access to the care they need.”
Smith is one of 264 cosponsors of this bipartisan bill, which includes 43 Democrat cosponsors.
Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee and its Subcommittee on Health.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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