One of the most fulfilling parts of representing the people of Nebraska’s Third District in Washington is advocating for their best interests. Whether it’s ensuring farmers and ranchers enjoy the benefits of tax reform like other businesses or keeping essential air service alive and well at our regional airports, we have many interests which must be safeguarded through each reauthorization and funding measure considered by Congress.
While legislative goals are important to large cross-sections of Nebraska, it’s the individual case work which helps the most from day to day. Residents of the Third District can visit either of my Nebraska offices in Grand Island or Scottsbluff during business hours to request help with all kinds of federal matters. These might include advocating on your behalf to ensure fair treatment by the Department of Veterans Affairs or finding out why your Social Security check is late.
My staff can also help constituents with immigration and travel issues such as visas and passports. If you have an unexpected need to travel, such as a death in the family, and you realize your passport has expired, my staff can help to expedite the replacement process. If you have family living abroad who plan to visit the U.S., we can reach out to our embassies and consulates to ensure the visa process functions as smoothly as possible.
Young people who wish to attend one of our service academies for college need an appointment from a member of Congress. Each year, my staff collects applications from students and their parents who we then help to attend schools such as West Point, the Naval Academy, or the Air Force Academy, among others. We can also help service members to enlist, reenlist, or work out disagreements with the Department of Defense.
All the services mentioned above, in addition to many others, are available at my Grand Island and Scottsbluff offices, as well as through mobile offices which I advertise on a monthly basis. I strive to make staff available in each of the 75 counties throughout the sprawling Third District at least once per Congress. In other areas where we see an inordinate number of casework concerns, my staff holds events called Caseworker in Your Community to keep people from having to drive as far.
For information on these events or to learn more about the services we offer, please feel free to call my Grand Island office at 308-384-3900, my Scottsbluff office at 308-633-6333, or visit my website at AdrianSmith.House.Gov. My staff and I strive to lend a helping hand to constituents of the Third District and we look forward to serving you in your time of need.Read More
This week I had the pleasure of attending Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, an annual event which reminds us of the importance of agriculture to Nebraska’s economy. Vendors come from all over to display new types of equipment and technologies which increase the efficiency and productivity of our agricultural sector and allow us to feed much of the world outside our borders.
While I was there, I stopped by the Nebraska Farm Bureau exhibit which featured a very simple banner stating, “Trade Matters To Nebraska.” Among its signatories were the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Soybean Association, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association, and Nebraska Wheat Growers Association, to name a few. As a lifelong supporter of fair and open trade, I was honored to add my name to the list.
Our agricultural producers and the many people involved both upstream and downstream of them understand we produce a great deal more food than we ourselves can consume. This is the nexus between agriculture and trade. Simply put, without access to international markets our crops will go unconsumed, commodity prices will falter, and economies largely dependent on agriculture, like that of Nebraska, will suffer.
For this reason, we’re beginning to see turbulence in the commodity markets brought on by uncertainty in our trade relationships, but there is reason for optimism. From day one, President Trump has made clear his desire to measurably improve our position with our trading partners. NAFTA has done much to benefit our rural economy, but there are many ways in which this trilateral agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico can be further built upon.
President Trump has already outlined an agreement with Mexico which includes boosting North American manufacturing, particularly of auto parts, and increasing salaries for Mexican auto workers, which will make our manufacturers more competitive and improve labor standards in Mexico. These points may seem obscure and unrelated to main stream America, but they represent substantial progress once thought impossible. The next step is to work out the differences which are preventing Canada from signing the agreement.
As one of our largest trading partners, it is very important for Canada to sign the replacement for NAFTA and maintain its status as a three-party agreement. However, Canada’s protection of its dairy producers and refusal to allow U.S. imports is one of several major sticking points. In fact, Canada’s use of import restrictions and price controls is more reminiscent of a command economy, such as China’s, than that of a western country.
At the end of August, the administration notified Congress of its intent to sign an agreement including both Canada and Mexico and submit it for approval within the following 30 days. Having traveled to both Mexico City and Montreal to demonstrate congressional support for improving NAFTA and increasing trade amongst our three countries, I’m optimistic we can make the progress necessary to finalize an agreement soon.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement after the House of Representatives approved his bill, H.R. 4689 - To authorize early repayment of obligations to the Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport Irrigation District in the State of Nebraska, by a vote of 378-1.
“More than 60 years ago, the Bureau of Reclamation stepped in to develop the irrigation infrastructure necessary to create arable land suitable for farming in Northport, Nebraska. My bill allows individual farmers to repay their portion of this debt instead of paying only interest and being subjected to burdensome regulations for decades to come. I appreciate Chairman Bishop for advancing this bill through the Natural Resources Committee and look forward to seeing it passed by the Senate so we can provide our farmers the certainty they deserve.”
Strong and stable families help children to grow and mature into happy and productive adults. For this reason, I am proud to recognize a family each year which through foster care or adoption provides the safety and stability our children deserve. The Angels in Adoption award is intended to highlight the extraordinary sacrifices of these unsung heroes, but there is much we can do to help struggling families care for their children before reaching the point of foster care.
President Trump recently signed into law one such initiative first introduced in 2016 in the Human Resources Subcommittee, which I chair. The Family First Prevention Services Act contained a number of reforms aimed at improving our child welfare system to keep children with their families whenever possible. It does this by allowing states the flexibility they need to not only support foster caretakers after children have left their homes, but also to help families at risk of becoming unsafe for children before they enter the foster care system.
One of the gravest threats to family stability is substance abuse, with opioids driving this crisis across the country in recent years. To help address this problem, families will now have access to mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment for up to twelve months, as well as support for relatives to assist with taking care of their children. Additionally, the new law updates and reauthorizes several state-level programs including the Regional Partnership Grant Program to provide funding for states to help at-risk families.
A number of additional bills were included to reduce the burden on Americans who choose to foster children in their time of need. One such bill, the Reducing Barriers for Relative Foster Parents Act, waives many of the bureaucratic requirements on foster homes for relatives of children who are willing to host them. Another, the Improving Services for Older Youth in Foster Care Act, allows states to extend foster care and educational support programs to young people who would have previously aged out.
The Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act provides funding for states to update their interstate adoption system, which in many cases are still using paper forms, to electronic means. These three initiatives will go a long way toward connecting those who are willing and able to provide foster care and educational services with children in need. One particular priority of mine was to ensure the law recognizes the value of organizations such as Boys Town, located just outside of Omaha, and enables them to continue serving our young people. Boys Town utilizes a unique model which has allowed them to provide invaluable care for over 100 years and I am happy to report this legislative package contained language enabling them to continue receiving federal funding.
Americans who provide foster care will always deserve a special place in our hearts because they sacrifice so much to care for our children. At the same time, I’m excited by the possibility of better helping struggling families to keep children in their homes where they belong and I’m proud to have supported these initiatives to hopefully do just that.Read More
August has been a busy month and this fall promises to be just as busy as Congress reconvenes to fund the government and move further through its to-do list. I always enjoy the summer because it provides ample time for me to travel the Third District and visit Nebraskans across the countryside. In the month of August alone, I was able to make stops in many of the 75 counties I represent in Congress.
As we reconvene, I look forward to working as member of the Ways and Means Committee to consider a second round of tax reform to make individual and small business provisions permanent while improving incentives for families to save and for entrepreneurs to start new businesses. As part of the first round of tax reform, I was proud to keep in place provisions vital to Nebraskans such as the property tax deduction for farmers, ranchers, and small businesses.
In order to hear the concerns of Nebraskans and ensure your interests are promoted in the second round of tax reform, I held a series of roundtable discussions this month in Gering, Kearney, and in Grand Island, at the Nebraska State Fair. Each was met with a great turnout and inspired lively discussions on everything from federal tax deductions to how healthcare is treated in the tax code.
Along the way, I also met with most of the winners of our Excellence in Economic Development awards recognized for helping to strengthen Nebraska communities through innovation, hard work, entrepreneurship, and historic preservation. It is always inspirational to see the great things hard working Nebraskans are able to accomplish.
I very much enjoyed speaking at the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Summit with the rest of the congressional delegation and Governor Ricketts. The summit is a great opportunity to speak with Nebraska's business leaders to learn how we can best advocate for them in Washington.
This fall I look forward to the House further considering one of the bills I’ve introduced recently. The JOBS for Success Act is the first earnest attempt at welfare reform since the 1990s. My bill would reform the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to ensure its funding reaches truly needy families and empowers them to become self-sufficient.
In sum, August was a productive month and I look forward to more of the same as Congress reconvenes and I return to Washington to represent your interests. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who met with me this summer to share various concerns and provide encouragement.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the below statement following President Trump’s Wednesday night proclamation stating exclusions would be considered for the importation of products subject to Section 232 quotas, such as specialized steel imports from Brazil and Argentina.
“I’m pleased the administration is now accepting requests to exempt specialized steel components which are not available from domestic sources. I have consistently urged President Trump to adopt an efficient exclusion process so Nebraska manufacturers are able to obtain these much needed inputs. I am thankful the administration recognized my concerns and responded in a constructive manner.”
Read the Presidential Proclamation here.
Read Rep. Smith’s letter to the administration here.Read More
The Federal Reserve, or Fed, is responsible for overseeing the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks and administering monetary policy. Founded by Congress in 1913 in response to the panic run on banks of 1907, the Fed is a semi-public institution charged with ensuring low unemployment, stabilizing prices by controlling inflation, and moderating long-term interest rates. Ideally speaking, it accomplishes these goals by controlling the size and growth rate of our money supply, that is by buying and selling Treasury securities which is sometimes referred to as “printing money.”
The Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors is comprised of seven presidentially-appointed members serving 14 year terms. It is considered a semi-public institution because it is an arm of the federal government, but each of its governors is expected to act independently without interference from political interests. In an effort to preserve this independence, the Fed was designed to fund itself through investments, which netted around $100 billion in 2015, the majority of which was deposited into the Treasury to pay the government’s bills.
The Fed’s role in our economy has expanded over the years in response to catastrophic events such as the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession of the 2000s, but its transparency measures, unfortunately, have not. This is why I, along with many Americans, support action by Congress to mandate auditing the Fed on an annual basis. Financial markets function most efficiently when information is both timely and accurate. Large swings in the stock market, for example, are commonly attributed to surprises such as unexpectedly bad – or good –earnings announcements or unforeseen action by an increasingly activist Fed.
We know the Fed currently owns around $4.5 trillion in assets, but because no routine audit mechanism exists, we have no idea what they are and the Fed chairman is not required to disclose them in testimony to Congress. I have cosponsored the Federal Reserve Transparency Act every Congress since it was first introduced, including in 2012 and 2014 when it passed the House as standalone legislation, and in 2016 when it passed the House as part of a broader package of Fed reforms. Unfortunately, the Senate has not yet passed a similar bill. Annual audits would provide this backward looking transparency while preserving its entitlement to private deliberation. With that said, changes to the Fed should be carefully considered with special consideration given to preserving and increasing its absolute independence from political interests.
Many people believe the Fed’s easy money policies were at least partially to blame for the severity of the financial crisis of 2008. There were early indicators of a housing bubble, but the market was not allowed to provide the necessary feedback mechanisms to stem investment into toxic assets. Instead, the Fed continued to pump “cheap” money at artificially low interest rates well beyond the point at which the market should have contracted making its eventual contraction an outright crash.
Increased transparency into the Fed’s decisions and asset ownership would not only provide additional information to stabilize markets, but also discourage actions based on ulterior motives, political or otherwise. The American people and their duly elected representatives in Congress have every right to know the inner workings of their government. Auditing the Fed on an annual basis would be a great step in that direction.Read More
As summer wanes and Nebraska’s young people head back to school, I’m reminded of just how important they are to our nation’s continued growth and stability. Our students of today will be called upon to serve as the leaders of tomorrow, and we must do everything we can to educate and empower them to take on this critical role. Students, however, are graduating college with alarming levels of student loan debt while the probability of securing gainful employment is anything but certain.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported a decrease in the youth unemployment rate, which tracks the number of Americans between 16 and 24 not working or in school, from 9.6 percent in July of 2017 to 9.2 percent in July of 2018. This is great news, as it shows we’re heading in the right direction. But should we be happy when nearly one in ten young people is neither working nor in school? Furthermore, $1.48 trillion in student loan debt is currently outstanding with a delinquency rate (over 90-days late on payments) of over 11 percent.
On August 8th, I convened the first meeting of my Youth Advisory Council for this academic year, comprised of students from across the Third District, including Arapahoe, Auburn, Central City, Gothenburg, Grand Island, Kearney, North Platte, Ogallala, Pierce, Sidney, Valentine, and York. We visited Preferred Popcorn in Chapman to tour their facilities and talk about important issues such as trade with China, the safety of our schools, and how to pay for college.
As always, I encouraged them not to borrow more than they need to pay for tuition and necessities. While I believe everyone should have the opportunity to receive an education, our student loan policies have encouraged both over-borrowing by students and excessive tuition hikes by colleges. I find it troubling many students borrow large sums of money without considering the financial strain of repayment.
I encourage parents to talk to their kids about all available education and employment opportunities. Local schools such as Central Community College offer programs like its Heavy Equipment Operator Technician diploma, which I toured on August 16th. Similar programs cost a fraction of a four-year degree and can offer excellent employment prospects given they fill a specific need.
Scottsbluff High School recently partnered with Aulick Industries to offer its Youth Registered Apprenticeship Program for industrial manufacturing technicians, yet another addition to its newly minted Career Academy and a first for western Nebraska. Grand Island Public Schools offers a number of work-ready programs through its Career Pathways Institute including architecture, welding, finance, and information technology, to name a few.
As you can see, there are many opportunities for young people to expand their horizons while contributing to Nebraska’s economy and building stronger communities. Education is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but a lifelong journey filled with individual choices and exciting opportunities for self-improvement. I’m proud to see Nebraska charting its own course toward better economic opportunity for all.Read More
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which was signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017 is the first major effort at reforming the tax code in nearly 30 years. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I was proud to help draft this legislation.
Throughout the process, I spent a great deal of time traveling around Nebraska’s Third District to hear your concerns and ensure Nebraska had a seat at the negotiating table. As a result, we were able to preserve a number of provisions vital to Nebraskans such as the property tax deduction for farmers, ranchers, and small businesses.
In addition to simplifying compliance and lowering rates, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also included a number of provisions designed to encourage businesses to invest in expansion, such as the increase in bonus depreciation from 50 to 100 percent. By allowing businesses to immediately deduct a large portion of the purchase price of capital goods, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is driving investment into our local economies.
Another provision vital to Nebraska small businesses is the 20 percent deduction for pass through entities, meaning business owners who file one return for their personal taxes combined with their businesses. This deduction is particularly important in order for farmers, ranchers, cooperatives, and other small business owners to see a reduction in their tax burden like the one enjoyed by larger corporations.
As you may have heard, some of the reforms tailored to individuals and small businesses were made temporary in the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act due to a lack of votes. The original version I helped to draft and pass through the House would have made these provisions permanent and I am eager to follow through on our original intent.
Tax reform has already proven to be a great success, boosting job creation and growing our economy by more than four percent annually. Even still, there are a number of reforms which could further simplify our tax code and carry this growth into the future.
Our second round of tax reform, dubbed “Tax Reform 2.0,” will focus on making these benefits permanent while improving incentives for families to save and for entrepreneurs to start new businesses. Early conversations have included savings accounts modeled on Roth IRAs in which families can save and have future access to funds, including interest, without paying additional taxes.
Another proposal would allow people to borrow from 401(k)’s for life events like adoption expenses. These changes will help families to save and make better financial decisions both now and over the long term by knowing their money is more accessible.
I have also heard from a number of businesses around Nebraska about the need to ensure Qualified Improvement Properties such as retail and lodging businesses are eligible for bonus depreciation as was intended, and I am working to address this issue in the second round of reforms.
The excitement and consumer confidence generated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is evident throughout the Third District and I can’t wait to further compound this success with yet another round of cuts and simplifications to our tax code. The American people know best how to spend their hard earned tax dollars and my goal will always be to help you keep more of your paycheck.
To share your thoughts with me, or to subscribe to my weekly newsletter, please visit AdrianSmith.House.Gov.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) has announced the names of the Third District high school students who will serve on his Youth Advisory Council for the 2018-2019 academic school year.
Members of Congressman Smith’s 2018-2019 Youth Advisory Council at their first meeting on Wednesday, August 8 at Preferred Popcorn in Chapman.
2018-2019 Youth Advisory Council members include:
Smith’s Youth Advisory Council is a forum for high school students to discuss opinions, thoughts, and concerns about local and federal issues with Smith throughout the school year. Through in-person meetings and other forums, the council provides students an opportunity for involvement and insight into their government and communities.
The council is open to junior and senior high school students who are selected through an application process in the spring. More information is available on Smith’s website at AdrianSmith.house.gov/YouthAdvisoryCouncil.
A high-resolution version of the photo can be found here.
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
Critical Access Hospitals like Filmore County Hospital in Geneva provide much needed care throughout Nebraska. Than… https://t.co/MEjIdG7TZA
Retweeted by repadriansmith