Cutting Red Tape

114th Congress

  • Chaired EPW Field Hearing in Columbus, NE, on the EPA’s Proposed Ozone Rule: Senator Fischer Brought the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) to Columbus, Nebraska, for a hearing entitled “Impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposed Ozone Standard on Manufacturing and Utilities.” The hearing explored the impact of the EPA’s proposed rule to lower the ozone standard for manufacturing and public power utilities. Fischer heard testimony from a variety of Nebraska stakeholders, including representatives from the manufacturing industry, public power utilities, and small-business community. 

  • Cosponsored legislation to stop the EPA’s takeover of the our electric system: Senator Fischer joined her colleagues in introducing the  Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act - legislation that will halt the damaging effects of the Obama administration’s proposed regulations to control new and existing power plants. It also protects ratepayers from increased electricity rates and reduced reliability. 

  • Introduced Bill to Enhance Transparency of Unfunded Mandates: Senator Fischer joined Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) to introduce The Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency ActThe bill would fix the loopholes in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act through stricter agency requirements, enhanced stakeholder input, and stronger enforcement mechanisms.
  • Fought Burdensome Federal Regulations on Colleges and Universities: Senator Fischer became an original cosponsor of The Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act. The legislation would prohibit the Department of Education from issuing a set of regulations on teacher preparation programs that would be detrimental to colleges and universities in Nebraska and across the country.  
  • Promoted Accountability for Taxpayer Funds Distributed in Lawsuits: Senator Fischer introduced The Judgment Fund Transparency Act to require a public accounting of the taxpayer funds distributed to litigants who bring successful claims against the federal government. The Judgment Fund is administered by the Treasury Department and is used to pay certain court judgments and settlements against the federal government. Throughout the past seven years, Treasury has spent nearly $11 billion in Judgment Fund awards with scant oversight.

113th Congress

  • Introduced Bill to Enhance Transparency of Unfunded Mandates: Senator Fischer joined Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) to introduce The Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency ActThe bill would fix the loopholes in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act through stricter agency requirements, enhanced stakeholder input, and stronger enforcement mechanisms.
  • Fought Burdensome Federal Regulations on Colleges and Universities: Senator Fischer became an original cosponsor of The Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act. The legislation would prohibit the Department of Education from issuing a set of regulations on teacher preparation programs that would be detrimental to colleges and universities in Nebraska and across the country.        
  • Promoted Accountability for Taxpayer Funds Distributed in Lawsuits: Senator Fischer introduced The Judgment Fund Transparency Act to require a public accounting of the taxpayer funds distributed to litigants who bring successful claims against the federal government. The Judgment Fund is administered by the Treasury Department and is used to pay certain court judgments and settlements against the federal government. Throughout the past seven years, Treasury has spent nearly $11 billion in Judgment Fund awards with scant oversight.
  • Protect health innovation from overregulation: Senator Fischer introduced the Preventing Regulatory Overreach to Enhance Care Technology (PROTECT Act of 2014), S. 2007. The bill would protect jobs, reduce regulatory burdens, and provide greater certainty for health information technologies (health IT). The PROTECT Act offers a more specific regulatory framework for health IT that promotes innovation and job creation while protecting patient safety.
  • Held Executive Branch accountable: Senator Fischer cosponsored The Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law (ENFORCE the Law) Act. The bill implements a procedure that allows Congress to authorize a lawsuit against the executive branch if the administration fails to “faithfully execute” the laws.
  • Sponsored new law to cut red tape: Senator Fischer worked with Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to secure Senate passage of H.R. 724, a bill that repeals an unnecessary paperwork burden on small business auto dealerships. The bill was signed into law by the president.
  • Helped advance Western Sarpy-Clear Creek levee project: Senator Fischer fought to include language in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act to authorize necessary funding for the Western Sarpy-Clear Creek flood control project to proceed. Senator Fischer worked closely with three metropolitan area Natural Resource Districts to address needed changes to the law for this flood control project located along the banks of the Platte and Elkhorn Rivers in eastern Nebraska. The area has a significant, long-term flooding problem and levee improvements are needed to provide flood protection to portions of I-80 and Highway 6, hundreds of homes, Nebraska Army National Guard buildings, and drinking water supply infrastructure that supplies drinking water to 50 percent of Nebraska’s population – including the Lincoln and Omaha area.
  • Provided relief from EPA’s costly SPCC rule: Senator Fischer offered a bipartisan amendment to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act to address the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) misguided Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule. Her amendment served as the basis for revised text in the final legislation, which was signed into law. EPA’s regulation would affect any facility with a fuel storage capacity of more than 1,320 gallons, which includes a majority of Nebraska farms. The Fischer text provides an immediate 6,000-gallon exemption, with a study to review and determine the most appropriate level of exemption for a farm from all requirements of the rule. In addition, the legislation increases the oil storage threshold to determine whether a professional engineer must certify a facility’s SPCC plan from 10,000 gallons to 20,000 gallons.   
  • Enhanced construction flexibility for states: Senator Fischer worked to include in the  2014 highway legislation, two key provisions to enhance project flexibility for states and streamline the environmental review process. These provisions were drafted in consultation with key transportation stakeholders in Nebraska, including officials from the Nebraska Department of Roads.
    1. The first provision allows states to provide their own certification regarding the appropriate level of environmental review of certain projects, rather than wasting time waiting for the federal government to provide the assessments.

    2. The second provision establishes procedures – based on a template developed by the Transportation Secretary – allowing states, in addition to the federal government, to determine which state or federal agencies (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Historical Society, etc.) must be consulted prior to beginning an infrastructure project.

  • Fought to Protect Congressional Oversight of the Executive Branch: Senator Fischer is an original cosponsor of the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require Congress to approve every new major rule proposed by the Executive Branch. Major rules are defined as having an annual economic impact of $100 million or more. The bill would allow for Congress to regain its eroded constitutional authority by limiting the size and scope of rule-making powers currently wielded by the Executive Branch.
  • Cosponsored the Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy Act: This legislation strengthens and codifies an Executive Order from January 18, 2011, in an effort to ensure that the President’s commitment to review, modify, streamline, expand, or repeal those significant regulatory actions, that are duplicative, unnecessary overly burdensome, or would have significant economic impacts on Americans.
  • Cosponsored S. 175: This legislation would eliminate a burdensome, costly, and redundant EPA permit requirement for applications of pesticides.
  • Supported Repealing the Death Tax: Senator Fischer became an original cosponsor of the Death Tax Repeal Act. Currently, there is an estate tax exemption of $5 million for individuals and $10 million for married couples, indexed for inflation. The taxable portion of an estate in excess of this exemption is then taxed at a rate of 40%. This bill would repeal the estate tax and generation skipping transfer tax.