Jul 02 2020
Every year, we celebrate the moment we formally declared our independence from the British Empire. Like so many of you, I enjoy spending 4th of July weekend with family and friends outside barbecuing, watching fireworks, and cherishing the freedoms this country has provided us.
This Independence Day, at a time when our country feels so divided while we wrestle with the pandemic and needed efforts to continue forming a more perfect union, I urge everyone to reflect on what unites us all as Americans.
For me, America is a nation based on the idea that all people are created equal. As a country, we must always try to live up to that idea.
On June 22, Nebraska held its first naturalization ceremony since February. A diverse group of people took an oath to renounce their loyalty to their former countries and swear allegiance to the United States.
I will be thinking about these 36 new Americans this weekend, and about how fortunate we are to live in the greatest nation on earth, where the notion of equal justice for all first came into the world.
Continue reading for other updates from the Senate.
Since the horrific killing of George Floyd, the Senate has been working on ways to address police reform. I am a cosponsor of the JUSTICE Act, which would have brought solid reforms and increased the accountability of our police departments. Unfortunately, my Democratic colleagues blocked the bill from even being debated. This was a disappointing for everyone working to find solid solutions to begin healing our nation and ensure everyone is protected under the law, regardless of their skin color.
There is a long road ahead, but the Senate is continuing our work to find solutions to restore trust in our communities.
A main priority of the federal government is to provide for our national defense. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have been working on the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets the annual budget for our military. Last week, the committee passed a bill that will give our uniformed service members a three percent pay raise, affirms support for STRATCOM, and protects our nuclear and strategic forces. This bill is currently being debated and worked on by the full Senate.
Find more NDAA FY 2021 highlights here.
After several years of negotiations working to improve trade with Mexico and Canada, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is now in force. These two nations are Nebraska's largest markets, making this agreement critical to our agriculture producers, manufacturers, and businesses.
I look forward to building on this hard-earned success to negotiate more good deals that bring Nebraska's world-class products to customers around the world.
COVID-19 has put serious pressure on the food supply chain. To help address this problem, I led a bipartisan push to ensure food not only gets to the food banks and non-profits, but reaches the people who need it most. The Farmers to Families Food Box program helps deliver food to those who suffer from poor health or lack the ability to go to food banks to pick up food. Our letter asks the USDA to allocate $50 million to the "last mile" of this program to make sure no one goes hungry.
I appreciate Lincoln Police Captain Chris Peterson joining my Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on traffic safety to discuss ways we can improve safety on our roads and save lives.
COVID-19 has drastically affected Nebraska students and has made clear the gaps in our broadband connectivity. This month, I held a e-roundtable with Nebraska education and community leaders to discuss technology and telecommunications policies that will support our students as they continue to work and study from home during this pandemic.
I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate the Nebraska spirit during a crisis. COVID-19 continues to show Nebraskans working together to overcome adversity. If you need help or have questions on COVID-19 or how to receive federal assistance, please contact my office. We are here for you.
I want to wish everyone a happy Independence Day. As you celebrate this year, don’t forget to wash your hands, keep up social distancing, and wear your masks!