Nov 05 2019
It is Time to Pass the USMCA!
Nebraska's high-quality agricultural products are sought by consumers from all around the world, especially by our state's two largest trading partners - Mexico and Canada. Our farmers and producers need economic certainty, and that's why it is so important for Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The USMCA would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement and bring the deal into the 21st century. It would fortify our strong trading relationships with Canada and Mexico while expanding critical market access for Nebraska's world-class beef, corn, soybeans, and other agricultural products.
Right now, Congress has the opportunity to unite around a common sense agreement that will benefit America's economy for years to come. This is why I continue to urge Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House of Representatives to bring the USMCA up for a vote so we can push it over the finish line.
Continue reading for more recent updates from my office.
A New Commander for STRATCOM
Click here to watch my questions at Vice Admiral Charles Richard's hearing Nomination hearing
This month, President Trump nominated Vice Admiral Charles Richard to be commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) at Offutt Air Force Base. In my role as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, I met with Admiral Richard to discuss his views on nuclear deterrence and other key aspects of STRATCOM's mission.
As threats from Russia and China continue to grow, nuclear deterrence is becoming more important than ever. Admiral Richard has a strong understanding of the challenges facing our nation and the central role STRATCOM plays in the 21st century security environment. I am happy the Senate swiftly came together and unanimously confirmed Admiral Richard to be the next commander of STRATCOM.
Submit Your Comments to the EPA on the RFS Supplemental Rule
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a supplemental rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) seeking comments on the reallocation of biofuel gallons waived due to exemptions for small oil refineries. While I am glad to see the EPA rolling out this supplemental rule, I am disappointed in how the agency intends to address the three-year rolling average of exemptions to ensure that 15 billions of gallons of biofuels are blended into our nation's fuel supply. The agency says it will rely on the Department of Energy's recommendations when calculating biofuel reallocation, which is different than what we expected based on our previous conversations with the administration.
I am encouraging Nebraska farmers and ethanol producers to weigh in during this comment period. As we continue to work on this, I remain committed to holding the EPA accountable, protecting the integrity of the RFS and providing certainty for rural America.
Renewed Contract to Provide Air Service to NE's Rural Airports
Nebraska's small airports connect our families and businesses to the rest of the world. This is why I was happy to see the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) announce that it has renewed an Essential Air Service (EAS) contract with SkyWest Airlines to provide EAS support for three years to the airports in Scottsbluff and North Platte.
Prior to that announcement, I sent a letter to the DoT in support of this action because the EAS program is critical to maintaining air service in our rural areas. This is a win for those communities and our state's economy.
Solutions for Rural Nebraskans Lacking Access to Local TV
I joined in a bipartisan effort with Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, in sending a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Senator Roger Wicker and Ranking Member Senator Maria Cantwell. Our letter urges them to implement solutions guaranteeing that all Americans have access to relevant, local television content.
There are 16 orphan counties in western Nebraska where residents often are unable to view their local weather, home state news and sporting events, or emergency information. In our letter, we call for solutions to ensure that all Americans have access to local broadcast television content that is relevant to them and helps them stay informed.
Read our letter here.
Photo of the Month
I met with a great group of leaders from the Nebraska Chamber to discuss federal issues that impact businesses across our state and ways to strengthen Nebraska's economy.
It was so great to be at All In Together's 5-year anniversary gala surrounded by women of grace, grit, and strength. I was a Senate co-chair with my colleague Senator Tina Smith, from Minnesota. It was an honor to be a part of this program as we work to encourage young women to be leaders and help shape our democracy.
Look who dropped by my office during their visit to Washington - Speaker of the Legislature -Jim Scheer, and his wife Kris!
When the roads in Fremont were covered in water during this spring's flooding, pilots from all over the region flew in with emergency supplies. I had the chance to thank them for offering aid when Nebraskans needed it most.
The 10th and final Hall County Hero Flight visited the U.S. Capitol this month. It's wonderful that our Nebraska veterans have the opportunity to come to D.C. and tour the memorials that honor them. Thank you all for your service!
Photo Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Omaha
I had the opportunity to visit the team serving Habitat for Humanity of Omaha as they worked to ensure that Omaha families have roofs over their heads. This year, I reintroduced the BUILD Act, which would make it easier for non-profits like Habitat for Humanity to issue mortgage loans and continue their incredible work.
It was a pleasure visiting Saddlebrook Elementary in Omaha, where I heard from the dedicated teachers and was able to read a story to a wonderful group of kindergarteners. These children represent our state's future, and it's so important we provide them with the knowledge to succeed.