Weekly Column

Since the start of the new year, I’ve been working on solutions to some of the most consequential issues facing Nebraskans. My colleagues and I have introduced legislation related to everything from unleashing American energy to investing in our national security.

At the end of last month, my colleague Senator Pete Ricketts joined me to host a telephone town hall for our state. This was a tremendous opportunity for us to connect with our fellow Nebraskans and engage with questions and concerns. We discussed border security, inflation, and a collection of other legislative priorities. Thousands of Nebraskans joined us on the call, and we were honored to engage with folks on the issues.

Since I began my first session in the Senate 10 years ago — and before that as a member of our state legislature — I’ve been serious about helping regular Nebraskans. That’s why I reintroduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act this Congress, which would give consumers access to a more affordable fuel option at the pump. My bill would end the restrictions on a biofuel mix of gasoline and ethanol called E15, which during the summer driving season costs an average of 16 cents less per gallon than regular gas, according to one study. As any driver can tell you after years of escalating gas prices under the Biden administration, those savings add up quickly.

Last month, I continued pushing back on the administration’s obsession with controlling our state-level land and water resources. The Senate successfully passed legislation to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overreaching WOTUS rule, which would have allowed the federal government to regulate swaths of privately-owned land containing puddles and dry ditches. As I said on the Senate floor, that rule was a needless power grab, and I’m proud that we stopped it in its tracks.

I also questioned U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on President Biden’s 30x30 Plan, an initiative that would allow the federal government to encroach on state and private land. I told Secretary Haaland that Nebraskans are concerned about 30x30 — at least 70 counties have issued resolutions of disapproval for this excessive plan. I’ll keep standing up for Nebraskans against overreaching federal programs that will only make life harder for the average American.

As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I participated in multiple hearings 
last month to question pivotal defense personnel on national security issues. I spoke with General Anthony J. Cotton, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), about the importance of our nuclear arsenal. This topic is central to my work as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, where I advocate for modernizing our nuclear triad — air, land, and sea. General Cotton emphasized about STRATCOM’s roadmap to modernize nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) architecture.

At another hearing, I questioned General Glen D. VanHerck of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) about investing in defense tools to protect our homeland from threats like the Chinese surveillance balloon that recently infringed on our national sovereignty. A third committee hearing, with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, and Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Michael McCord, provided me with another opportunity to focus this administration on expanding munitions production — which is critical given the growing number of threats we face abroad.

I’ll keep pushing the administration and Congress toward real, useful changes that will make life better for Nebraskans and Americans. I look forward to making more progress this year and for as long as I have the privilege to serve as your senior Senator.

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

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