Weekly Column

One in 12 Nebraskans are employed by the trucking industry, making it the third largest industry in our state. Over three million Americans work as commercial truckers, carrying essential products across our country. American truckers transported 10.93 billion tons of freight to their destinations in 2021. Consumers rely on trucking to bring goods to markets quickly and affordably.

Truckers play a valuable role in our communities and economy, but the Biden administration doesn’t seem to agree — choosing to prioritize excessive environmental regulations over people’s livelihoods. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new rule establishing stricter emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles.

The Biden administration wants to saddle the trucking industry with an onerous regulation that will increase vehicle costs and deal a blow to good-paying jobs. This aggressive EPA rule will hit mom and pop truck operations the hardest by making compliant trucks cost-prohibitive for small business owners. The EPA estimates that the technology required to meet this new rule’s standards will cost between $2,568 and $8,304 per vehicle.

These increased costs, in turn, will hurt consumers across the country by raising prices. During a period of high inflation and supply chain disruptions, the last thing this country needs is more expensive freight costs and fewer truckers.

That’s why I recently led the introduction of legislation to push back against this misguided regulation. Through the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress can vote to overturn new executive branch rules.

President Biden’s obsession with unhelpful and unnecessary regulations is motivating me and my colleagues to introduce CRA legislation to fight back.

I joined my colleague Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) in an effort to overturn President Biden’s new environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) rule on retirement funds. Instead of prioritizing the best returns for hard-working Americans, Biden’s rule allows fiduciaries to focus on woke factors when selecting investments and exercising shareholder rights. This means pensioners and retirees could unknowingly be investing in these ESG funds, which may not align with their financial goals or political views.

The Biden administration shouldn’t be playing games with Americans’ hard-earned retirement funds. Studies show that ESG investing policies have worse rates of return. In one study, ESG funds were found to underperform the broader market, averaging a 6.3% return compared to the general 8.9% return. The bottom line is that this rule will hurt Americans and their hard-earned retirement savings to advance the political preferences of their retirement fund managers.

A third woke regulation pushed by the Biden administration is an illegal U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rule providing abortions through the taxpayer-funded VA health care system. I joined my friend Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and 26 of our other colleagues in introducing legislation that would nullify this rule.

Not only does the rule set up VA medical facilities to blatantly violate state laws, it’s also in clear conflict with Section 106 of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, which explicitly prohibits the VA from providing abortion services. The rule is vague and extends abortion services to any woman who considers her mental or emotional health a reason to procure an abortion. The rule also extends taxpayer-funded abortions to certain veterans’ dependents and fails to institute any conscience protections for VA medical staff.

Taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund abortions, and current federal law clearly prohibits the VA from carrying out this extreme agenda. The VA should be focused on providing care to our veterans — not promoting abortions and distracting from the VA’s core mission.

The Biden administration has a track record of prioritizing politically-charged regulations over the financial and economic wellbeing of Americans. I’m here to stop these rules before they damage the livelihoods of Nebraskans and others across the country. As long as I have the honor of working in the Senate, I’ll continue to oppose radical, far-left rules and promote common-sense solutions instead.

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

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