Where I Stand
It’s important for you to know where I stand. Governing requires many difficult decisions on complex matters. As your Representative, it is my solemn duty to analyze issues, weigh evidence and opinion, and ultimately make a judgment. I take this responsibility with the utmost seriousness in determining the future direction of our country. Nebraskans rightly expect independent, informed decisions.
In Congress, I work to address the most pressing matters before our nation. As I write, our country is in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic. The suffering is great; the uncertainty is real. Our goal is to protect health, protect individuals and families, and to protect small business. After we fight our way through this and come roaring back as a country, the regular legislative processes will continue.
I am proud to serve you, and with you. Together, we will get things done--to keep you safe and to keep our country filled with opportunity and possibility— to strengthen our national security, stop devastating healthcare costs, and build a new vision for jobs, our environment, and our communities.
On the issues
Protecting Your Health
Protecting your health is one of the most important priorities of government. Here’s our challenge: in the last ten years, costs have basically doubled. Some Americans have seen their life expectancy decline. While opinions vary on different health care policies, we have to do better. We should unite around two ideas: better health at a better price.
In America, there is a mixed healthcare system with both private insurance and government programs. I believe in a robust employer based health insurance, and I believe that government programs should help persons in vulnerable circumstances. The good news is that America is still a leader in health care innovation. Through technology, better management, and personalized care we can predictably reduce costs by twenty percent--with better outcomes.
It’s about getting things done. When Republicans and Democrats failed to find a rational way forward with prescription drug prices, I wrote the insulin bill--a new way to help thirty million diabetic Americans. The idea is simple: manufacturers can sell insulin directly to the patient. This approach can be scaled across our system to eliminate bureaucracy, price inflation, and excess profiteering from sickness.
To cut prescription drug prices further, I helped the Food and Drug Administration accelerate generic drug approval, and it’s working. We also have significantly increased medical research across the spectrum from Alzheimer’ to addressing the worst of the opioid crisis. Another bill close to my heart is called “Making it Right,” a new approach to helping those suffering from ALS.
When the Affordable Care Act hurt family farms, I helped initiate a new healthcare plan for Nebraska farmers through a qualified agriculture association to provide a solid healthcare policy that significantly lowered costs. To show you how upside down things are, the courts shut it down.
Again, we have to do better. Better health at a better price. That’s the goal, and it can be done--through caring and responsive leadership.
Your Job, The Economy
Good jobs and a smart economy. I am devoted to creating the conditions of good opportunity for you and your family. I will always support small businesses and local farmers. There were a number of great economic improvements made this year--but then this coronavirus hit us. Working rapidly and in a bi-partisan fashion, Congress passed a massive measure to protect our healthcare system, protect individuals and families, and small business. Much of my time has been devoted to the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program for small business, which will help get us through this crisis.
On the economic front, we earlier passed the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. This will result in the creation of 176,000 jobs as well as the expansion of sales of wheat, dairy, eggs, and poultry for Nebraska ag producers into Canadian markets. Once we rebound from the virus, the work of rethinking trade agreements will continue--so that they are fair to America, particularly our agreements with China. In my leadership role on the Agriculture Subcommittee of Appropriations, I have oversight responsibility for the Agriculture policy and the Food and Drug Administration. It is unconscionable that we depend so heavily on China for drugs. Just like military equipment, our medical supplies should be Made in America.
The negative consequences of coronavirus will be with us for some time as the economy contracts. But I do believe that we are set to reset. We will see a leap in the use of telehealth, telework, and tele-education. Manufacturing will return to America, we will innovate to a more sustainable economy, and the Farm of the Future will move into production.
In Nebraska, agriculture is central to our culture and who we are as a people. Our farmers and ranchers feed our country and help feed the world. We don’t often think about it, but our food is readily available and among the lowest priced anywhere. I am proud to have a leading role in protecting America’s food security, serving as the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. With this responsibility, I help direct stabilization support for farmers and ranchers and help vulnerable persons who are food insecure.
Building upon our strong agriculture production system, we have expanded opportunity for beginning farmers and ranchers, quickly moved relief after the devastating floods, and expanded the farm to school program. With the advancement of rural broadband, we are building out infrastructure of livability for communities. Telemedicine, telework, and tele-education have become increasingly essential during this coronavirus trauma hitting our country.
Here’s something of interest: programs in agriculture at the University of Nebraska are growing. Agriculture is about food—but it is also about the environment, biodiversity, and energy. It is central to our ecosystem. The “Farm of the Future,” will build upon emerging science that thinks holistically about soil and animals, place and livability, nutrition and worldwide sustainability—while increasing revenue options and expanding the agriculture family.
keeping you safe
Keeping you safe is the most important function of government. The military not only protects us, but it is an institution of profound importance to the values of America. In an increasingly complicated world, the combination of strong defense, smart diplomacy, and sustainable development is the key to international stability and our own security.
As Nebraskans, we contribute significantly to our national security. Here at home we have secured major upgrades to Strategic Command and Offutt Air base, including a new headquarters and a new runway on the books. After the devastating floods of last year, we quickly worked to rebuild Offutt and replace critical infrastructure. As a commander told me: “By 2020 we will have a new car smell around here!”
We also must never forget our veterans who have sacrificed so much for us. Two new veterans clinics in Lincoln and Omaha are underway using innovative public/private partnerships.
Illegal entry is a serious threat to both national security and good immigration policy. I support border security, including additional barriers where needed. I support enhanced enforcement and changes to immigration law to modernize our system.
I will support humanitarian exceptions for those who were brought here as children through no fault of their own, but it is necessary to guarantee that the conditions that created the problem are fixed. Finally, I spend a great deal of policy energy in the northern triangle countries of Central America to address the root causes of economic migration, such as corruption and violence.
I have seen first hand the exceptional work of border patrol agents who have the difficult responsibility of enforcing the law while treating people in need humanely.
I believe that no person, nor thing should be ever be thrown away. The rapid industrialization of the world has left behind an essential principle--that what we do affects one another, our food, our ecology, our natural security. By leveraging innovation and scientific advancement, we can bridge to a sustainable future.
I serve as co-chairman for the International Conservation Caucus in Congress. I have led the effort to enact the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act which protects ecosystems and prevents erosion of our national resources. I strongly support the Wind Energy Research Development Act and the Solar Energy Research and Development Act, for the expanded use of renewable energy technologies. I believe that Nebraska has a decided leadership role in this space. With our renewable energy entrepreneurs, our natural resource base, and our advanced research capabilities in our university systems, we are leading the way.