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.
Today we face many challenges as a nation – declining social institutions, violence based political resistance, and an unprecedented expectation that Washington can solve all problems. I believe Nebraska, with our unique cultural heritage of personal responsibility, hard work, and commitment to family and community, has much to give to our country by way of example.
My core political philosophy is simple: The strength of our nation depends upon the strength of our nation’s families and communities.
In Congress, I have worked to address the most pressing matters before our nation. My priorities are to promote economic opportunity and agricultural entrepreneurship, strengthen our national security, build a new energy vision, stop the devastation of runaway healthcare costs, protect those with pre-existing conditions, and uphold strong family life and culture. At home, our work centers on assisting Nebraskans in their dealings with the federal government, particularly on veterans affairs, social security issues, and health care concerns.
On the Issues
Acts of Violence
A civilized society must be founded on the principle of respect for human dignity, from which rights and governance flow. Violence rips apart the basis for order and tranquility. A recent incident in Lincoln showed the nature of this dangerous moment in our country. The Republican Party headquarters had its window smashed with the graffiti scrawled “Abolish ICE.”
Federal Spending/U.S. Debt
Federal spending has grown over the last 25 years from 1.2 trillion to over 4 trillion. Debt is over 20 trillion. Interestingly, spending for much of government, except health and retirement programs, remains at near 2010 levels although the military is receiving increases of late. Deficits have dropped since 2008 at their peak but are rising again primarily due to the retirement of the baby boom generation. On a positive note, strong economic trends and the movement of more people back into meaningful work are helping the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.
Federal Farm Policy
We are very fortunate to have a vibrant agriculture resource base and tradition in Nebraska. Although low prices are currently hurting farmers, agriculture is a major source of our economic well-being. Building upon our strong production ag system, we can expand the ag family through various value added opportunities. New options for local food production, farm to table, farm to school, and renewable energy and tech innovation are creating exciting new trends. By enhancing risk mitigation tools and food security for the vulnerable, the farm bill is one of America’s most successful pieces of legislation.
Illegal entry is a serious threat to national security and good immigration policy. I support border security, including additional barriers where needed such as a wall. 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.
Social Security and Medicare
When I was young, my father was killed. I received social security as a child. The program helped get the family through. Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements. They are earned benefits by those who worked for them, and they are very important protections for our well-being. The problem is that the programs now pay out more than is coming in. A strong economy and more opportunities for meaningful work are helping. Better healthcare innovation can lower costs while improving quality of life.
Proper health care reform must improve health care outcomes, reduce costs, and protect vulnerable persons. Current federal law, The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), has helped some persons while hurting others. The individual insurance market is a disaster, making things worse for many. The House farm bill includes my initiative for qualified agriculture associations to provide new health insurance options that lower costs significantly. We have also enacted The Right to Try bill for those seriously ill, and have significantly increased medical research into disease like Alzheimer’s, and the opioid crisis. I will always protect those with pre-existing conditions.
Congress recently enacted the first major tax reform in over 30 years. A convoluted tax code weighed down by special interests hurt America’s productivity. The average Nebraska family will receive over $2000 in additional money in their pocket from reduced taxes, and the multiplier effect over time of rising wages may make it around $4000. This was an important effort to help regenerate small business momentum and create opportunity for meaningful work.
Global Military Issues
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. We also must never forget our veterans who have sacrificed so much for us. As Nebraskans, we contribute significantly to our national security. Here at home we have secured major upgrades to Strategic Command and Offutt Air base, and two new veterans clinics in Lincoln and Omaha are underway using innovative public/private partnerships.