Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith

NEBRASKA's 3rd DISTRICT

The Trade Priorities and Accountability Act Opens Opportunities for Nebraska Agriculture Producers

2015/04/24

We have arrived at a crucial moment of opportunity for our country as we negotiate two important trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union. Considering trade supports one in five jobs in our state, opening more markets to Nebraska products is essential to growing our rural economy.

Trade agreements break down other countries’ barriers to our exports and require them to abide by the same rules we do, which is vital to leveling the playing field for Nebraska’s producers, manufacturers and consumers. These agreements also help maintain U.S. leadership in our global economy, rather than allowing countries like China to make the rules. If we do not step up and lead in the trade arena, American agriculture producers will be left behind.

Our negotiating partners make their best offers to lower trade barriers and set high standards if they know Congress will not re-write an agreement later. For America to get the best possible deal in trade negotiations, passing the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, also known as TPA, is the necessary first step.   

The House Ways and Means Committee, on which I serve, has jurisdiction over trade policy. Chairman Paul Ryan recently introduced the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (TPA), which we passed out of committee on Thursday.  The president already has the constitutional authority to negotiate trade agreements with other nations, but TPA empowers Congress to direct the administration’s trade negotiations from the outset. This legislation will soon proceed to the House floor for a vote.  

With TPA, the administration must consult with Congress throughout the negotiating process to allow for needed oversight. Chairman Ryan’s bill specifically requires the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to promptly provide the classified texts of all trade negotiations to any Members of Congress who request them. The text of a completed trade agreement also must be made public for at least 60 days before the president signs it to allow the American people to review it as well.  

No trade agreement can go into effect without congressional approval. However, if the administration adheres to the negotiating objectives and meets stated obligations, TPA guarantees trade agreements are allowed an up-or-down vote in Congress. If not, Congress can certify TPA objectives were not adhered to and turn off TPA to stop the agreement.

During our Ways and Means Committee meeting on Thursday, I stressed to Chairman Ryan the importance of ensuring this TPA legislation addresses the European Union’s unscientific restrictions on U.S. meat, poultry, and biotechnology crops. He agreed this must be a priority and confirmed the negotiation objectives Congress provides to the administration under TPA would include reducing or eliminating these non-tariff barriers to U.S. agriculture products.    

Nebraska’s Third District is the number one agriculture district in the nation. To remain the country’s agriculture leader and continue to grow our rural economy, we need to open more markets to Nebraska exports. With more than 95 percent of the world’s customers living outside our country, TPA is the first step to breaking down barriers for America’s hardworking producers.

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Providing Needed Relief to Taxpayers

2015/04/17

Many Americans dread April 15th due to the complexity of our tax code. Unfortunately, taxpayers are not only burdened by the high costs of compliance but are also greatly concerned with the lack of accountability displayed by the very agency charged with collecting taxes.

The current tax code is comprised of more than 10,000 pages of ever-changing laws and regulations and costs taxpayers more than $168 billion to comply annually. In addition to the costs associated with filing, taxpayers and businesses spend more than seven billion hours each year complying with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements. This figure does not even include the millions of additional hours spent responding to IRS notices or audits.

In addition to an unfair tax code, the IRS is under scrutiny for violating taxpayers’ First Amendment rights. While Congress continues to thoroughly investigate the actions of IRS employees, this issue is not resolved. We have held numerous hearings and continue to review thousands of documents. Most importantly, we cannot allow this type of misconduct to ever happen again.

On Tax Day the House passed seven bills referred by the Ways and Means Committee, on which I serve, to stop IRS abuses. These bills cut through red tape at the agency with needed reforms, such as making politically-motivated action a fireable offense and ensuring private citizens whose information is illegally leaked by IRS employees can be updated on the investigation. These efforts to clean up the IRS provide an opportunity to rein in an agency which has lost all credibility with Americans and begin to restore public trust.

Another issue of great concern to Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers and small business owners is the estate tax, more commonly known as the death tax. Recently, the owners of a second-generation manufacturing business in western Nebraska with 35 employees told me they fear the death tax could devastate their business. Through more than one generation, the family reinvested profits in growing their business to provide additional opportunity in their community. This is the kind of decision-making the tax code should encourage, not penalize.

Agriculture, particularly raising cattle and crops such as corn, is a land and capital intensive process. These Nebraskans are not sitting on piles of cash; rather, their assets are the land and equipment they use to help feed our nation and the world. They pay income taxes on what they earn and high property taxes on their land on an annual basis. This week, the House voted to permanently repeal the death tax and stop this harmful form of double taxation.

These bills are important steps in the right direction, but there is still extensive work to be done. In my role on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over taxes, I remain committed to overhauling our outdated, uncompetitive and unfair tax code. A plan which simplifies the code would allow us to lower rates and reduce the massive cost of compliance, which would benefit our entire economy.

Though the 2015 tax season has drawn to a close, we will continue working on legislation in the House to both simplify our tax code and prevent further abuses by the IRS. By providing needed relief to hardworking taxpayers, Congress can help make April 15 a more bearable day for all.

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Smith Supports Death Tax Repeal on House Floor (Video)

2015/04/16

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives this morning in support of H.R. 1105, the Death Tax Repeal Act. Smith is a cosponsor of this legislation, which passed the House today.

Click here for video of the speech.

Remarks as prepared:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I rise today in support of repealing the estate tax.

Repealing the Death Tax is a top priority for Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and small business owners.

Agriculture, particularly raising cattle and crops such as corn, is a land and capital intensive process. 

These Nebraskans aren’t sitting on piles of cash – their assets are the land and equipment they use to help feed our nation and the world. 

They pay income taxes on what they earn, and they pay high property taxes on their land on an annual basis.

They take pride in this work and want their children and grandchildren to continue in their livelihoods.

They shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to ensure their descendants can continue their work when they pass on.

The Death Tax doesn’t penalize the wealthiest Americans.  They can plan their estates and give away their wealth as they see fit.

It penalizes those who have worked all their lives and reinvested in their family businesses to ensure their families and neighbors have every opportunity to be hardworking taxpayers.

I urge a Yea vote, to support growing opportunity in the U.S.

I yield back.

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Smith Presses for Obamacare Mandate Relief for CoOportunity Health Customers (Video)

2015/04/14

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) participated today in a House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing on the individual and employer mandates in President Obama’s health care law.  In the hearing, Smith pressed Sabrina Corlette, Senior Research Fellow and Project Director at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, on whether CoOportunity Health customers should receive a waiver from Obamacare’s individual mandate penalties following the loss of their health care plans due to CoOportunity Health’s liquidation.

Click here for video of Congressman Smith’s exchange with Sabrina Corlette, Senior Research Fellow and Project Director at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.                                                     In February 2015, Smith introduced H.R. 954 which would exempt consumers who purchased coverage under a terminated qualified health plan funded through the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO–OP) program, such as CoOportunity Health, from paying Obamacare’s individual mandate penalties.  

For more information on H.R. 954, click here.

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Smith Introduces Legislation to Increase Fuel Options for Consumers

2015/04/13

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced legislation today to broaden consumer fuel choice by expanding the existing waiver of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations related to the Reid vapor pressure of motor vehicle fuel to include E15 gasoline in addition to E10.  

EPA regulations currently inhibit E15 fuel sales during the summer months. E10 fuel received a waiver in 1990, and Smith’s bill would extend this waiver to also include E15.

“Ethanol provides consumers in Nebraska and across America with a competitive, clean, domestically-produced alternative,” Smith said. “However, burdensome EPA regulations are restricting consumers’ options at the fuel pump. 

“Though E10 received a waiver decades ago, the same regulatory relief has not yet been extended to E15. We must pursue an all-of-the-above energy policy, which includes ethanol and other renewable fuels, by reducing red tape and encouraging innovation in the energy marketplace.”

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Helping Young Leaders Serve Our Country

2015/04/10

One of my great privileges as a Member of Congress is the opportunity to nominate a select group of young Nebraskans to attend the U.S. Service Academies. These institutions provide a first-rate education and unmatched opportunities for young people looking to achieve their highest potential in education and service.  

Each year, students contact my offices to ask how we can help them accomplish their goal of serving our country. I have nominated young men and women to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. The honor of attending a service academy comes with an obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation.

To provide Nebraskans interested in this unique opportunity with more information, I am hosting my annual Academy Day on April 18, 2015, in conjunction with the offices of U.S. Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse. The event will take place at Central Community College in Grand Island from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CDT. Academy Day will provide you with the information you need to determine whether an education at a U.S. Service Academy is the right choice for you or your child. Representatives from the academies will be in attendance to discuss the application process, academy life, and benefits of enrolling.

In order to be considered for nomination, students are required to complete two steps. First, a completed Academy Packet must be submitted to my Grand Island office with a postmark date no later than September 30, 2015. The packet provides academic records, letters of recommendation, and other relevant information to help make the decision.

The second step to receive a nomination is the required personal interview. In early November 2015, students who have completed packets by the required deadline will be invited for an interview with the Academy Advisory Committee, which has been established to help evaluate applicants for nomination.

Once these steps are complete, I will nominate a select few for admission. Ultimately, the final decision to admit a nominee belongs to the Academies. Criteria for admission include personal merit, academic achievement, character traits, leadership ability, physical aptitude, and extracurricular involvement. For more information about the Academy Packet and the nomination process, please visit my website: http://adriansmith.house.gov.

Earlier this year, I was nominated to serve on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Board of Visitors for the 114th Congress. In this role, I look forward to working with our U.S. Service Academies to continue their extraordinary legacy of preparing young people for service to our country.

Nebraska has a rich history of service, with many patriotic young men and women willing to step forward to answer the call of duty. It is my honor to help our accomplished young people take advantage of the opportunities provided by the U.S. Service Academies and cultivate our country’s next generation of military leaders.

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Smith Announces Winners of 2015 Congressional Art Competition

2015/04/10

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today announced the Third District’s winning artists of the 2015 Congressional Art Competition. On Thursday, Smith visited Potter-Dix High School in Potter, Nebraska, to personally congratulate first place winner Sara Gingerich.

Smith worked with the Nebraska Art Teachers Association to coordinate the competition. The first place artwork will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Smith will display the runners-up in his Washington, D.C. and Third District offices.

“Each year, I continue to be impressed by and proud of the level of talent displayed by Nebraska’s young artists,” said Smith. “Congratulations to the winners, to all the students who entered, and to their teachers who have helped them cultivate these remarkable skills.”

First Place: Sara Gingerich from Dix, Potter-Dix High School “Rustic Cowgirl” Sara’s work will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

Second Place: Lenae Kohmetscher from Blue Hill, Blue Hill Community School “Rusted Dreams” Lenae’s work will be displayed in Smith’s Washington, D.C. office.

Third Place: Corbin Snow from Litchfield, Litchfield High School “Great Plains Harvest” Corbin’s work will be displayed in Smith’s Scottsbluff office.

Fourth Place: Madison Yantzie from Shickley, Shickley High School “Fierce” Madison’s work will be displayed in Smith’s Grand Island office.

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Smith, Fischer, Sasse Announce Third District Service Academy Open House

2015/04/09

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE), in conjunction with the offices of U.S. Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, will host the 2015 Third District Service Academy Open House on Saturday, April 18, in Grand Island.  

This event is an opportunity for young people in Nebraska to learn more about all U.S. Service Academies and other opportunities for military service.  Any Nebraska high school or college students interested in military opportunities, as well as their families, are encouraged to attend.

Third District Service Academy Open House Saturday, April 18, 2015 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. CT Central Community College’s Health Sciences 500 Building 3134 West US Highway 34, Grand Island, NE 68801

Representatives from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, and Army ROTC will be on hand to answer questions and provide information.  

Representatives from the offices of Congressman Smith, Senator Fischer, and Senator Sasse will also be in attendance to answer questions about the Service Academy nomination process.

For questions about the 2015 Third District Service Academy Open House, please contact Congressman Smith’s Grand Island office at 308-384-3900.

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Rep. Smith's Office to Hold Mobile Offices on Tuesday, April 14

2015/04/08

Constituents of Third District Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will be able to meet with a representative of Congressman Smith’s office for a “mobile office” at two locations in Nebraska's Third District on Tuesday, April 14.

A “mobile office” allows constituents to meet directly with one of Smith’s staff members about federal issues and take advantage of the constituent services available through his office, such as assisting individuals with challenges they face while working with a federal agency, ordering flags flown over the U.S. Capitol and booking tours in Washington, D.C.

Smith, who has offices in Grand Island and Scottsbluff, will provide his mobile office and a staff member at the following locations and times:

Grant County Courthouse 105 E. Harrison Street, Hyannis, NE 69350 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. (MT)

Morrill County Courthouse 6th & Main Street, Bridgeport, NE 69336 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (MT)

For additional information, contact Congressman Smith’s Scottsbluff office at (308) 633-6333.

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Rep. Smith to Hold Mobile Offices in Alliance and Stapleton

2015/04/02

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will meet constituents of the Third District during two “mobile offices” on Tuesday, April 7 in Alliance, and Wednesday, April 8 in Stapleton.

A “mobile office” allows constituents to meet directly with Congressman Smith about federal issues and take advantage of the constituent services available through his office, such as assisting individuals with challenges they face while working with a federal agency, ordering flags flown over the U.S. Capitol, and booking tours in Washington, D.C.

Smith, who has offices in Grand Island and Scottsbluff, will hold the mobile offices at the following times and locations:

Tuesday, April 7 Box Butte County Courthouse Commissioners Room 515 Box Butte Avenue, Alliance, NE 69301 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (MT)

Wednesday, April 8 Logan County Courthouse 317 Main Street, Stapleton, NE 69163 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CT)

For additional information, contact Congressman Smith’s Scottsbluff office at (308) 633-6333.

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Contact Information

2241 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6435
Fax 202-225-0207
adriansmith.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Ways and Means

Congressman Adrian Smith has earned praise for his leadership, hard work and dedication to Nebraska commonsense. Smith has tackled issues ranging from biofuels and other forms of domestic energy to transportation research and development to fashioning legislation promoting rural America.

Smith has consistently voted against tax increases, massive government bailouts, and was unwavering in his opposition of the misguided health care bill now creating massive uncertainty for our nation’s job creators.

Smith, a co-sponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment and a supporter of a Congressional earmark moratorium, has earned a reputation as a solid conservative through his votes to protect the rights of gun owners, efforts to limit the scope of government, and his strong pro-life voting record.

Smith, who serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, actively promotes access for Nebraska agriculture products in Asia, South America, and throughout the world. Nebraska’s $4 billion in worldwide agricultural exports creates $6.7 billion in additional economic activity. Smith supports trade agreements which will continue to create new opportunities for our agriculture producers and their products to keep Nebraska’s economy strong.

Smith’s assignment on the Ways and Means Committee also puts the Nebraskan on the front lines in the debate on how to create jobs, promote economic growth, and directly impact tax policy – such as the Death Tax which threatens family farms and ranches.

Smith’s also has introduced the bipartisan Small-Scale Hydropower Enhancement Act which would help stimulate the economy of rural America, empower local irrigation districts to generate revenue, and decrease reliance on fossil fuels by encouraging the use of small-scale hydropower projects.

The Gering native, whose family has called Nebraska home for six generations, was first introduced to politics by his grandfather. Prior to his election to Congress, Smith served his hometown as a member of the City Council. He then represented District 48 for eight years in the Unicameral.

He continues to reside in Gering.


Serving With

Jeff Fortenberry

NEBRASKA's 1st DISTRICT

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