This month, I am traveling across the state to visit with Nebraskans and update them on what I’ve been working on as a member of the U.S. Senate. As a member of the Committees on Agriculture, Commerce, Armed Services, and Appropriations, I am committed to representing the interests of our state in the U.S. Senate.
My work on the Agriculture Committee is vital for Nebraska, where a quarter of our state’s jobs are tied to the ag industry. The committee is making headway on the 2023 Farm Bill, a critical package of legislation touching nearly every aspect of agriculture policy that’s only passed every five years.
As I shared in one of my weekly columns in March, my precision agriculture bills — the Precision Agriculture Loan (PAL) Act and Producing Responsible Energy and Conservation Incentives and Solutions for the Environment (PRECISE) Act — would make innovative ag solutions available to more small- and mid-sized producers. Precision agriculture technology can help farmers make better science-based decisions by providing them with the tools to improve management practices and allocate the right amount of water, seed, fertilizer, or other inputs. I’ve led additional bills to improve disaster relief and expand broadband access to ensure that rural ag producers can operate their technologies efficiently. It’s my hope that the Farm Bill will address all of these key issues.
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I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished on the Commerce Committee. Earlier this year, my colleagues and I introduced the AM for Every Vehicle Act, a vital measure that would preserve AM radio access in newly manufactured vehicles. Nebraskans who travel to work and school on rural roads each day are relying on us to ensure they don’t lose access to local news, weather, emergency alerts, and public safety announcements from AM radio. In a big win for AM radio, our bill recently passed out of committee, and it now waits for a vote on the Senate floor.
The Commerce Committee also continues its work on the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Within this year’s reauthorization, there are a few items I am working on that are critical to Nebraska and the traveling public. This includes funding for the Essential Air Service — a national program that keeps our state’s rural airports and the communities they serve connected. I’m also leading provisions to expand aviation workforce grants and modernize how the FAA regulates emerging technologies. The Commerce Committee will need to finish this work in the fall.
I’ve been working hard as part of the Armed Services Committee, where we put together the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I successfully pushed for several provisions in this package: modernizing our aging nuclear deterrent; expanding our munitions production capacity; and preventing the U.S. Department of Defense from participating in entertainment projects with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
I led in supporting NDAA authorization for military construction projects across Nebraska, including the National Guard Readiness Center in Bellevue, Greenlief Training Site, Mead Training Site, and the National Guard Vehicle Maintenance Shop in North Platte. Our NDAA also supports Nebraska-based equities like STRATCOM and the 55th Wing, and it authorizes construction projects at Offutt Air Force Base as well.
My work on the Appropriations Committee touches many of these projects. As a member of that committee, I’ll be central to conversations about which federal funds to allocate to various bills — including the NDAA. I take that position seriously, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on reasonable allocations for the American people. I’ve also fought to ensure that funding comes back home to Nebraska and contributes to important work, like updating our transportation and drinking water infrastructure and investing in our state’s agricultural research.
This is just a snapshot of what I’ve been working on over the past few months. I’m glad to have this work period to hear from Nebraskans at home, and I’m eager to take that input back to Washington in September when I continue my committee work. I’m grateful to be your Senior Senator, and I look forward to continuing to serve you during this 118th Congress.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.