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POLICY WATCH

Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee Tours Nebraska 

The lead Republican and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, G.T. Thompson (PA-15) visited Nebraska this week to hear directly from Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers on the challenges they face. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue along with former USDA Undersecretary Greg Ibach traveled with Ranking Member Thompson throughout the end of the week discussing Nebraska’s livestock industry, tax policy, as well as the next Farm Bill. Former Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson will host Ranking Member Thompson at his farm on Saturday morning to discuss with him the importance of irrigation to Nebraska as well as the need to limit the federal government’s regulatory impact on farm and ranch families.

Senate Passes Infrastructure Package

Recently, the Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure package that provides more than $1.2 trillion in spending with $550 billion in new spending over five years. Nebraska’s two Senators split their votes with Sen. Fischer supporting the bill and Sen. Sasse opposing it. In particular, the bill pledges funding for the following key programs:

  • $110 billion – Roads, Bridges, & Major Projects
  • $66 billion – Passenger and Freight Rail
  • $11 billion – Safety
  • $39.2 billion – Public Transit
  • $65 billion – Broadband
  • $17.3 billion – Ports and Waterways
  • $25 billion – Airports
  • $55 billion – Water Infrastructure
  • $73 billion – Power and Grid
  • $46 billion – Resiliency
  • $7.5 billion – Low-Carbon and Zero-Emission School Buses and Ferries
  • $7.5 billion – EV and Low-Carbon School Buses and Ferries

Sec. 23018 of the bill does include a huge NEFB priority; an exemption for livestock and insect haulers from Hours of Service regulations within a 150 air-mile radius from their final destination. This provision was developed from legislation introduced from Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer. 

Farm Bureau is supporting the package as Infrastructure spending is a primary function of government and NEFB has a long history of supporting needed infrastructure spending. At the same time, NEFB also believes Congress should keep our growing national debt in mind as they consider any piece of legislation. NEFB was very pleased to see the Hours of Service reforms as well as substantial investments in other Farm Bureau priorities including broadband, water infrastructure, and other surface transportation projects. 

NPPD Asking for Input on Decarbonization Plan

Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is asking for feedback via an online survey on the development of a carbon emissions reduction strategic plan. The NPPD board is seeking to better understand their constituents’ opinions in three areas; 1) the risks of being a carbon emitting utility; 2) how NPPD’s carbon reduction goal(s) should be structured; and 3) what principles (reliability, resiliency, affordability, environmental impact, etc.) are most important to maintain.

Campaign Management Training Seminar

Running for elected office at any level can be challenging. There’s much to consider before jumping into the fray. That’s why Nebraska Farm Bureau has scheduled a Campaign Management Training Seminar for Nov. 8 -9 in Lincoln. The two-day seminar is designed to help candidates plan and execute successful political campaigns. The seminar is facilitated by an expert political consultant from Washington, D.C. and is structured and flexible enough to fit any level of campaign whether it is for federal, state, or local public office. For more information, please contact Jay Ferris at jayf@nefb.org or (402) 421-4409.

Blueprint Nebraska’s Tax Modernization Plan

After a collaborative statewide process launch in 2018, the framework for comprehensive tax modernization was unveiled on August 17. Blueprint Nebraska’s Taxation & Incentives Industry Council took insights from surveys, public forums, and tax policy research to develop a plan that gives Nebraska a regionally competitive tax climate that is more inviting to workforce talent. “We appreciate everyone who brings ideas to the table to solve the monumental task of reforming our state’s tax structure. As I travel the state and visit with Nebraskans, it is clear property tax relief is still the highest priority for residential, commercial, and agricultural property owners.” Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue said.

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