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Nelson: Washington Noise, Nebraska Consequences


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Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson said today that Nebraskans should insist that candidates and office holders explain the consequences for Nebraska of all the noise they hear from Washington that is propelled by ideological groups, special interests and 24-hour news coverage.

"Nebraskans have a right to know the consequences of the decisions being made for them in Washington. But the 24-hour debate coming from Washington pundits and third party special interest groups ignores the local consequences of the larger conversation," said Senator Nelson during his weekly conference call with the Nebraska media. "I ask all Nebraskans and (the media) to press office holders and candidates to fully communicate the implications of Washington political decision-making for Nebraska."

Senator Nelson expressed his frustration with the current state of the national news cycle, and stressed that many Nebraskans are left partially uninformed exactly how particular political convictions can apply to Nebraska communities.
"Everybody hears "stop wasteful spending' and "cut the budget,' and they think those things sound good, so they vote for the people saying those things. But at the same time, not too many Nebraskans like the idea of letting our state's roads and bridges go without repair, letting farmers and ranchers who just suffered through a drought "tough it out,' or letting the aging Omaha VA Medical Center that serves over 150,000 veterans fall into a state of disrepair," said Senator Nelson. "These things don't tend to get highlighted in the national media, or brought up when campaigning politicians deliver their slogans."

Nelson also highlighted that the media reported on Congressional debate and political reactions to the five-year Farm Bill passed by the Senate in June, and the House of Representatives' lack of action on both the Senate-passed Farm Bill and an alternative Farm Bill developed within the House. But local implications of not having a Farm Bill were not communicated within Nebraska, resulting in a political climate where House Members were not pushed to pass a Farm Bill.

"While Nebraska has been told about the "messy political process behind (the Farm Bill), what candidate "A' has to say about it, and what the talking heads have to say about it, Nebraskans have not been told about the local consequences of not having a Farm Bill," said Nelson.

"If the current law expires, the Farm Bill defaults to the 1949 law, and the conservation, rural development, and support for farm commodity programs won't be renewed. Nebraska should know that the disaster programs to assist livestock producers impacted by the drought are gone too. Had more people in Nebraska known about the local consequences of not having a Farm Bill, they may have held their House's feet to the fire and demanded a Farm Bill."

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