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Weekly Column: Cutting the Red Tape by Deb Fischer

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For far too long, the federal government's reach has extended more and more into the everyday lives of citizens and businesses across Nebraska. Constituents often share with me, both in my office and as I travel the state, that we have got to get to work cutting all of the red tape coming out of Washington.

Regulations can be helpful to ensure the health and safety of Americans. However, overregulation places unnecessary burdens on small business owners and stifles economic growth. A homebuilder in Nebraska once told me he was fined nearly $7,000 for simply having a ladder leaning against a wall. Moreover, Nebraskans are all too familiar with the unwise rules proposal aimed at regulating farm dust -- an effort the Nebraska congressional delegation has fought hard against.

In order to turn around our feeble economy, we must get government out of the way and allow businesses to expand and thrive. That is why I promised to work towards reducing the size and scope of the federal government.

As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I have the opportunity to begin pushing back against unnecessary regulations. I support policies that require regulations to be based on sound science and a thorough cost-benefit analysis. I plan to use my position on the committee to ensure rulemaking is conducted through a transparent public notice and comment process. I believe it is also critical to exercise rigorous congressional oversight and to push back against government agencies pursuing misguided regulatory objectives.

Recently, I joined several of my colleagues in cosponsoring the Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy Act of 2013. As you may recall from my days in the Nebraska Legislature, I only cosponsor bills that I have helped write, or agree with entirely; in this case, I agree wholeheartedly with the legislation.

The bill requires the executive branch, which is responsible for issuing regulations, to repeal duplicative and onerous rules currently hindering our nation's job creators. It also requires federal agencies to modify, streamline, or repeal significant regulatory actions that are unnecessary or overly burdensome. The legislation ensures that regulations put forth by the administration account for their economic impact on American businesses, ensure stakeholder input, and promote innovation.

These simple, commonsense policies are a good start toward relieving business owners of some of the unnecessary challenges they face in an already difficult economic environment. I believe -- and I know many Nebraskans believe -- that executive agencies should be held accountable for the rules they put in place, which directly affect economic growth and job creation.

Another way I hope to cut the red tape is through the constituent services my staff and I in Nebraska offer. We are dedicated to helping constituents navigate the bureaucracy of the federal government. We stand ready to assist fellow Nebraskans with issues ranging from Veterans Affairs to Medicare and Social Security. While my office does not have the jurisdiction to alter decisions made by federal agencies, caseworkers are able to serve as liaisons to help resolve these issues.

My caseworkers and outreach coordinators on staff throughout the state bring experience from the local, state, and federal levels of government, as well as the private sector. We consider it an honor to assist Nebraskans in ensuring individual needs and concerns are addressed at the federal level.

This week, we celebrated former President Ronald Reagan's 102nd birthday. Reagan famously stated that "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Well I'm not from the government -- I am a rancher from Cherry County who's lucky enough to serve Nebraskans, and my staff and I are here to help. Contact information for my offices can be found below:

Lincoln Office

440 North 8th Street

Suite 120

Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Phone: (402) 441-4600

Fax: (402) 476-8753

Omaha Office

11819 Miracle Hills Drive

Suite 205

Omaha, Nebraska 68154

Phone: (402) 391-3411

Fax: (402) 391-4725

Scottsbluff Office

P.O. Box 2264

Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363

Phone: (308) 636-6344

Thank you for taking part in our democratic process, and I'll visit with you again next week.

Deb Fischer

United States Senator


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