This year’s election season has only slightly revised the schedule for Nebraska’s Republican Senator, Deb Fischer.
She’s added a few stops, parades and the like, to her normal schedule, but is making her usual rounds in the state, talking to voters and holding roundtable discussions.
In November’s general election, Fischer will be defending her Senate seat against the challenge of Democrat Jane Raybould.
Fischer stopped by the Nebraska City News-Press last week to discuss what’s been going on lately on Capitol Hill and how she feels about the possibility of another term in the Senate.
Fischer said each of the four major committees she serves on have been working on significant legislation.
The Agriculture Committee moved the Farm Bill to the floor. Fischer said the bill protects crop insurance, strengthens trade and brings more broadband access to rural areas.
Fischer noted that Democrats and Republicans came together on the Armed Services Committee to work on the annual Defense Authorization Bill, which aims to take care of the needs of the men and women in the United States military.
Fischer also noted that the bill addresses the completion of runway work at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha.
The Commerce Committee dealt with the FAA Authorization Bill and the Environment and Public Works Committee advanced the Water Infrastructure Bill.
In general, Fischer said the Senate has addressed issues with the economy that she feels will spur growth overall as well as in rural areas.
Southeast Nebraska was dealt an economic setback in June when Ariens, an outdoor power equipment company in Auburn, announced it would close its doors later this year, a move that effected some 200 workers.
Fischer said she understands that such news is devastating in a small town.
“When you have the loss of any business, no matter what size, in a rural community, it has a huge negative impact,” Fischer said.
On the plus side, Fischer said she has heard good news from her travels around the state.
Consumer confidence is riding an 18-year high and Fischer said small businesses are positive about the future thanks in large part to the tax reform passed in late 2017.
Revisions to the Dodd–Frank Act, Fischer said, will allow smaller banks to serve their customers and grant more loans.
And the tax reform, Fischer said, will have a lasting impact as individuals get a big boost when they file taxes next year.
Currently, Fischer said nine out of 10 workers are seeing a benefit on their pay checks.
Fischer said that a lot of business has been accomplished in her current term in the Senate but that more work needs to be done.
If re-elected, Fischer said she looks forward to working on infrastructure issues and continuing to grow the economy.
Fischer said that, despite the constant reports of division and partisanship in Washington, D.C., there are still plenty of opportunities to work together as legislators and with President Donald Trump.
As a member of the Senate, Fischer said she looks to work with both Republicans and Democrats and notes that such cooperation is essential to get the votes necessary to do business.
A recent metric showed that Fischer was the 13th most effective legislator in the Senate when it comes to working cooperatively.
Fischer points to her work with the Environment and Public Works Committee as an example of how legislators can work together. Despite the committee having strong conservative and liberal voices, it’s able to advance bills and avoid stalemates.
Fischer said that’s not as exciting to report on about as more divisive issues, so it tends to get lost in the shuffle.
A cooperative spirit can also be found at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
“The president has been good to work with and his administration has been good to work with,” Fischer said.
A recent victory was the administration’s willingness to implement a legislative bill which Fischer supported, that being a bill which will allow National Guardsmen to drive trucks across state lines.
Prior to the bill, those drivers ages 18-21 were only allowed to drive  commercial trucks within a state. Because of their military training, Fischer said it made sense to give those drivers the ability to cross state lines.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao visited Nebraska to announced a pilot program that will bring the legislation to life.
“That was my bill,” Fischer said. “To see it implemented that way—it’s pretty cool.”
Going forward, legislators and the president will seek to solve the immigration issue, which has been problematic to say the least.
Fischer expressed hopefulness that something can get accomplished soon.
“We can solve this if we take it step by step,” Fischer said.
Secure borders and ports must be a high priority, Fischer said.
The Senator said that  DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients should be afforded some level of certainty and that laws should be observed to assure entry for legal immigrants.
There are problems with the system, but Fischer said the United States still ranks as the most compassionate nation in the world when it comes to the issue of immigration.
“We take in over one million legal immigrants every year,” she said. “I think that gets forgotten.”