Senatorial Update with Deb Fischer
When last year’s challenges arrived, China covered up the severity of the pandemic to buy more time to stockpile medical supplies. Then they banned American companies operating there from sending crucial personal protective equipment, like masks and ventilators, back to the U.S.
Taiwan did the opposite. Instead of seizing these crucial supplies for themselves, they ramped up production so that they could give it away. All told, the nation of Taiwan donated tens of millions of masks and other items to countries like the U.S.
Taiwan is one of our closest friends in Asia. That is why I recently joined a bipartisan group of senators in writing to Katherine Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative, to ask her to prioritize negotiating a new free trade agreement with Taiwan.
As the eight-largest foreign market for American crops and livestock, these talks are long overdue. A new agreement would make it easier for Nebraska producers to sell their products in Taiwan while also supporting one of our most important partners.
Additionally, six of my Republican colleagues and I wrote the president about how the unintended consequences of the trade war with China have affected small businesses, from a decline in sales to higher import costs and other issues. We reminded him of a past statement of his: that the trade war was the reason that many “American farmers, manufacturers, and consumers [were] losing and paying more.”
We can be tough on China without leaving Nebraska businesses in the crossfire. One of these companies is Hornady Security, who told me that recent tariffs have forced them to pay far more to make their gun safes, and that these costs are inevitably passed on to consumers. I urged the president to rethink these damaging trade barriers and to rescind any policies that put Nebraskans’ livelihoods at risk.
I also sent another letter to President Biden, calling on him to reconsider his plan to bail out the oil industry. Studies have repeatedly shown that fuel mixed with ethanol burns cleaner and is better for the environment, yet the president is reportedly considering undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the main federal rule that promotes the use of ethanol.
By weakening the RFS, President Biden would not only hurt the Nebraska farmers and ethanol producers whose jobs depend on it – he would be directly contradicting promises he made to them on the campaign trail. If he wants to keep his word and do right by the environment at the same time, he can start by upholding the integrity of the RFS.
As your U.S. senator, my job is to make sure your voice is heard in Washington. The president and his team need to know what matters to the hardworking men and women of the Heartland.
Will my business succeed this year? Will I have somewhere to sell my crops? Can I depend on the president to keep his word? That is what matters to us. And that is why I wrote these letters and will continue to push for answers.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.