Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Monday, September 10, 2007
OMAHA, NE – United States Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) announced this morning that he will not seek a third term in the United States Senate and does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008. Below is a text of Hagel’s remarks delivered at the Omaha Press Club:
“I will not seek a third term in the United States Senate, nor do I intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008. It has been my greatest honor and privilege to serve my country and represent my fellow Nebraskans in the U.S. Senate. My family and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and the trust placed in me by the people of Nebraska. It has enriched all of us.
I have always tried to live up to the promise I made to the people of Nebraska the day I announced my intention to seek this Senate seat. On March 30, 1995 I said, “I intend to be a Senator all Nebraskans can be proud of.” I hope I’ve done that, and made some contributions to our state and country along the way. History will sort that out.
I am proud of my Senate record and deeply grateful to all those who helped get me there and keep me there, and those who have worked so hard for the people of Nebraska—my staff. I would like to particularly thank Mike McCarthy, Ken Stinson and Lou Ann Linehan. I owe a great deal to these three individuals.
I would have been unable to do my job without the love, wise perspective and constant encouragement of my wife Lilibet, my daughter Allyn and my son Ziller. My appreciation for their support is immeasurable. I would also like to thank my brothers, Tom and Mike, for their constant support and occasional brotherly constructive evaluations.
I said after I was elected in 1996 that 12 years in the Senate would probably be enough. It is. I have always believed that democracies work best when there is a constant cycle of new energy and ideas, and fresh leadership.
I will leave the Senate with the same enthusiasm, sense of purpose and love of my country that I started with. I leave maybe a little wiser, surely a little more experienced and with a very respectable amount of humility.
Public service has always been a big part of my life, and I hope to have another opportunity to serve my country in some new capacity down the road.
This afternoon, my family and I will return to Washington, and I will go back to work. I look forward to working as hard in the remaining 16 months of my Senate term for the people of Nebraska as I have over the last 11 years.
It is with a heavy heart that I post this last post on this blog. It's been a good run, and I am proud that I was able to be involved in this grassroots movement.
I'd like to take this time to thank Charlie Hinderliter for getting me involved in the movement.
I'd like to thank Jeremy Mullen for his hard work on the Draft Hagel website.
I'd like to thank all of you, for reading my posts here.
And I would like to thank Senator Hagel for his phenomenal service to this country - Senator Hagel, you are truly a great American.
I hope that you will run for office someday, and that I will be able to create another grassroots blog for you.
I know it doesn't apply, but I have to end my last post with my favorite quote, "Good night, and good luck."
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Monday at 10:00 A.M., Senator Hagel will announce his Official Plans for 2008! Let's all hope and pray for the best!
Monday, August 13, 2007
Hagel, Dodd Introduce Bill to Revitalize America’s Infrastructure
Bill Would Help Make Roads, Bridges, Transit Systems, and Water Safer and Spur Economic Growth
August 1st, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - Responding to a looming crisis that jeopardizes the prosperity and quality of life of all Americans, Senators Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, today introduced a measure to revitalize, repair, and replace America’s aging and crumbling roads, bridges, transit systems, and water treatment facilities. Two dramatic headlines in recent weeks have highlighted the escalating problem. Two weeks ago, an 83-year-old steam pipe burst in midtown Manhattan, releasing asbestos laden particles and causing widespread damage. Media reports have also recently questioned whether contaminated drinking water near Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, may have exposed families in the area to high levels of dangerous chemicals.
“The current infrastructure in our country is wholly inadequate to handle the demands of a 21st Century economy. We see our ports backed-up by expanding international trade, our rails overloaded by our increasing energy demands and our highways hopelessly clogged by traffic. We run the risk of being left behind by our international competitors if we do not begin to modernize our national infrastructure. It will require a huge financial commitment to modernize our national infrastructure. The legislation we are introducing establishes a new system through which the federal government can finance infrastructure projects by leveraging private and public capital to fund large projects that are vital to our country. This legislation provides a new model for prioritizing the building and maintenance of our national infrastructure,” Hagel said.
“The 21st century holds great promise for our nation. But you can’t journey to a brighter tomorrow by relying on yesterday’s infrastructure,” said Dodd. “This measure can help rebuild our roads, bridges, transit and water systems, improve our quality of life, and spur jobs and economic growth. By investing today, we can minimize costs down the road and provide a brighter, more secure future for all Americans.”
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the current condition of our nation’s major infrastructure system earns a grade point average of D. The average age of drinking water and wastewater systems range in age from 50 to 100 years in age. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, the average traveler is delayed 51.5 hours in the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas. The delays range from 93 hours in Los Angeles to 14 hours in Pittsburgh. Combined these delays waste 1.78 billion gallons of fuel each year and waste almost $50.3 billion in congestion costs.
The bill, the National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2007, would streamline the process by which national infrastructure projects are targeted. It would create an independent national bank that would identify, evaluate and help finance infrastructure projects of substantial regional and national significance. Infrastructure projects under the Bank’s jurisdiction would include publicly-owned mass transit systems, roads, bridges, drinking water and wastewater systems, and housing properties.
The Dodd-Hagel legislation follows two reports released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in 2005 and 2006 that highlighted the urgent need for a national plan and investments to improve infrastructure needs across the nation. Felix G. Rohatyn and Senator Warren Rudman were Co-Chairmen of the CSIS Commission on Public Infrastructure.
“Senators Dodd and Hagel do a great service to our country by introducing the National Infrastructure Bank Act,” said Rohatyn and Rudman. “This bipartisan legislation can reverse decades of shortchanging our public infrastructure. By investing in our future, it will increase our national productivity and improve our standard of living.”
"Last year, Senators Dodd and Hagel signed on to a set of 'Guiding Principles for Strengthening America’s Infrastructure' developed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission on Public Infrastructure," said CSIS President and CEO John Hamre. "These principles were established to recommend changes to rebuild America's decaying infrastructure. CSIS is proud to have helped stimulate this important initiative. The leadership of Senators Dodd and Hagel on this crucial issue will now will help the nation ensure future productivity and growth for our economy."
Possible Nebraska Projects that would qualify:
• Construction of the Heartland Expressway in South Dakota and Western Nebraska (~$664 million).
• Lincoln South Beltway (~$135 million)
• Antelope Valley (in Lincoln) Waterway relocation and revitalization (~$175 million).
• Construction of the Nebraska Highway 35 project between Norfolk and Sioux City, IA (~$300 million).
• A full expansion of I-80 to six lanes from Lincoln to Kearney (~$100 million).
• Construction of the new US-34 four-lane bridge over the Missouri river between Bellevue, NE and Mills County, IA (~$80 million).
A summary of the legislation and a list of supporters is below:
NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE BANK ACT OF 2007
Senator Christopher J. Dodd and Senator Chuck Hagel
The Dodd-Hagel National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2007 is a bipartisan measure that addresses the critical needs of our nation’s major infrastructure systems. The legislation establishes a new method through which the Federal government can finance infrastructure projects of substantial regional or national significance more effectively with public and private capital.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the current condition of our nation’s major infrastructure systems earns a grade point average of D and jeopardizes the prosperity and quality of life of all Americans.
According to the Federal Transit Administration, $21.8 billion is needed annually over the next 20 years to maintain and improve the operational capacity of transit systems.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are
1.2 million units of public housing with critical capital needs totaling $18 billion.
According to the Texas Transportation Institute, the average traveler is delayed 51.5 hours annually due to traffic and infrastructure-related congestion in the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas. The delays range from 93 hours in Los Angeles to 14 hours in Pittsburgh. Combined, these delays waste 1.78 billion gallons of fuel each year and waste almost $50.3 billion in congestion costs. Furthermore, the average delay in these metropolitan areas has increased by almost 35.3 hours since 1982.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, $131.7 billion and
$9.4 billion is needed respectively every year over the next 20 years to repair
deficient roads and bridges. The average age of bridges is 40 years.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, $151 billion and $390 billion is needed respectively every year over the next 20 years to repair obsolete drinking water and wastewater systems. Drinking water and wastewater systems range in age from 50 to 100 years in age.
Current Federal financing methods do not adequately distribute funding
based on an infrastructure project’s size, location, cost, usage, or economic
benefit to a region or the entire nation.
THE DODD-HAGEL SOLUTION
The Dodd-Hagel legislation establishes the National Infrastructure Bank, which as an independent entity of the government is tasked with evaluating and financing capacity-building infrastructure projects of substantial regional and national significance. Infrastructure projects that come under the Bank’s consideration are publicly-owned mass transit systems, housing properties, roads, bridges, drinking water systems, and wastewater systems.
Modeled after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Bank is led by a five member Board of Directors, each whom are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
The Bank’s Board has flexibility to develop an organization of professional civil service staff to carry out the Bank’s authorized activities. An Inspector General oversees the Bank’s daily operations and reports on those operations to Congress.
Infrastructure projects with a potential Federal investment of at least $75 million are brought to the Bank’s attention by a project sponsor (state, locality, tribe, infrastructure agency (e.g. transit agency), or a consortium of these entities.
To determine a level of Federal investment, the Bank uses a sliding scale method that incorporates conditions such as the type of infrastructure system or systems, project location, project cost, current and projected usage, non-Federal revenue, regional or national significance, promotion of economic growth and community development, reduction in traffic congestion, environmental benefits, land use policies that promote smart growth, and mobility improvements.
Once a level of investment is determined for a project, the Bank develops a financing package with full faith and credit from the government. The
financing package could include direct subsidies, direct loan guarantees, long-term tax-credit general purpose bonds, and long-term tax-credit infrastructure project specific bonds. The initial ceiling to issue bonds is $60 billion.
The Bank is tasked to report annually to Congress on the projects it reviews and finances. A public database is created to catalog what projects were funded and what financing packages were provided. The Bank is also tasked to report every three years on the economic efficacy and transparency of all current Federal infrastructure financing methods, and how those methods could be improved. After five years, the Government Accountability Office would be tasked with evaluating the Bank’s operations and efficacy.
The Bank does not displace existing formula grants and earmarks for infrastructure. It targets specifically large capacity-building projects that are not adequately served by current financing mechanisms.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Hagel Introduces Comprehensive Amendment on U.S. Iraq War Policy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced an amendment today to the FY2008 Department of Defense Authorization bill that would implement a comprehensive change in U.S. Iraq War policy. Hagel’s amendment establishes a goal for the phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq and encompasses the diplomatic, political, economic and military components necessary in order to protect and advance America’s interests in the Middle East.
“This amendment recognizes the broader military, regional, economic and diplomatic context in which the debate over our nation’s war policy must take place. This debate is about more than simply when we withdraw U.S. troops. It is about how we give our troops a policy that is worthy of their sacrifice, while protecting U.S. interests in the Middle East. This amendment offers a responsible way forward in Iraq,” Hagel said.
The Hagel amendment:
• directs the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) to propose the appointment of an international mediator in Iraq, under the auspices of the UN Security Council;
• states the U.S. should engage the nations of the Middle East to develop a sustainable and constructive comprehensive regional security framework and a renewed U.S. commitment to address the Arab-Israeli conflict;
• transitions the mission of U.S. troops in Iraq to focus on protecting Americans in Iraq, protecting the territorial integrity of Iraq, training and equipping Iraqi Security Forces, and engaging in targeted actions against members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Iraq; and• establishes a goal of redeploying all U.S. combat forces from Iraq who are not essential to meeting the new limited mission by March 31, 2008.