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.
This week, the Senate will consider an amendment offered by military veterans Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) that puts on paper one of the greatest things we can do to support the troops and the military -- guaranteeing them proper time on the homefront, to improve our readiness.
Call your Senator at 202-224-3121 and tell them to support the Webb-Hagel Readiness Amendment.
Their amendment simply says that active duty troops should have as much time home as they had on deployment, and that National Guard and Reserve troops should have three years at home after their one-year deployment. Besides being a just and fair thing to do for those who are making tremendous sacrifices for all of us, it is just good military policy.
The war in Iraq is breaking our fine Army and Marine Corps. You've heard the stories about deployments being extended again and again, and troops coming home only to turn around and head right back. It has led to our troops being depleted and exhausted. Not only that, but it has seriously damaged our ability to defend this nation. Many units are simply not combat ready, and God forbid an attack by a rogue nation necessitates opening up a new war front, our forces would be unable to respond. Further, extended and frequent deployments of our National Guard has left us much more vulnerable at home.
As Major General Batiste, a former commanding general in Iraq said, "In addition to our country's lack of strategic focus and failure to mobilize the country, our military is at a breaking point. The Webb-Hagel Amendment is a step in the right direction to force our leadership to come to grips with the gross mismatch between capability and requirements."
Tomorrow, we're going to be on Capitol Hill, to speak out in strong support of this bill. But we need you to back up our efforts.
Call your Senator's office at 202-224-3121 and tell them to support the Webb-Hagel Readiness Amendment.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
June 22nd, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) issued the following statement today on the retirement of Major General Roger Lempke. Major General Lempke is the current Adjutant General of the Nebraska National Guard, and current President of the Adjutants General Association of the United States.
“Major General Roger Lempke served his country with honor and commitment throughout his distinguished military career. He has been one of America’s most effective Adjutant’s General.
“Following September 11, 2001, and with the onset of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the National Guard was thrust into a new period of demanding challenges. While the Guard’s overseas deployments increased, General Lempke bolstered the Guard’s traditional homeland missions, with Nebraska’s Guard serving the state in times of emergency; members deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of Operation Jump Start; as well as the Nebraska Guard’s mobilization to support gulf coast states in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Throughout this difficult time, General Lempke has been a courageous leader and vocal advocate for the National Guard. As President of the Adjutants General Association of the United States, General Lempke built consensus among the 54 Adjutants General that has guided the Guard into the relevant force it is today.
“All of Nebraska appreciates the service of General Lempke at this very demanding and challenging time for the Guard. All of Nebraska congratulates him and wishes him much success, but we will miss him,” said Hagel.
Authorizes Scholarship Program for Students Seeking Training in Blind Rehabilitation
June 21st, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced legislation today that would help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) meet the increasing demands of today’s blind veteran population. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), both members of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee, joined Hagel as original cosponsors of the legislation. The legislation directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a scholarship program for students seeking a degree or training in the area of blind rehabilitation. Recipients of the scholarship would be required to work at least three years in the VA system.
“Service members sacrificing for our country in a time of war should be assured that they will receive the best medical treatment and rehabilitation available, without having to wait months or years due to staff shortages. Rehabilitation training for those who have lost their eyesight enables them to function in their surroundings and live more independently. This legislation would encourage students to enter employment in an under-populated medical field, while also serving our nation’s veterans,” Hagel said.
Between March 2003 and April 2005, sixteen percent of all casualties evacuated from Iraq had associated eye injuries. In the coming years, the blind and low-vision veterans’ population is expected to grow by forty percent.
In 2006, a provision in the annual veterans benefits bill expanded the pool of individuals serving our veterans as Blind Rehab Outpatient Specialists (BROS). Today, the VA employs 30 BROS. Unfortunately, there are not enough counselors certified in blind rehabilitation to provide the growing number of blind or low-vision veterans. This has caused a long waiting list for admission at the ten VA Blind Rehabilitation Centers.
Monday, June 18, 2007
What are you doing to bring in new individuals to the movement? Is
there something that seems to work better than anything else? Let us
know so we can share it with fellow Hagel supporters!
Now, we know that it is easier to do when Senator Hagel is visible in
the national media than when he is not, but that is why your
involvement is so important! Establishing ourselves as a movement is
necessary in order to provide support for the Senator in the future!
So, if you are talking to someone and they say, "I don't know too much
about him," then just hand them a flier and say, "Here's a little
information on the Senator. Give it a look.". It really is that
The Draft Hagel 08 movement was started because after looking at the
current field of candidates, there was something missing. That has
not changed. The future of our country is far too important to allow
it to continue on its current path. As supporters of Senator Hagel,
we know he has the vision, common sense, and integrity that this
nation needs at this critical point it time. We need to do everything
we can to try and make his candidacy for president a reality. Let's
get to work!!!
The Draft Hagel 08 Team
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
June 12th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced legislation today to provide a comprehensive approach to the issues of U.S. energy security and climate policy. Hagel’s legislative package consists of four bills which address research and development, regulatory reform, tax policy, and energy security policy. It focuses on the role of private-public partnerships, technology, and removing existing barriers to national energy security.
“For decades our country has drifted without a coherent national energy policy. This policy must incorporate our economic, environmental and national security priorities. My comprehensive energy reform legislation will help empower America to develop the resources required to meet our 21st century energy needs and compete in a new competitive world,” said Hagel.
“This legislation will address four integral components for an effective U.S. national energy policy – a fundamental shift in the way energy research and development is approached; regulatory reform; energy infrastructure investment; and energy security policy.
“We can no longer defer the tough choices necessary to ensure that the next generation of Americans have the opportunities, freedoms and quality of life that Americans before us worked hard to build,” concluded Hagel.
~Below are fact sheets on the four pieces of legislation~
The Energy Research and Development Prioritization Act of 2007
This bill reforms the way in which energy research and development priorities are determined by:
- requiring the Secretary of Energy to conduct a survey of all interested parties within government, academia, and private industry, to determine the top ten energy “problems to be solved” that are required to achieve energy security in the future;
- authorizing the Secretary to identify two additional research and development priorities;
- refocusing all research and development funding towards resolving those top energy “problems to be solved”;
- establishing an Energy Technology Information Network which contains a database of all current Federal research and development efforts and allows private industry to contribute to the database; and
- encouraging collaboration among scientists from public and private institutions to develop energy solutions while protecting intellectual property rights.
The Energy Regulatory Reform Act of 2007
This bill promotes the use of innovative energy technologies and removes regulatory barriers by:
- establishing an outside commission in each appropriate federal department and agency to review existing regulations that have had a significant impact on energy security;
- requiring the commission to make recommendations to each agency head on how to reform regulations to increase energy security;
- requiring a Regulatory Impact Analysis be completed before completion of an agency/department’s final rule for every new major energy regulation that could have an adverse effect on energy security;
- reforming the “permitting process” for new energy facilities by requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be the lead agency. The EPA shall establish a time line in which all local, state and federal permitting processes must be completed; and
- amending the National Environmental Protection Act to require an assessment of a proposed project’s impact on the energy security of the United States.
The Energy Infrastructure Tax Reform and Incentives Act of 2007
This bill reforms the tax code by:
- reducing the recovery period for investment in electricity transmission lines from 20 years to 15 years
- reducing the recovery period for investment in smart-grid computer devices from 20 years to 5 years;
- providing accelerated depreciation for qualified cellulosic ethanol plants, coal-to-liquid facilities, and dedicated ethanol pipelines; and
- providing a tax credit for voluntary installation of pollution control technology on energy facilities and small businesses.
This bill encourages investment in clean energy technologies by:
- modifying and expanding the clean renewable energy bonds for public power facilities;
- extends tax credits for investment and installation of residential and commercial wind, solar and geothermal projects;
- provides tax credits for investment in best available transmission technologies for investor owned utilities;
- extends the Production Tax Credit for renewable electricity generation for an additional 5 years; and
- provides incentives for green building energy efficient technologies.
Clean, Reliable, Efficient and Secure Energy Act of 2007
Title I - Electricity Sector
This title encourages the use of clean and efficient energy technologies in the electricity sector by:
- establishing a public-private commission to set energy efficiency standards for appliances to accelerate achievements in energy efficiency;
- encouraging the use of Smart Grid technology for new and replacement electricity transmission;
- creating a Clean Energy Portfolio Standard to require that an additional 20% of national electricity generation by 2030 comes from clean technologies (e.g., renewable sources, nuclear power, and clean coal with carbon capture);
- resolving outstanding issues to allow Yucca Mountain to begin receiving spent nuclear waste (e.g., securing the surrounding lands, building a rail line for transport of the waste into the site, and allowing greater access to the Nuclear Waste Fund); and
- providing loan guarantees and regulatory incentives to encourage the use of advanced coal-fired electricity generation technologies.
Title II - Transportation Sector
This title enhances energy security in the transportation sector by:
- amending the current laws governing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), and increasing the CAFE standard by 4% per year only if the increase is technologically feasible and would not compromise safety;
- requiring the federal government to report on the average fuel economy of the federal fleet to better assess the government’s energy efficiency;
- providing States and local governments grants and regulatory incentives to encourage investment in transportation energy efficiency measures (e.g., traffic signal coordination and minimizing vehicle idling times);
- creating a separate Renewable Fuel Standard for renewable or alternative diesel fuel;
- encouraging the growth of the coal-to-liquid industry by allowing loan guarantees and by requiring the phased reduction of traditional fossil fuel use in the Department of Defense aircraft fleet; and
- lifting the moratorium on the Outer Continental Shelf, for those States who request it, to allow oil and natural gas exploration and production.
Title III - Buildings and Manufacturing Sectors
This title requires the increased efficiency of Federal facilities and encourages increased efficiency in the manufacturing sector by:
- establishing an Office of High-Performance Green Buildings in the General Services Administration, that would develop and enforce energy efficiency requirements for all newly acquired or renovated Federal buildings;
- stimulating the commercialization of new, energy efficient building technologies by requiring that energy efficiency technologies are used in federal buildings;
- providing grants to states and local governments to make energy efficiency improvements in public schools; and
- establishing a public-private commission to study and develop new manufacturing processes and materials that are able to use a diverse array of energy sources to provide enhanced security, flexibility and competitive edge to the manufacturing industry.
Title IV - National Carbon Policy
This title establishes the groundwork of a national carbon policy that is necessary for any future action on carbon emissions by:
- establishing a National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Registry;
- requiring a National Academy of Sciences report to study any commercial or industrial uses of captured carbon dioxide other than sequestration;
- requiring the Secretary of Energy to conduct a carbon dioxide storage assessment in the contiguous 48 states;
- creating a Regulatory Reform for Carbon Sequestration commission to determine the regulatory barriers to siting manufacturing, power plants and other necessary infrastructure near sites identified by the carbon dioxide storage assessment;
- assigning liability of full carbon dioxide sequestration locations to the federal government; and
- stipulating that if 75% of the authorized funding for this section is not appropriated, all requirements on the private sector regarding investment in carbon capture and sequestration are terminated.
Title V - Studies, Energy Education and Office of Technological Assessment
This title provides information for Congress and the public to make future energy decisions by:
- Requiring studies to look at:
- requiring replacement of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment that do not meet minimum efficiency standards at time of sale of residential homes;
- the energy security benefits and costs of instituting a CAFÉ standard for heavy trucks;
- the use of synthetic fuel in commercial aircraft;
- infrastructure needs for an expanded Renewable Fuel Standard; and
- the necessity of building a Strategic Natural Gas Reserve similar to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve;
- Establishing a national Energy Day that would coordinate public outreach and educational activities for primary and secondary schools; and
- Reestablishing the Office of Technological Assessment to provide objective assessments to Congress regarding technologies, scientific needs and foreign science and technological capabilities.
Here's a somewhat outdated press release though:
Statement by Senator Hagel on the Death of Senator Craig Thomas
June 5th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) released the following statement this morning regarding the death of U.S. Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY):
“This is a sad day for all of us. Craig Thomas was a neighbor and a friend who committed his remarkable life to his country and his state. I will be forever grateful to him for being one of the first U.S. Senators to campaign for me in my 1996 race for the Senate, when few thought I had a chance to win. I had an opportunity to work closely with Craig Thomas on the Senate Foreign Relations and Energy Committees. He worked hard, was always prepared and was the kind of Senator the people of Wyoming could be proud of every day.
“If service is the highest American value, then Craig Thomas leaves a legacy that speaks volumes. He leaves his country and his state better because of his service. Craig Thomas was a straight-shooter. Being a Marine and having been raised on a ranch in Wyoming...what else could he be?
“Lilibet and I offer our prayers to Susan Thomas and the Thomas family.”
Hagel Offers Congratulations to Nebraska Astronaut Clayton Anderson on Eve of Launch
June 8th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - Nebraska’s U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel called Astronaut Clayton Anderson, of Ashland, last night to offer congratulations and to tell him how proud Nebraskans are of him. Today at 6:38 p.m. CDT, Clayton is scheduled to lift off on the Space Shuttle Atlantis. He will be the first native Nebraskan to travel into outer space.
“All Nebraskans are proud to have Astronaut Clayton Anderson as a native son. He has represented Nebraska with distinction and honor. We all anxiously await tonight’s lift off, and it was wonderful to hear that Clayton invited his family, friends and even a few former Hastings college professors to watch the launch from the launch pad,” Hagel said.
“He told me that he would put two Big Red N’s in the Space Station. We are proud of Clayton and keep him in our thoughts and prayers.”
Anderson will depart today from the Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral, Florida on board Space Shuttle Atlantis for a shuttle mission to the International Space Station. Anderson will be a flight engineer and NASA science officer on the mission and will remain on the Space Station for about five months.
Clayton is a 1981 graduate of Hastings College. Hagel is a member of Hastings College’s Board of Trustees.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Anyway, here's an e-mail from Jeremy:
Draft Hagel 08 Supporter:
"Mission: Memorial Day" is almost over! What have you been doing to try to sign up more people? Is there something that works better than something else? Let us know so that we can pass it along!
Also, there is a very simple way to double our numbers every week: sign up 1 person a week! Place a poster in a public place! We have received comments about the poster from people who have seen it and signed on after checking it out! If you are comfortable talking to people, sign them up on the spot!
There will be people who tell you it is too early to think about these things, but do not let that stop you from trying! Much sooner than later, things will be in full swing, and the larger number of supporters we have to push for a Hagel 08 Presidential campaign, the better!
Thank you for your support, and have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!
The Draft Hagel 08 Team
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Lincoln Journal Star by Senator Chuck Hagel
May 9th, 2007 - The May 6 Lincoln Journal Star editorial headlined “Visitors see what they believe in Iraq” quoted my friend and former colleague the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan saying, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.” The editorial highlighted differing views that my Nebraska colleagues and I hold regard to progress in Iraq.
As Gen. Petraeus and Secretary Gates have said, the solution to Iraq will be a political, not a military solution. We have done much for the Iraqis at a cost of 3,400 American casualties, 25,000 wounded and almost $500 billion, but we cannot do it for them. The Iraqis are going to have to achieve a political reconciliation. We can’t do it for them. In our fifth year in Iraq, things are not getting better. These are the facts:
* Last month, we lost 104 U.S. troops — the deadliest month for the United States so far in 2007 and one of the highest death toll months in the more than four years we’ve been in Iraq. So far in the first seven days of May, 25 U.S. troops have been killed.
* The death toll of Iraqi security forces and civilian population remains well over 1,500 per month and reached 3,014 deaths in February — the start of the U.S. “surge.”
* Attacks on the once secure Green Zone have increased dramatically this year, killing Americans. Last month, a suicide bomber breached the security of the Green Zone for the first time, killing one lawmaker and wounding many others in the Iraqi parliament building’s dining hall.
* The number of attacks against U.S. forces using explosively formed projectile bombs, capable of piercing an Abrams tank, hit a record high of 65 last month.
* Overall attacks using roadside bombs doubled from 2006 to 2007 and currently number about 1,200 a month.
* The Iraqi government is in danger of collapse. Last month, six Shia ministers, members of the prime minister’s own party, withdrew from the government demanding that U.S. troops leave Iraq; this week, key Sunni leaders are threatening to leave the government to protest their treatment by the Shia-led government.
* De-Baathification reform and national oil law legislation have not been passed by the Parliament with no sign of progress. No new provincial elections have been approved by the Parliament.
* A month ago, one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, the king of Saudi Arabia, called U.S. involvement in Iraq an “illegitimate foreign occupation.”
* Of the 34,000 registered physicians in Iraq before the U.S. invasion, it is estimated that 12,000 have fled and 2,250 have been killed or kidnapped.
* According to the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, the war in Iraq has already produced 4 million refugees.
* Crime is rampant in Iraq, and the police force has been devastated by corruption.
* Electricity availability averages less than 12 hours daily nationwide and 5.6 hours daily in Baghdad, well below what Iraqis had before the United States invaded Iraq.
* Oil production is at 2.1 million barrels per day. Prior to the war, oil production averaged 2.6 million barrels per day.
* The U.S. inspector general for Iraq reconstruction’s most recent report found that “persistent attacks on U.S.-funded infrastructure projects and sustainment challenges could jeopardize the completion of projects by their planned end-dates of mid- to late-2008.“
* The report also found corruption rampant in the Iraqi government. An investigation found that seven of eight reconstruction projects declared by the United States to be successes no longer were operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of maintenance and apparent looting. This is resulting in hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars that have been unaccounted for, wasted or stolen.
* The United States is doing great damage to its active duty and National Guard force structure, which will take years to repair.
These are but some of the facts that led to my judgment that Iraq is “worse off than it has ever been” following my fifth visit there.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
May 16th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Senate passed today by a vote of 91-4 the Water Resources Development Act. This legislation authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to construct various projects for improvements to U.S. waterways, including improvement and expansion of existing locks on U.S. rivers, environmental restoration projects, and flood damage reduction projects. U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) supported authorization of several Nebraska projects that were included in the bill.
“This legislation addresses needed improvements in waterway infrastructure that will help Nebraska’s agricultural producers bring their goods to market. Additionally, this bill authorizes important projects in Nebraska addressing flood control, environmental restoration and Endangered Species recovery. The targeted programs address significant needs in Nebraska communities,” Hagel said.
The bill includes the following projects for Nebraska:
• Authorizes $12 million for watershed planning, water resources assessments, and environmental restoration and flood damage reduction projects in the Lower Platte River basin;
• Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study on how best to mitigate losses to habitat, recover Endangered Species, and restore the ecosystem in the Missouri River; and
• Authorizes the Secretary of Interior to perform Endangered Species recovery and habitat-loss mitigation activities in the upper basin of the Missouri River.
The Water Resources Development Act will now go to a House-Senate conference.
To create a buzz, a groundswell of support, to influence a decision.We do not care which party the candidate desires to represent, onlythat he/she is the right person for the job. This is what we need todo. We cannot wait for a decision, and then jump into action. Weneed to be in action to influence a decision.
At this point in time, Senator Hagel is focused on his job as a USSenator, as he should be. While he thinks about a decision to run, itis the job of Draft Hagel 08 movement supporters to show him that theenergy is out there to ensure that a decision to enter thePresidential race has the potential to be successful.
Looking at the direction and future of our country, it is hard toimagine that doing so could ever be considered a waste. Start a localgroup in your area. Have some type of political experience, or wantto gain some? Contact us to be a regional or state coordinator.Whatever your commitment to the movement can be, make it vocal andlet's go! At no other point in this country's history has it matteredmore!
The Draft Hagel 08 Team
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
May 16th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) today released the following statement calling for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday that, as White House Counsel, Gonzales attempted to undermine Comey’s authority as the acting Attorney General and persuade Attorney General John Ashcroft to re-authorize a domestic surveillance program from his hospital bed.
“The American people deserve an Attorney General, the chief law enforcement officer of our country, whose honesty and capability are beyond question. Attorney General Gonzales can no longer meet this standard. He has failed this country. He has lost the moral authority to lead. Comey’s testimony yesterday brings to light the latest episode in a series of questionable actions by Attorney General Gonzales. It is another part of a pattern of flawed decision making by the Attorney General.
“America is a nation of laws. In the interest of the American people, Alberto Gonzales should resign now,” said Hagel.
Senators introduce the Skilled Worker Immigration and Fairness Act of 2007
May 15th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) today introduced the Skilled Worker Immigration and Fairness Act of 2007 to ensure that America’s innovative industries can hire the workers they need to fuel US economic growth, and to better protect American workers. The bill is also co-sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and George Voinovich (R-OH).
The bill would increase the annual allotment of H-1B visas, which provide American employers with access to highly educated foreign professionals in “specialty occupations” (those requiring at least a U.S. bachelor's degree or equivalent education and work experience). Despite dramatic changes to the US economy in the past 17 years, the H-1B cap remains at its 1990 limit of 65,000 per year (an additional 20,000 visas are available for foreign nationals holding US graduate degrees). As a result, thousands of U.S. high-tech jobs today remain unfilled.
“To remain competitive, American companies need access to highly educated individuals,” Lieberman said. “But today’s system makes it difficult for innovative employers to recruit and retain highly educated talent, which puts the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage globally. As part of comprehensive immigration reform, we must address this crisis to ensure that America remains the world leader in innovation. At the same time, we must strengthen the H-1B program to ensure that American workers are protected.”
“The severe shortage of H-1B visas is a nation-wide problem, and Nebraska is directly affected. The demand in underserved communities throughout Nebraska for these highly qualified individuals, such as doctors and nurses in rural areas, far out number the supply. This legislation is important to helping keep America competitive in the 21st Century workplace,” Hagel said.
“Keeping America’s economy strong depends on having enough skilled workers,” said Cantwell. “That means making sure education and training opportunities are affordable and accessible, but it also means getting help from the world’s best and brightest when there are skill shortages. With so many high-tech companies in the Pacific Northwest, we need an H-1B visa process that meets employer demands as well as prevents fraud and abuse. This proposal strikes a balance on the H-1B visa program, which is key to investing in our future and keeping America competitive.”
The Lieberman-Hagel bill would increase the cap to 115,000 in 2007 and would add a flexible adjustment mechanism that would enable to cap to rise as high as 180,000, depending on market conditions (this ceiling would still be less than the 195,000 limit in 2001-2003). Additionally, the bill would exempt from the cap foreign nationals who hold a US graduate degree; a non-US graduate degree in science, technology, engineering or math; or a US medical specialty certification.
Currently, foreign nationals count for 56% of all engineering master's degrees and 65% of engineering Ph.D. degrees awarded by Connecticut universities. In Nebraska, the percentages are 37% and 72%, respectively.
In raising the H-1B cap, the bill would also create meaningful and reasonable reforms to prevent visa fraud and abuse. The bill includes provisions that would:
• Prohibit employers from advertising jobs as exclusively open to H-1B visa holders.
• Provide that employers with 50 employees cannot have more than half of their workforce on H-1B visas.
• Remove unnecessary restrictions on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) ability to investigate H-1B compliance.
• Authorize DOL to hire an additional 200 employees to administer, oversee, investigate and enforce the H-1B program.
• Raise the H-1B petition fee by $500, to pay for enhanced enforcement and ensure the program pays for itself.
• Authorize reasonable improvements to coordination among DOL, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS).
The bill also allows the most highly qualified green card applicants to immigrate without being subject to artificial caps. Immediate families of employment based immigrants will no longer count against the worker caps.
The Lieberman-Hagel bill enjoys support from a wide-range of businesses technology groups, including Microsoft Corporation and Compete America, a coalition of corporations, educators, research institutions and trade associations committed to assuring that US employers have the ability to hire and retain the world’s best talent.
“The nation continues to witness a dramatic decline in the number of native born computer science graduates,” said Jack Krumholtz, Managing Director of Federal Government Affairs for Microsoft Corp. “As a result, technology companies like Microsoft rely on the H-1B visa and employment-based green card programs to deliver an adequate supply of highly qualified employees to help maintain our competitive position. That can only be achieved through immediate reform of these programs to ensure they are meeting the needs of our economy. We commend Senators Lieberman, Hagel, Cantwell and Voinovich for their leadership in addressing this critical problem, and urge the Senate to adopt these measures and pass expeditiously comprehensive immigration reform legislation.”
“The Skilled Worker Immigration and Fairness Act would provide crucial reforms to the H-1B visa and EB green card processes that U.S. companies urgently need,” stated Robert Hoffman, Vice President for Government and Public Affairs at Oracle and Co-Chair of Compete America. “Senators Lieberman and Hagel should be commended for taking a leading role on an issue that is so important to America’s continued innovation leadership and economic strength.”
Thursday, May 10, 2007
from: Lt. Governor Inks.LWC on May 08, 2007, 08:32:20 pm
This is not my GO HAGEL rant - but his idea seems smart to me:
1) Send our troops to the Iraqi border to keep terrorists from leaving/coming in.
2) Let the Iraqis settle their civil war - why will the warring factions listen to a 3rd party who doesn't understand their war? The Iraqis understand each other better than we do - let their people help themselves!
I've always respected Chuck Hagel - and I don't understand why he can not seem to get much support from the GOP base. The fact that he is willing to think outside the
box on Iraq should make him a much more appealing candidate than he is polling
at right now. His Iraq plan actually reminds me of a few of the major Democrats
that don't want to "cut and run" but also don't want to "stay the course"- but
he's also a very conservative Senator, unlike the major Democrats. I can not say
I have loved anybodies plan on Iraq (either Dem or GOP) to this point, but the
ones that are thinking outside the confines of "cut and run" and "stay the
course" are certainly much more attracitve than what we have going on right now.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
I know it’s a bit early to call the GOP presidential primaries, especially in favor of someone who hasn’t officially announced, but Chuck Hagel’s the guy.
Here’s why: Hagel is the only candidate with both impeccable social reactionary credentials and a credible basis for supporting a withdrawal from Iraq by the time the actual presidential campaign begins. Although he supports the occupation, he’s been a harsh critic of the administration’s conduct of it; the other leading contenders have been falling all over themselves to support it and, for the moment, the president. He can win the primaries because he hasn’t done anything to alienate the base and because he’ll be seen as electable by Republican party heavyweights who recognize that as things now stand, Iraq will dominate the campaign. Take Iraq off the table, which a Hagel candidacy might do, and suddenly Democrats are confronted with a whole new landscape.
Read the rest at... http://www.btcnews.com/btcnews/1645.
May 8th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) joined Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today in introducing legislation to extend five temporary federal district judgeships. This legislation would restore the temporary judgeship that the District of Nebraska lost in 2004 with the retirement of Judge Thomas Shanahan. Senator Hagel has worked closely with Chairman Leahy in introducing this legislation. Since 2000, Senator Hagel has worked to save the temporary Nebraska federal judgeship and convert it to permanent.
“With Judge Shanahan’s retirement in 2004, Nebraska lost a judgeship it urgently needs. Nebraska’s three remaining permanent federal judges now carry the sixth highest caseload in the country. The criminal caseload has increased 97% over the last five years. I will work with my colleagues to ensure that this critical fourth federal judgeship for Nebraska is enacted as soon as possible,” said Hagel.
Currently, Nebraska has three federal district court judges who handle the entire federal caseload for the State. The Judicial Conference, which makes recommendations to Congress regarding the need for judgeships, consistently recommends that a new permanent judgeship be established in Nebraska. The Senate passed legislation cosponsored by Senator Hagel in the 108th Congress which would have made Nebraska’s temporary judgeship permanent. The House failed to act on the measure.
This legislation will now be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
May 04, 2007
The Leavenworth Street political blog took note today of a story by Bloomberg News, reporting that Senator Chuck Hagel declined to rule out a bid for president as an Independent candidate, and even said such a bid ?is possible.?
Hagel didn?t say he would make such a bid, just that (like almost everything else) he would not rule it out.
Here is the story, as reported by Leavenworth Street.
According to a Bloomberg News article, Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel said he would consider running for President as an Independent:
An independent bid "is possible," Hagel, 60, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television's Political Capital with Al Hunt. "I don't ever foreclose any options."
This is contrary to what Hagel said at his non-announcement announcement in March:
?I am a Republican. I believe I will continue to be a Republican.?
Regarding the issue of his footsy-ish dinner at The Palm in Washington, D.C. with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the article said,
?they talked about their families, politics and Iraq, and there was no discussion about teaming up for a presidential campaign. "We have a lot of common interests," he said. "But no, there was no talk of any ticket."
Having a major fund-raiser for his re-election campaign.
Meeting for a high-profile dinner with another proposed Presidential candidate.
Changing his position on whether he?d run as an Independent.
Well, we guess he?s leaving his options open?
Meanwhile, Republican hopeful Jon Bruning says he ain't afraid of Hagel's abilty to raise campaign funds. The attorney general has all but declared that he will challenge Hagel for the GOP senatorial nomination - if Hagel seek a third term.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Now that "Mission: Memorial Day" is under way, think of it like this:sign-up 1 person a day, or possibly spend a few hrs over a weekend at a large public space, and we will meet our goal of every supportersigning up 25 new individuals who would like to see Chuck Hagel in the2008 Presidential race by May 28th!
How would you do this?
Like this...."Would you like to see Chuck Hagel run for President? Let him know!" "Well, I don't really know who he is." "Here you go, take a look!"Then hand out a flier. It's that simple! Aim to hand out 50-100 fliers a week.Black and white instead of color? Don't worry about it!
Now, I know that some are saying, "That sounds like a great idea! I'msure others will do it, so I won't have to try and get 25.". If you're happy with the way things are now, then that's fine. If you would like to right the direction America is headed and restore its greatness, then let's go!Running for President is a momentous decision, and we want to show Senator Hagelhow many people out there believe that he should!
Thanks, and let's get moving!
The Draft Hagel 08 Team
May 3rd, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Jack Reed (D-RI) today introduced the “Veterans and Survivors Employment and Training Act of 2007.” This legislation would make school more affordable to veterans, survivors, and dependents pursuing an education in high tech fields. The bill would expand the education programs that are eligible for accelerated payments under the Montgomery GI Bill, and provide the benefit to recipients of the Survivors’ and Dependents Educational Assistance Program (SDEAP).
“America’s service men and women make tremendous sacrifices in service to our country. As policymakers, we have an obligation to ensure they have the resources they need to pursue their education. This legislation will make it easier for veterans, and the families of veterans killed or permanently disabled in service to our country, to afford higher education and expand the much needed high tech workforce in our country,” Hagel said.
Under current law, individuals eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill qualify for accelerated payments of their education benefit if they are pursuing two or four year programs in life or physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, science technology, computer specialties and management. The accelerated payment option is currently not available to individuals eligible under SDEAP.
This bill would provide 60% of the benefit for each semester in a single lump sum at the beginning of that eligible semester for veterans, survivors, and dependents pursuing an education in approved fields. Further, this bill would:
· Expand the programs eligible for accelerated payments; and,
· Extend the same eligibility for the accelerated payments to recipients of SDEAP as recipients of the GI bill.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Hagel on Iraq
Republican Senator Votes to Withdraw from Iraq
By Robert Novak
Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., returned from his fifth visit to Iraq to join Senate Democrats last Thursday as one of two Republicans voting to begin withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. It was not an easy vote for a conservative party regular and faithful supporter of President Bush’s non-Iraq policies. A few days earlier, Hagel sat down with me to paint a bleak picture of the war and U.S. policy.
Over a dozen years, I have had many such conversations with Hagel not for quotation. This time, I asked him to go on the record about his assessment of what the “surge” has accomplished. In language more blunt than his prepared speeches and articles, he described Iraq as “coming undone,” with its regime “weaker by the day.” He deplored the Bush administration’s failure to craft a coherent Middle East policy, blaming the influence of Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams.
Hagel faces a political paradox as he ponders a career decision — to run for president, seek re-election next year or get out of elective politics. His harsh assessment resonates with many Republicans who believe Bush’s war policy has led the party to disaster. Yet, this message faces rejection by GOP primary voters, and he is under attack from the right at home in Nebraska (with 38-year-old state Attorney General Jon Bruning threatening to run against him).
After his latest visit to Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi and Anbar Province, Hagel told me: “This thing is really coming undone quickly, and [Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki’s government is weaker by the day. The police are corrupt, top to bottom. The oil problem is a huge problem. They still can’t get anything through the parliament — no hydrocarbon law, no de-Baathification law, no provincial elections [needed to bring Sunnis into the governing process].”
The regional problem, as described by Hagel, is a U.S. policy breakdown with a failure to engage Iran and Syria. “I do know that there are a number of Israelis who would like to engage Syria,” said Hagel. “They have said that Elliott Abrams keeps pushing them back.” He quoted foreign ministers, ambassadors and former U.S. officials as saying they believe Abrams “is making policy in the Middle East.”
Hagel certainly is no peace-now zealot. “We’re not going to precipitously pull out,” he told me. “We have [national] interests in Iraq.” While he asserted “we can’t get out by the end of the year,” he called for “pulling some of our guys out — not all of them, but you’ve got to get them out of [Baghdad] at least, get them out of the middle of civil war.” If not, Hagel said, “then the prospects of the Republican Party are very dim next year.”
What about claims by proponents of the Iraqi intervention that failure to stop the terrorists in Iraq will open the door to them in the American homeland?
“That’s nonsense,” Hagel replied. “I’ve never believed that. That’s the same kind of rhetoric and thinking that neo-cons used to get us into this mess, and everything that [Donald] Rumsfeld, [Paul] Wolfowitz, [Richard] Perle, [Douglas] Feith and the vice president all said. Nothing turned out the way they said it would.”
It is “nonsense,” Hagel said, because “Iraq is not embroiled in a terrorist war today.” A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he cited “national intelligence” attributing “maybe 10 percent of the insurgency and violence” to al Qaeda. Indeed, he described Shias, Sunnis and Kurds as opposed to al Qaeda: “They don’t like the terrorists. What’s happened in Anbar Province is the tribes are finally starting to connect with us because al Qaeda started killing some of their leadership and threatening their people. So the tribes now are at war with al Qaeda.”
“So,” said Hagel, “when I hear people say, ‘Well, if we leave them to that, it will be chaos.’ What do you think is going on now? Scaring the American people into this blind alley is so dangerous.”
These judgments come from someone credited with rebuilding Nebraska’s Republican Party who has a lifetime American Conservative Union record of 85.2 percent. Hagel represents millions of Republicans who are repelled by the Democratic personal assault on President Bush but deeply unhappy about his course in Iraq.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
April 30th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) released this statement today following notification from the Department of Justice that President Bush will nominate Mr. Joe Stecher for the position of U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska. Mr. Stecher currently serves as acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska. In December, Senator Hagel – in consultation with Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation – recommended to President Bush that Mr. Stecher be nominated for the position:
“This is important news for the federal justice system in Nebraska. Joe Stecher brings enormous commitment and integrity to the U.S. Attorney’s office. He has done an exceptional job over the last few months as acting U.S. Attorney and enjoys widespread support in Nebraska for his nomination to be U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska. I will work with my colleagues to ensure that Joe Stecher is confirmed by the Senate as soon as possible.”
Mr. Stecher’s nomination will now be considered in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
April 26th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) released the following statement today regarding his vote in favor of the Iraq War Supplemental spending bill:
“I do not believe the current policy we have in Iraq is worthy of the sacrifices our troops are making and I will not continue to support it. Given a choice between the two options of voting for this bill or supporting the current course we are on in Iraq, I chose to vote for this bill. We need a change of policy.
“The President will veto this legislation and we will find ourselves at a crossroads. The Administration and Congress must find a responsible common ground on a new Iraq policy that funds our troops, strips the unnecessary spending out of this bill, addresses our national interests in Iraq and the Middle East, and presses the Iraqi government to find a political accommodation and make the tough choices they need to make in order to govern and defend their country. This is a time for responsible government and far-sighted leadership. We cannot and will not continue to be an occupying presence in Iraq,” Hagel said.
April 26th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) today introduced “The Immigrant Accountability Act of 2007.” The legislation would create a merit-based point system to deal with those living in the country illegally. Those who receive enough points would be put on a pathway to earn citizenship after 13 years. Under Hagel’s bill, no person here illegally would be able to jump in line ahead of someone who has applied for citizenship legally.
Hagel’s legislation is a compromise intended to be incorporated into the comprehensive immigration reform legislation the Senate will consider in May. The legislation builds on previous immigration reform legislation introduced by Hagel in the last two Congresses.
“It is not in our interest to have 12 million people living here illegally. We must create a system in which those who are contributing to our country, speaking English, and helping build a better America are given a pathway toward earned citizenship, while those who are not contributing to our country can be identified and deported. This legislation creates that kind of responsible system. This is an issue of national security as well as an economic issue. We cannot afford to continue to ignore it,” Hagel said.
To be eligible for the point system under Hagel’s legislation, an illegal immigrant must have been in the country since before January 7, 2004; pass a criminal or national security background check; pay back state and federal income taxes; demonstrate a proficiency in English and U.S. history; register for selective service; and pay a $2000 fine and additional fees. The system is modeled after those used by Canada and Australia.
Attached is a summary of the Immigrant Accountability Act of 2007
This legislation builds on the Hagel/Daschle legislation introduced in January 2004, the Hagel Immigrant Accountability Act of 2005, and the Hagel/Martinez compromise that made passage of the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act possible in 2006. This legislation embraces the concept from the Hagel/Martinez compromise allowing long-term, employed illegal aliens to stay in the United States if they prove that they are invested and contributing to the United States. Illegal aliens who arrived after January 7, 2004 would have to leave the U.S. or be deported.
Under the Hagel Immigrant Accountability Act, illegal aliens applying for earned adjustment would have to pass criminal and national security background checks; pay back state and federal income taxes; demonstrate English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. history and government; register for the military selective service; and pay a $2,000 fine and additional fees. They would have to wait in the back of the line behind those who have already applied before earning a greencard.
New provisions under the Hagel legislation require illegal aliens to demonstrate they are contributing to the United States to be eligible to earn an eventual path (after 13 years) to American Citizenship. To qualify for a greencard, an individual here illegally must earn points in categories that show specific characteristics that demonstrate investment, contribution and assimilation into the United States. The individual would be required to receive 65% of the available points to qualify for a greencard. (Point table attached.) After the initial application, if at anytime DHS determines that the alien cannot qualify for the program, the alien would have to leave the U.S. or would be deported.
The bill establishes the following point categories:
• Military Service (after meeting initial qualifications for adjustment)
• Advanced English proficiency
• Civic Engagement – significant community service work (religious or secular), a clean criminal record, and on time payment of income taxes for past work
• Business ownership (which employs at least 2 unrelated “legal” workers)
• Home ownership
• Work History (points for each year of work an alien can prove) (Like Hagel/Martinez)
• Education (additional points for all levels of education)
• U.S. Presence (points for length of time in the U.S.) (Like Hagel/Martinez)
· U.S. Citizen/Permanent Resident Spouse or minor child
The range of points is based on the number of years a person has worked in the U.S. (Up to 5 points per year possible.)
An alien may earn minimal points for primary school, additional points for high school or obtaining a GED, or skilled trade license.
A person may earn points for having a U.S. citizen child; additional points may be awarded for a U.S. citizen/legal resident spouse.
The range of points is based on level of proficiency - the more fluent, the more points.
Points may be earned for community service, having no criminal or civil infractions, and on time payment of taxes.
The range of points is based on the number of years a person has lived in the U.S.
(Up to 5 points per year possible.)
Total Possible Points
Specific point values will be determined by regulation.
An alien must earn 65% of available Basic Points to eventually qualify for a green card and citizenship.
Extra Credit Points
Extra points may be awarded to those immigrants who have made exceptional contributions.
U.S. Military Service
Points for being eligible for honorable discharge.
Up to 20
Points awarded if business is sustained for 18 months and alien employs at least 2 non-relative employees.
Up to 10
Points for college degree or advanced degree.
Up to 15
Up to 5
Other Circumstances: There will be factors that we are unable to anticipate at this time. These factors, and the points to assign to them, are at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security
Up to 20
Hagel, Tanner, Webb and Castle Reintroduce Bicameral and Bipartisan Legislation to Create Comprehensive Entitlement Reform Commission
April 24th, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Jim Webb (D-VA), and Representatives John Tanner (D-TN) and Mike Castle (R-DE) reintroduced legislation in the Senate and House today to create a Comprehensive Entitlement Reform Commission. The commission would review Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and make recommendations to Congress that would sustain the solvency and stability of these three programs for future generations. Hagel and Tanner both introduced the legislation in the last Congress.
“Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have played a vital role for millions of Americans to cope with the financial burdens of retirement and health care costs. However, over the next 75 years these three programs represent a $47 trillion unfunded commitment and are on a trajectory that cannot be sustained. The Commission will review America’s three major entitlement programs and make comprehensive recommendations to sustain the solvency and stability of these programs for future generations. Confronting the financial challenges that exist with these entitlement programs now means facing less dramatic and difficult choices down the road,” Hagel said.
“Millions of Americans depend on Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid everyday, but the programs are not financially sustainable over time if we do not take a comprehensive look at potential reforms. We have a responsibility to strengthen these programs for the Baby Boomers who are retiring now and also for future generations who deserve the assistance they have helped support for those before them,” Tanner said.
“For decades, hard-working Americans have counted on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as a safety net to protect their basic needs,” Webb said. “The intentions of these programs are unquestionable. They foster a level of fairness and government responsibility that Americans deserve. But with nearly 80 million baby boomers retiring in the next few years and the costs of medical care continually rising, we need to take the responsible steps to ensure the solvency of these programs in the years ahead.
“For too long, Congressional debate on these programs has been mired in partisan politics. As the latest trustees’ report makes all too clear, we need leadership to ensure the long-term financial health of these programs. That’s why it is time for a neutral commission to recommend solutions to Congress within one year of the bill’s passage,” continued Webb.
“With the Trustees Report yesterday reconfirming for all of us, the urgent need to address the solvency of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security sooner rather than later, this Commission can play a vital role in making specific recommendations on how to do so. With these three entitlement programs comprising such a large chunk of our federal budget every year, there is no question that in order to be fiscally responsible we can no longer wait to make changes. Facing the tough choices now, will ensure a healthier economy in the long run,” Castle said.
The bipartisan Commission would be comprised of eight members appointed by bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate. Its work would fall under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires Government Accountability Office oversight and full public access. The Commission would be required to submit a final report to the President and Congress one year after the appointment of all Commission members and staff, and Congress would be required to hold committee hearings to review the Commission’s recommendations.
Attached below is a fact sheet detailing the proposed Commission.
Comprehensive Entitlement Reform Commission Act of 2007
• The Entitlement Reform Commission will review Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and make comprehensive recommendations to sustain the solvency and stability of these three programs for future generations.
• Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid face a $47 trillion unfunded commitment over the next 75 years. (Source: Government Accountability Office; Social Security Administration; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Congressional Research Service)
• The Social Security Trust Fund will pay out more money than it takes in beginning in 2017 and will be exhausted in 2041. Social Security faces a $4.7 trillion unfunded commitment over the next 75 years. (Source: Social Security Administration)
• The Medicare Part A Trust Fund (hospital insurance) will be exhausted in 2019 and faces an $11.6 trillion unfunded commitment over the next 75 years. (Source: Government Accountability Office; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)
• The Medicare Part B (supplementary medical insurance) faces a $13.9 trillion unfunded commitment over the next 75 years. (Source: Government Accountability Office; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)
• The Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) faces an $8.4 trillion unfunded commitment over the next 75 years. (Source: Government Accountability Office; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)
• Medicaid faces an $8.4 trillion unfunded commitment over the next 75 years. (Source: Congressional Research Service report – August 2005)
• Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid represent America’s three major entitlement programs. Together, these programs make up 78% of total mandatory spending. (Source: Office of Management and Budget)
• Spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is projected to increase from 8.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006 to 16% of GDP in 2080. (Source: Congressional Research Service report – February 2007)
• In March 2005, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan urged Congress to act on modernizing entitlement programs, “sooner rather than later.” He warned that unless we act now to meet the huge unfunded commitments of our entitlement programs, there will be significant economic consequences for our nation.
• We need to comprehensively reform these programs so they are sustainable for future generations.
• The Commission will be comprised of 8 total members. The House Speaker, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader will each appoint two members.
• The Commission shall select two Co-Chairmen from among its members.
• All appointments must be made 30 days after enactment of the Act.
• Following the appointment of all Commission members, the Commission will have an initial organization period of two months to establish an outline for work. The Commission work will fall under the Federal Advisory Committee Act requiring Government Accountability Office oversight and full public access.
• The Commission shall appoint an Executive Director. The Executive Director will hire additional staff with approval of the Commission Co-Chairmen.
• The Commission is required to submit the final report to the President and Congress one year after the selection of the two Co-Chairmen of the Commission and the Executive Director.
• Congress is required to hold Committee hearings to review the Commission’s recommendations.
• The legislation authorizes $1.5 million to carry out the necessary tasks of the Commission, such as salary for the Executive Director and staff and travel expenses for the members. Members will not be compensated with salary.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
We have a mission to accomplish by Memorial Day if we want to see Chuck Hagel's views presented to the American people in the 2008 Presidential election!
We are asking that, by May 28, you try and find 25 new supporters to sign the online petition! How? Talk to people you know, talk to people they know, let them know that we need their help in making sure that America does not have to suffer through the 2008 election, that signing the online petition shows Senator Hagel that we need his views expressed through the Presidential election! If you and a friend were to stand on a busy corner over a weekend, that's all it would take to accomplish the 25!
If you hear someone say, "It's too early to make that decision," tell them you're not asking them who they will support in 2008, but rather that you would like their help in making sure a true American is one of their choices!
Are you a doctor, nurse, teacher, lawyer, scientist, housewife, househusband,etc? Start a local coalition of like individuals in your area!
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Let's get to work! We've got a mission to right the direction of our country!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
In Iraq, All Terribly Familiar
By Chuck HagelSunday, April 22, 2007; Page B01
Last weekend, along with Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), I completed my fifth trip to Iraq, and I am frustrated and worried. We are still risking the lives of our troops without giving them a realistic policy worthy of their sacrifices. To me, as a Vietnam veteran, that feels terribly familiar.
If success were simply a matter of the determination and ability of U.S. troops and civil servants, we would have already created a secure and stable Iraq. But unfortunately, the reality is that after more than four years, America remains the country's occupying power. Iraq's future will be determined by Iraqis, who, I hope, will reach a political accommodation -- but America is still making the major decisions and taking the lead militarily in most critical areas of the country. We can continue to help buy time for the Iraqi government -- but that time is running out.
The signs are everywhere. Key Shiite leaders told me that they remain deeply skeptical of Sunni intentions. They derided as "appeasement" constructive attempts to reintegrate select ex-Baath Party officials into public life and the government. Shiite and Kurdish leaders openly suggested that Iraq simply pursue what's known as "the 80/20 solution" -- meaning that the Kurds and Shiites, who make up some 80 percent of the population, would run the country without regard for the minority Sunnis, who had grown accustomed to dominating Iraq. Almost no one in Baghdad was talking about using new provincial elections this year to help bring the Sunnis into the national government. The governor of Anbar province, al-Qaeda's base in Iraq, agreed that security had improved recently but raised concerns that his province still gets almost no assistance from the central government in Baghdad. That has left citizens in his province without jobs, electricity and potable water, even as open sewers spill filth into the streets.
There are important areas of progress in Iraq, and we should recognize them. In Anbar province, for example, U.S. military leaders highlighted the significant success they have had in lowering the number of attacks by al-Qaeda. The military has successfully engaged tribal leaders who have provided informal governance there for hundreds of years. The U.S. military has also succeeded in helping double the size of the Iraqi forces in the province. Whether this progress can be sustained or is temporary will be up to the Iraqis.
If the good news is mixed, the bad news is downright troubling. Within the past two weeks, hundreds of Iraqis were slaughtered in Baghdad, the Iraqi Parliament's cafeteria was hit by a suicide bomber, and a historic Baghdad bridge over the Tigris River was destroyed. Ominously, these increased acts of violence occurred in the area where the United States and Iraq have deployed 80,000 security forces.
So what do we do?
We must start by understanding what's really happening in Iraq. According to the National Intelligence Estimate released in February, the conflict has become a "self-sustaining inter-sectarian struggle between Shia and Sunnis" and also includes "extensive Shia-on-Shia violence." This means that Iraq is being consumed by sectarian warfare, much of it driven by Shiite or Sunni militias -- not al-Qaeda terrorists. Yes, there are admirers of Osama bin Laden in the country, including a full-blown al-Qaeda branch. But terrorists are not the core problem; Sunni-Shiite violence is. The Bush administration's rhetoric has not been nearly clear enough on this key point.
American occupation cannot stop a civil war in Iraq. Our military, superb as it is, can only do so much. The only lasting answer to Iraq's anguish will come from a political resolution. There will be no military solution in Iraq.
So how can America influence the Iraqis to reconcile their differences -- at least enough to form some kind of responsible government?
First, we must recognize that we have few good options in Iraq and that we are dealing with dynamics that lie mostly beyond our control.
Second, we must do all we can to encourage a comprehensive regional security framework, which includes engaging Syria and Iran. The regional security conference next month in Egypt is an opportunity we must not miss. We cannot solve the problems in Iraq by ourselves. We will have to work more closely with our Middle East allies than ever before, and that means addressing the nearly universal perception in the Middle East that we are imposing our will on the region for our own purposes.
To get more help from our regional friends, we must also have Middle Eastern countries see the Iraqi government as credible, not a U.S. puppet. And to get our regional strategy right, we must clearly recognize the depth of the Sunni-Shiite split and factor it into our Middle East policy and relationships. If we do not, the region could explode into ethnic and religious conflict.
Third, and closer to home, the administration and Congress must untangle themselves from the debate over funding our continued involvement in Iraq. The Iraqis must be jolted into understanding that America's continued commitment of troops and money is not open-ended. Significantly, American leaders in Iraq told me that they believed the debate on this issue in Congress had actually helped them get Iraqi leaders to grasp this point.
I do not like restricting our war policy with conditions or timelines. They are blunt instruments in an area of policy that requires flexibility. But they are some of the few levers Congress has when the majority of Congress and the American people have lost confidence in the president's policy.
We are at a crossroads at home. One option is that Congress can pass and the president can sign a war-funding bill that gives our troops the resources they need and places responsible conditions on that funding that will press the Iraqi government to perform and make the tough choices. President Bush should not see this as a threat from Congress but as a reasonable progression of events after four bloody and costly years.
The other option is that the president can veto the funding bill, Congress can overplay its hand, and both sides can get locked into a political standoff -- with U.S. troops caught in the middle. This would not produce constructive pressure on the Iraqi government to reconcile its differences, and it would ensure that the United States would remain trapped in Iraq, doing ever-greater damage to our force structure and military capabilities. The longer we are bogged down in Iraq, the more difficult and painful it will be to get out. And the deeper we are bogged down in Iraq, the fewer resources we have to devote to the many other important challenges facing America, especially in Afghanistan but also elsewhere around the globe and here at home.
If the war continues to lose support from the American people, the limited options we have today will vanish. The president will be left with a bitter few allies in our party, and we will be forced to withdraw from Iraq in a way that greatly damages U.S. interests in the Middle East and leaves the world far more dangerous than it is today. Forging a bipartisan consensus now that places responsible conditions on U.S. war funding could forestall a time when we have no options. The Baker-Hamilton report could have been the base for that bipartisan consensus.
I came home from my fifth trip to Iraq with one enduring impression. The Iraqi government must make the tough choices now to produce political reconciliation. If there is no such reconciliation in Iraq, there will be no progress -- no matter how many American lives we lose and how much American money we give. We will have squandered our resources and efforts, undermined our interests in the Middle East and, however unintentionally, produced a more dangerous world.
Chuck Hagel, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Nebraska.
Read more at... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/20/AR2007042002007.html