Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hagel Statement on Vote in Favor of War Supplemental Spending Bill

Hagel Statement on Vote in Favor of War Supplemental Spending Bill

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.

Hagel Introduces Legislation to Deal with Illegal Immigrants Living in the U.S.

Hagel Introduces Legislation to Deal with Illegal Immigrants Living in the U.S.

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

Basic Points



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.

Civic Engagement

Points may be earned for community service, having no criminal or civil infractions, and on time payment of taxes.

U.S. Presence

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

Business Ownership

Points awarded if business is sustained for 18 months and alien employs at least 2 non-relative employees.
Up to 10

Advanced Education

Points for college degree or advanced degree.
Up to 15

Home Ownership
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

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.

Commission Overview:

• 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

Memorial Day Mission

Here's an e-mail from Jeremy:

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!

Wondering how to go about any of this? Don't be afraid to ask us for help - !

Let's get to work! We've got a mission to right the direction of our country!


Jeremy Mullen

Sunday, April 22, 2007

In Iraq, All Terribly Familiar

Senator Hagel wrote an op-ed that is in today's Washington Post. This was in response to his recent trip to Iraq.

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.

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Draft Hagel 08

Here are a couple of e-mails I received from Jeremy - webmaster for our Draft Hagel 08 site and store:

The Draft Hagel 08 store now has T-Shirts available! Be sure to
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VIDEOSMany of you have asked that we include videos on our site, and now, we do! Check them out and let us know what you think! Special thanks to Mike Wallach for setting them all up!As always, it's all about numbers. Know 10 people? Have them sign the petition! America deserves the choice!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hagel-Harkin Reintroduce Bill to Fund Federal Commitment to IDEA

Hagel-Harkin Reintroduce Bill to Fund Federal Commitment to IDEA

April 19th, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) reintroduced legislation today to meet the federal government’s commitment to fund 40 percent of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Hagel and Harkin first introduced this legislation in 2001. Cosponsors of the Hagel-Harkin bill include Senators Coleman (R-MN), Collins (R-ME), Dodd (D-CT), Kennedy (D-MA), Lieberman (I-CT), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Roberts (R-KS), Schumer (D-NY), Snowe (R-ME), and Warner (R-VA).

“When the federal government created IDEA it committed to funding 40 percent of the costs. For over 30 years, it has failed to meet its obligation and pushed the costs down to states and local governments. This is wrong and it takes resources away from education needs in each state. While we have made progress in increasing IDEA funding over the last 10 years, the federal government is still not close to meeting its commitment. This bipartisan legislation takes a responsible approach to fixing this problem and freeing up critical education funds in states like Nebraska,” Hagel said.

IDEA guarantees a free and appropriate public education to students with special needs. When Congress passed IDEA in 1975 it pledged to provide states and local school districts with 40 percent of the funding needed to support this mandate. Sen. Hagel has worked to fully fund IDEA since arriving in the Senate in 1997, and under his leadership federal funding for IDEA has increased by $6.9 billion. In Fiscal Year 1998, federal funding for IDEA was $3.8 billion, or 10.5 percent of the authorized level. In Fiscal Year 2007 federal funding for IDEA was $10.7 billion, or 17.2 percent of the authorized level.

Despite efforts from Hagel and Harkin to fully fund IDEA over the last 10 years, federal funds for IDEA have not exceeded 19 percent of the authorized level. This leaves state governments and local school districts to pick up the tab for this federally mandated program, taking away funds for other local education needs.

The Hagel-Harkin bill would fully-fund IDEA in seven years through mandatory annual phased-in spending increases, until federal funding reaches $30.8 billion in Fiscal Year 2015. The bill would free up local and state funds that had previously been used to meet IDEA requirements for other important education priorities. Therefore, as the federal IDEA share grows, local school districts will have increased flexibility for all their education programs.

The Hagel-Harkin bill is supported by the following groups: American Art Therapy Association; American Association of School Administrators; American Association of University Women; American Counseling Association; American Dance Therapy Association; American Federation of Teachers; American Music Therapy Association; American Occupational Therapy Association; American School Counselor Association; American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; Association for Career and Technical Education; Association of University Centers on Disabilities; Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders; Council of Great City Schools; Easter Seals; Higher Education Consortium for Special Education; International Reading Association; Learning Disabilities Association of America; National Alliance of Black School Educators; National Association of Elementary School Principals; National Association of Federally Impacted Schools; National Association of Pupil Services Administrators; National Association of School Psychologists; National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Association of State Directors of Special Education; National Down Syndrome Society; National Education Association; National Parent Teacher Association; National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition; National School Boards Association; People for the American Way; School Social Work Association of America; Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children; The Advocacy Institute.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hagel’s Dilemma

Hagel’s Dilemma
The senator is vague about his political future but clear in his opposition to the Iraq War.
by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Something happened to Sen. Charles T. “Chuck” Hagel on the way to the press conference. The man of seemingly impenetrable defenses and unshakable disposition took the curious step of announcing on March 12 that he had nothing to announce about his much-anticipated run for president, making himself vulnerable to spurned reporters and snarky bloggers for days afterward.

The 60-year-old Nebraska Republican is known for playing it close to the vest but seemed to surprise even his staff with his non-announcement. Deflated supporters did not know what to think when he told reporters at the University of Nebraska event, planned days before, that he was still mulling his options.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hagel: Time for Iraqis to Step Up

Hagel: Time for Iraqis to Step Up

OMAHA, Neb. -- Nebraska U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel is expected back on Monday from a trip to Iraq.

The Republican said that America's support for the war in Iraq has limits.

"We, the U.S., has invested heavily in this country on behalf of the Iraqi people ," Hagel said from Iraq. "And I think it is up to the Iraqi people now to determine their future and money would be forthcoming with some conditions."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hagel, Sununu, Dole and Martinez Re-Introduce Legislation to Reform Oversight of Government Sponsored Enterprises

Hagel, Sununu, Dole and Martinez Re-Introduce Legislation to Reform Oversight of Government Sponsored Enterprises

April 12th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE), John Sununu (R-NH), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) and Mel Martinez (R-FL) re-introduced legislation today to improve oversight of Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE). Similar legislation was introduced in 2003 and 2005. The Senate Banking Committee passed this legislation in both the 108th and 109th Congresses.

“Fannie and Freddie have experienced multi billion dollar accounting restatements, paid millions in bonuses and salaries to their executives, paid millions of dollars in fines to their regulators, and spent over a billion dollars in consulting fees to clean up their financial mess which is still not cleaned up. We need a world class GSE regulator with the authority and resources to responsibly regulate these unaccountable GSEs. Our legislation re-focuses the GSEs on their Congressionally chartered housing mission. Congress must address this issue now,” Hagel said.

“The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s annual report to Congress makes clear that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to raise significant oversight concerns. With taxpayers on the line if either of these businesses fail, this news highlights the need for improved regulation of the GSEs. Fannie and Freddie hold nearly $1.5 trillion in debt; an independent regulator is essential to protect taxpayers and align the GSEs with their core mission. This bill would refocus the GSEs’ practices and investments on affordable housing, thereby reducing overall systemic risk,” Sununu said.

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must be run properly and with adequate transparency and oversight. We will not tolerate an intentionally weak regulator, especially when the stakes are so high for American taxpayers, the housing sector and the economy as a whole,” Dole said.

“The actions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose a serious threat to our nation’s financial system. It’s clear our action is required,” said Martinez. “Congress must act to protect taxpayers and focus the GSEs back on their affordable housing mission. The reforms we propose take bold steps toward strengthening the regulation and supervision of the GSEs.”

The legislation would:

• Create an independent world class regulator to oversee the safety and soundness of the housing enterprises;

• Focus Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s $1.4 trillion portfolios back on their housing mission: to promote affordable housing;

• Give the new regulator the authority to close down a failing GSE and protect against a taxpayer bailout;

• Give the new regulator greater discretion in raising capital standards to protect against insolvency;

• Give the new regulator approval power over new programs and activities proposed by a GSE to hold GSEs to their Congressionally chartered mission;

• Gives the regulator greater authority to limit lucrative severance packages or “golden parachutes” of executives who are removed for cause;

• Require the annual audits of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s affordable housing programs to ensure that these programs support and strengthen the enterprises’ affordable housing mission;
• Strengthens Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s affordable housing goals;

• Require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to improve their financial disclosure;

• Not raise the conforming loan limits; and

• End presidential appointments to the board of directors of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and require all Federal Home Loan Bank directors to be elected by Federal Home Loan Bank members.

Hagel, Clinton Introduce Resolution Marking 75th Anniversary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart

Senators also reintroduce legislation to support National Purple Heart Recognition Day

April 12th, 2007 - WASHINGTON, DC - Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) today are introducing a resolution to recognize the 75th Anniversary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and to commend all recipients of the Purple Heart for their demonstration of heroism on behalf of the United States. Also today, the Senators reintroduced legislation to support “National Purple Heart Recognition Day,” which honors all of those brave service members who were severely injured while serving their country and who were awarded a Purple Heart.

“The men and women of our armed forces who have received the Purple Heart have gone above and beyond the call of duty in order to help preserve America’s freedom. The sacrifices made by these men and women have helped create and strengthen the nation we live in today. ‘National Purple Heart Recognition Day’ is an appropriate way to honor their enormous sacrifices,” Senator Hagel said.

‘National Purple Heart Recognition Day’ reminds all Americans of the tremendous sacrifices our brave men and women in uniform have made in the defense of our nation and also reminds us of the valor and service of all our veterans. I am proud to once again support this honor and to recognize the efforts of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and all that it has done to sustain and encourage support for Purple Heart recipients,” said Senator Clinton.

The Purple Heart was established on August 7, 1782 in Newburgh, NY, during the Revolutionary War, when General George Washington issued an order establishing the Honorary Badge of Distinction, otherwise known as the Badge of Military Merit, or the Decoration of the Purple Heart. The legislation supporting a “National Purple Heart Recognition Day” requests that the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to conduct appropriate ceremonies, activities and programs to demonstrate support for people who have been awarded the Purple Heart medal.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) was founded in 1932 to protect and promote the mutual interests of Purple Heart recipients. MOPH is made up exclusively of Purple Heart recipients and is the only veterans’ service organization that is comprised strictly of combat veterans. The resolution both honors the courageous veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart and encourages the American people to learn more about the Purple Heart and the duty, honor and courage that it symbolizes.

The Order of the Purple Heart for Military Merit, commonly known as the Purple Heart, is the oldest military decoration in the world in present use. The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to members of the Armed Forces who are wounded in conflict with an enemy force, or while held by an enemy force as a prisoner of war, and posthumously to the next of kin of members of the Armed Forces who are killed in conflict with an enemy force, or who die of a wound received in conflict with an enemy force. There are over 1,535,000 recipients of the Purple Heart Medal approximately 550,000 of whom are still living.

Hagel, Sestak to Travel to Iraq

Hagel, Sestak to Travel to Iraq

April 12th, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA) will travel to Iraq this week to examine security, political and economic conditions during a 2-day tour of the country. Senator Hagel and Congressman Sestak will leave on Thursday, April 12th and return on Monday, April 16th. Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, serves on the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees. Sestak, a retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral, serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

“This trip will allow us an opportunity to assess our progress in Iraq and the Middle East and meet with the key leaders of this region. I also look forward to meeting with Nebraska troops serving in Iraq,” Hagel said.

“I appreciate the opportunity to talk with our commanders and the troops that are forward in a continuing assessment of our involvement in Iraq," stated Congressman Joe Sestak. “I am confident that I will be able to use this experience in my work on the House Armed Services Committee and in Congress.”

Hagel and Sestak are scheduled to meet with top U.S. and Iraqi military, government, and diplomatic officials. Hagel will also meet with Nebraska troops serving in the country.

Hagel last traveled to Iraq and the Middle East in December 2005. This will be his fifth visit to Iraq.

Hagel Statement on Secretary Gates’ Announcement Extending Army Deployments from 12 to 15 Months

Hagel Statement on Secretary Gates’ Announcement Extending Army Deployments from 12 to 15 Months

April 11th, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) released the following statement today regarding Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ announcement that U.S. Army deployments will be extended from 12 to 15 months:

“Secretary Gates is right to bring greater predictability and clarity regarding the deployment of our military overseas rather than allowing creeping deployment extensions. However, the Secretary’s announcement extending the deployments of active duty Army units is a stark admission that the Administration’s policies in Iraq are doing permanent damage to our military and a clear acknowledgment that the U.S. military is being forced to ignore its own deployment standards. Maintaining this tempo of operations will have drastic and lasting consequences for our nation’s military readiness and unnecessarily endangers our ability to react to any other crisis in the world. We are on a very dangerous course. That is why Senator Webb and I have called for legislatively-mandated readiness and deployment standards to protect our U.S. military.”

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Comments about the Blog

So, are there any question that anybody has for me? Comments about the blog's set-up? Is the appearance all good? Can everybody see everything OK? (I'm always logged in as an Administrator - so I want to know what the average person thinks).

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Hagel's Speech: Where We Stand On Iraq

Where We Stand On Iraq
Senators Chuck Hagel and Ben Nelson

March 29th, 2007 - This week the Senate is engaged in an important and historic debate about America’s policy in Iraq. Today, we will vote to pass a responsible Iraq War Supplemental spending bill that provides our troops with the support they need and presents a clearly defined U.S. policy in Iraq.

Our troops deserve the continued support of the American people and the support from Congress necessary to see they have the right equipment, training and other resources to carry out their mission. We both appreciate and honor the sacrifices made by more than 40 Nebraskans and 3200 American men and women in Iraq.

We believe the status quo in Iraq is unacceptable and this bill, while not perfect, represents a desperately needed adjustment in our policy. Our most important criteria for supporting this legislation is creating an Iraq war policy that is worthy of the sacrifice of the men and women in the U.S. military.

There has been an enormous amount of disinformation, some of it intentional, on all sides about what the bill we will vote on today does. It is important that Nebraskans understand the facts about what the common sense legislation passed by the Senate does and does not do.

First, the legislation does not:

• cut funding for our troops in the field; or
• require a precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq or set mandatory withdrawal timelines.

The legislation does the following:

• requires the President to limit the U.S. military mission to protecting U.S. and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training and equipping Iraqi forces, and conducting targeted counterterrorism operations;
• requires, within 120 days of enactment, the beginning of the redeployment of U.S. forces not involved in the military mission;
• establishes the goal that, by March 31, 2008, the redeployment of all U.S. forces not involved in the military mission would be complete;
• sets seven political, economic and military benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet “expeditiously and pursuant to a schedule established by the Government of Iraq”;
• requires a report from the President to Congress on the U.S. military’s plan for Iraq, “including strategic and operational benchmarks and projected redeployment dates of U.S. forces from Iraq”; and
• requires a report from the U.S. military commander in Iraq to Congress on Iraqi progress on meeting the seven benchmarks.

Previously, we had both voted against similar legislation because we felt, while an adjustment in our Iraq policy was needed, there were better ways to adjust our policy. We are voting for this legislation today because, given the choices we have between this legislation and the status quo, we believe this legislation is the most responsible course for the U.S. military and our nation’s security.

In addition, during negotiations over this legislation at the Senate Appropriations Committee last week, Senator Nelson was successful in securing an agreement to include provisions that establish measurable benchmarks for the Iraqis to meet and a requirement that the U.S. Commander in Iraq present regular reports to Congress on the Iraqis progress on those benchmarks. Establishing benchmarks is an approach endorsed by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

Our military is under enormous strain from multiple, extended deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. In February, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, reported to Congress that there is now a “significant” risk that the United States military will not be able to respond to an emerging crisis. Both of us spend an enormous amount of our time as senators on issues related to concerns that have arisen from the damage that is being done to our military. This legislation begins to ease the crushing burden we are placing on our military.

The President has said he will veto this bill. That would be unfortunate. Our troops deserve a policy that is worthy of their sacrifice and the American people deserve a policy they can support. We believe it is possible to create an Iraq war policy that can gain bi-partisan support and this legislation is a responsible starting point.

Ultimately, the future of Iraq will be determined by Iraqis—not Americans. As General Petraeus has said, there will be no military solution in Iraq. That reality must guide our thinking. The status quo is unacceptable. Today, we are voting for change.

Hagel-Webb Introduce Amendment to Protect Readiness of U.S. Troops and Limit Deployments

Hagel-Webb Introduce Amendment to Protect Readiness of U.S. Troops and Limit Deployments

March 27th, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced a bipartisan amendment today to the Iraq War supplemental spending bill. The amendment:

• ensures that units and individuals in the Armed Forces be certified as “fully mission capable” 15 days prior to deployment;

• limits the length of overseas deployments of the Army, Marine Corps, and National Guard;

• establishes a minimum time between deployments for the Army, Marine Corps and National Guard;

• provides additional appropriations totaling approximately $3.1 billion to reset Army National Guard and Reserve equipment and to address funding shortfalls for Army National Guard training, operations and maintenance; and to fund the acquisition of additional Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicles for the Marine Corps;

• and requires the President to report to Congress on the comprehensive diplomatic, political and economic strategy of the U.S. regarding Iraq.

“This amendment puts the focus where it should be: on the men and women of our military. No American wants to allow a single soldier or Marine to be deployed without meeting the military’s standard of readiness. Yet that is what we are doing. We are breaking our military and this amendment will help put a stop to it. This amendment is about taking care of our troops,” Hagel said.

“I have long advocated that the U.S. strategy in Iraq should embrace concerted regional and international diplomacy,” said Senator Webb. “This bipartisan amendment will advance efforts to achieve that goal. Moreover, we will take critical and necessary steps to strengthen congressional oversight regarding military readiness and the administration’s policies for deploying and redeploying personnel and units to Iraq. The amendment’s increased appropriations for military readiness and force-protection vehicles reflect a determination to assist our ground forces reverse their worrisome decline in readiness–especially the National Guard in both its domestic and federal missions.”

Friday, April 6, 2007

I'm Back

I arrived back around 9:00 P.M. today. My trip was a LOT of fun. I really hope you enjoyed Jeremy's posts, and I would like to thank him publically for filling in for me. I have a LOT of catching up to do on stuff, so it may be a couple days before I post, but I will try to get one up over the weekend.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Last Post

It has been fun filling in for Nathan this past week, and I hope at least some of you have enjoyed my posts. I believe he will be back on the job on April 7th. Unfortunately, do to a family emergency, I will not be able to post anything new between now and then. Thanks for reading.



Well, is it a surprise that most people, even Republicans want out of Iraq? Not to any Hagel supporters. These are the results of a recent poll question in Iowa:

Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Republicans Only)
Yes 52%
No 39%
Undecided 9%

Now, when you mention "Hagel" and "President" to most people, their response will be that he isn't running. The thing is, this poll makes it pretty obvious that he should. Does anyone else in Washington seem to care as much about the war, it's effect, the soldiers, their families, and the cost? No. He may not be running, but it is our job to change that. Personally, I love my country, as I am sure most others do. Where it is heading is scary, sad, and disappointing. Looking over the field of contenders and potential contenders, there is only one who can bring this great country back to the glory it deserves, and that person is Senator Chuck Hagel. There is no doubt.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Draft Hagel 08 Supporter Comments

Just thought it be a good idea to share some of the feedback that we get at These are just a few of many.

"Senator Hagel is a true American patriot and the right man for the job."

"If the GOP hopes to hang onto the White House in 2008 the party must select a truly conservative nominee who does not approve of President Bush's conduct of the war. I believe Chuck Hagel's military service makes him eminently qualified to lead this nation at this time. Under his leadership the GOP will once again become the peace party."

"Hagel is the one republican I will support."

"As a Republican - I cannot think of a single candidate I would vote for over Sen. Hagel. Above all else, I appreciate his candor and know it is something we desperately need. "

"I strongly urge the good senator from Nebraska to enter the 2008 race. The Republican candidates at this point are not capable of carrying on the Republican message!!!"

If you know someone who supports what Senator Hagel stands for, but has not visited the site to sign the petition yet, what are they waiting for!?! Thanks for your support!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Buttons and Bumper Stickers

Go to, click on the "Draft Hagel 08 Store" button, and order you buttons and bumper stickers in support of urging Senator Hagel to run today!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Chuck Hagel and His Positions

Keep reading things about Chuck Hagel being wrong on his positions, wrong for the R party, wrong for America, so wrong, he may as well switch parties. Why is that? Does anyone outside of politics complain about what he does? Anyone not blinded by what is going on now? Is that why he scares you, because he does what he feels is right? Believing that what is in the interest of the people, this country, and the Constitution that protects it and them, that is the job of a federally elected official. Let's stop crying about Hagel ruining things for people who are not doing the right thing, and let's start holding them accountable. At this point in American history, Chuck Hagel is one of the few elected officials seeing the entire picturing clearly. Just because he's brewing some new Kool Aid doesn't mean you have to drink it, but, realize he's doing it because your's is tainted.