Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hagel’s Statement on the Retirement of Major General Roger Lempke

Hagel’s Statement on the Retirement of Major General Roger Lempke

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.

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Hagel Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve VA Services for Blind Veterans

Hagel Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve VA Services for Blind Veterans
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.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Draft Hagel 08 e-mail update

Draft Hagel 08 Supporter:

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


Hagel Introduces Comprehensive Energy Reform Legislation

Hagel Introduces Comprehensive Energy Reform Legislation

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.

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Press Release Update

Hehehe! The Senator's office kinda died down on press releases, and I had exams and college orientation, so it's been a while since the last update.

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.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hagel's Iraq Plan Would've Worked Today

Today, the Turks came into Iraq with tanks to chase Kurdish Guerrillas. Had we have implemented Senator Hagel's plan of moving U.S. troops to the border and let Iraq forces deal with civil unrest, this wouldn't have happened. This just shows you that the path we are on currently in Iraq is a wrong one, and we need to switch what we're doing.

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