MEMO: What you need to know about Deb Fischer

To: Interested Parties
From: American Bridge 21st Century
Date: 5/18/2012
RE:What You Need To Know About Deb Fischer

Thanks to the more than $250,000 investment from billionaire Joe Rickett’s super PAC, Deb Fischer won a surprising last-person-standing victory in Nebraska’s Republican senate primary. But now Nebraskans are left wondering: who is their Republican nominee? As an untested, unknown, unscrutinized candidate, Deb Fischer didn’t “win” on Tuesday, her opponents lost. But now that she will be the Republican standard bearer in the most high profile race in the state, her record, votes, and positions will be thoroughly vetted by voters.

While no means exhaustive, below is a quick primer on what you need to know about Deb Fischer.

Social Security

Fischer Said Raising Retirement Age For Social Security Or Lowering Benefit Cap “Has to Be Discussed.” “Fischer also touched on social security and Medicare, saying the system isn’t sustainable as it is. Will it take raising the age of eligibility or lowering the benefit cap? ‘It has to be discussed. Anything’s on the table if it is a reasonable proposal. But all these things have to be debated. That’s the problem right now, nothing is being debated. If we truly want to work through these issues, that needs to happen. And I’m frustrated watching all this non-debate and all we hear are sound bites and scare tactics. I think that representatives should want to be in public service to find solutions to these problems.’” [York News Times, 8/17/11]

Education

Fischer Endorsed Repeal Of No Child Left Behind Act. “Senate candidate Deb Fischer lined out three main points to help streamline the federal government and said she’s excited about the next few weeks leading up to the May primary in the Senate race Thursday… Expanding exports would be one way to expand business opportunities she said. She also said she supports a repeal of both No Child Left Behind and the Affordable Health Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.” [North Platte Telegraph, 4/27/12]

Fischer Viewed State Funding Cuts For Public Schools As Preferable Alternative To Tax Increase. “State Senators Tom Hansen and Deb Fischer talked Monday about what they foresee in the next legislative session… Fischer talked about state cuts in funding to schools. ‘Going forward, we need to be honest with our local government and people, that we cannot continue funding at levels they were expecting,’ she said. ‘Unless we raise taxes.’ Which she said she and most constituents she’s talked to don’t want to see.” [North Platte Telegraph, 10/18/11]

Taxes

Fischer Was Attacked For Supporting Gas Tax Increase In State Legislature. “Attorney General Jon Bruning is not acting like the U.S. Senate race is a done deal. The Republican frontrunner unleashed a negative television advertisement Thursday aimed at his two chief rivals, the same week that polls have shown the race tightening in the final stretch before Tuesday’s primary election… The latest Bruning ad is the first time Fischer has been targeted by Bruning’s camp. In the ad, Bruning criticizes Fischer for supporting a gas tax increase in 2008 to fund road construction. Years later, she got a bill passed through the Nebraska Legislature that allocated a portion of the current state sales tax for roads.” [Omaha World-Herald, 5/11/12]

Planned Parenthood

Fischer Criticized Obama Administration For Financial Assistance To New Hampshire Planned Parenthood, Called For An End To All Federal Funding For Organization. “State senator and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer is highly critical of the Obama administration’s decision to directly fund Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire. Fischer said the White House is bypassing the will of the people. ‘The President is directly intervening in local matters,’ she said. In June, New Hampshire’s Republican-controlled Executive Council narrowly voted 3-2 to prevent Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s six New Hampshire clinics from receiving $1.8 million in federal and state family planning funds. The council cited Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices in making its decision. Faced with the funding challenge, Planned Parenthood – which donated more than $350,000 to the President’s party in 2008 – turned to the Obama Administration for help, Fischer said. The White House said it had to act quickly because the Executive Council left 16,000 families without services that range from birth control to exams for breast or cervical cancer… ‘In an era of tightened spending, the federal government definitely should not be funding organizations like Planned Parenthood,’ Fischer said.” [North Platte Bulletin, 9/19/11]

Federal Agricultural Subsidies

Fischer Owned Ranch That Benefited From Federal Grazing Subsidy Worth $110,000 Over Seven Months Every Year. “Republican U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer and her husband, Bruce, are among a handful of Nebraska ranchers whose cattle graze on federal land at prices some say amounts to a significant federal giveaway… As a rancher, Fischer has benefited from a federal program that environmentalists and others describe as an expensive subsidy that needs to be trimmed or eliminated. The Fischers lease 11,724 acres of federal land in north-central Nebraska for about $4,700 for seven months — paying about $110,000 less than the market rate for private land in Cherry County.” [Omaha World Herald, 10/23/11]

Fischer Benefited From Federal Grazing Program That Costs Taxpayers About $140 Million Annually. “Managing federal lands for the grazing program costs federal taxpayers about $140 million a year and the government collects about $21 million in grazing fees, according to a 2005     report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.” [Omaha World Herald, 10/23/11]

Fischer Refused To Take Position On Federal Grazing Subsidy Program. “Asked if the     grazing rights should be put up for public auction, Fischer said she     would have to research the matter. ‘I try to be open-minded on all issues,’ she said.” [Omaha World Herald, 10/23/11]

Campaign Fundraising

Fischer Raised Over $25,000 From Industries She Oversaw In State Legislature, Including General Contractors Who Benefited From Road Construction Bill That She Sponsored. “But Bruning’s camp says he’s been fighting EPA regulations since 2003 at the request of Nebraska’s public utilities to protect the state’s cheap, reliable electricity. And they point out the fact that both Fischer and Stenberg receive contributions from industries they oversee. As chair of the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, Fischer has received $13,300 from general contractors, $12,000 from telephone utilities and $2,750 from telecommunications companies – all industries that her committee oversees. Fischer pushed through a road construction bill last session that will benefit general contractors – the fifth biggest industry supporting her candidacy, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Fischer’s spokesman said she is supported by Nebraskans who like her fiscally conservative, pro-growth policies.” [Nebraska Watchdog, 4/9/12]

National Defense Authorization Act

Deb Fischer Blames Intrusive Provisions of NDAA on Illegal Immigration
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L24Jitiy-hI
At the Republican Liberty Caucus, Deb Fischer is asked for her opinions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, and its provisions allowing the military to indefinitely hold American citizens without trial. She responded by saying she was uncomfortable with the military holding that degree of power, but if the US government paid more attention to its border security and illegal immigration, the NDAA wouldn’t be an issue.

“I’m concerned with the military having that kind of power here on our soil, and against our citizens. But I think we need to go to the root cause of the problem: let’s talk about immigration. We don’t have secure borders. That’s a problem. We don’t know who’s coming in this country and what they’re bringing in this country. That’s a problem. We’re fighting a war on terrorism, we need to provide our military with the tools they need. But if we could control our borders, as the federal government has the responsibility to do, and secure those borders, that is our national defense, which is the top priority of this federal government, we wouldn’t even have to talk about giving the military that kind of power in this country. So we need to attack the root of the problem. We need to secure the borders. We need to protect the citizens of this country. The federal government needs to do its job in protecting the citizens of this country, not giving them more power to violate our rights.”

Tea Party

Deb Fischer: “Thank Heavens” for the Tea Party
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkkvanrffAw
Deb Fischer believes that the Tea Party has “done a good service for the country in point out the deficit. Basically, the rest of us should be kind of ashamed of ourselves that we let this go on, and thank heavens someone brought it up to our attention.”

Stand Your Ground

Deb Fischer on Stand Your Ground laws
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdYwBdQrYiw
Deb Fischer is asked if she would support a federal Stand Your Ground Law, and if pressed, whether she would shoot to defend herself. She responds by defending her record on Second Amendment rights – including co-sponsoring a bill on carrying concealed weapons, and promoting hunter-mentoring program.

Regarding the Stand Your Ground law, she explained that a similar bill was in the NE legislature – “[The law] involved not only your homes, and being able to protect your homes and your family, but also your vehicle. And I would support that. Could I pull the trigger? If I was defending my family, yes.”

Retirement Age

Deb Fischer on Raising the Retirement Age, York News Times 08-16-2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drf9TnqaUzE
In an interview with the York News Times, Deb Fischer is asked about her thoughts on Social Security reform, and the possibility of raising the retirement age or adjusting the cap on Social Security. Fischer responds by saying that there are many options for reform, but she expresses displeasure with the way Congress has been making reforms and debating possible solutions.

Fischer: I think anything’s on the table. If it’s a reasonable proposal, they have to be debated. That’s a problem we’ve had with Congress now. Nothing’s debated. Nothing’s debated anymore.

National Debt

Deb Fischer: “We should be ashamed that China owns this country”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVbzblEw2ts
At a July 3, 2011 event in Nebraska, an American Bridge tracker filmed Deb Fischer saying that the United States should be “ashamed” of the $15 trillion national debt.

“We should be ashamed that China owns this country. We should be ashamed that we have to pay off the Chinese.”