February 22, 2017

Dear Friend,

Thank you to General Hyten and the USSTRATCOM leadership team for being such gracious hosts and providing an update on the missions you lead. 

Thank you for subscribing and welcome to the first edition of the Bacon Brief! As your representative, I would like to remain as transparent as possible and I believe this newsletter could be a way to help achieve that goal. The world is brighter than it seems and steps are being taken every day to tackle the problems we face. Yet while we discuss the bad, let us celebrate the good. I would also like to use this newsletter to highlight some of the positive changes being made across the district and sing praise to those making it happen. Again, thank you for subscribing and please feel free to reach out any time.

The District

The timeless cliché, “time flies when you’re having fun” certainly applies to my first 30 days in office.  Over the past month, I have spent as much time as possible, when in the District, meeting with many of you. In fact, the last weekend I was home I had 24 community events in 4 days. Here are a few of the highlights:

I met with members of the healthcare community including representatives of various area health systems. We discussed long-term care and the future of Medicaid; the Accelerating Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act of 2015 and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). I also visited with the staff at One World Community Health and learned about their services and commitment to providing quality community healthcare. Meeting with executives at Home Instead, I learned about caring for our elderly at home. My father-in-law currently resides with Angie and I and requires assistance, so it was insightful to hear how we can enable our elderly to remain in their homes. Finally, I met with parents of children with juvenile diabetes and learned how vital research is to their healthcare. 

Members of the agricultural industry voiced their concerns about crop insurance under the Farm Bill while others explained how Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased business and personal costs to an unsustainable level. Agricultural income is down 45 percent from three years ago. Our agricultural industry is struggling and a fiscally responsible Farm Bill is a must. Our farmers are the best in the world and due to their great work and efficiency, we spend less than 10 percent of our income on food.

Healthcare is also a concern of small businesses here in Omaha. Small businesses in America account for 55 percent of all jobs and many of them have been forced to change how they do business because of the ACA. I met with small business owners and the staff of the Nebraska Enterprise Fund, to include Yolanda Diaz, the owner of the 2016 Nebraska Small Business of the Year Little Miss Fashion. They were all interested in plans for regulatory relief, tax cuts and healthcare reform. I also spoke with members of the community who are concerned about future immigration policy. One young man I spoke with lives and works in Omaha under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) after being brought to the United States as an infant from Mexico by his parents.

As someone who spent nearly 30 years serving our country in the Air Force, I am especially concerned with the quality and timeliness of care our veterans are receiving. I spent time with the Director of the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Omaha, Don Burman, who took me on a tour of the facility. We also discussed the new VA Hospital that will start construction soon. Additionally, I am working on solutions to concerns with our national security and recently attended a briefing with General John Hyten and his staff at U.S. Strategic Command Headquarters regarding their top priorities and requirements. 

I also worry about the readiness capabilities of our military. Our Vice Chiefs have called our military a hollowed force. This is unacceptable. As of now, 56 percent of our aircraft are not capable of flight, and only 3 of the 58 Army Combat Brigades can be deployed. Readiness is a deterrent, and will be a key focus of mine while in Congress.

Finally, I was able to spend time learning more about the many cultures within our community, including a celebration of the Vietnamese and Chinese New Years. I also had the pleasure to honor Dr. Carol Mitchell at Morning Star Baptist Church and present her with an Official Record of the speech I gave recently on the House Floor recognizing her for African-American History Month. Dr. Mitchell has been a tremendous influence in the lives of thousands of students and teachers, specifically in the area of science. She is a true hero in our community.

I look forward to the many community meetings and events scheduled in the coming weeks to hear more insights from the constituents of the Second Congressional District.

Working in Washington

Since being sworn in on January 3rd of this year, the 115th Congress has made considerable strides in reining in an overbearing federal government. H.R. 26, the REINS Act, and H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, both act as tools to rollback the mounds of cumbersome red tape that is smothering our small business community.

As a part of my plan to reform spending, I have cosponsored H.J. Res 2, a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Our spending is out of control and only increasing. We must be willing to put a cap on spending and rein in an out of control federal government.

I am also a cosponsor of H.J. Res 6, proposing a Constitutional Amendment instituting term limits for Members of Congress. This resolution would mandate that no member of the House of Representatives can serve more than three terms, and no member of the Senate should serve more than two terms. It is a vital step in ensuring we reform Washington for the better.

Before entering office I vowed to support reforms to ensure single subject bills. I have since cosponsored H.R. 395, the One Subject at a Time Act, introduced by Representative Mia Love from Utah. As the title suggests, this legislation will guarantee that every bill introduced will refrain to only one subject at a time.

Teaming up with Representative David Young of Iowa, we introduced H.R. 300, Sarah's Law, in honor of Sarah Root, who was killed last year by an illegal immigrant in Omaha, Nebraska. This law will act to ensure that undocumented immigrants who commit violent crimes will be placed into the custody of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Small Business Committee, and Agricultural Committee, I will work to enhance our military-readiness, cut costs and create opportunity for small businesses, and support our thriving agricultural industry.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to visit our website at www.bacon.house.gov.

In humble service,

Don Bacon

Member of Congress
Nebraska's Second Congressional District

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