July 24, 2014

Nebraska Democrats accuse Fischer of being “Welfare Rancher” (AUDIO)

Vince Powers addresses reporters during Lincoln news conference.

Nebraska Democrats remain on offense, launching a second set of television ads aimed directly at Deb Fischer, this time calling Fischer a “Welfare Rancher” for using below-market federal leases to graze cattle.

Nebraska Democratic Party National Committeeman Vince Powers discussed the advertising campaign during news conference at both Omaha and Lincoln. The party also held a conference call later in the day to speak with out-state news media.

During the news conference in Lincoln, Powers said Fischer saved as much as $125,000 a year by leasing 12,000 acres of federal land in north-central Nebraska. Fischer operates Sunny Slope Ranch near Valentine with her husband. Her husband’s family obtained the lease rights years ago. Democrats say Fischer’s ranch has paid $244,000 for her cattle to graze on federal land since 1973 while the market value of such grazing rights would total nearly $2.9 million. Democrats claim the break is made available to less thant 1% of Nebraska ranchers and costs taxpayers a total of $120 million a year.

Powers said it is a significant tax break.

“For those of you who have a mortgage and your mortgage is $1,000 a month, if the government says you only have to pay $50 a month, we’ll let the taxpayers pay the rest, that’s Deb Fischer’s deal.” Powers told reporters.

Powers accused Fischer of criticizing welfare on one hand, while benefitting from it on the other. Powers said that has become a trait of the Republicans.

“I’m so sick and tired of these Republicans who put their hands in the taxpayer’s pocket and then when it comes time for somebody who by accident of birth has a single parent, doesn’t have any money, they won’t even give them health insurance,” Powers said. “The Nebraska Democratic Party is the party of free enterprise. We honor work and we don’t think just because you’re a wealthy rancher, you should be pocketing over $100,000 of taxpayer money.”

The television ad campaign will run throughout the state, according to Powers. The first TV ad criticized Fischer for signing a no-tax pledge and opposing a tax increase on the wealthy.

Fischer campaign spokesman, Dan Keylin, released the following statement in response:

“The Democrats have launched a false and misleading smear campaign to distract voters from Bob Kerrey’s strong support for Obamacare and government-run health care in wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

They’re attacking Deb Fischer because they know she’ll repeal Obamacare, support a Balanced Budget Amendment, and she won’t be another vote for the failed economic policies of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi.

Just like the Democrats left out many facts about what was actually in Obamacare, the Democrats conveniently leave out many facts about the federal grazing land leased by the Fischers. First, it is a lease, not a subsidy, and it’s certainly not “welfare.” Second, ranchers are required to pay for additional maintenance costs and abide by strict federal regulations in exchange for leasing the land.

Former Agriculture Secretary and current Senator Mike Johanns agrees that that it’s misleading to call the program a “subsidy,” because it requires substantial activity on the part of the rancher in return for limited use of the land.

While the Democrats and Bob Kerrey run a negative campaign, Deb Fischer will continue to travel across Nebraska to meet with voters and talk about her solutions to get the economy back on track.”

Click here for a link to the Nebraska Democratic Party TV ads against Fischer.

AUDIO: Nebraska Democratic Committeeman Vince Powers discusses latest ad against Deb Fischer. [4:45]