Sen. Deb Fischer says she wants to set a different tone as chairwoman of a subcommittee.
Fischer chairs the Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security Subcommittee, part of the Commerce, Senate, and Transportation Committee.
Fischer says she wants her sub-committee to listen.
“You have these committee hearings and it’s the Senators who give these long, long statements. It’s sometimes Senators who really grill witnesses,” Fischer tells Nebraska reporters. “I have always found committee hearings to be the most beneficial to me when I can get information from people.”
Fischer says she wants her subcommittee to engage in respectful dialogue both with those who appear before it and among the Senators themselves. She likens it to the approach she took in the Unicameral in which she chaired the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.
Fischer received the chairmanship after Republicans took control of the majority in the Senate.
Fischer complained during her first two years in Washington that the Democratic leader, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, blocked legislation from coming to the floor and limited debate. She claimed he did it for political reasons.
“You know, you all heard me say I want a Senate that’s working, that’s doing its job, that is a legislature that is following the legislative process,” Fischer says. “It’s exciting to be able to bring up amendments, and (have) discussion, debate them, and to vote on them. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. We’re here to do the people’s business and address the big issues before us.”
Fischer, who has been in the United States Senate for two years, has a greater voice in what big issues the Senate tackles. The new Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, has chosen Fischer to be on his leadership team. Fischer will be among a handful of Republicans expected to provide counsel to McConnell.
“It’s an honor to be chosen, being from Nebraska, being able to have Nebraska at the table to express the views of my constituents and hopefully help guide the direction that the Senate will go.”