Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.
Join the Fight for Our Future
This week, I launched a new effort to enable Kansans to get involved in the fight to reduce our nation’s growing deficit by learning about the issue, exploring proposed solutions, and providing their feedback directly to Washington. The core of the approach is a new interactive website called Fight For Our Future, www.moran.senate.gov/OurFuture, which features data and infographics describing our government’s true fiscal condition. Site visitors can review specific provisions within debt reduction proposals and vote for those they believe are most effective. They also have an opportunity to co-sign a letter to President Obama urging him to engage Congress and the public in an open, honest and urgent discussion to confront our fiscal challenges. Finally, visitors can share their opinion about why spending cuts are essential to our country’s future.
On Tuesday, I delivered a speech on the Senate floor to highlight this new effort and communicate to the President and my colleagues in Congress that it’s time to have a responsible discussion on spending. We must ultimately do what Kansans do: Make decisions based on solid values and be held accountable for those decisions. If we fail to take action now and leave it for a future President and Congress to solve, we will reduce the opportunities of the next generation to experience the country we know and love, and we will diminish their chances to pursue the American Dream. I stand ready to work with my colleagues in Congress toward a solution, and am hopeful that Kansans will utilize the Fight For Our Future site to join the effort to achieve meaningful spending reduction and reform.
A Phone Call on the Debt with Thousands of Kansans
Another element of my initiative to engage Kansans in the Fight for Our Future was a town hall meeting via telephone on Wednesday night. It was an opportunity for folks to share their thoughts on our country’s overspending and weigh in on the proposals being considered by Congress. I heard from many Kansans who are concerned about the direction of our country and am grateful for the conversation, to everyone who listened in, and to those who left messages with my office following the call. If you did not participate in the call and would like to share your thoughts on how to address the challenges we face, please visit my website to contribute: www.moran.senate.gov/OurFuture.
Calling on the President to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline
On Wednesday, I called on President Obama and the State Department to authorize the Keystone XL Pipeline project after the announcement that Gov. Dave Heineman (R-Neb.) had approved a new route through Nebraska. We cannot afford to further delay long-term energy security, and unemployed Americans with the skills to construct this important project should not be forced to wait any longer for jobs. The President has already spent more than four years reviewing the Keystone XL permit and conducting two comprehensive environmental evaluations of the project. Approval would put Kansans and Americans to work and provide an opportunity to grow local, state and national economies while taking a vital step toward energy security. The original Keystone pipeline already moves crude oil from Steele City, Neb., to the processing facility in Cushing, Okla. The Keystone XL Pipeline would use the existing infrastructure to safely move crude through Kansas. I will continue my efforts to get the new portion of the pipeline operational. Click here to read more about my call on the President.
First Senate Leadership Press Conference
On Tuesday, I participated in my first weekly Senate Republican Leadership Press Conference as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, where I spoke about the greatest responsibility facing elected officials in Washington: tackling the national debt and deficits. The first step toward righting America’s fiscal course is passing a budget and sticking to it. It is thought to be compassionate to spend money – how can it be compassionate to spend money that’s not yours, that is the next generation’s? Click here to watch my remarks at the press conference in their entirety.
Senate Rules Reform
After several weeks of some Senate Democrats threatening to take unprecedented action and unilaterally change the rules of the Senate in order to deprive the minority party and its constituents of their right to have their voices heard, Republican opposition to this action was successful, and a bipartisan rules reform agreement was reached on Thursday.
The new rules, which were agreed to with strong support from both parties, preserve the right of Republicans and Democrats to fully participate in the legislative process and to use the filibuster when necessary. These rule changes – if met with changes in behavior – will help us return to the days when healthy debate and a fair amendment process made the Senate the most unique and efficient legislative body in the world. Now that this rules debate is behind us, I am eager for the Senate to begin to address our national debt and the other important, difficult challenges we face as a nation.
Delivering Remarks at State of the Net Technology Policy Conference
On Tuesday, I joined technology policy thought leaders for the 9th Annual State of the Net Conference hosted by the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus. State of the Net is the largest tech policy conference in Washington, D.C., and the event provides an opportunity to discuss many important technology issues including broadband expansion, online privacy, copyright and cyber security. Many of these regulatory issues are important to the future growth of our digital economy, one of the fastest-growing sectors of both the Kansas and U.S. economies. I was honored to deliver a keynote address to kick off the conference and outline my thoughts on ways we can increase innovation and provide our nation’s entrepreneurs with the environment they need to succeed. To watch a video of my comments, please click here. Thanks to Internet Education Foundation Executive Director Tim Lordan for the opportunity to participate. Click here to see a photo from the event.
Meeting with Secretary of Defense Nominee on Kansas Issues
Also on Wednesday, I hosted former-U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), the President’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, for a conversation on issues relevant to military activities in Kansas and our national security in my Washington, D.C., office. I asked for Sen. Hagel’s views on a number of issues like the impact of Sequestration on defense programs, our relationship with Israel, and turmoil in the Middle East including concerns with Iran’s nuclear agenda and chaos in Syria.
During the meeting, we also discussed the important role of Kansas military installations and facilities. Sen. Hagel was very familiar with the Big Red One at Fort Riley, as well as the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. I let the Secretary of Defense nominee know that the United States Air Force has recognized the critical role Kansas plays in our national security and global air mobility by selecting McConnell Air Force Base (AFB) in Wichita as a finalist for the Formal Training Unit and Main Operation Base #1, as well as Forbes Airfield in Topeka as a finalist for Main Operation Base #2 for the KC-46A tanker program. I was glad to have the opportunity to advocate for Kansas tanker bases and asked Sen. Hagel to be mindful of the critical role they play in our national security.
I also made sure Sen. Hagel was aware of the negotiation process involving the U.S. Army and the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant operated by Day & Zimmerman near Parsons which could impact as many as 150 employees. I am hopeful negotiations can proceed and a solution will be found to protect workers in the Parsons community. I look forward to a fair and thorough hearing and nomination process for the Secretary of Defense nominee. Click here to see a photo from my meeting with Sen. Hagel.
Speaking at the Wichita Aero Club Gala
On Saturday, I presented the Wichita Aero Club Trophy to Airbus Americas Engineering and its vice president of engineering, John O’ Leary. I was glad to have the opportunity to celebrate the contributions Airbus has made over the past 10 years to the Wichita community and to our state.
Airbus currently employs 350 people in Wichita who help design parts for every Airbus product in the sky. As the “Air Capitol of the World,” Wichita is proud to be Airbus’ first and largest engineering and design facility outside Europe. Airbus has grown significantly over the past decade and is still growing. In fact, Airbus is looking to increase the work it does with Kansas businesses. Given our economy’s struggles the last few years, this is a tough time for many businesses. You know when you hear a company is expanding and taking on more work, they must be doing something right. This kind of success does not come about without strong leadership, and I commend John and the entire Airbus team on their achievements.
The Wichita Aero Club exists to foster and promote interest in aviation, provide a forum that focuses on the industry’s issues and achievements, and bring together those with a passion for flight in an environment that expands and enhances professional relationships. Thanks to Wichita Aero Club President Dave Franson for inviting me to honor Airbus at this year’s gala. Click here to see a photo from the event.
Speaking to Leaders in the Commodities Industry
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to address the Commodity Markets Council’s (CMC) 2013 State of the Industry kickoff dinner. Attendees of this annual conference are active participants in the industries that get our Kansas exports to market. As the 113th Congress gets underway, and with my seat on the Senate Banking Committee and my Ranking Member position on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, I look forward to further engagement with these groups as we work promote economic growth. Thanks to CMC President Sanjeev Joshipura and Kansas City Board of Trade’s Jeff Borchardt for making my visit possible.
Kansans Join the 40th March for Life
Once again, this week saw hundreds of Kansans travel to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life on January 25th. This event gives Americans from all parts of the country the opportunity to come together to advocate for the inherent dignity of every human life, especially life in its most innocent form. The right to life is fundamental and deserves our protection. I am grateful for the many Kansas students and their chaperones for taking time from their schedules to make the long bus ride to Washington to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
I was able to greet some of the participants from the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, when they arrived in Washington. It was inspiring to see their enthusiasm as they braved freezing cold temperatures. It was refreshing to hear their idealism and desire to move our country forward in a positive direction. As a new term of Congress begins, these Kansans reinforce my commitment to promoting the dignity of all human life. Click here to see a photo from the March for Life.
In the Office
This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office including the Kansans listed below:
Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics
Randall O’Donnell, Kansas City
Sandra Lawrence, Kansas City
Genny Nicholas, Kansas City
Dallas Polen, Kansas City
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Dr. Down Porter, Kansas City
Charles Milhuff, Topeka
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Tribal Council
Thomas Wabnum, Mayetta
Many Kansans stopped by to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol this week including:
Perry and Janet Weis
Christie and Warren Sims
Rod and Karen Landrum
Barry and Nancy Carroll
Honored to Serve You in Washington
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. In recent weeks, I’ve been listening to Kansans calling and writing in to share their thoughts and opinions on the debt crisis and big issues our country faces. Whether your thoughts are in the form of letter, a Facebook comment or a phone call, please know that I am listening and I appreciate messages from Kansans who wish to make their voice heard.
Very truly yours,
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