Kansas Common Sense

Kansas Common Sense
By U.S. Senator Jerry Moran
March 7, 2011

Dear Friend,                                                                                                                                      

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 you think it would interest them as well.

EADS Drops Fight for Tanker, Ends Decade-Long Delay 
Kansas Hospitals Selected for Rural Demonstration Program 
McPherson Gets Waiver to Excel in Education 
Debating Deficit Cuts on Borrowed Time 
Questioning Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke 
Sponsoring the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 
Department of Homeland Security Shares Commitment to NBAF 
Speaking to Kansans about Iranian Threat 
Statewide Listening Tour 
Upcoming Stops 
In the Office

EADS Drops Fight for Tanker, Ends Decade-Long Delay

On Friday we got the news that European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) would not appeal the U.S. Air Force’s decision regarding the $35 billion U.S. Air Force KC-X aerial refueling tanker contract. As you know, last week the U.S. Air Force announced its decision to award the contract to the Boeing Company.

This decision means American tax dollars will be used to create American jobs. It represents true Kansas common sense, and is the result of tireless efforts by the entire Kansas Congressional delegation. Over the last 10 years there have been countless conversations, phone calls, letters and bills to promote a fair tanker competition and make sure the right choice was made for America's military, taxpayers and workers.

The decade of delay is finally over. I am relieved that our airmen and women and our Kansas workers can now look to the future with certainty. Replacing the aging tanker fleet with the next-generation Boeing tanker is essential to the security of our country and safety of our troops, and is a much-needed economic boost to our state. To read more about the Boeing tanker contract and the work of the Kansas delegation, click here to visit my website.

Kansas Hospitals Selected for Rural Demonstration Program

This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) selected 19 hospitals to participate in the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration program, which provides reimbursements to qualifying rural hospitals that better reflect the true cost of providing care to Medicare patients. I was happy to learn that four Kansas hospitals – Mercy Health Center-Fort Scott; Mercy Hospital-Independence; Geary Community Hospital in Junction City; and Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital in Ulysses – were selected to participate in the program. 

Originally authorized in 2003, the program assists rural hospitals with the challenges of caring for an increasingly aging population across a wide geographic area. However, Kansas was not initially selected as one of the states to participate in the Program. Several Kansas hospitals appeared to meet all the necessary criteria to be considered for participation, but Kansas was not eligible. In 2009, I introduced legislation in the House, the Enhanced Rural Health Care Extension Act, to allow Kansas hospitals to be considered for participation in the Program. I also met with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to advocate this cause. I am pleased the program was expanded to include Kansas and I commend these four hospitals and their administrators and staffs on their successful applications.   

McPherson Gets Waiver to Excel in Education

This week, McPherson Unified School District 418 (USD 14) was notified by the U.S. Department of Education that USD 418’s request for a waiver from certain requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) – the primary source of federal aid to K-12 education – was approved. This waiver, which is the first of its kind in the nation, will allow USD 418 to implement a locally-designed innovative plan called “C3 - Citizenship, College and Career Readiness” to ensure students learn the skills needed for college and the workplace. 

Instead of federally mandated standardized assessment tests, students will now take a series of ACT tests, which are proven to assess students’ readiness for college or a career. ACT benchmarks represent a higher standard than NCLB assessment standards.  This waiver is great news for McPherson and Kansas, and sets a precedent that will resonate in school districts across the country. 

As a member of the House, I opposed passage of NCLB because I believe a “one-size-fits-all” federally-mandated approach to education is not the best approach for Kansas students. Kansas schools have no problem being held accountable; they simply ask the federal government afford them sufficient flexibility to tailor education plans to the unique needs of their students. Rather than being forced to teach to a standardized test, McPherson can now raise the bar and focus on preparing students for careers and higher education. I commend Superintendent Randy Watson, McPherson teachers and administrators, and many others for their years of hard work in designing the C3 plan and their commitment to Kansas students. Click here to read more.

Debating Deficit Cuts on Borrowed Time

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a “continuing resolution” that would keep the government open and funded through March 18 while reducing federal spending by $4 billion over the next two weeks. As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and one of the few members of Congress to vote against every stimulus and bailout bill, I have hope both houses of Congress can come together to confront the fiscal crisis facing our nation. We can and should do what Kansans do every day: make decisions based on uncompromising integrity and accountability.

The best way to get our debt under control is to set a budget and stick to it – no excuses. The Senate took a first step, but when we’re borrowing more than $5 billion a day, $4 billion in cuts is nothing to write home about. The reductions in the two-week extension must be sustained. We need to get the issue of last year’s spending behind us so we can do the real work of adopting a budget to reduce the deficit next year and into the future. Let’s get to work.

Questioning Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

On Tuesday, I participated in the Senate Banking Committee hearing where Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered his semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress. Every six months, the chairman of the Federal Reserve is required to come before Congress and explain its actions on monetary policy. As a member of the committee, I had the opportunity to question the chairman about the state of the American economy from his perspective.  Over the course of the hearing, Chairman Bernanke repeatedly said the biggest threat to our country’s long-term health is the national debt.

For the past several months, the Federal Reserve has engaged in a bond-purchasing program called quantitative easing (QE). This is the second round of quantitative easing, commonly referred to as QE2, undertaken by the central bank this year. This practice dramatically increases the amount of U.S. dollars in circulation and poses a great risk of inducing inflation. While QE2 has not caused the inflation it is capable of, the recent rise in the cost of oil and food across the globe threatens to destabilize this balance. The central bank of Japan engaged in a similar bond-purchasing program within their own economy several years ago which resulted in a price bubble that the island nation has not yet recovered from.

The conversations that I have had with lenders and small business owners reveal that an uncertain regulatory environment has stunted economic growth. Financial institutions are not lending money because the government continues to change the rules by which they must comply. Small businesses are unable to expand their operations and hire new employees because they do not have access to the capital necessary to grow. I will continue to press upon my colleagues in Congress that reducing the burden on lenders and small businesses, while reducing the national debt, is the quickest way to bring our country back to economic prosperity. Click here to watch a clip from the hearing on my YouTube page.

Sponsoring the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011

On Thursday, I joined many of my colleagues in introducing the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011. This legislation would stop President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) back-door cap-and-trade regulations. These regulations will undercut efforts to create jobs and further erode America's global competitiveness - especially in the agriculture and energy sectors.

The last thing Americans need is a national energy tax that would kill more jobs. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate greenhouse gases, and the EPA must be stopped from making decisions that circumvent Congress. We should do everything we can to create jobs and grow our economy - that includes stopping unelected bureaucrats from raising energy costs and using regulatory red tape to raise taxes and increase government intrusion into the lives of Americans.

Department of Homeland Security Shares Commitment to NBAF

During a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security hearing this week on President Obama’s budget request for next year, I had the opportunity to ask Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano about the future of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) to be built in Manhattan. Biological threats to our nation’s agriculture sector and food supply are very real, whether introduced into our country naturally, accidentally or deliberately. NBAF is urgently needed to accelerate the development of vaccines and treatments to stop foreign animal disease outbreaks.

I was pleased to hear Secretary Napolitano shares my commitment to ensuring the construction of this modern lab moves forward in order to safely conduct critical research to protect our nation. The president’s fiscal year 2012 budget request includes resources to begin NBAF construction, and I asked my colleagues on the committee to support this national security priority. Click here to view a video clip from the hearing.

Speaking to Kansans about Iranian Threat

I spoke to Kansans Sunday about efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability at the Kansas City Israel Action Forum in Overland Park. Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report that showed Iran has enough low enriched uranium that if further processed, could build three atomic weapons. Since passage last year of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, I have been working to make sure the sanctions put into law are being enforced. On Friday, I asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton how the State Department plans to respond to recent reports that Chinese companies are investing in Iranian oilfields in violation of U.S. law. Robust enforcement of sanctions is the best tool we have to persuade Iran to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons and I will continue to hold the Administration accountable.

Thanks to Kansas City Israel Action Forum Co-chairs John Isenberg and Bonnie Siegel and all those who served on the Forum Committee for welcoming me at this event. Thanks also to Miriam Glueck, Michael Lerner, Larry Nussbaum and Steve Graham for their hospitality.

Statewide Listening Tour

I continued my listening tour this week at the Johnson County Community College (JCCC) in Johnson County. I had the honor of being joined by Senator Pat Roberts and third district Congressman Kevin Yoder. Over two hundred citizens stopped by to share their thoughts on issues they are passionate about. We discussed a range of topics, including the federal budget and impact of budget cuts on important programs, the effect of the new health care law on businesses, and burdensome federal regulations which make running a small business even tougher. I understand their concerns and will continue to bring the common sense of Kansans to the policies in Washington, DC. Thank you to Dr. Terry Calaway, JCCC President for hosting the event, Dr. Joe Sopcich, Executive Vice President, Administrative Services for the kind introduction and Deb Knudtson, Manager of Conference Services who helped plan the event. 

Johnson County Listening Tour Stop

Johnson County Listening Tour Stop

Upcoming Stops

This month, I will be continuing my statewide listening tour. Please find more information about my upcoming town hall meetings below. If you’re nearby, I encourage you to stop by to share your thoughts.

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Rush County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Downtown Rush Center before and after the 22nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Address: Downtown, Rush Center
Time: 2:15-3:15 PM

Monday, March 21, 2011
Harvey County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Charlie’s Restaurant, Newell Truck Plaza
Address: 200 Manchester Avenue, Newton, KS
Time: 12:30-1:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sherman County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Western State Bank
Address: 815 Center St., Goodland KS
Time: 11:00 a.m.-Noon (MST)

In the Office

One of the things I enjoy most is meeting with Kansans who have traveled to Washington to see their capital city and share their thoughts and concerns with me. This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office from across the state including:

Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center and Regional Information Sharing Systems

Captain Michael Utz of Garden City, Garden City Police Department

Darin Altenburg of Topeka, KS Racing and Gaming Commission

Child Health Corporation of America

Jeff Primovic of Shawnee Mission

John VanEeckhout of Shawnee Mission

University of Kansas

Bernadette Gray Little of Lawrence

Keith Yehle of Lawrence

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

Michael Sokol of Overland Park

Fort Hays State University Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs

Jolene Niernberger of Hays

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Melissa Hague of Wichita

Ashley Robbins of Andover

Lupus Foundation of America

Ruth Busch of Wichita

Michelle Chippeaux-Kammerer of Wichita

American Associations of Museums

Rebecca Bush of Pratt

Arthritis Foundation

Hayley Koontz of Benton

Sandra Koontz of Benton

Stephen Koontz of Benton

Parkinson’s Action Network

Angela Lawrence of Leawood

Kansas State University

President Kirk Schulz of Manhattan

Sue Peterson of Manhattan

Heartland Surgical Specialty Hospital

Don Burman of Overland Park

Federico Gonzalez of Overland Park

Salina Surgical Hospital

Jolene Glavin of Salina

Sporting Good Manufacturers Association

Tom Rogge of Gardner

Kansas Special Olympics

Caitlin Soder of Overland Park

Donna Zimmerman of Mission

Michele Boeding of Overland Park

Julia Schroer of Kansas City

National Fragile X Foundation

JoAnne Powell of Shawnee

Brooke Stack of Olathe

Missouri Kansas Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Lynn Hegvik of Shawnee

Southwestern College

Marie Greene of Wichita

Cathy Warfel of Andover

Wayne Warfel of Andover

Reach Out and Read

Pam Madaus of Kansas City

Kelly Kreisler of Kansas City

Kansas Geographic Alliance

John Harrington of Manhattan

Paul Phillips of Hays

Employers Council on Flexible Compensation

Amit Ahluwalia of Leawood

Neal Cohen of Leawood

Martin Trussell of Overland Park

Miles Ross of Leawood

Janet LeTournear of Overland Park

Joe Wood of Overland Park

Barbara Berry of Topeka

Ken Ogdon of Topeka

Disabled American Veterans

Cliff and Ardith Dillard of Colwich 

Franklin and Veronica Bergquist of Wichita

James and Ellen Price of Salina

Michael Dreiling of Victoria

Terry Young of Great Bend

David and Kerin Brader

Shelly Reynolds of Wichita

Kansas Soldiers Home at Fort Dodge

Steve and Mary Dunkin of Fort Dodge

SES, Inc.

Frank Bryant of Overland Park

Civil Air Patrol

Colonel Regena Aye of Osage City

Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

Trudy Rice of Lawrence

Steve Irsik of Ingalls

Johnson County Wastewater

John Metzler of Olathe

National Groundwater Association

Clint Tyler of Sawyer

Fred Deyoe of Dodge City

Sunflower Integrated Bioenergy, LLC

Trevor McKeeman of Manhattan

Ash Grove Cement

Jackie Clark of Overland Park

Kansas Municipal Utilities

Colin Hansen of McPherson

Tim Maier of McPherson

Bob Peter of Ellinwood

Greg DuMars of Lindsborg

Joe Dick of Kansas City

Terry Eidson of Kansas City

Loretta Colombel of Kansas City

Bob Milan of Kansas City

U.S. Cattleman Association

Allan and Deanna Sents of McPherson

Westar Energy

Bill Moore of Topeka

Jim Ludwig of Topeka

Mark Schreiber of Topeka

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Col. Anthony Hofmann of Kansas City

Steve Iverson of Kansas City

David Combs of Kansas City

International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association

Mary Adolf of Wichita

Jim McNerney, Jr. of Wichita

National Treasury Employees Union

David Foran of Lenexa

Douglas Moorman of Overland Park

Mennonite Church USA

Tim Huber of Newton

Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition

Ruth Redenbaugh of Kansas City

IBM Corporation

Scott Ferber of Overland Park

Kansas Association of Broadcasters

Jeff McCausland of Wichita

Gordon Johnson of Wellington

Joe Jindra of Concordia

Rich Wartell of Manhattan

Bobby Totsch of Kansas City

Kent Cornish of Topeka

U.S. Bank

John Elmore of Lawrence

Kansas Credit Union Association

Raymond Stroud of Dodge City

Don and Molly Homan of Leavenworth

Robert and Sue Reeves of Manhattan

John Beverlin of Overland Park

Chuck Bullock of Wichita

John Davis of Wichita

Michael Green of Wichita

Dwight Greenlee of Wichita

Jane Hammil of Wichita

Jim Holt of Wichita

John Sherwood of Wichita

Duane VanCamp of Wichita

Wayne Warfel of Wichita

Glen Scott of Topeka

Bryan Stout of Wichita

David All of Augusta

Rick Blue of Augusta

Wade Bruendl of Wichita

Bob Church of Augusta

Robert Corwin of Wichita

Larry Damm of Wichita

Haley Davee of Topeka

Stephanie Farber of Wichita

Bob Mayes of DeSoto

Paul Oliver of Augusta

John Smith of Topeka

Adam Spickler of Augusta

Bob Stueven of Augusta

Mike Welli of Wichita

Marilyn Wells of Wichita

Kenneth Williams of Wichita

Greg Winkler of Topeka

Marla Marsh of Wichita

Peace Corps

Amy Weir of Manhattan


Nicholas Ashburn of Emporia

Contact Me

It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Please let me know how I can be of assistance. To send me an email, click here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.

Very truly yours,



Newsletter Sign-up Form

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.