Kansas Common Sense
May 26 2015
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This Memorial Day, Courageous Veterans Fight Silent Battles at Home
Courage is often talked about but seldom witnessed. Each May, Americans come together on Memorial Day to remember those courageous souls who laid down their lives for our freedom. These service men and women did not answer the call to serve in the name of Republicans or Democrats; they did so to protect liberty and the American Dream for their children and grandchildren.
This month is also a time to recognize that the members of our Armed Forces who are fortunate to return from combat continue to fight battles at home – including silent battles with mental health. Since 1949, May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month – a time to expand awareness of the struggle of mental illness and help eliminate the stigmas that prevent many from seeking the treatment they need.
Members of our military are uniquely impacted by cognitive conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression and traumatic brain injury (TBI). These invisible wounds of war plague thousands of veterans and service members across our country, and healing those wounds takes tremendous courage from both the individuals suffering and their families.
The courage of our service men and women has protected our democracy for generations and allowed us to live in the strongest, freest, greatest country in the world. It is our responsibility to make certain no veteran feels abandoned by the country they served once they summon the courage to tackle a mental health issue. Click here to learn more about my efforts in the Senate to hold the VA accountable for providing our nation’s veterans with the timely, high-quality and specialized care they earned.
Spring Hill Memorial Day Ceremony
Yesterday, I joined veterans and local residents at the Spring Hill Memorial Ceremony. Our nation’s young men and women continue to risk their lives for the sake of others and fighting for the principles we hold most dear – freedom and justice. Special thanks to the community for being so welcoming and hosting the special event.
Senate Passes Moran-Authored Legislation to Improve Veterans Health Care
On Friday, the U.S. Senate put veterans first and unanimously passed the Access to Community Care for Veterans Act (S.1463) – legislation I authored to improve the Choice Act to give veterans access to community health care when the nearest VA medical facility within 40 miles driving distance from a veteran’s home is incapable of offering care the veteran needs. The VA continues to use a narrow interpretation of the 40-mile rule, choosing to take into account only the distance of a VA medical facility from a veteran’s home and not whether the VA facility can actually provide the services the veteran needs. The legislation passed unanimously by the Senate today (S.1463) aims to help thousands of veterans who are currently being forced to choose between traveling hours to a VA medical facility, paying out of pocket, or going without care altogether. S.1463 now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration. Click here to watch my call for a vote on the Senate floor on this vital piece of legislation.
Senate Votes on Trade Promotion Authority Act
Trade impacts almost everyone and every industry in our state – farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, small businesses, and workers. As the United States continues to engage economically with other nations, it is critical that Congress sets clear objectives and priorities for potential trade agreements, requires transparency and accountability during negotiations, and maintains full authority to approve or disapprove any potential deal.
While Trade Promotion Authority gives our U.S. trade representatives the latitude necessary to negotiate a potential deal, any trade agreement must be voted on by Congress before it goes into effect. This keeps the American people in the driver’s seat to have final say on any future trade deal through their elected representatives in Congress. And as your elected official, I will only support a fair trade deal that respects the rule of law.
Promoting Commonsense Regulation of Community Banks and Credit Unions
On Thursday, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee held a legislative markup to consider legislation that would improve the ability for hometown community lenders to help grow their communities. This legislation contained a number of provisions I have championed, which would reduce the cost of complying with burdensome federal rules for rural lenders. A vast majority of this legislation enjoys widespread bipartisan support. I voted to report this bill out of committee so that the full Senate has an opportunity to debate this important issue for Kansas households and businesses. Unfortunately, this issue has become needlessly partisan. At the end of the committee session, I addressed my colleagues on the importance of coming together so that Kansans can access the credit necessary to buy a house, expand or start a business, and have an opportunity to achieve the American Dream. To view my comments, click here. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find areas of agreement so that we can get our economy back on the right track.
Takata Airbag Recall
On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced an agreement with Takata Corps to expand its recall to 34 million vehicles in the United States equipped with defective airbags. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Consent Order to Takata requiring the company to cooperate in all future regulatory actions that NHTSA undertakes in its ongoing investigation and oversight of the company. The recall of vehicles equipped with Takata airbags is considered the largest recall of a consumer product.
Tuesday’s announcement reinforces the urgency of the Takata airbag recalls, and I appreciate the efforts of NHTSA to help us better understand the facts behind what is causing these defects. As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee for Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security, I look forward to working with my colleagues to examine this important matter and ensure the safety of American consumers.
Consumers can check their vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at a new website, www.SaferCar.gov/RecallsSpotlight, to see if it is covered by the expanded recall. The website will also provide regular updates on the status of this and other recalls and of NHTSA’s investigation. Vehicles manufactured by the following companies are impacted by the national recall: BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.
Founding new NIH Caucus
I was proud to be a founding member of the new Senate NIH Caucus, co-chaired by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Dick Durbin of Illinois, which supports the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — the focal point of our nation’s health research infrastructure this week. NIH-supported research saves and improves lives, lowers overall health care costs, and is an economic engine that strengthens American global competitiveness. The NIH Caucus will offer an opportunity for senators to highlight the importance of NIH and pursue strategies to provide steady, predictable growth for U.S. biomedical research in the future.
Meeting with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter
I was pleased to get acquainted with the Ash Carter, Secretary for the Department of Defense, this week. We discussed important issues facing our nation's military, as well as potential impacts that could result from reduced defense spending. We shared perspectives on how to make certain we have a ready and resilient force by increasing cyber defenses and the unique qualities found only in Kansas among our Kansas National Guard, the intellectual center of the Army at Fort Leavenworth, air mobility at McConnell Air Force Base and Forbes Field, as well as the capable Army infantry force at Fort Riley. I look forward to working with Secretary Carter to prioritize our national defense, which is critical to the security of the United States.
Meeting with Sprint CEO
This week, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure visited my office to discuss the company’s future goals. Mr. Claure described Sprint’s plan to densify their network with additional cell sites to improve network capacity and customer experience. He also explained that Sprint has been actively attracting talent from across the globe to the Kansas City area and expanding hiring at the Sprint campus in Overland Park. Mr. Claure and I also discussed my work to encourage the State Department and FCC to fulfill a 2012 agreement with Mexico that will allow Sprint to fully utilize spectrum along the border and compete in those markets.
Meeting with Federal Communications Commissioner Mike O’Rielly
On Friday, I met with FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in October 2013. Prior to serving in this role, he spent nearly 20 years on Capitol Hill handling a variety of issues related to technology, telecommunications and commerce. Our discussion focused on ways to encourage broadband deployment and adoption, especially in rural areas, and on policies the Commerce Committee should pursue to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the FCC. The FCC has not been reauthorized since 1990, and just this week the House Telecommunications Subcommittee approved seven bills to make improvements in the way the agency handles its work. I look forward to working with Commissioner O’Rielly as we pursue these important policy goals that impact Kansans.
Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2015 Internships
The deadline for fall internship applications is quickly approaching, and anyone interested should submit their application before Friday, June 26. Application forms can be obtained and completed under the “Services” section of Sen. Moran’s website at www.moran.senate.gov. Applicants should submit a completed application form, resume, academic transcript, two letters of recommendation and a cover letter explaining the applicant’s interest in public service and goals of serving as an intern. Please submit required materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions, please contact Sen. Moran’s office at email@example.com or call 202-224-6521 and request to speak with the Intern Coordinator.
Kansans in the Office
Marcelo Claure of Kansas City
National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association
Becky Sander of Great Bend
Tammy Goodyear of Altamont
March of Dimes
Diane Daldrup of Overland Park
Nathan Strawder of Burlington
Kansas Department of Agriculture
Susan Metzger of Manhattan
American Equity Life Insurance Company
David Wolfe of Lawrence
TRIO Upward Bound Math Science Center
Kaye Monk-Morgan of Wichita
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Connie Presley of Wichita
Brian Taylor of Kansas City
American College of Radiology
John Lohnes of Wichita
Shaun Gonda of Wichita
Carl Fieser of Dodge City
Merle Fieser of Dodge City
Dan Davis of Wichita
Travis McKenzie of Wichita
Kelsey Bourm of Wichita
Patrick Craig of Wichita
Kansas Society of CPAs
Michelle Schneider of Great Bend
Bob Schuster of Wichita
Mary MacBain of Shawnee
DeAnn Hill of Baxter Springs
Gary Boomer of Manhattan
Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International
Lauren Roberts of Lenexa
Thomas Roberts of Lenexa
Greg Borr of Lenexa
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors of Kansas
Russ Jenkins of Emporia
Joe Tigert of Wichita
Brad Williamson of Wichita
American Land Title Association
Randy Barbour of Prairie Village
Elizabeth Daniel of Lawrence
Eric Schibi of Hays
John Stauffer of Olathe
Chris St. John of Topeka
National Association of Music Merchants
Mike Meyer of Overland Park
Tom Meyer of Overland Park
John Gillcrist of Overland Park
Promotional Products Association
Brian Porter of Overland Park
Tiffany Tam of Olathe
Family Research Council
Keith Peters of Cheney
National Farmers Union
Donn Teske of Wheaton
Matt Ubel of Wheaton
Black & Veatch
Carrie Sherer of Overland Park
SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association
Nic Nixon of McPherson
The Kroger Company
Dave Dillon of Kansas City
American College of Physicians
Bradley Marples of Topeka
Isaac Opole of Overland Park
Donna Sweet of Wichita
Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Allyson Bowers of Manhattan
Tiffany Prowant of Abilene
Dennis Dull of Merriam
VA Heartland Network
Dr. Bill Patterson
North American Millers’ Association
Ben Borough of Cimarron
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
Ann Snellentrop of Kansas City
Rocky Meyer of Andale
Ana Meyer of Andale
David Williams of Haviland
Carol Williams of Haviland
Jessie Williams of Haviland
Jasmine Williams of Haviland
Sahar Eshghi of Wichita
Sara Eshghi of Wichita
Darin Myers of Hays
Kelly Myers of Hays
Jordin Myers of Hays
Jace Myers of Hays
Jentry Myers of Hays
Rosanna Bauman of Garnett
John Bauman of Garnett
Yvonne Bauman of Garnett
Steven Bauman of Garnett
Ivin Bauman of Garnett
Joanna Bauman of Garnett
Eric Schibi of Hays
Adam Schibi of Hays
Robert Schibi of Hays
Claire Phillips of Topeka
Rebecca Phillips of Topeka
Greg Crooker of Leawood
Laura Crooker of Leawood
Kyle Crooker of Leawood
Conner Crooker of Leawood
Cole Crooker of Leawood
Hieu Tran of Wichita
Thomas Chaput of Manhattan
Craig WestHoff of Prairie Village
Julie WestHoff of Prairie Village
Jake WestHoff of Prairie Village
Hayley WestHoff of Prairie Village
Honored to Serve You in Washington
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Thank you to the many Kansans who have been calling and writing in to share their thoughts and opinions on the issues our state and country face. I appreciate the words of Kansans, whether in the form of a form of letter, a Facebook comment or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.
Very truly yours,
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