Kansas Common Sense
Recognizing President’s Day
On President’s Day, we recognize the contributions our American presidents have made to our freedom and to the success of our nation. Yesterday, I reflected on my time visiting the recently renovated Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, a testament to Kansas’ love for our 34th president. Ike represented the best of our nation as a five-star general in the United States Army and the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. His name, adorned on schools, memorials and hospitals across our state and nation, lives in our memory, and we are inspired by his selfless service and sacrifice to our nation.
Leading the First Senate Hearing on Student-Athlete Compensation
On Tuesday, I chaired a hearing titled “Name, Image, and Likeness: The State of Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation,” where my subcommittee heard from the chancellor from my alma mater, the University of Kansas, the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the commissioner of the Big 12, the director of National College Players Association and the former chair of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. This hearing examined how student-athletes are currently restricted from profiting from their name, image, or likeness to supplement the scholarships and benefits they receive. Understanding how state and federal laws and regulations on name, image, and likeness of student-athletes would affect the existing intercollegiate athletic system is critical in shaping Congress’ efforts on this issue. Some of the complexities surrounding this issue include the use of third-party agents, the possible elimination of athletic programs, current definitions of amateurism and allowable incentives made available to today’s college athletes.
College athletics teach young men and women values and skills that serve them throughout their life, but most importantly they are first a student-athlete. As the chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, with jurisdiction over amateur athletics, I look forward to continue working with my colleagues to address this issue that will have an impact on the college athletics system and the student-athletes that make it up.
Following the hearing, the Kansas City Star published an editorial recognizing my subcommittee’s work on this important issue:
“Thank goodness a U.S. Senate subcommittee chaired by Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran is exploring a badly needed overarching federal role in ending the universities’ wholly inequitable profiteering from players’ names and likenesses. His subcommittee took testimony Tuesday from the NCAA and leading institutions such as the University of Kansas. One would hope that, after the hearing, the NCAA and member institutions realize the size of the tsunami coming at them. Moran’s subcommittee, which appears deadly serious about this issue, will be highly interested in what the NCAA brings forth in April.”
Read the full editorial here.
Defending the Constitution
On Thursday, the Senate considered S.J. Res. 68, the Iran War Powers Resolution, after tensions with Iran spiked last month after the death of Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani was a perpetrator of death and responsible for thousands killed in the Middle East, including American soldiers. The Constitution, through Article II, grants the President of the United States the authority to protect Americans from harm, and President Trump was justified in his decision to remove Soleimani from the battlefield.
The Constitution, in Article I, provides Congress the power to declare war – a responsibility I take seriously. The prospect of military action against Iran has consequences that ought to be considered by the full Congress on behalf of the people it represents. In supporting the War Powers Resolution, I respect the president’s obligation to defend against imminent threats while making sure any additional action is properly debated and approved by Congress as required by the Constitution. I also supported two amendments to this resolution: one which commends the president and armed forces in their role in eliminating the threat posed by Soleimani and another that supports the president’s duty to protect the United States against designated foreign terrorist organizations.
Speaking at White House Bill Signing Ceremony
This week, President Donald Trump held a bill signing ceremony in the Oval Office for the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act. During his remarks, President Trump recognized my work on behalf of veterans and thanked me for my continued support, which you can here.
Following the president’s remarks, I spoke about the legislation being signed into law. As chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I’m working to make sure that every veteran, every place in the country has a bright future and that they’re living the American Dream. As my committee focuses on mental health and suicide, one of the best things that can happen to someone who has returned home from battle is to be a part of a community.
Meeting with Space Force Commanding General Raymond
On Thursday, I met with General John “Jay” Raymond, the first Chief of the Space Force and Commanding General of U.S. Space Command. General Raymond hosted me in Colorado at the Space Command Headquarters in November, so I was happy to have him visit my D.C. office. We had a productive discussion about the future of the Space Force and the role Kansas will play in the future of our space defense.
It is imperative that we invest in the people and equipment necessary to defend American assets in space, and I know General Raymond is the right man to lead this effort. As Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over NASA funding and a member of the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations, I look forward to working with General Raymond and the Space Force as it grows to meet its mission requirements.
Raising Concern Regarding Harmful New National Liver Allocation Policy
On Wednesday, Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and I spoke on the Senate floor to raise concerns with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) policy for national liver allocation. We have led efforts to stop the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network’s (OPTN) move to change the liver allocation policy, which would negatively impact patients awaiting transplants in Midwestern states, including Kansas and Missouri. We have also continually urged Secretary Azar to delay the implementation of changes to the national liver allocation policy while there is ongoing litigation.
The lack of interest and concern exhibited by those involved in this process is appalling to me. I spoke on the Senate floor about this policy because of the outright refusal of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to halt the implementation of this damaging and unfair health policy that has been criticized by both medical experts or our nation’s judicial system.
Meeting with Kansas Secretary of Labor Delia Garcia
On Monday, I had the opportunity to meet with Kansas Secretary of Labor Delia Garcia. Secretary Garcia and I discussed the actions being taken by the Kansas Department of Labor to assist the Spirit AeroSystems employees in Wichita who were laid off. If you are seeking financial assistance, we encourage looking into the Kansas Department of Labor’s Shared Work Program. I will continue supporting our community partners and those impacted through my participation on the Aerospace Task Force as well as conversations with the White House and FAA to see the 737 MAX safely returned to production.
Meeting with Kansas State University
On Wednesday, a number of administrators from Kansas State University were in Washington, D.C. to discuss current information related to their university initiatives. We held a number of different meetings focused on issues like investing in research facilities at land grant universities, current initiatives at the university and advancing K-State Polytechnic’s leadership within the aviation industry.
Speaking with President Richard Myers and Senior Administration
First, I met with President Richard Myers of Kansas State to discuss the need for additional resources for agriculture facilities at land-grant universities like K-State. As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, I understand the importance of investing in research facilities at land grant universities, as they are responsible for creating the next generation of innovators in farming and ranching. I look forward to working with K-State and my colleagues in the Senate to make sure that our nation’s land grant system is strong. K-State Athletic Director Gene Taylor was also in attendance and we discussed the hearing that I held on student-athlete compensation for use of their name, image, and likeness earlier in the week. It was also great to see Provost Chuck Taber, Dean Ernie Minton and Governmental Relations Officer Sue Peterson.
Visiting with Dean Amit Chakrabarti and Gary Clark
I also enjoyed meeting with Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Amit Chakrabarti and Interim Dean of the College of Engineering Gary Clark. I was interested to hear about the work happening at K-State to turn the university into a cyber land-grant university, a program that can pair any degree with a background in computer engineering and experience with technology that will drive every sector of the economy in the future. The importance of expanding student access to computer science education is paramount for Kansas to have a strong, modern economy and I appreciate the efforts of K-State in this area. As chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science that provides resources for federal research in STEM fields, including computer science, I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to make sure that America continues to be the global leader in innovation.
The President's FY2021 Budget Requests
This week, the president’s Budget for FY2021 was released which outlines the administration’s priorities for the upcoming year. The power of the purse ultimately lies with Congress and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I look forward to reviewing the requests and the hearings over the coming months to further discuss details with administration officials.
While I was encouraged to see NASA’s budget proposal supports returning American astronauts to the Moon, I remain eager to receive sufficient budget details that match our ambitious human exploration goals. Additionally, I was disappointed to see the budget proposes cuts for STEM education, which plays a vital role in making certain we have the talent to achieve our mission. As Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, I look forward to my subcommittee’s oversight hearings in the coming months to discuss the FY2021 budget, the specifics of the five-year Artemis plan and how this budget will ensure our nation’s leadership in the space domain for years to come.
Our veterans deserve the best care this country can offer, and President Trump’s budget proposal for FY2021 supports the ongoing implementation of community care under the MISSION Act, reducing veteran suicide and transforming the VA’s system to provide veterans with the right benefits at the right time. As Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I look forward to learning more about the budget request and working with VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to identify how veterans’ outcomes will be improved under the new investments in VA programs.
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 letter, a Facebook comment, or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.
Please let me know how I can be of assistance. You can contact me by email by clicking here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.
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