Kansas Common Sense
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Supporting Our Veterans
Speaking at the Vietnam Moving Wall in Valley Center
On Friday, I was in Valley Center to speak at the opening of the Vietnam Moving Wall. I joined Major General David Weishaar and members of the Kansas Air National Guard, the Patriot Guard of the American Legion Motorcycle Corps, the Valley Center Police, Mayor Lou Cicerello, Governor Laura Kelly and members of the Kansas State House and Senate to commemorate the 626 Kansans and thousands of Americans whose names are on the wall. Each name represents a vital and loved part of a family, a marriage and a community that was lost. In vowing to never forget their sacrifice, we honor in perpetuity those who gave their lives for our country.
The Vietnam Moving Wall has been traveling the United States since 1984 to give Vietnam veterans the opportunity to honor their fellow servicemembers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. This moving wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Built by Vietnam veterans, these moving walls help bring the powerful experience of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial into towns and communities all across our country and to many families and veterans who may not have the opportunity to make a trip to our nation’s capital.
It was an honor to speak at this ceremony and welcome the Moving Wall to Kansas. Thank you to city councilman and American Legion Post 73 leader Ron Colbert for his successful efforts to bring the moving wall back to Valley Center and to Paul Sanford, past Kansas American Legion Department Commander, for the invitation and for leading the ceremony. Click here to watch more from Friday's ceremony.
Visiting with Veterans on Honor Flights
It was great to spend time with Kansas veterans during their Honor Flight visits at both the World War II Memorial and the Air Force Memorial this week. I was able to speak with our nations’ heroes, listen to their stories and thank them for their service. It is a privilege to be able to welcome these veterans to our nation’s capital and honor their service and sacrifice at the memorials built in their honor. To all the veterans I met and visited with, thank you.
Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing
On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee considered and heard from witnesses on 18 pieces of legislation. The bills on the agenda touched on a number of important topics including increasing access to gender-specific services, enhancing the veteran peer specialists program, expanding long-term care options to include medical foster homes and promoting shared medical facilities between VA and the Department of Defense. Among the bills considered were my REACH for Veterans Act, which would make necessary improvements to the Veterans Crisis Line, and my Veterans’ Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research Act, which would spur research and develop evidence-based treatment pathways for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer at VHA. These two bills, along with the other bills on the agenda, will help VHA address crucial challenges within its system by modernizing VHA processes and increasing veterans’ access to quality care and services. I am encouraged by the work this committee is doing on behalf of those who have served in uniform and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to best serve our veterans.
Meeting with American Legion Commander Paul Dillard
This week, I met with The American Legion National Commander Paul Dillard to congratulate him on his recent election and discuss how we can continue to best support our nation’s veterans. Paul was elected in September of this year and has been traveling to American Legion posts across the country to hear from veterans and listen to their concerns. We discussed issues that are critically important to those who served, including my legislation bolstering mental health care, the difficulties many rural veterans have in accessing timely care and toxic exposure.
My father was a dedicated member of the American Legion, and I remain an active member of the Sons of the American Legion. In its history, three Kansans—Harry Gordon Wiles, Harry W. Colmery (author of the original GI Bill in 1944) and Ralph T. O’Neil—have taken on the role of National Commander. The care and support that the American Legion provides its members is truly impressive, and I look forward to working with Commander Dillard to support our nation’s veterans during his time leading the Legion.
Introducing Senator Pat Roberts into the National Agricultural Hall of Fame
This weekend, Senator Pat Roberts was inducted into the National Agricultural Hall of Fame, joining the ranks of agricultural giants like John Deere and George Washington Carver. Senator Roberts exemplified the importance of agriculture to Kansas. He helped author and pass farm bills in both the House and Senate, working to make certain our producers had a competitive and fair market. There is no question that Kansas and American farmers, ranchers and producers had a strong voice in Congress as a result of Pat Roberts being our Senator.
He brought the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) to Kansas, worked to protect this country from foreign threats and took care of rural Kansas communities by looking out for their farmers, rural hospitals and pharmacies. Senator Robert’s ability to serve so effectively comes from how he conducts himself: with humor and wit, and with great care and concern for how Kansans are impacted.
Democrats’ Invasive IRS Proposal Threatens Privacy of Kansans and Security of Small Banks
On Tuesday, I spoke on the Democrats’ proposal to expand the scope of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), allowing it unprecedented authority to review individual financial accounts.
The reaction by Kansans to this proposal is exactly the right one: this is a terrible intrusion in our lives, our families’ lives and our businesses. A banker in Paola told me, “it’s not even law yet, and I’ve had customers closing their accounts.” Kansans do not want the federal government to have more information and intrude upon their privacy. In addition, the cost of complying will mean our small financial institutions in Kansas will have the burden of more regulations forced upon them. Click here or below to watch the video.
This proposal will give the IRS unprecedented access to the bank accounts of nearly every American in every tax bracket, and Kansans are right to be outraged. In my continued effort to implement legislative safeguards to protect the privacy of taxpayers, I introduced the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act with over 45 of my colleagues this week. This bill would prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from implementing Democrats’ plan to give the agency access to the transaction information of virtually every American.
We Want the World Cup!
Welcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup Selection Committee to Kansas City
On Wednesday I joined my Missouri colleague Senator Roy Blunt on the Senate floor to welcome the 2026 FIFIA World Cup selection committee to Kansas City.
Kansas City is extremely well-equipped to be a host city for the 2026 World Cup and I am confident the entire Kansas City region is ready to help make the tournament a resounding success. Click here or below to watch my remarks.
Discussing American Space Leadership and Competition
Discussing America’s Space Priorities
This week, the Commerce Subcommittee on Space and Science discussed America’s international collaboration and competition in space and provided oversight of NASA’s role in the future of space. This hearing examined how the United States can continue being the global leader in space exploration and its programs. It is important Congress continues to provide oversight of our nation’s leadership in the space domain, and the witnesses, including former NASA Administrator Bridenstine, testified to the importance of NASA’s Artemis mission that will land humans back on the Moon.
As Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, and through my role on the Commerce Subcommittee on Space and Science, I remain committed to ensuring NASA has the resources needed in order to achieve their missions.
Meeting with Administrator Nelson
On Tuesday, I met with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Bill Nelson, who was sworn in as the 14th administrator earlier this year. We spoke about the proposed increase in funding to NASA and its programs in annual funding legislation, and the resources included to enable the goal of returning humans to the Moon. It also includes an increase in NASA’s STEM Engagement programs, important funding also utilized by the Cosmosphere’s STEM education center in Hutchison. I appreciated Administrator Nelson’s time and his work at the helm of NASA.
Banking Hearing on U.S. Sanctions
On Tuesday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, I questioned Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo on America’s sanctions policies. I raised concerns that the Biden Administration’s approach towards both Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline and Iran’s nuclear program lacks sufficient enforcement efforts. Additionally, our adversaries like China, Iran, Venezuela and Russia have been exploring untraceable central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to evade U.S. sanctions meant to stop repressive regimes, the illicit drug trade and money laundering. I also urged Deputy Secretary Adeyemo to adopt an inter-agency framework to measure and report on the effectiveness of our sanctions in achieving our goals. A crucial tool in combatting bad actors, the United States must continue to strategically deploy sanctions alongside other diplomatic tactics to meet our foreign policy objectives.
Announcing Grants to Improve Rural Telehealth Services
This week, I announced U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program. The two grants will improve telehealth services offered in the areas served by Pawnee Mental Health Services, Inc. and Morton County Health System.
Telehealth has proved to be an effective and efficient option for those living in rural America to receive quality health care. I am pleased these federal investments will expand the telehealth options offered to over 200,000 Kansans, including increasing access to both mental health services and substance abuse education.
Meeting with Dr. Laurie Locascio of NIST
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) plays a critical role in scientific research and increasing the competitiveness of U.S. industry. This week, I met with Dr. Laurie Locascio, the nominee to be the next Director of NIST. We discussed the importance of U.S. leadership in research and development, ensuring U.S. participation and leadership in international standards-setting bodies in the face of Chinese aggression at these institutions and NIST’s role in the cybersecurity of the nation. NIST develops cybersecurity standards and guidelines for many organizations, including U.S. businesses. However, data from the Small Business Administration shows that 88 percent of small business owners feel their business is vulnerable to a cyberattack, highlighting the importance of tools that small and medium-sized enterprises are able to utilize. If Dr. Locascio is confirmed, I look forward to working with her to make certain NIST effectively utilizes the resources allocated to it by Congress.
Discussing the Labor Shortage with Olathe Chamber of Commerce
This week, I was pleased to meet with the Olathe Chamber of Commerce. We discussed their priorities for building a resilient supply chain and apprenticeship programs that help recruit people to the workforce. Should we forget the lesson learned from just a year ago, Americans will pay the price for years to come as our supply chain returns to its pre-pandemic orientation. We ought to support American manufacturing capabilities, which in turn will also protect American and Kansan livelihoods.
Throughout my conversations with employers across Kansas, it is evident our state is facing a labor shortage crisis. Kansans value the dignity of work and employers shouldn’t have to close their doors because of staffing shortages. I will continue to support modernized training programs that help recruit and produce the highly-skilled workforce needed in a globalized economy. Thank you to Olathe Chamber of Commerce members for allowing me to join them this week.
Meeting with FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles Dayoub
This week, I met with the new Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI Kansas City Field Office, Charles Dayoub, to discuss the challenges facing the FBI and Kansas. We spoke about the troubling increases in violent crime and drug trafficking, specifically the increase in dangerous opioids like fentanyl that have impacted communities across Kansas and the country. We also talked about the importance of maintaining effective partnerships with state and local partners. During his more than 15 years with the FBI, SAC Dayoub has served in the Counterintelligence Division and on the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and I want to especially thank SAC Dayoub for his dedication to the safety of our community. As the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the FBI, I look forward to working with SAC Dayoub to ensure that he and his team have the tools they need to keep us safe.
Announcing My 2021 Service Academy Selection Board
This week, I announced the 2021 Service Academy Selection Board. Nominating Kansas students to attend service academies is one of my greatest responsibilities as a United States Senator. I am proud of these students for their desire to serve our nation, and I am grateful to my Service Academy Selection Board for the thoughtful consideration and time they put into the interview and selection process. These students represent Kansas’ best qualities – hardworking, dedicated and humble – and I look forward to receiving the selection board’s recommendations and meeting with these students in-person.
The board will review applications and interview candidates who are applying for admission to U.S. Service Academies, including the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
Visiting with Students at Hesston High School
On Friday afternoon, I visited with students at Hesston High School, where seniors Katie and Jack showed me around their school. I enjoyed learning more from students about their robotics and woodworking programs. I also appreciated seeing Hesston’s band room, especially as the school prepared for Senior Night.
Hesston USD 460 is home to nearly 900 students and has been awarded several of Kansas State Department of Education’s Kansas Can Star Recognition Program awards for student post-secondary education achievement. I appreciate all that our educators have done over the last year to ensure students can learn in-person and with their classmates and prepare them for success after graduation. Thank you to robotics and woodworking instructor Trevor Foreman for allowing me to be a part of today’s classroom activities and to Katie and Jack for their time.
Information for Students
High School Juniors: Become a Senate Page
Senate Pages play an important role in day-to-day operations of the United States Senate. High school students who are selected for and participate in the Senate Page Program are afforded a unique opportunity to work in the Senate and learn about Congress and the legislative process while maintaining their regular coursework. The Senate Page Program is administered by the Sergeant-at-Arms, the Secretary of the Senate and the party secretaries.
Spring Page eligibility is limited to students who have completed their sophomore year of high school and who will be 16 or 17 years old on or before the date of appointment. Applications for the Spring 2022 program are due Sunday, November 7. More information on the program, eligibility and application can be found here. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.
Spring 2022 Internship
An internship in my office provides a unique opportunity for students to work closely with my staff on behalf of Kansans, and applications for the Spring 2022 Intern Session are now available. Interns witness the workings of Congress from a unique perspective and develop knowledge and professional skills that will serve them in their future career pursuits. My office is accepting applications for the Spring 2022 session though Sunday, November 7. Please visit my website to hear from past interns, find the application link and learn more about this opportunity by clicking here.
World Polio Day
In August 2020, Africa was certified free of wild polio. Join with Rotary as they work to eradicate polio.
Learn how you can take action: https://endpol.io/3C6PM7o
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.
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