Kansas Common Sense
Dec 06 2021
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Kansas and the Nation Mourn the Loss of Senator Bob Dole
My Statement on the Passing of Senator Bob Dole
Senator Bob Dole will be remembered as a true American hero and an exemplary statesman – a man who chose what was right over what was convenient. Whether it was on the battlefield, in the halls of Congress, or in his everyday life, Senator Dole’s passion and dedication to his fellow Kansan and to his country was a steady reminder that a single person can make a difference and change the world.
Robba and I mourn his passing, but we also celebrate his incredible life. Senator Dole was raised in Russell, Kan., before serving in World War II where he earned two Purple Hearts. He then spent a remarkable 36 years on Capitol Hill, rising to become Senate Majority Leader and leading significant legislative achievements, including the American with Disabilities Act and the Dole-McGovern Food for Education program. Known for working toward commonsense solutions over partisan ones, he became the first Kansan since Dwight D. Eisenhower to be the Republican nominee for president.
On the floor of the United States Senate, I use Senator Dole’s desk, and I am regularly reminded of his tireless commitment to Kansas values while being, first and foremost, a statesman who treated others with respect and kindness. I am honored to have known him, to have learned from him and to have considered him a good friend and mentor. Robba and I are praying for Senator Elizabeth Dole and the entire Dole family and team.
Joining Fox News to Discuss the Life and Legacy of Senator Dole
I joined Fox News on Sunday to discuss the passing of former Senator Bob Dole.
Senator Dole is a role model for all of us, Republicans and Democrats, that serve in the United States Senate. While I admire Senator Dole’s legislative efforts, his career in Congress, his attempts to be the President of United States and his love of country, I always go back to his military service in World War II and then his long road to recovery. You cannot know what Bob Dole went through to return to the living after his experiences in the battlefields of Italy and the way Kansans rallied around him.
He never gave up that indomitable spirit to make sure that good things happen for Kansans and Americans. Click here or below to listen to my remarks.
Honoring Senator Dole in the Coming Days
For information on ways to honor Senator Dole throughout the week follow my Facebook and Twitter accounts. To share a memory of Senator Dole, visit the University Of Kansas Robert J. Dole Institute Of Politics webpage here.
My Legislation to Expand Education Benefits for Surviving Family Members Signed into Law
This week, the Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness for Survivors Act, was signed into law. Military service is family service, and I introduced this legislation to provide more certainty to families who lose a loved one due to their military service.
Named in memory of U.S. Army Colonel John McHugh, who was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2010, this law will expand in-state tuition eligibility for the families of fallen servicemembers. Colonel McHugh and his family were stationed at Fort Leavenworth at the time of his death, and his daughter Kelly was a student at K-State. Kelly was able to join Sen. Tester and I at the bill signing ceremony in honor of her father whose sacrifice will continue to be honored through this legislation.
The Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness for Survivors Act will require public colleges and universities that receive GI Bill benefits to provide in-state tuition rates for students using the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance (DEA) program. This requirement will lower out-of-pocket costs for these students to pursue an education and receive the benefits their loved ones earned for them through their service.
Kelly McHugh, daughter of Colonel John M. McHugh: “We can’t thank Senators Moran and Tester enough for their work in getting this bill passed. Education was important to our father, so having his name attached to a bill that will assist other Gold Star families as they pursue their college educations is a huge honor.”
Protecting the Right to Life
Speaking on the Senate Floor Ahead of Oral Arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
I spoke on the Senate floor ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing oral arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Wednesday. This case is the most significant abortion case of the last 30 years, as the Supreme Court has the opportunity to relinquish the legislative power it has assumed and return it to the people and their representatives. The court will be better for it, and so will our politics. Most importantly of all, millions of future voices will get to have their say in the process, too. Listen to my remarks here or below.
Kansas State University Announces Dr. Richard Linton as its Next President
Congratulations to Dr. Richard Linton on being selected to lead Kansas State University. The president of K-State is one of the most consequential positions in the state that impacts all 105 counties, and it is vital to the state of Kansas we have a strong leader and ally at the helm of this land-grant university.
President Linton has demonstrated he has a vast agricultural knowledge, which will be imperative as the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility nears completion. We visited by phone Saturday morning, and I look forward to working with President Linton to finish this state-of-the-art facility and bring additional research, educational and economic opportunities to the state of Kansas and advance K-State’s institutional goals.
Prohibiting Federal Trade Commission’s Ghost Votes
Your last day in office is the last day your vote should count – whether you serve on the school board or the FTC. This week, I led my colleagues in introducing legislation that would stop votes cast by Federal Trade Commissioners (FTC) from being counted after the commissioners have left their post.
Politico reported earlier this month that former Commissioner Rohit Chopra cast 20 votes via email on his final day on the commission on pending motions before the FTC. According to the FTC’s interpretation of a rule, any of the five commissioners can introduce a motion for a vote. If no one responds, the motion fails after 30 days. However, if another commissioner seconds it, the motion can live on for another 30 days. This allows the votes of commissioners who have left the commission to remain active up to 60 days after their departure. Therefore, this rule allows Chopra’s votes to be live for up to 60 days from his last day on October 8 despite him no longer being a commissioner.
It’s absurd that votes cast by commissioners on outstanding issues can be counted up to 60 days past their departure. This needs to stop to protect the integrity of the commission and because it’s just plain common sense. Read more about my bill here from Politico.
Working to Connect Rural Kansans to Better Broadband Access
On Wednesday, as a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, I participated in a hearing for nominees to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Gigi Sohn, nominee to be a commissioner on the FCC, and I have starkly different views on the role of the FCC. I am concerned about her ideas on how to appropriately regulate industries the commission oversees, including her past support of eliminating licenses for broadcasters with different opinions than her own.
Congress has allocated billions of dollars to NTIA for broadband deployment, and, if confirmed, Mr. Alan Davidson will lead the distribution of these funds, which are critical to connect unserved areas of our state. In addition to these new programs, NTIA plays an important role for the advancement of the internet and telecommunications in the U.S., including by identifying spectrum for commercial use and developing internet-related policy recommendations. As the lead Republican on the Appropriations subcommittee that funds NTIA, I will work closely with Mr. Davidson if he is confirmed to ensure that these funds are spent wisely to connect as many Kansans as possible to quality broadband service and to ensure that NTIA’s other critical functions are not impacted by these newly allocated funds.
Questioning VA Secretary McDonough at Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing
Last week, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs heard testimony from Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough on the state of VA over the past year. During the hearing, we discussed the importance of VA’s community care program, which is designed to give veterans a choice of where they receive health care: from a VA facility or from a health care provider in their community. We also discussed the importance of convenient and innovate ways for VA to deliver mental health services. I pressed the Secretary on the status of the VA and American Legion ATLAS telehealth pod program, and the timing of the ATLAS pod delivery for Emporia, Kansas. My staff and I have been working closely with The American Legion to obtain this telehealth pod so that veterans can have access to quality health care closer to their homes. I was disappointed the secretary did not have an answer on when the Emporia site will be operational, but I will continue to press the department on this issue so that Kansas veterans have greater access to the primary and mental health care they deserve.
Treasury Secretary Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Powell Testify at Banking Hearing
Treasury Secretary Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Powell spoke at Tuesday’s Senate Banking hearing on the country’s economic outlook. Kansans are feeling inflationary pressures every day, from filling up their vehicles at the gas pump to buying groceries for their families. Chairman Powell agreed that inflation should no longer be considered “transitory,” but the Biden administration’s spending spree continues to increase prices for families and businesses by failing to rein in out-of-control consumer prices.
More government spending is going to equal more inflation. When then-Fed Chair Yellen spoke on the 2008 economic downturn, she admitted that Congressional spending had restrained economic recovery, saying “discretionary fiscal policy this time has actually acted to restrain the recovery. The tax increases…that would have occurred, absent action by the Congress and the president, likely would have been a headwind strong enough to blow the United States back into recession.” And in 2010, Yellen said that increasing levels of the government debt will end up “restraining capital formation, productivity, and economic growth."
Now, both Secretary Yellen and President Biden are using budget gimmicks to say that their trillions in new government spending would be fully paid for, a claim disputed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. This new spending will only drive up inflation and restrain our economic recovery, just like Secretary Yellen said a decade ago. Kansans are rightly worried about rising prices, and I will continue to oppose legislation that increases both taxes and spending for families.
Meeting with FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel
This week, I met with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to discuss her nomination to be the permanent Chairwoman of the FCC, as well as the Universal Service Fund (USF) and broadband deployment. The FCC plays a critical role in regulating and improving telecommunications in the United States, including by increasing broadband deployment to currently unserved areas. Broadband deployment is critical for rural areas of our state to take full advantage of the digital economy, and I have worked with the commission to ensure their deployment programs are working in an efficient and effective manner.
In November, President Biden nominated Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel to be the permanent Chairwoman of the Commission, after appointing her Acting Chairwoman in January. If confirmed, I will continue to work with Chairwoman Rosenworcel to make certain that the FCC is working as intended for Kansans.
Discussing VA Health Care with David Feinberg
On Wednesday, I visited with Dr. David Feinberg, the new President and CEO of the Cerner Corporation. Cerner develops electronic health records technology and is working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to modernize their electronic health records system. Cerner began in Kansas City and maintains its world headquarters there. David and I spoke of the future of health information systems and our commitment to ensuring veterans are able to receive the care they deserve. We also discussed strategies to develop young STEM talent in Kansas to help Cerner hire more local talent. I thank him for his time this week and look forward to working with him on behalf of veterans across the country.
Meeting with Ambassador Pinzón of Columbia
On Tuesday I welcomed Colombia’s ambassador to the United States, Juan Carlos Pinzón, to my office to discuss our countries’ bilateral relationship and my interest in strengthening it. Colombia is a key democracy in Latin America and a treaty ally. We discussed issues related to drug trafficking and the situation in Venezuela, with Colombia hosting a large number of refugees fleeing the socialist regime, as well as issues relating to the implementation of the 2016 peace deal with rebels that ended a 50-year insurgency. I shared my desire to enhance ties with Colombia and to engage with leaders and issues important to our friends.
Meeting with Chuck Weber of Kansas Catholic Conference
I visited with Chuck Weber, Executive Director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, on Thursday to discuss the conference’s priorities in upcoming legislation. We discussed the need to protect the Hyde Amendment, including faith-based providers for childcare and pre-Kindergarten programs, and also issues relating to immigration and the environment. I briefed him on my office’s success in securing assistance for foreign-born clergy and religious leaders and of ongoing efforts in that regard. I appreciate the work that Chuck and the conference do on behalf of the neediest among us.
Alma Community Visit
I visited Alma this week, and I appreciated those who spoke with me throughout town, from the post office to the library to the courthouse, and as I visited Alma Cheese. The conversations I have with Kansans inform my work in Washington.
In Memory of Norm Karlin
Norm Karlin was, among many other things, a father, a grandfather and a World War II veteran, and I was saddened to learn of his recent passing. I met Norm in my early days at the Kansas State Fair—always with a smile at the ready for strangers as well as friends. Not only was he a member of America’s Greatest Generation (pictured below from an Honor Flight in 2013), he was a dedicated member of the Hutchinson community. As a decades-long volunteer at the state fair, he dedicated his time to passing down Kansas’ special way of life to the next generation of farmers and ranchers. Robba and I had the utmost respect for him – as a veteran, a leader and just a true gentleman – and we extend our sympathies to the Karlin family. Learn more about Norm’s life here.
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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