Kansas Common Sense

Border Security is National Security
On Sunday, border patrol agents apprehended almost 9,000 migrants at the southern border and numbers released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) showed a record amount of encounters at the southern border in August. This week, I called on the Biden administration to take action to increase security at the southern border and for the Senate to pass the Secure the Border Act as thousands of migrants cross the border, including migrants with ties to ISIS and the Chinese Community Party. President Biden must act to ensure a stricter enforcement of our immigration laws, reinstate the construction of a wall or fencing in areas that are largely unprotected, and the administration must send a message loud and clear that our border is closed to unlawful entrants.

You can listen to my floor remarks here.

Addressing Failure at VA Crisis Line  
On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on suicide prevention among veterans, progress on implementation of my legislation the Commander Hannon Act, and recent issues with the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL). Although VA continues to claim suicide prevention is its top clinical priority, it is clear from the hearing, the department needs to do more in providing veterans with quicker access to high-quality mental health care, as well as make key improvements to the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program. This suicide prevention grant program endeavors to extend the VA’s reach into communities and provide veterans with non-clinical wrap-around support services. As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, suicide prevention and making certain our veterans have access to the best mental health care remains one of my top priorities.

You can read more in Fox News here and watch the hearing here.

Meeting with Mental Health Advocates
On Tuesday, I was honored to receive the 9-8-8 Crisis Response Champion Award from leaders of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). After receiving the award, we discussed the barriers still facing individuals in need of mental health care and how we can ensure that Kansans, veterans, students and all Americans have access to critical suicide prevention and mental health services. I will continue to support funding for mental health and suicide prevention services through my position on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Recognizing National Service Dog Day
This week the Senate passed my bipartisan resolution designating September 20 as National Service Dog Day. Service dogs provide life-saving assistance, help veterans with disabilities regain their independence and offer companionship and support to our nation’s heroes. There are estimated to be thousands of service dogs working across the United States assisting individuals with a wide-range of disabilities and ailments. I appreciate my colleagues unanimously passing this resolution to recognize National Service Dog Day. It was great to celebrate the passage of the resolution with K9s for Warriors, an  organization that trains and pairs these dogs with veterans at no expense to the veteran.