Kansas Common Sense
Introducing Legislation to Strengthen Border Security and Codify DACA Protections
On Friday, I introduced legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that would return to the basics of what a majority of my colleagues and the president support – providing the necessary resources to strengthen and modernize border security and long-term certainty to DACA recipients. Our legislation would establish a $25 billion trust fund to better secure our borders and codify DACA protections. I urge my colleagues to support this sensible solution that provides us a realistic path forward to resolve this partial government shutdown. To read more on this legislation, click here.
Delivering the Keynote at the USS Wichita Commissioning Ceremony
On Saturday, I was honored to represent Kansas at the ceremony commissioning the USS Wichita into service for the third time in defense of our freedoms. The USS Wichita is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship that will conduct minesweeping, anti-submarine and drug trafficking surveillance operations, while also providing humanitarian support around the world. This ship that will bear Wichita’s name throughout her time in service is a tangible representation of our nation’s ongoing commitment to protecting the values and ideals for which our nation was founded upon and I am so proud the crew of the USS Wichita will embody the perseverance and hard work of those who call Wichita home.
100 Years of American Farm Bureau
Authoring a Resolution to Honor American Farm Bureau
On Thursday, I introduced a resolution in the Senate to honor the 100th anniversary of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). AFBF is one of the leading groups advocating on behalf of agriculture and rural America. This resolution honors AFBF and the countless contributions they and their over six million member families in all 50 states have had on our nation’s producers. Across the country, generations of Farm Bureau members contribute to production agriculture, lead local organizations and give back to their communities. I am pleased to introduce this legislation with Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the state where the first Farm Bureau convention was held in 1919.
Attending the 100th American Farm Bureau Annual Convention
Over the weekend, I attended the AFBF Annual Convention and met with the Kansas Farm Bureau delegation. At the convention, I spoke about the importance of trade to Kansas and the country, and the need for Congress to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). My discussion also focused on the importance of rural hospitals and the inclusion of the FARMERS First Act in the 2018 Farm Bill that will provide greater resources for mental health services for farmers and ranchers. I heard from producers about the impact of the government shutdown on agriculture and USDA services, including the trade mitigation payments, farm loans and market reports. I’m grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the centennial anniversary with the American Farm Bureau and to have Kansas Farm Bureau as a close partner in my efforts to strengthen rural economies, open markets for agricultural goods, advance rural 5G and digital infrastructure and inspire the next generation of ag leaders in Kansas and across the county.
Announcing the Air Force’s Acceptance of the KC-46A Tanker
On Thursday, the Air Force announced their acceptance of the KC-46A Pegasus Air Refueling Tanker. I am pleased that the KC-46A will finally be coming home to McConnell Air Force Base. The Airmen at McConnell have a global reach in refueling missions and with the arrival of the KC-46A McConnell will continue to be the nation’s ‘Super Tanker’ base for years to come. The Air Force has made significant investments in McConnell to make certain it is ready to receive the KC-46A and to prepare for the arrival, and we look forward to integrating this strategic asset into the Air Capital of the World.
Discussing the Importance of the Federal Reserve Remaining Independent
Last week, I joined Bloomberg TV and CNBC’s Squawk Box to discuss the importance of the Federal Reserve to remain independent. The Federal Reserve and their decisions on monetary and economic policy have far-reaching consequences on our nation and its economy. Their dual mandate to limit inflation and maximize employment is core to our financial system, and we must work to protect them from the political passions of the moment as they try and create long-term success for our economy. I will continue working with my colleagues to make certain this importance independence is maintained. To watch my interview with Bloomberg, click here. To watch my interview with CNBC, click here.
Introducing Legislation to Expand Chiropractic Care to All Military Servicemembers
Last week I joined Senator Tammy Baldwin to reintroduce the Chiropractic Health Parity for Military Beneficiaries Act. Many of the brave men and women who have served our country have sustained back and other neuromusculoskeletal injuries that can be treated through chiropractic care. Currently, the Department of Defense offers limited access to chiropractic care to active duty servicemembers and certain members of the Reserve Component. This leaves many retired servicemembers and other Reservists who utilize TRICARE at a disadvantage – unable to receive the same care they had access to while on active duty.
This bill will increase access to chiropractic care by expanding TRICARE coverage for military retirees and all reservists, which is something I’ve advocated to the VA many times over. The men and women of our Armed Forces, past and present, deserve access to the same care they received while on active duty to prevent a lapse in care. I’m pleased to re-introduce bipartisan legislation that makes certain they are able to maintain that access to care, regardless of their status. Click here to read more on this measure.
Speaking with HHS Secretary Azar on OTPN’s Liver Transplant Policy
This week, I spoke with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to express my deep concern over recent changes to our national liver allocation policy that will have a detrimental impact on Kansans’ access to life-saving donated livers.
This latest policy change is a reaction to a lawsuit, where a misguided approach is being forced through without due consideration for concerns from important stakeholders, such as our major transplant hospitals including those in the Kansas City area. This flawed process disregards expert medical opinion and moves simply to increase the shift of organs to areas where they have not attempted to improve deficient donation rates in years.
I will continue to engage with Secretary Azar, HHS and affiliated organ allocation organizations, to ensure that the interests of Kansans are being heard at the federal level, and that quality transplant centers and organ procurement organizations are rewarded rather than punished for effectively carrying out their responsibilities to patients and their families. Click here to watch floor remarks I delivered last month on this issue.
Inquiring with Cellular Providers on Service Availability in Southeast Kansas
On Thursday, I along with fellow members of the Kansas delegation Senator Pat Roberts and Congressmen Ron Estes and Roger Marshall, inquired with Pioneer Telephone Cooperative and U.S. Cellular Corporation regarding lost cell phone service in Longton and Elk County.
Based on a report by KAKE (ABC), residents of Longton are currently experiencing public safety communication issues associated with an interruption in mobile wireless broadband and voice services. In addition to the residential and commercial services that mobile wireless broadband provides rural communities, access to emergency communication technology remains a fundamental component in preventing loss of life and property. Reliable access to broadband communication is critical to growing a business, bringing an idea to market, strengthening a community and maintaining effective public safety communications, and I will continue to work to get Kansans reliable broadband service.
Supporting Concealed Carry Reciprocity Legislation
This week, I cosponsored Concealed Carry Reciprocity legislation, which I have done each congress since joining the Senate in 2011. The right to self-protection afforded to American citizens by the Second Amendment should not be limited by the borders of the state in which you reside. This legislation would make certain that Kansans who are lawfully carry a concealed weapon will have those rights extended to other states who share concealed carry laws. This legislation also would not establish national standards for concealed carry permitting; rather, it preserves states’ rights by providing mutual legal recognition for permits issued by states that allow concealed carry practices.
Meeting with CSX Leadership in Jacksonville
During my visit to Jacksonville for the USS Wichita Commissioning Ceremony, I visited with leadership of CSX, a major transportation corporation and one of seven Class I railroad companies that operate in the United States. During this meeting, we discussed the importance of trade to American companies and manufacturers, infrastructure and its vitality across the nation. As a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, meetings like this help me to better understand our nation's transportation needs. Thanks to CSX President and CEO Jim Foote, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Nathan Goldman, Executive Vice President of Operations Ed Harris and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro for taking the time to visit with me.
Kansas Listening Tour Stop in Lindsborg
Last Monday, before heading back to Washington, D.C., I held a Kansas Listening Tour Stop in Lindsborg. During this meeting, we discussed border security and the government shutdown, the importance of trade agreements, the Farm Bill and ways in which we can provide certainty to our Kansas farmers and ranchers during tumultuous times. This year marks the sesquicentennial for the Lindsborg community, and I wish them all the best as they celebrate this milestone and look ahead to the next 150 years. Thank you to the many McPherson County residents who joined me for our discussion and to Lindsborg Mayor Becky Anderson for attending. A special thanks to Bethany College and Bethany College President Will Jones for hosting my visit.
Kansans in the Office
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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