Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.
I am pleased to announce this week my Washington, D.C. office moved to its official location in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 354. If you are planning a trip to our nation’s capital in the near future please take note of the new location. For the last four months, my office has been located in a temporary building without a meeting space, so I’d like to thank the many Kansans who visited for their patience and understanding during our transition. Click here for a full list of contact information for my Washington and Kansas offices.
This week's headlines are:
- Averting a Government Shutdown
- Preserving Access to Credit
- Congress Passes Repeal of 1099 Mandate in Health Care Law
- Lincoln County Hospital Ribbon Cutting
- Voting to Limit EPA’s Ability to Halt Economic Growth
- Listening Tour Continues in Doniphan County
- Inaugural “Coffee with Kansans”
- Greeting Honor Flight Veterans in Washington
- Honoring a WWII Veteran in Marysville
- In the Office
Averting a Government Shutdown
We were minutes away from a government shutdown on Friday night when an agreement was finally made. The goal of the short-term continuing resolution Congress passed late Friday night is to provide sufficient time to put finishing touches on a longer-term spending measure agreed to by Republican and Democrat leaders for the remainder of this fiscal year. I am anxious to see the details and hope it includes the necessary spending cuts.
It is time we put these short term continuing resolutions behind us and move on to find ways to reduce spending in 2012 and beyond. Freeing our country from running deficits and a burdensome national debt will set our country on the path toward a stronger economy. Click here to watch a KCTV interview from Friday on the potential government shutdown.
Preserving Access to Credit
This week I introduced commonsense legislation to reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Better consumer protection is a shared goal of most lawmakers, but included in the Dodd-Frank Act passed by Congress last year was the CFBP, a new bureaucracy with the power to significantly affect the availability of credit. I introduced legislation this week that would restructure this new government agency so a variety of viewpoints would be considered when making rules to regulate the banking industry – rather than just the viewpoint of a single, unelected director. My bill would replace the single CFPB Director with a Senate-confirmed five-person commission – similar to the leadership structure of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Allowing a single unelected official to define their own jurisdiction and regulate vast segments of our economy without accountability or restraint is a “reform” that should be rejected.
My legislation would also allow Congress to better monitor the actions taken by the Bureau so banks and credit unions can continue to make responsible loans to creditworthy borrowers by subjecting the CFPB to the regular appropriations process. The Dodd-Frank Act currently allows the CFPB director to set his or her annual budget by withdrawing funds directly from the Federal Reserve, rather than going through the annual Congressional appropriations process like most independent agencies. The CFPB has more power and authority than almost any independent agency in history and asking them to present a budget to Congress for approval is a very modest request. Click here to read more about the legislation and click here view my comments about this legislation at a hearing with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Congress Passes Repeal of 1099 Mandate in Health Care Law
On Tuesday, I voted in favor of H.R. 4, the House-passed bill to repeal the costly and unprecedented 1099 tax-reporting mandate in the new health care law. The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 87 to 12, and the bill has been sent to President Obama’s desk. When the president signs H.R. 4 into law, it will mark the first significant change to the health care law. Back in February, I voted in favor of a Senate-originated amendment to repeal the 1099 provision and also sponsored two bills to accomplish this objective.
The repeal of the 1099 requirement is good news for small businesses and agriculture producers, who would bear the largest burden under this onerous provision. The new requirement would have increased 1099 tax filings by 2000 percent and buried businesses in paperwork, substantially increasing the cost of doing business in an already challenging economic environment. This is the first of hopefully many commonsense reforms to the damaging health care law.
I will continue to work to ensure the law is replaced with provisions that improve our current health care system, reduce costs, and keep personal health care decisions between patients and their doctors. Click here to read more.
Lincoln County Hospital Ribbon Cutting
On Sunday, I was in Lincoln to attend the ribbon cutting for Lincoln County Hospital (LCH), celebrating the completion of LCH’s $6 million renovation and expansion project. This project began in October of 2009 and consisted of three phases:
- Phase I – New E.R. entrance, 2 new E.R. suites, a new nurses’ station and renovated patient rooms;
- Phase II – New main entrance, new laboratory, new business offices and renovated patient rooms; and
- Phase III – Modernized radiology department with the addition of a new CT scanner and increased space for occupational and physical therapy.
To ensure small towns survive and flourish across Kansas, we must address the unique health care needs of rural communities. These improvements at LCH will greatly enhance access to quality health care for residents of Lincoln County and North Central Kansas. I was privileged to speak at this event and thank Greg McNeil, Hospital CEO, for the invitation. Also, thanks to Stan Crawford, chairman of the hospital board; Kansas Representative Elaine Bowers; Kaye Metzler, pastor of United Methodist Church; and Melissa Hungerford with the Kansas Hospital Association for joining me at this event. Click here to view photos from the celebration.
Voting to Limit EPA’s Ability to Halt Economic Growth
On Wednesday, I voted in favor of an amendment to S.493, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act, based upon the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which I sponsored in March. The amendment was intended to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from killing jobs and economic growth through its regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Its passage would have invalidated current EPA greenhouse gas regulations and prohibited similar regulations in the future without specific Congressional authorization. The amendment – which needed 60 votes to pass – failed by a vote of 50 to 50.
EPA’s continued efforts to regulate greenhouse gases are increasing the cost and uncertainty of doing business. This means once again, American businesses are at a competitive disadvantage and are losing access to world markets because of rising costs of production. Although Wednesday’s amendment was not ultimately successful, this fight is far from over. I will continue my efforts to stop the EPA from hindering economic growth so businesses in Kansas and across our country can have optimism about the future of the American economy. Click here to view a video of my remarks.
Listening Tour Continues in Doniphan County
I continued my listening tour this week in Doniphan County on Monday. I appreciated the opportunity to hear from Kansans about their concerns on the future of Social Security, rising costs of energy, and spending issues facing our nation. I share their concerns and will continue to fight for real, commonsense solutions in Washington. Thank you to County Commissioners Wayne Grable, David Van Laar, Jerry McKernan and other local officials for joining us. Click here to view photos from the meeting.
Inaugural “Coffee with Kansans”
On Wednesday I hosted my first “Coffee with Kansans” in Washington, DC. It was a great opportunity to have a conversation with Kansans who were in town visiting our nation’s capital. Click here to view photos from the event.
If you plan on traveling to Washington, D.C. in the near future while the Senate is in session, I welcome you to stop by and join us. The next “Coffee with Kansans” event will be held this Wednesday, April 13th at 9:30 a.m. Please RSVP here if you plan to come and visit with me. Thanks again to all the Kansans who stopped by this week.
Greeting Honor Flight Veterans in Washington
On Friday, I greeted Kansas World War II veterans who were visiting Washington, D.C. with the Honor Flight Network, a grassroots organization that enables veterans to visit the WWII Memorial created in their honor in 2004. Thanks to the generous donations of many Kansans and the volunteers of South Coffey County High School, veterans from Southeast Kansas were able to see the WWII Memorial for the first time.
I appreciated the opportunity to thank members of the Greatest Generation for their service and sacrifice, which gave all Americans the freedom we enjoy. Since Honor Flight was created in 2005, I have visited with Kansas veterans during nearly a dozen of their visits to the nation’s capital. Click here to view photos of their visit.
Honoring a WWII Veteran in Marysville
One of the highest honors I have as a Member of Congress is to pay tribute to veterans who served their country and gave all Americans the opportunity to enjoy freedom and liberty. This week, I had the honor of presenting military medals to World War II veteran Dale Robeson of Marysville, who never received all the medals he earned for his service. Dale served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945, participating in three campaigns in the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater. During WWII, Dale drove thousands of miles through France, Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany. His responsibilities included welding and performing mechanical work on tanks and other tracked combat vehicles.
On Sunday I was honored to present the following medals to Dale: Bronze Star; Purple Heart; Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and Bronze Star Attachment; WWII Victory Medal; Army of Occupation Medal and Germany Clasp; Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII; and Expert Badge and Carbine Bar.
Thank you to all the men and women who bravely served our country in the Armed Forces and continue to do so today. Thanks to Dale’s family, including his niece JoLynne Voet, for contacting my office regarding this medals. And thank you to Cambridge Place nursing home for hosting the event.
In the Office
This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C. office from across the state. Click here to view some photos of these groups.
Fort Leavenworth School District
Keith Mispagel of Fort Leavenworth
Beth Funk of Fort Leavenworth
Geri Parscale of Fort Leavenworth
USD 475 Geary County Schools
Ronald Walker of Junction City
Janet Christian of Junction City
Daphne Maxwell of Junction City
Kansas Optometric Association
Wayne Gilmore of Parsons
Steven Bryant of Concordia
Wes Garten of Wichita
Terry Hawks of Overland Park
Mike Hattan of Hays
Mike Malone of Topeka
Ron Hansen of Hutchinson
Todd Fleischer of Topeka
Larry Stoppel of Washington
Delta Dental of Kansas
Linda Brantner of Wichita
Sarah Patterson of Wichita
Kansas Independent Pharmacy Services Corporation
Amber Woehl of Minneapolis
Sam Boyajian of Gardner
Jeff Sigler of Lawrence
Ron Gaches of Topeka
Pete Stearn of Topeka
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Mark Olive of Derby
Barbara Sack of Shawnee Mission
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Susan Mosier of Manhattan
John & Emily Sutphin of Leawood
Deloris Bell of Stanley
William Clifford of Garden City
Timothy Lindquist of Prairie Village
Kansas Orthopedic Society
Peter Hodges of Manhattan
Charles Craig of Newton
Gary Caruthers of Topeka
Naomi Shields of Wichita
American Osteopathic Association
Nathaniel Bergman of Overland Park
Megan Lamping of Olathe
American College of Gastroenterology
Ervin Eaker of Shawnee
Joyce Martin of Topeka
Marlou Wegener of Topeka
Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas
Sherri Luthe of Wichita
Brad Luthe of Wichita
Thomas Zwemke of Goddard
Michele Gors Paris of Wichita
Transportation Equity Network/MOREsquared
Keith Dixon of Olathe
Kirk Sharp of Olathe
Carl Patillo of Spring Hill
Scott Bergkamp of Salina
The United States District
Court for the District of Kansas
Judge Thomas Marten of Wichita
Education Theater Association
Nina Keizer of Lawrence
Nancee Beilgard of Lawrence
BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas
Sunee Mickle of Topeka
Karren Weichert of Topeka
Diane Spain of Wichita
Mary Smith of Wichita
Renee Hahn of Wichita
Kenne Whitson of Garden City
Holly Swigere of Kansas City
Senior Community Service
Ruth Ann Wefald of Manhattan
Dr. David Zumwalt, Arkansas City
MIT Science Policy Initiative
Del Monte Foods
Steve Chambers of Lawrence
Nick Hatch of Liberal
Monte Abell of Phillipsburg
Mike Erhart of Phillipsburg
Dick Sterrett of Quinter
Michael Chisam of Lyons
Steve McNinch of Campus
Greg Krissek of Wichita
Kansas Water Office
Tracy Streeter of Topeka
Missouri River Association of States and Tribes
David Pope of Topeka
Sarah Hill-Nelson of Lawrence
American Water Works Association
Michael Armstrong of Lenexa
Michael Orth of Overland Park
Joint Council of Extension Professionals
Stacey Warner of Manhattan
Glenn Brunkow of Westmoreland
Sarah Maass of Salina
Janell Harman of Inman
Dan Johnson of Lorraine
Phil & Paula Sloderbeck of Garden City
Kathy McEwan of Iola
Jerry, Stephanie, and Jerica Hall of Neodesha
Steve & Debra Long of Tribune
Daryl Buchholz of Manhattan
Sharp Brother’s Seed Company
Maurice Miller of Healy
John Butler of Manhattan
Andrew Murphy of Great Bend
Mark Knight of Lyons
Science Engineering and Technology Working Group
Dr. Charles Rice of Manhattan
Richard Taylor of Wichita
Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local
Union No. 29
Kirby Clark of Wichita
Community Housing of Wyandotte
Donny Smith of Kansas City
Shawn Mitchell of Topeka
Kansas State Association of Letter Carriers
Rod Holub of Manhattan
Dean Richardson of Wichita
Ashley Palmer of Wichita
Alliance for Nuclear
Ann Suellentrop of Kansas City
Jim Hannah of Kansas City
Society of Professional Engineering Employees
Debbie Logsdon of Douglas
Earl Carter of Augusta
Joseph Newberry of Derby
Many Kansans stopped by this week for a tour of the United States Capitol including Andrea Wolf of Olathe; Sue Draper of Colby; Traci Hansen of Hutchinson; Patricia, Michael, & Deborah Bennett of Seneca; Bonnie Jo Enneking of Hiawatha. In from Overland Park were Susan Ripp, Monte Kay Yohr, Morgan Burlingame, Jenna Oettmeier, Rachel Ripp, Cynthia Burlingame, Pam Oettmeier, Michael Venderhad, Alex Wendte, and Michael Grein.
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Please let me know how I can be of assistance. To send me an email, click here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.
Very truly yours,
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