Kansas Common Sense

By U.S. Senator Jerry Moran

February 22, 2011

 Dear Friend,

    In December, I asked for feedback on my weekly newsletter, “This Week in Congress.” Thousands of Kansans responded and I appreciate how many people took the time to share their thoughts. You will see some new additions included in this and upcoming editions of the newsletter, which has been renamed “Kansas Common Sense.” This name reflects the wisdom I glean from Kansans and take back to Washington, D.C. 

    Kansans’ recommendations have helped the newsletter become more interactive, so I can hear your thoughts and you can learn more about the work I am doing in Washington and in our state. The new features include: 

  • Ask Jerry - Readers asked for opportunities to ask me questions, so there is now a way for you to submit questions. My responses will be included in upcoming editions.
  • Polls - Kansans asked for – and deserve – the chance to have their opinions heard by their elected officials. Your emails, phone calls, letters and comments at listening tour stops are all great ways to share what’s on your mind. Additionally, I will be asking for your thoughts through polls periodically.
  • Articles of Interest – I will also be including links to articles I think Kansans might enjoy reading.
  • Upcoming Events – Some readers asked that we share details about upcoming Listening Tour stops and upcoming votes before they take place. When this information is available beforehand, it will now be included.

    Thank you for your interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. I hope you enjoy the new additions.

    This week's headlines are:

  • Pay Down Deficit with Stimulus Funds
  • Passage of FAA Good for Kansas Aviation
  • President Obama’s Budget Fails to Confront Fiscal Challenges
  • Given a Fair Competition, American Workers Will Succeed
  • First Senate Banking Committee Hearing
  • Harmful U.N. Resolution Vetoed in Security Council
  • Upcoming Stops
  • In the Office

Pay Down Deficit with Stimulus Funds

    As one of the few members of Congress to vote against every stimulus and bailout bill, I acknowledged the 2nd anniversary of President Obama’s so-called “stimulus package” by introducing legislation to send the $45 billion in unspent stimulus funds back to the U.S. Department of Treasury to be used for deficit reduction. 

    When President Obama signed into law a 1,100-page “stimulus package,” he called the package an “investment,” and today the return on his investment is clear: national unemployment hovers between 9 and 10 percent, and we face a record $1.6 trillion deficit and $14 trillion national debt. 

    It’s pretty clear spending our way to prosperity is not working. We must change direction, and that starts with passing the RESET Act. Congress should rescind the $45 billion in unspent stimulus funds and direct them toward paying down the record deficit. We must then get to work on spending cuts, tougher funding standards and monetary and fiscal policies that promote – rather than stifle – economic growth. 

    The language of the RESET Act is also included in H.R. 1, the continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the last seven months of fiscal year 2011 just approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. This proposal is supported by Let Freedom Ring, Restore the Dream Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, National Taxpayers Union, 60 Plus Association, Liberty Central and Citizens Against Government Waste. Click here to read more about the RESET Act.

Passage of FAA Good for Kansas Aviation

    Aviation represents one of the most important components of Kansas’ economy. This week, I voted for passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act. This legislation will help provide long-term stability to an industry suffering in the struggling economy. Its long-overdue passage will also help modernize the aviation industry by directing resources toward new technology to make air travel safer and faster. I am pleased that Congress once again rejected the user fee proposal, which would have been devastating to the general aviation community and south-central Kansas’ economy.

    The multi-year reauthorization bill will improve aviation safety, modernize the nation’s air traffic control system, and maintain important investments in aviation infrastructure across the country. The House must now work with the Senate to pass a multi-year reauthorization bill prior March 31 to prevent yet another short-term extension. Click here to read more about this legislation.

President Obama’s Budget Fails to Confront Fiscal Challenges

    President Obama delivered his fiscal year 2012 budget to Congress this week, which fails to confront the real fiscal and economic challenges before us. The budget includes $8.7 trillion in new spending, proposes $1.6 trillion in new taxes, ignores the recommendations of the president’s own fiscal commission, and doubles the national debt by 2012. 

    Administration officials are proud of the fact that the budget proposal will reduce the deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years, but that doesn’t amount to much when you consider this year alone we face a $1.6 trillion deficit. Erskine Bowles, the Chairman of the president’s own fiscal commission said this budget “goes nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare.” 

Given a Fair Competition, American Workers Will Succeed

    On Thursday, I joined a bipartisan coalition of senators at a press conference in the Capitol to support jobs for Kansas workers in the competition to build the next generation of Air Force refueling tankers. The competition for the tanker contract is entering its final stretch, and a decision could be announced in a matter of days or weeks.

    Our skilled Kansas work force is ready to support our men and women in uniform with the best tanker. The Pentagon should consider all the facts in this competition, including billions in subsidies that provide an unfair competitive advantage. I have introduced legislation to require the Defense Department to account for these foreign subsidies. With a national unemployment rate of 9 percent, the Pentagon should not be working against American manufacturing and its workers. Given a fair competition, I am confident the Air Force will ultimately make the right decision for America’s warfighters, workers, and taxpayers. Click here to view my comments at the press conference on Thursday. Click here to view photos from the press conference. 

First Senate Banking Committee Hearing

    On Thursday, I attended my first hearing as a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The hearing was a progress report on various agencies’ efforts to implement provisions of the massive Dodd-Frank Financial legislation which was signed into law last year. Testifying at the hearing were Chairman Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve; Chairwoman Sheila Bair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (of Independence, Kansas); Chairwoman Mary Schapiro of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Chairman Gary Gensler of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and Acting Comptroller John Walsh of the Currency. 

    During the hearing, I mentioned the importance of small community financial institutions to a state like Kansas. The panel agreed that these banks, credit unions and other small businesses were not a cause of systemic risk to our economy. I made a point to ask the panel why – since these small financial institutions were not a cause of the financial meltdown that shook our economy – they were being subjugated to the enormous amount of federal regulations. There is a disconnect between Washington and the rest of the country, and the regulations being proposed in Washington are preventing small banks in Kansas from making loans to credit worthy borrowers within our state. Without access to credit, small business, farmers and ranchers are unable to get the financing they need to keep their operations going. I urged the panel to work with me to help solve this very serious problem, which is detrimental to our economic recovery.    Click here to see a photo from the hearing and click here for a video clip of my remarks.

Harmful U.N. Resolution Vetoed in Security Council

    I strongly encouraged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week to direct the U.S. representative at the United Nations Security Council to veto a resolution condemning Israeli settlements. The resolution that was offered Friday did nothing to further the goal of peace and was not in the interest of the United States. Thankfully, the United States continued the 30-year old policy of rejecting any Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements by vetoing this week’s resolution.

    This was the second time this year that I encouraged Secretary Clinton to oppose a resolution harmful to our ally Israel and the advancement of the peace process. Peace cannot be made at the Security Council. It must be made by the Israelis and Palestinians in direct negotiations. Click here to read the letter sixteen Senators and I sent to Secretary Clinton in January.

Upcoming Stops

    This week, the Senate will not be in session in observance of President’s Day, so I am back in Kansas and will be making several stops this week across our state:

    This evening, I will be in Topeka to attend the Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner. We will have the opportunity to hear from Herman Cain, the former Chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and now a columnist, businessman and radio talk-show host from Atlanta.

    Tomorrow evening, I will be in Pittsburg to watch the Pittsburg State University Gorillas take on the Fort Hays State University Tigers during the men’s basketball game. I look forward to visiting with students and school administrators during the game.

    Later this week, I plan to visit two hospitals, the Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Sedan City Hospital, to learn more about their efforts to care for their local communities. I also plan to tour a small business in Wamego and visit with members of the Independence Rotary Club during their weekly meeting.

    I will also be continuing my statewide listening tour this week. Please find more information about my upcoming town hall meetings below. If you’re nearby, I encourage you to stop by to share your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Anderson County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Town Hall Center
Address: 125 W. 5th Avenue, Garnett, KS
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Neosho County Listening Tour Stop
Location: The Brickhaus
Address: 202 N. Main Street, Erie, KS
Time: 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Crawford County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Girard Public Library
Room:  Lower level
Address: 128 W. Prairie Avenue, Girard, KS
Time: 4:00-5:00 p.m. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Bourbon County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Fort Scott High School, Media Room
Address: 1005 S. Main, Fort Scott, KS
Time: 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Linn County Listening Tour Stop
Location: F&M Community Hall
Address: 5th and Main, Mound City, KS
Time: 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Saturday, February 25, 2011

Ness County Listening Tour Stop
Location: The Derrick Inn, Meeting Room
Address: 409 East Sycamore Street
Time: 9:00-10:00 a.m.

In the Office

    One of the things I enjoy most is meeting with Kansans who have traveled to Washington to see their capital city and share their thoughts and concerns with me. This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office from across the state including:  

Century Link
John Idoux of Overland Park

American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Miriam Glueck of Leawood
Michael Lerner of Overland Park
Bonnie Siegel of Leawood

Partnership for the National Trail System
Ross Marshall of Merriam

Diebel’s Sportsmens Gallery
Curt Diebel of Kansas City

American Hiking Society
Vern Osborne of St. George
Carol Osborne of St. George

Enterprise Center of Johnson County
Dr. Joel Wiggins of Lenexa

International Visitors Council of Greater Kansas City
Barbara Dolci of Kansas City
Sharon Johnson of Kansas City

Flint Hills Regional Council
Ty Warner of Fort Riley

City of Iola
Mayor Bill Maness of Iola
Corey Schinstok of Iola
Judy Brigham of Iola
Bruce Cochran of Iola, KS Crime Stoppers
Ruth St. Clair of Iola, THRIVE Organization
Mike Ford of Iola, City of Iola Public Safety
Nancy Ford of Iola, Allen Community College
Anthony Maness of Iola, Public Safety Officer
Jeff Trinca of Iola, VSA
Stephanie Roehl of Iola, VSA

Collective Brands
Matt Rubel of Topeka
Curtis Sneden of Topeka

Andrew Etkind of Olathe

Transportation Equity Network
Cynthia Owen Jarrold of Overland Park

Kansas City Regional Rapid Rail project
Pete Levi of Leawood

Miller Trucking
Mike Miller of LaCrosse

Rawhide Trucking
Kenneth Leicht of Eskridge

Kansas Attorney General’s Office
Attorney General Derek Schmidt of Topeka

KS Grain and Feed Association

Tom Tunnell of Topeka
Randy Whisenhunt of Hillsboro
Stan Stark of Pratt
Gary Gantz of Ness City

American Wind Energy Association
Kevin Hazel of Hutchinson, Siemens Wind Energy
Jim Schwarz of Pittsburg, Able HFG & Assembly

American Chemical Society
Charles Rice of Manhattan, Kansas State University

Kansas Secretary of Agriculture
Dale Rodman of Topeka

Playa Lakes Joint Venture
Barth Crouch of Salina

Kansas Fraternal Order of Police
Ken Gorman of Topeka
James Morton of Dodge City
Hans Asmussen of Wichita
Mark Bundy of Kansas City

Kansas Commission on Veteran Affairs
Wayne Bollig of Topeka

Kansas National Guard
Lee Tafanelli of Ozawkie
Rodney Seaba of De Soto
Barry Manley of Topeka
Mike Erwin of Topeka
Jon Shafer of Kansas City
Tony DeJesus of Topeka
Brian Willard of Lyndon
Tyisha McNutt of Topeka
Terry Martin of Topeka
Erin Massey of Topeka
Pat Heptinstall of Topeka
Derek Rogers of Topeka
Michele Henry of Topeka

Fort Leavenworth
LTG Robert Caslen of Leavenworth
LTC Thomas Shoffner of Leavenworth
MAJ Lance Van Zandt of Leavenworth
Stephen Nolan of Leavenworth

Dodge City Community College
Don Woodburn of Dodge City
Morris Reeves of Dodge City 

Butler Community College
Jackie Viette of El Dorado
Ted Dankert of El Dorado
Ron Engelbrecht of Benton

Johnson County Community College
Terry Calaway of Lenexa
Joe Sopcich of Overland Park
Don Weiss of Olathe
Lynn Mitchelson of Mission
Melody Rayl of Olathe
Bob Drummond of Olathe
Stephanie Sharp of Lenexa
Jerry Cook of Overland Park
Dick Carter of Topeka

Hutchinson Community College
Ed Berger of Hutchinson

National Association of Health Underwriters
Gary Hardman of Wichita
Robert Richie of Wichita
Thomas Bryon of Leawood
Jim Hissong of Shawnee
Terry Dressman of Lenexa
Ron Dutton of Overland Park
Kay Schweiger of Overland Park
Ron Bowling of Overland Park
Ryan Bowling of Overland Park
Claude Thau of Overland Park
Tracy Musolf of Kansas City 

Kansas Chiropractic Association
Paul Backeen of Derby
Tobi Jeurink of Gardner
Ed McKenzie of Holton
Travis Oller of Topeka
John Keifhaber of Topeka 

Kansas City Community College
Mary Ann Flunder of Kansas City
Don Ash of Kansas City
Alicia Hooks of Kansas City

Assisted Living Federation of America
Joe Eby of Olathe

Concerned Women of America
Richard Fry of Olathe

Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities
Jane Rhys of Topeka
Sara Sack of Parsons
April Santiago of Derby
Bill Story of Overland Park
LaRae Santiago of Wichita

National Hemophilia Foundation
Mark Cox of Olathe
Aimee Tempera-Parks of Wichita

National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology
Peter Cionitti of Olathe

Kennedy Center National Partnership
Barbara Warady of Kansas City
Angel Mercier of Kansas City

National Silver Haired Congress
Thelma Bray of Silver Lake
Keith Bray of Silver Lake 

International Paper
Julie Alsup of Wichita

Angel Capital Association
Marianne Hudson of Overland Park

Del Monte Foods
Meg Villarreal of Topeka
Sally Kay of Lawrence

Ron Schwartz of Garden City
Janie Schwartz of Garden City 

LaVeta Miller of Great Bend

Contact Me

    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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