Kansas Common Sense

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My Statement on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an avoidable tragedy for which Vladimir Putin is solely responsible. President Biden and our allies must impose punishing sanctions on Russia’s vital economic sectors and provide humanitarian support to Ukrainian victims of Moscow’s aggression. It is also imperative that all NATO allies remain unified against the Russian threat and ensure the security of the alliance’s eastern-most members. While this moment underscores the need for our allies to contribute more to NATO’s defense, the United States’ commitment to our NATO obligations cannot be in doubt.

I am grateful for our military servicemembers stationed in Europe—and those who have recently deployed there—for demonstrating to our NATO allies in Europe and around the world that the United States can be relied upon.

Recognizing Presidents’ Day

Yesterday, we recognized the contributions our American presidents have made for the success of our nation like Abilene native and Kansas’ favorite son, President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ike, a five-star general in the United States Army and the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, lives in Kansans’ and Americans’ memory.

I encourage all those who are able to visit the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, a testament to Kansas’ admiration for our 34th President and a man who represented the very best of our nation.

My Legislation to Expand VA Health Care for Post-9/11 Veterans Unanimously Clears Senate

On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed my bipartisan Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act, legislation I introduced with Senator Jon Tester as the leaders of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. 

The first of a three-step approach to expand access to VA health care for Post-9/11 veterans who were exposed to burn puts, this bill will remove hurdles to veterans accessing VA health care, incorporate a toxic exposure screening into VA medical appointments, mandate related training for VA health care and benefits personnel, and boost federal research on the health outcomes of toxic-exposed veterans.

Click here or below to watch my remarks on the Senate Floor just before the bill passed.


Additionally, this legislation establishes a new process through which VA will determine future presumptive conditions and provide overdue benefits to thousands of toxic-exposed veterans who have been long-ignored or forgotten. Supporting our veterans has a way of bringing us together, and I appreciate my Senate colleagues understanding the urgency of this bill and working to quickly pass it by unanimous consent. Addressing the needs of veterans exposed to burn pits cannot wait, and I urge my colleagues in the House to follow suit, pass this important legislation and bring us one step closer to fulfilling our duty to Post-9/11 veterans.

The Blood Shortage Is Severe, and It’s Affecting Kansans

There is no substitute – no alternative – our nation can turn to in the absence of blood donations. The only answer is each of us stepping up to donate, helping to end this crisis and contributing to saving the lives of those in our own communities. This week, I joined my colleagues in urging our people across our nation to donate – click here or below to watch.


Donating Blood in Manhattan
I’ve heard from medical professionals in Kansas about the tough decisions rural providers are having to make – including cancelling surgeries and blood transfusions, and possibly not delivering babies because bleeding complications may require blood that these facilities don't have. This blood shortage is severe, and it is affecting Kansas health care providers and their ability to care for patients.

On Friday, I donated blood with the American Red Cross in Manhattan. Kansans pull together in times of need, and I encourage anyone who is able to donate. Read more from WIBW here.

Donation centers provide specific guidance on the blood donation process and safety measures taken within their centers. Locations for blood donation can be found at the following organization websites:

American Red CrossAmerica’s Blood Centers and Save A Life Now.

To all those who have donated, thank you.


Federal Disaster Declaration Approved

This week, I led the Kansas Delegation - Senator Marshall and Representatives Mann, LaTurner, Davids and Estes - in recognizing the federal disaster declaration for Kansas following the severe wind storms and fires that occurred in December.

Last month, after the Kansas Division of Emergency Management submitted the request for federal support, the Kansas congressional delegation urged President Biden to make the formal declaration to support the state in its recovery.

The severe storms that swept across our state on December 15 upended the lives of many Kansans and destroyed critical infrastructure. It will take time to recover from the devastation caused by the storms, but this federal disaster declaration will equip our state with resources to help Kansans in the process.

Federal Reserve Board Nominations

As a member of the Banking Committee, it is my duty to fully vet nominees requiring discharge from the committee, and nominees must provide Congress with the necessary information in a transparent manner, something current nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin has failed to do. Ms. Raskin’s potential appointment to Vice Chair for Supervision at the Federal Reserve would undermine access to the financial system for traditional energy companies through politically-motivated policies. During her confirmation hearing, I questioned the Fed’s willingness to adhere to its narrow statutory scope and not direct capital away from oil and gas companies. Discouraging investment in such a vital industry to Kansans will neither help consumers nor fulfill the Fed’s dual mandate of price stability and low unemployment.

Joining Fox Business to Discuss My Opposition to Sarah Bloom Raskin

As I have said, the nomination to serve as the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator is important to our nation, and the Senate Banking Committee, as well as the full Senate, must have all the information before moving forward.

It’s not the Federal Reserve’s job to determine energy policy in this country, and Sarah Bloom Raskin has repeatedly lacked candor and has not been forthcoming about her role with the Reserve Trust. I spoke with Fox Business on Wednesday to discuss my opposition to her nomination. Watch my remarks here or below.


America Must Be Energy Independent
The United States must be energy independent. Not only will this help reduce prices at the pump, but it strengthens our national security.

We know we have the capability to be energy independent, but we need leaders in Washington who support an all-of-the-above energy plan. As the Banking Committee considers nominees for the Federal Reserve who would punish our oil and gas industry and make us more reliant on imports from foreign adversaries like Russia, Congress must remain committed on creating energy policy, not the Federal Reserve.

I will continue to support an all-of-the-above energy policy that prioritizes American energy.


Thank You, Law Enforcement

Our law enforcement officers work around the clock, under very difficult conditions, to keep our communities – no matter their size or location – safe.

To the men and women in uniform, thank you for answering the call to protect and serve.


Advocating for Postal Reform

I have long advocated for the preservation of rural post offices and sensible reforms that ensure the United States Postal Service’s stability.

The Postal Service has long been an essential piece of American communication and commerce, but its financial condition threatens its future. The Postal Service delivery routes bring essential medicines, groceries, and vital supplies to families’ doorsteps. Kansas’ rural communities, where broadband access to brick-and-mortar businesses are limited, heavily rely on the essential services of the Postal Service as a means of staying connected and competitive. My Postal Service Reform Act is a step forward to make certain Kansans can better rely on the USPS. Watch my remarks here or below.


Speaking with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy
As the Senate prepares to take up the Postal Service Reform Act, I spoke to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about his support for the bill and the need for Congress to act on postal reform. The House of Representatives passed postal reform legislation last week and, as a cosponsor of the Senate companion, I recognize Congress has a constitutional duty to ensure the USPS is maintained and continues providing its essential public services. During previous sessions of Congress, Senator Tom Carper of Delaware and I have introduced postal reform legislation that would stabilize, preserve and restore the Postal Service’s viability. Many of those provisions are included in the Postal Service Reform Act which the Senate is considering, including ensuring the permanency of six-day delivery.

It's Time to Open the United States Capitol

The United States Capitol has long been a symbol of our democracy, and its defining principle is American citizens’ involvement in government. This week, I joined my Senate colleagues in leading a resolution supporting the re-opening of the U.S. Capitol and Senate office buildings to Kansans under pre-COVID policies.

It is long past time to reopen the United States Capitol Complex and allow the public access to their members of Congress. I have been calling on Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi to lift restrictions for the U.S. Capitol since last spring, and I will continue to do so until Kansans are welcome back into the heart of our democracy.

Herington to Name Post Office in Honor of Father Emil Kapaun

On Wednesday night, the Senate passed legislation to designate the post office in Herington, Kansas, as the "Captain Emil J. Kapaun Post Office Building."

Father Emil Kapaun is an American hero whose selfless actions inspired his fellow soldiers and continue to inspire generations of Kansans today. I’m pleased Herington, a place so close to Father Kapaun’s home, will pay tribute to his life and sacrifice by renaming its post office the Captain Emil J. Kapaun Post Office Building, and I appreciate Congressman Mann leading this effort to commemorate Father Kapaun’s incredible life.

ULA Announces Contract with Wichita’s Milling Precision

Investing in Wichita’s aerospace capabilities is an investment in its workforce. This week, United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced it has signed a contract with Milling Precision Tool in Wichita to help manufacture its Atlas V Rocket.

Read more here from Wichita Business Journal about launching the city further into the space manufacturing industry through partnerships between United Launch Alliance and local manufacturers.

Celebrating Kansas Chambers of Commerce

Great Bend Chamber Celebrates 100 Years
This weekend, it was great to return to Great Bend to celebrate the Chamber of Commerce’s 100th annual awards banquet. Great Bend is a special place for me. Not only is it the city where I was born, but every time I come to Great Bend, I see people of different backgrounds and ages coming together to make good thing happen in this place they call home. The banquet was a perfect example of this, as 450 residents gathered together to celebrate their community.


It was encouraging to see so many young adults in attendance, including but not limited to the Barton County Young Professionals members and the Chamber Ambassadors. The future of Barton County is in good hands with such strong involvement from this next generation of leaders.

My thanks and gratitude go out to everyone in Great Bend I had the opportunity to speak to during the banquet, but I especially want to thank Great Bend Chamber of Commerce CEO Megan Barfield and her team for allowing me to share a few remarks. I shared that Great Bend is a prime example of why Congress should be focused on creating an environment where communities and businesses can thrive and not let our minor differences prevent us from accomplishing the greater good. Both the chamber and the people living here will help make Great Bend a place to live, work and be proud of for another 100 years.


Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet
On Friday night, I joined community members at the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet. I enjoyed catching up with local leaders and hearing about new developments in the community. It was especially great to hear from President and CEO Jason Smith about the organization’s growth over the past year, and their plans for continuing to engage additional businesses. Hearing directly from business owners and leaders is valuable as I continue to advocate for pro-growth policies in Washington, D.C. Thank you to everyone I spoke with for sharing your insights and Jason for the invitation to join this event.


Meeting with the Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone

I met with the Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone on Wednesday to discuss their members’ concerns with anti-competitive trade policies that hurt companies’ ability to expand distribution centers that would hire more Kansans. I want to thank them for the award they presented during our conversation, and I am pleased that major manufacturers choose Kansas Foreign Trade Zones to conduct international trade, which benefits local economies through infrastructure development and well-paying jobs.


Speaking with County Commissioners in Washington, D.C.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Sarah Lopez
This week, I had the opportunity to speak with Sedgwick County Commissioner Sarah Lopez. During the meeting, we discussed a number of important infrastructure projects the county is working toward, and we were able to identify potential funding opportunities at the federal level that could be of assistance. I appreciated being able to discuss the county’s needs in person, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in the coming months.


Jackson County Commissioner Keith Kelly
I met with Jackson County Commissioner Keith Kelly this week to discuss issues facing the county. I learned about the county’s efforts to increase revenues to improve services in a fiscally responsible manner. We also discussed the important role county and community leaders can play in effectively implementing infrastructure dollars. I appreciated the opportunity to visit with Keith and look forward to continuing to work with him and other county commissioners across the state.


Meeting with Former Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court Lawton Nuss

This week, I met with Lawton Nuss, the former Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. A Marine veteran, Chief Justice Nuss stepped down from his judgeship to advocate for veterans and Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs). As Chief Justice Nuss and every veteran knows, the wounds of war can impact the daily lives of those who have served. Research continues to draw a link between substance abuse, mental health conditions and military service. Established at the local and state levels, VTCs are a community support system designed to proactively assist justice-involved veterans early and often, and address the unique challenges that stem from active military service. I appreciated hearing Chief Justice Nuss’ insight, and I thank him for taking time out of his day to meet with me in Washington, D.C.

Read more about Veteran Treatment Courts here in an op-ed I wrote for the Kansas Prosecutor Magazine last year.

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. 

Please let me know how I can be of assistance. You can contact me by email by clicking here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C. office.

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