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.
We Need a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
The fiscal crisis our country finds itself in is the result of many years of our federal government living beyond its means. Though in recent weeks we have heard much talk about cutting spending and reducing our debt, the past has taught us that the President and Congress will not make the difficult decisions necessary to get our fiscal house in order without a tough budget mechanism in place to force accountability. Washington’s borrows 40 cents of every dollar spent, and I strongly believe a critical part of kicking this reckless habit is passage of a balanced budget amendment (BBA) to the U.S. Constitution. A BBA would turn talk into action by constitutionally binding the President to request and Congress to approve a balanced federal budget each year.
We will soon force a vote on the legislation in the Senate. In recent weeks, I have advocated for a BBA as a fundamental reform required as part of any agreement to raise the debt ceiling. Click here to view a video compilation of my recent remarks on the importance of a BBA.
Bernanke Testifies Before Senate Banking Committee
On Thursday, I participated in a discussion with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about the state of our economy and the pressing issue of our debts and deficits. Chairman Bernanke reiterated to the Senate Banking Committee of the importance of balancing our fiscal situation far into the future and getting our debt under control, but was hesitant to endorse one proposal in particular. The Chairman, however, did acknowledge his general agreement with the idea that addressing our debt is just as important as increasing the debt limit; the two are not mutually exclusive. There is widespread concern about what happens on August 2, but we ought to also have a similar concern about what happens next month, next year, next decade if we just kick this can down the road one more time. Click here to see a photo from the hearing.
Missouri River Working Group Meeting
This week the Missouri River Working Group met to discuss the management of the flooded river basin and its effect on Kansans. Senator Roberts and I are both members of the bipartisan group that is made up of 14 members from the states where the Missouri River runs, including Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.
The focus of this meeting was how the water in the Missouri River Basin should be managed. Often officials from upstream and downstream states on the Missouri have different perspectives, but the basin-wide flood has caused a common point of interest for officials to rally around. During the meeting, the Working Group met with Major General William Grisoli and Brigadier General John McMahon from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss events leading to the flooding, the authorized purposes of reservoirs in the basin, and the river forecast through Labor Day.
I am committed to examining the cause of this year’s flooding throughout the Missouri River basin and engaged in finding solutions for the future. Discussions continue about how the Corps is addressing the ongoing emergency situation and how it plans to address future water management in the basin. In the coming months, as the flood waters recede, I look forward to working with my colleagues to identify ways to repair damaged infrastructure and to make sure flood prevention is a priority in future years.
Assisting Home and Business Owners along the Missouri River
On Thursday, I joined several senators whose states border the Missouri River in introducing legislation, S. 1349, that will clarify what an In-Progress Flood designation means for residents seeking to purchase a flood insurance policy. An In-Progress Flood designation signals the start of flood conditions. Homes and businesses that will be affected by floodwaters must have their paperwork for a new flood insurance policy filed no later than 30 days prior to the In-Progress Flood designation. This adds much confusion to an already challenging situation.
The elevated waters of the Missouri River and the subsequent increased water release levels from the Garrison Dam in North Dakota triggered an In-Progress Flood designation for the entire Missouri River Basin on June 1, 2011. Even though the waters did not reach Kansas for weeks after the June 1 designation, all successful flood insurance claims by home and business owners on damages will depend on whether flood insurance paperwork was completed by May 1, 2011.
Our legislation states that a flood insurance policy will cover the damages caused by a flood as long as the policyholder has completed the 30-day waiting period. If no damages are sustained and no claims are filed during the 30 day period, then the date of the In-Progress Flood designation will have no effect on the home or business owner's coverage. I have also asked that this legislative text be included in the Senate version of the National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization bill.
Review of Iran Sanctions Needed
It has been more than a year since Congress provided the Administration with new authorities to sanction Iran for its refusal to abandon its illegal nuclear program. This week, I asked the Chairman of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over Iran sanctions to hold a hearing to review the implementation of sanctions and their effects. It is necessary for Congress to assess the impact last year’s legislation has had before even more time elapses and we are left with fewer options to stop Iran.
The fundamental goal of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) of 2010 was to compel Iran to change its behavior. Yet, despite passage of CISADA, Iran continues to amass greater stockpiles of enriched uranium. Iran now possesses enough enriched uranium that upon further processing could fuel three nuclear bombs. At the same time as Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities advance, the Iranian government is flexing its military muscle. At the end of June, Iran conducted military exercises in which a missile was tested with a range that reportedly would put U.S. military targets in the region within Iran’s reach. Additionally, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said this week that Iran is supplying weapons to insurgents in Iraq that are being used against our military men and women. Click here to read my letter to Chairman Tim Johnson.
Eisenhower Memorial to Feature Kansas Roots
Senator Roberts and I serve as members of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, whose mission is to establish a permanent memorial in Washington, D.C. to honor former General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. This week the Commission met to discuss progress being made in the design of the Eisenhower National Memorial. During the meeting, architect Frank O. Gehry presented an updated design of the Memorial to the Commission – which will now feature Eisenhower’s childhood home of Abilene more prominently.
Kansans are proud to call President Eisenhower one of our sons and the current memorial design demonstrates that he was proud to call Kansas home. The new design features Abilene as the backdrop for his story and will pay tribute to the role the community played in his upbringing. This memorial will serve as a fitting reminder that Americans from humble beginnings can do great things. Click here to view a photo from the meeting. For more information on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, please visit www.eisenhowermemorial.org.
(Photo credit: Eisenhower Memorial Commission)
Visiting with Long Term and Assisted Living Care Providers
Long term and assisted living care are extremely important. On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to speak to care providers from Kansas and across the country at the American Health Care Association (AHCA)/National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) Annual Congressional Briefing in Washington, D.C. The AHCA/NCAL advocates for compassionate, quality care for frail, elderly and disabled Americans. Without long term and assisted living care services, Kansas seniors and veterans reluctantly have to move from the home communities they know and love.
I shared with the group information about the fire that damaged the St. Francis Village in St. Francis this past October, forcing almost 50 residents of this northwest Kansas town to relocate. I also expressed my pride in and gratitude to the St. Francis community and the Good Samaritan Society for committing to rebuild this facility. Often times, long term and assisted living care facilities are a community’s sole provider of this unique type of care, as well as one of its largest employers. Thank you to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL and former Kansas governor, for inviting me to speak at the briefing. Thanks also to Cindy Luxem, president and CEO of the Kanas Health Care Association, for hosting me at the event. Click here to see a photo.
Annual Reading of the Names on Veterans Memorial Wall
On Friday evening I participated in the 4th annual Reading of the Names on Veterans Memorial Wall as part of the 138th Annual Old Soldiers and Sailors Reunion in Erie, Kansas. This memorial serves as a tribute to those who have answered the call to serve. We gathered together to express our gratitude for their sacrifice, and to remind our children and grandchildren that because of their sacrifice, we have the opportunity to live in the strongest, freest and greatest nation in the world.
It was such a pleasure to spend time with so many veterans and their families at the bean feed following the Reading of the Names, where 1,400 pounds of beans were served! Thank you to Linda Weidert, Erie Chamber President, Chad Boaz, Erie Chamber Vice President, and the Erie Chamber of Commerce for the invitation. Click here to view a photo from the event.
Four State Farm Show and Elk County Fair
On Saturday I enjoyed my first trip to the Four State Farm Show held just south of Pittsburg. Over 700 vendors filled 25 acres displaying the latest in agricultural equipment and products. During my visit, I sat down with KKOW 96.9 and My Country 101.7 radio to discuss concerns of local farmers and ranchers. Click here to listen to clips from the interviews.
Listening Tour Continues
I continued my annual listening tour this week visiting the following four counties: Cherokee, Labette and Wilson. Residents shared their thoughts on raising the debt ceiling, the growing national debt, government spending, the health care bill, regulations and the tax code. What I hear from Kansans during my town hall meetings plays an important role in my work in Washington. I appreciated the opportunity to answer questions and update local residents on the latest developments in Congress. Click here to view photos from my recent town halls.
Thanks to the many individuals who helped arrange my visits: Judy Mogle with the city of Columbus and Jean Pritchett with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Wayne Gilmore of Parsons; and Karen Porter with the Neodesha Chamber of Commerce. I’d also like to thank the following individuals for their participation: Cherokee County Commissioner Pat Collins, Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves, Parsons City Commissioners Greg York and Bill Hogelin, Labette County Commissioner Jack Martin and Neodesha City Commissioner Jim Schuessler. Thank you to Parsons City Manager Fred Gress for attending as well. In Wilson County, it was nice to visit with my high school classmate Susan Welton, who now teaches kindergarten in Fredonia.
Upcoming Listening Tour Stops
This month and next, I am continuing my statewide listening tour. Please find more information about my upcoming town hall meetings below. If you’re nearby, I encourage you to stop by and share your thoughts.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Cowley County, Arkansas City
Address: 125 North Summit
Time: 11:30 a.m.-12: 30 p.m.
Chautauqua County, Sedan
Location: Chautauqua County Farm Bureau
Address: 230 E. Main
Time: 1:45-2:45 p.m.
Montgomery County, Coffeyville
Location: Coffeyville Community College Technical Campus
Address: 600 Roosevelt
Time: 4:00-5:00 p.m.
In the Office
This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office from across the state, including the Kansans listed below. Click here to view photos of some of the visits.
Farm Credit Institutions
Jim Weaver of Manhattan
Ron Dunbar of Richmond
Gerald Gerstner of Frankfort
Steve Powers of Chanute
Dave Pracht of Westphalia
Bill Fleming of Lawrence
Tim Benoit of Damar
Ron Bach of Jetmore
Jeana Hultquist of Bonner Springs
Kansas Soybean Association
Craig Gigstad of Valley Falls
Bob and Janis Henry of Robinson
Terry Reschke of Hiawatha
John Mayes of Kansas City
Kenlon Johannes of Topeka
Dennis Hupe of Topeka
National Corn Growers Association
David Studer of Atwood
Brian Ballman of Menlo
Roger Pine of Lawrence
Ken McCauley of White Cloud
Charles Foltz of Garnett
Bob Timmons of Fredonia
Jere White of Garnett
Environmental Respect Award
Tyree Ag of Kinsley
Paige Ag of Kinsley
Kansas State University NESD
Samuel Brinton of Manhattan
Steve VanderGriend of Wichita
Reggie Chandra of Lenexa
Chris Gregory of Lenexa
Judge John Lungstrum of Lawrence
STEM Education, ESEA
Paul Adams of Hays
Dustin Jensen Adams of Kansas City
Amy Falk of Kansas City
Heidi Foster of Atwood
Stephanie Fuhrmann of Dodge City
Cara Greve of Topeka
Julie Govert Walter of Manhattan
Greg Hennen of Independence
Vickie James of Dighton
Schaunta James-Boyd of Wichita
Rebekah Jones of Mayetta
Anna Lambertson of Topeka
Eunice Lee-Ahn of Lawrence
Lalo Munoz of Topeka
John Washington of Garden City
Mark Wiebe of Kansas City
The Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention
Phil Winnard of Overland Park
Matthew Winnard of Overland Park
Tom Laing of Topeka
Sharon Spratt of Lawrence
Eric and Kerri Schlef of Fontana
Kansas Hospital Association
Fred Lucky of Topeka
Roger Masse of Ellsworth
Johnson County Community College
Terry Calaway of Overland Park
Dick Carter of Topeka
David Wilson of Overland Park
Maren Turner of Topeka
NEA Republican Leadership Conference
Kathy Gann of Belle Plaine
Larry Smith of Wichita
National Association of Elementary School Principals
Bart Goering of Spring Hill
Brenda Lietrich of Topeka
Duance Dorshorst of Oberlin
Jeff White of Osawatomie
Jodi White of Princeton
John Morton of Newton
National Council on Independent Living
Chris and Dan Owens of Hutchinson
Eric Rivera of Hutchinson
Heather Jones of Hutchinson
Lou Ann Kibbee of Hays
Shannon Jones of Topeka
Stephanie Sanford of Lawrence
George Beard of Kansas City
Ami Hyten of Lecompton
Deone Wilson of Emporia
David Wilson of Emporia
Melinda Willis of Atchison
Diane Paste of Atchison
Kansas Health Care Association
Cindy Luxem of Topeka
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
Ed McKechnie of Pittsburg
Austin McKechnie of Pittsburg
Rodney Leard of Mission
Craig Richey of Pittsburg
Ben Jones of Kansas City
Steve Tritsch of Lenexa
Kansas Insurance Association
Keith Birkhead of McPherson
Tom Dials of Leavenworth
Scott Forland of Overland Park
Natalie Haag of Topeka
David Hanson of Topeka
Mark Johnston of Indiana
Sandra Sigler of Topeka
Terry Tiede of Topeka
Rick Wilborn of McPherson
Greater Kansas City LISC
Julie Porter of Kansas City
Ashley Jones-Wisner of Kansas City
Stan Grigsby of Iola
Falun Gong Practitioners
Linda Kuang of Kansas City
Major General William Mayville, Jr.
Shannon Norwood of Topeka
Major General Butch Tate and Lynn Tate of Leavenworth
Sarah Liston of Larned
National Telecommunications Cooperative Association
Catherine Moyer of Ulysses
Steve Davis of Medicine Lodge
Brian Boisvert of Wilson
Tom Gleason of Lawrence
University of Kansas
Steve Warren of Lawrence
Dr. Timothy Carboni of Lawrence
Many Kansans stopped by this week for a tour of the United States Capitol including Mike Wilson of Overland Park; Barrett Carlisle of Manhattan; Lina Wilson of Overland Park; Alexandra Wilson of Overland Park; Laura Maag Lutz and daughter, Mallory of Berryton; Todd & Sharron Powers and children, Elise, Nicholas, Madison, Jack, Bennett and Payton of Wichita; Bruce and Sheila Burenheide and granddaughter, Caitlin of Kingman; Kent and Julie Anselmi and children, Kelsey and Stephen of Olathe; Lanny Ross of Leawood; Genell Smothers of Leawood; Sophie Wetzler of Prairie Village; Jack Dufield and Janice Fitzgerald of Liberal; Matheson Ladd of Arkansas; Matt Deighton of Greensburg; Chris Gerlach of Overland Park; David Underwood of Lenexa; Julia Govert Walter of Manhattan; Dustin Jensen of Missouri; Amy Falk of Kansas City; Schaunta James Boyd of Wichita; Stephanie Fuhrmann of Dodge City; John Washington of Garden City; Vickie James of Dighton; Cara Greve of Lawrence; Heidi Foster of Atwood; Anna Lambertson of Topeka; Mark Wiebe of Roeland Park; Gregory Hennen of Independence; Eunice LeAhn of Lawrence; Eulalio Munoz of Topeka; Melissa Ness of Topeka; William and Janine Atteridge and sons, William and James of Overland Park; Jim and Jane Johnson of Halstead; Marsha Mawhirter of El Dorado; Angie and Robert Reynolds and son, James of Wichita; Chelsea Castaneda of Topeka; Bill Blanchat of Harper; Nick Blanchat of Harper; James and Tabitha Ferrell and son, Jacob of Sublette; Kenneth and Regina Whatson and children, Chase and Rebekah of Garden City. Also stopping by just to visit were Troy and Emily Reimer and children; Becky Gruoner of Leavenworth; Dave, Karlene and Josh Gruoner of Linn; and Steven Pearce of Burrton.
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,
My email address is only equipped to send messages. I encourage you to send me a message through my website: https://www.moran.senate.gov
To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please click here.
Newsletter Sign-up Form
Note: Fields marked with an * are required.