Kansas Common Sense
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Debt-Limit Talks Hit Standstill
Yesterday, Congressional leaders met with President Obama at the White House to continue deficit negotiations prior to the August 2nd deadline – when the Treasury Department has said our government could begin defaulting on its financial obligations. The meeting was one in a series of talks that are centered on how to rein in our nation’s escalating budget deficits. The effort to reduce future deficits by $4 trillion over the next ten years reached an impasse over the weekend because the package included tax increases and changes to entitlement programs. Conversations are expected to continue this week as negotiators work towards common ground on a smaller package to reduce our nation’s deficit.
We Cannot Afford “Business As Usual” in Washington
Last week, I joined a number of my colleagues in making it clear the Senate should not recess, but continue working toward an agreement on the debt ceiling. Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership chose not to bring anything to the Senate floor this week to address the looming fiscal crisis.
In my view, our President and Senate leadership have failed to lead. They have failed to adopt the President’s own Deficit Reduction Commission’s recommendations. They have failed to pass a budget in over 2 years, and they have failed to even introduce a budget in the Senate Budget Committee this year.
The President’s solution is to raise taxes – particularly on those who own a business plane. Airplanes are a very important component of our state’s economy, and this proposal would have a devastating impact on the Wichita economy, which has already suffered the loss of thousands of jobs in our struggling economy. The President’s proposal does not punish the owners of aircraft; it punishes the people who work hard every day to make airplanes.
The revenue increases we need are not tax increases, but increased revenues that come from a growing economy. To turn our economy around and put people back to work, Congress and the Obama administration should be implementing policies that encourage job creation. We must rein in burdensome government regulations; replace our convoluted Tax Code with one that is fair, simple, and certain; open foreign markets for American manufactured goods and agricultural products; and develop a comprehensive energy policy. Yet none of these things are being done.
When families struggle to pay the bills, they do not ask for a pay raise; they cut their spending. We should cut government spending to reduce our deficit, cap spending so it does not continue to eat up more and more of our gross domestic product, and pass a balanced budget amendment so we do not get back in this mess once again. I shared more of my thoughts on this topic in a speech on the Senate floor this week. Click here to watch a video of my remarks, or click here to read a transcript.
Number of Unemployed Workers Increased
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in June – marking the 29th straight month of unemployment above 8 percent. More than fourteen million Americans are still looking for work and many have given up their search in frustration. I know many of these families are struggling to make ends meet and their ability to find a job will determine whether they can put food on the table, and pay their mortgages and car payments on time.
Our country’s struggling economy has real consequences on the daily lives of Americans – so Congress’ number one priority should be to grow our economy so those who need a job can find a job. America has always been a land of opportunity and I will continue my efforts in Washington to make sure those opportunities are once again abundant.
Discussing the Impact of Potential Flooding with Atchison Residents
Communities up and down the Missouri River are battling elevated water levels due to increased release levels by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) from dams in North and South Dakota. According to the USACE, the increased flows are necessary due to unexpected high rainfall in the headwaters of the Missouri River and the melting of the snow pack from heavy snowfall this winter. These elevated water levels are expected to continue for the next several weeks.
On Thursday, I met with Atchison County and city officials, local business leaders and staff from the Corps of Engineers to discuss the effects of the Missouri River flooding around the City of Atchison. Thankfully, the city has not been flooded and a wall has been built around the downtown area in case rains cause the river to rise higher. Atchison is still open for business and the annual Amelia Earhart Festival will be held July 15th and 16th. Click here to learn more about the Festival.
On Friday, I joined Senators from states affected by these waters in calling on the Chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to hold a hearing to scrutinize the USACE's management of the Missouri River. I also met with the Ranking Member of the committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, earlier this week to discuss the importance of making certain the policies of USACE have the best interests of Kansas communities in mind.
As communities in the affected region continue to monitor and fight these elevated river levels, I will continue to engage the USACE on ways we can lessen the effects of river flooding on Kansas communities. Thanks to Rick Berger for coordinating the meeting in Atchison and to Tim Newkirk for hosting the meeting at MGP. A special thank you to Jud Kneuvean with the Corps of Engineers for joining us and providing an update on the current situation along the river.
South Sudan Becomes World’s Newest Country
The Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest country Saturday when it officially split from Sudan. The creation of this new country is the result of a referendum held in January 2011. While I welcome South Sudan into the community of nations, I am concerned about the many challenges facing it. More than half of its roughly 8 million citizens live on less than a dollar a day, and there are fewer than 65 miles of paved roads in the entire country. At the same time as South Sudan’s leaders address these and other internal challenges, tensions and conflict remain along the border with Sudan.
On June 21, twelve other senators and I asked President Obama to use the United States’ influence to push the leaders of both Sudan and South Sudan to fulfill their obligations under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that brought a 21 year-long civil war to an end. Specifically, we urged the President to encourage both northern and southern leaders to resume negotiations on all issues, to make clear to the leaders of South Sudan that international assistance will be conditioned on conduct consistent with international human rights, and to cease consideration of normalizing relations with Sudan until it meets its commitments under the CPA on the disputed area of Abyei and the territory of Southern Kordofan, where violence has recently flared. Click here to read our letter to President Obama. A stable South Sudan at peace with its neighbors is in our interest and I will continue to encourage the President to use American influence to achieve it.
Honoring a WWII Veteran in Victoria
One of the highest honors I have as a Member of Congress is to pay tribute to our nation’s veterans who served and sacrificed so that all Americans may have the opportunity to live in the freest and greatest nation in the world. This weekend, I had the privilege of presenting military service awards and medals to World War II veteran Edward Froelich of Victoria.
Ed served as a Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Pinkney from 1943-1946. During WWII, Ed’s ship was hit by a Japanese Kamikaze pilot and he was injured and forced to jump overboard. Ed and his comrades were transported to the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital where he spent more than two months recovering from his wounds.
During the ceremony, amongst Ed’s friends and relatives, I presented him with the following medals: Purple Heart Medal; World War II Victory Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze stars; Combat Action Ribbon; Navy Discharge Button; Honorable Service Lapel Pin (Ruptured Duck); Philippine Liberation Medal with one bronze star; and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation (Navy).
We are forever grateful to the men and women who have courageously served our country. Thank you to Ed’s family, including his son and daughter-in-law, Van and Darla Froelich, for contacting my office regarding his medals. Additionally, thank you to St. John’s nursing home for hosting the event. Click here to see photos from the event.
Wamego’s 140th Annual Independence Day Parade
On the evening of July fourth, I traveled to Wamego to participate in the 140th Annual Wamego Independence Day Parade. The Wamego Celebration is one of the longest running and most renowned annual Independence Day celebrations in the state. Events during the multi-day celebration include a parade, carnival, antique car and tractor shows, and social events. I appreciated the opportunity to visit with many of the thousands of area residents gathered on Lincoln Street to celebrate the 235th anniversary of the birth of our nation. Thanks to the Wamego Chamber of Commerce and Main Street, the City of Wamego, and the area businesses and residents who work hard each year to continue this historic tradition. Thanks also to Doyle Pearl for allowing me to ride in his truck in the parade. Click here to read an editorial I wrote about the meaning of the fourth of July.
Listening Tour Continues
I continued my listening tour this week and traveled to three counties in north central Kansas to visit with residents: Republic, Jewell and Smith. While I was in Republic County, I stopped in Belleville and visited with folks along Main Street. Click here to view a photo of me with a few local residents in front of Arbuthnot Drug store.
I then traveled to Mankato in Jewell County and stopped by the sale barn, where I visited with local farmers, ranchers and residents about a range of issues, including: the summer wheat harvest, energy prices and issues affecting life in rural Kansas. Click here to view a photo from my visit.
My last stop was in Smith Center in Smith County along Main Street. I spoke with residents about a range of topics, including rural hospitals, our nation’s economy, and the need for housing in rural communities. Click here to view a photo of me with Pam Barta and Bob Wagner outside the Smith Center Chamber of Commerce offices.
Thanks to the residents in Belleville, Mankato and Smith Center for their welcome. I appreciated the chance to visit with them so I can gain a better understanding of their views and the ways I can better serve them in Washington, D.C.
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.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Cherokee County, Columbus
Location: Columbus Community Building
Address: 320 East Maple
Time: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Labette County, Parsons
Location: Parsons Recreation Center
Address: 200 Heacock Avenue
Time: 3:00-4:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Wilson County, Neodesha
Address: 505 Main Street
Time: 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Elk County, Howard
Location: Elk County Fair
Time: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
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.
National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs
Michelle Morgan of Hays
Janet Splitter of Great Bend
Linda Black of Great Bend
Jennifer Crist of Lincoln
Jena Ernsting of Hays
Clayton Greenwood of Hays
Larissa Liggett of Tescott
Lauren Mountford of Colby
Kevin VonFeldt of Larned
Many Kansans stopped by this week for a tour of the United States Capitol including Kenton and Diane Ladenburger of Pratt; Alysha Dickson of Stafford; Kirk and Tala Shapland of Dighton; Race and Marnie Proffitt and children, Harrison, Zackery and Molly of Hutchinson; Nicholas and Ashley Long of Pittsburg; Colonel David Whipple and son, Nolan, of Leavenworth; Dwight and Janice Powell of Salina; Brad and Christi Reid and children, Kayla and Gage of Lyons; Clark and Darla Stevens and children, Hannah, Isaac and Isabel of Shawnee; James and Karen Holt and grandson, Jaren Shuman of Valley Center. Kansans visiting from Overland Park included: Brian and Cheryl Walker and children, Shannon and Justin; Fred and Mia Wise and children, Kyla and Jadon. Kansans visiting from Chanute included: Mary Alice Lair, Jill Aylward and children, Alli and Regan. Kansans visiting from Wichita included: LTC (ret.) James Holt, Karen Holt and Jaren Shuman. Kansans visiting from Kansas City included: Alberta Gilliard, Aldoria Gilbert, and Mikaila Scruggs.
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
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