Kansas Common Sense
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Legislation to Jumpstart Economic Growth
I introduced legislation on Thursday with Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) to jumpstart the economy through the creation and growth of new businesses. The Startup Act is based on research and analysis done by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City that underscores the importance of entrepreneurs to the success and health of our economy. Between 1980 and 2005, nearly all net job creation in the United States came from companies less than 5 years old. In fact, new companies create about 3 million jobs each year. To get America’s economic engine roaring once again, entrepreneurs must be free to pursue their ideas, form companies, and hire employees.
The Startup Act outlines a five-prong approach to job creation based on the proven track record of entrepreneurs. My legislation will reduce regulatory burdens, help startups attract and retain capital so they can grow, accelerate the commercialization of research so more new ideas reach the marketplace, keep entrepreneurial talent in America, and encourage pro-growth state and local policies.
Many of the provisions included in the Startup Act have the support of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. I was pleased to have AOL co-founder and member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, Steve Case, join me and Senator Warner at a press conference to unveil the Startup Act. I also appreciated the participation of Brink Lindsey of the Kauffman Foundation at Thursday’s press conference.
The Startup Act is a bipartisan proposal of commonsense ideas that deserves consideration in Congress. At a time in our nation’s capital when political games too often get in the way of real accomplishment, the Startup Act shows that Republicans and Democrats can work together for the good of our country. Click here to learn more about the Startup Act. Click here to watch the press conference we hosted on Thursday to introduce the bill, and click here to watch an interview of Sen. Warner and I on CNBC. Click here to see photos from press conference and CNBC interview.
Calling for Hearing in Banking Committee on Failure of MF Global
This week I participated in a Senate Banking Committee hearing, where Senators were able to question Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler about the failure of MF Global. I continue to be concerned by the lack of answers from government regulators and from MF Global about how the shortfall in customer funds occurred and when Kansas farmers and ranchers will be able to recover all their money. There is a crisis of confidence right now and I will continue to do what I can to make sure that the bankruptcy process moves as fairly and expeditiously as possible so that Kansans receive both answers and their money. I was pleased to recently learn that customers of MF Global should soon be receiving 72% of their money back in the coming weeks. While that is a welcome development in this case, it is insufficient. That is why I have requested hearings to be held in the Banking Committee to explore these issues further and I intend to continue the pursuit for answers.
Inviting Boeing CEO to Wichita
On Wednesday I invited Boeing’s CEO James McNerney to come to Wichita and work with state and local officials and employees to discuss Boeing fulfilling its commitment to Kansans. In a letter to Mr. McNerney, I also expressed my surprise and disappointment that Boeing is considering closing its Wichita defense facility.
Earlier this year, Boeing was awarded the contract in the U.S. Air Force tanker competition. During the competition for the contract, Boeing pledged that a win would bring approximately 7,500 jobs to Kansas, including hundreds of Boeing jobs associated with the finishing work on the new tankers. The tanker finishing work is important to the continued viability of Boeing’s Wichita facilities. I expect any decision as to where the tanker will be finished to affect the subsequent decision whether Boeing Defense remains in Wichita. For a company that has been such a staple in the Wichita community for 80 years, I’m greatly troubled by the possibility of Boeing closing down its Wichita facility. What happens to the Boeing facility matters – particularly to those hundreds of Kansas families whose livelihood depends on the future of Boeing in our state.
As the company reviews the Wichita site, it is my hope that CEO McNerney comes to Wichita so he can see first-hand the talented workforce and unbeatable suppliers, and chooses to fulfill the company’s commitment to the Wichita community. Click here to read more. Click here to watch my comments during a KSN interview.
Balancing Security and Civil Liberties in the Detainee Debate
Conferees are expected to wrap up work this week on resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, including provisions that further define U.S. policy regarding the capturing and detaining of suspected terrorists. During Senate consideration of this bill, I supported an amendment by Senator Feinstein that would have prohibited the U.S. military from detaining a citizen of the United States without a trial. I voted for the Feinstein amendment because I believe it is critical that our country’s detainee laws keep America safe from our enemies while protecting the rights of U.S. citizens. I also voted in favor of a compromise amendment to clarify that this bill would not affect current detention laws relating to American citizens and lawful residents, which was adopted by the Senate in the final bill.
Honoring the Service and Sacrifice of Father Kapaun
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to share with my colleagues the story of an exceptional Kansas veteran who is no longer with us – but whose story stands as a lasting tribute to the members of our Armed Forces, whose courage and sacrifice preserves our freedoms.
Father Emil Kapaun was born in Pilsen, Kansas in 1916 and served as a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Wichita. He served in rural Kansas for four years before he volunteered as a chaplain for the U.S. Army in 1944. Father Kapaun distinguished himself in the Korean War, where his courageous actions in the Korean battlefields saved countless lives as he ran under enemy fire to rescue wounded soldiers. When he and other soldiers were captured, he worked to provide nourishment and hope for his comrades, helping them persevere until they were released. Though he died in a POW camp in 1951, Father Kapaun’s legacy of selfless service for the good of his comrades and his country endures.
Senator Pat Roberts and I have introduced legislation, which passed the Senate last week, to request and authorize the President to posthumously award Father Kapaun with the Medal of Honor. Click here to watch hear more about his inspirational story.
Remembering 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack
This Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary of the day that will “live in infamy” - the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many Americans still remember where they were on December 7, 1941 when they heard the news: America is under attack. Within minutes, more than 2,000 brave Americans lost their lives in the defense of our country.
On December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan and entered World War II. For the next four years, America and its allies labored together, to defend freedom against tyranny. More than 16 million Americans put on the uniform to serve their country and more than 400,000 husbands, fathers and brothers never returned home.
Senator Bob Dole joined the Army shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He once said this about his comrades in arms: “We were just ordinary Americans who were called on to meet the greatest of challenges. Yet there are principles worth fighting for, and evils worth fighting against. The defense of those principles summons the greatest qualities of which human beings are capable: courage beyond measure, loyalty beyond words, sacrifice and ingenuity and endurance beyond imagining.”
Today, our nation’s young men and women in uniform are still risking their lives to preserve our freedoms. May God bless our servicemen and women, our veterans and the country we all love.
Joining Kansas Volunteers at Book Send-Off Event
On Friday, I had the opportunity to help pack the 1 millionth book for Help Us Learn…Give Us Hope. Help Us Learn…Give Us Hope is a non-profit organization based in Manhattan, Kansas that sends school supplies to U.S. military bases for soldiers to distribute while they are stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa. Through this organization’s efforts, more than 950,000 pounds of supplies and 1,250,000 books have been donated as of October 29, 2011, and an estimated 492,400 children have received school supplies. Ethiopia Reads is a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado that connects children in Ethiopia with books in many ways. Ethiopia Reads works closely with Help Us Learn…Give Us Hope in Kansas to ship books to Africa. My good friend Dr. Laurie Curtis is involved with this organization as are many Kansans across the state who all work hard to donate and sort books. To date, they have created about 47 libraries in Ethiopia.
I have always said that we can change the world one child, one person at a time. The work that volunteers like Karen Jerabek, Wanda McVey and LeAnn Clark do for groups like Help Us Learn… Give Us Hope and Ethiopia Reads not only helps change the world in a meaningful way, but it also helps our servicemen and women fulfill their mission. It was great to see Kansans both young and old who dedicate their time to make a difference. Thank you to retired Colonel Gary LaGrange, President and Chairman of the Board of Help Us Learn… Give Us Hope, for allowing me to help pack the 1 millionth book and thank you to BG Eric Peck for allowing us to use his National Guard facilities. Finally, thank you also to Rep. Richard Carlson and Rep. Sydney Carlin for attending. I appreciate all the hard work and effort put forth by everyone. Click here to view a photo from the event.
In the Office
This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office, including the Kansans listed below. Click here to view photos of some of the visits:
Rob Freeman of Lenexa
Geoff Coventry of Kansas City
Dorothy Barnett of Hutchinson
Mark Richardson of Hutchinson
John H. Gibson II of Wichita
Lyn Roberts of Wichita
Doug Scott of Wichita
Eric Elsmo of Wichita
National Education Association
Kimberly Howard of Wichita
Bob Thesman of Overland Park
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
Serena Stutzman of Kansas City
Ken Johnson of Overland Park
Kansas Forest Service
Larry Biles of Manhattan
Many Kansans stopped by to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol this week including: Kenneth and Maggie Doll of Topeka; Stephen and Jeanna Waymire of Wichita; Larry and Milton Fry of Overland Park; and Tasha Keathley and children, Ella, Liliana, and Jack of Lawrence. Dr. David Wiebers of Overland Park also stopped by the office to visit.
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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