Kansas Common Sense

Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks 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.

Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As the nation celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we reflect upon Dr. King’s countless contributions to our nation. In today’s divided times, we especially need to heed his words and actions by caring for our neighbors and fighting on behalf of our most vulnerable. Dr. King’s steadfast commitment to his community, our nation and humanity is inspiring.

During one of Dr. King’s last public speeches, held at Kansas State University, he said: “Somewhere, we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless effort and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God.”

An Update on the Partial Government Shutdown
On Saturday, the president outlined a viable plan to secure our borders, provide protections for DACA recipients and reopen the government. The proposal, which incorporates provisions similar to legislation I introduced earlier this month with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), includes widely-supported solutions that both sides of the aisle agree on. Unfortunately, Democrats will not negotiate, focusing on not wanting to “reward” President Trump by compromising, instead of working toward solutions for those individuals and businesses who are harmed by the shutdown. Congress must pass a funding bill that the president will sign and will allow us to return to a fully-functioning federal government.

Voting To Keep Tough Sanctions on Russia
This week, the Senate voted on measures that would ease sanctions on certain Russian companies. I did not and will not support the lifting of sanctions until President Putin and Russia changes its hostile behavior. There is no indication that Russian policy has changed, so now is not the time to lift sanctions. For more on this vote and these sanctions, click here.

Supporting the National Guard and Reserves
I teamed up with a bipartisan group of colleagues this week to introduce the TRICARE Reserve Improvement Act, a bill that would extend TRICARE eligibility to National Guardsmen and Reservists whose civilian occupation is in the Federal government. Members of our nation’s National Guard and Reserves have sacrificed for this country and stand ready to serve at all times.

This legislation would provide a choice in healthcare coverage for servicemembers who also work in the federal government, making certain their decision to enter both military and public service does not limit their access to benefits they have earned. The brave men and women who honorably serve our country deserve the best our nation has to offer, and I will continue to work to make certain they have the flexibility to choose the healthcare plan best for them. For more on this legislation, click here.

Introducing the Stop Senior Scams Act
On Wednesday, I introduced Independence native and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to the Senate Aging Committee during a hearing examining fraud and scams targeting seniors. Since he began serving Kansans as AG in 2011, Attorney General Schmidt has rightly focused many of his efforts on toughening penalties for defrauding senior citizens – a highlight of his many successes.

I have joined Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) – ranking member of the Special Committee on Aging – in introducing the Stop Senior Scams Act to ensure retailers, financial institutions and wire transfer companies have ample resources to train employees to identify and help stop financial frauds and scams on seniors. Our nation’s seniors are among the most vulnerable consumers in this digital age – mistakenly falling victim to scammers that steal their money, identity and dignity. This legislation would bring key industry and government leaders together to make certain we are doing all we can to protect seniors. As the chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, I’m proud to introduce this widely-supported, bipartisan bill that would provide resources, materials and programs on fraud prevention, and I will continue to fight for the protection of our nation’s senior citizens. For more information on this bill and to see a full list of support, click here.

Voting to End Taxpayer-Funded Abortions
Leading up to Friday’s March for Life in Washington, D.C. – for which hundreds of Kansas students made the 20-hour bus ride from our state to participate – the Senate on Thursday voted on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act. This legislation would make permanent existing prohibitions on federal funds being used to pay for abortions. I cosponsored this bill, which protects the status quo that Congress has passed each year since 1976. Though the bill failed to gain the 60 votes necessary to move to final passage, I am grateful for the Kansans who travel to Washington each January to demonstrate their commitment to protecting the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves. 

Kansans in the Office

Jim Brennan of Kansas City
Scott Bergkamp of Salina
John Rathbun of Lawrence

Capitol Tours
Jenifer Ashford of Prairie Village
Allen Naaf of Summerfield
Ruth Naaf of Summerfield
Nancy Noyes-Ward of Baldwin City
Electa Ward of Baldwin City

Kansas Hospital Association
Melissa Atkins of Hill City
Reta Baker of Ft. Scott
Dennis Franks of Chanute
Carrie Saia of Holton
Kristin Salmans of Lawrence
Dr. Sherri Vaugn of Lawrence

Kansas Chiropractic Association
Katie Brecheisen of Baldwin
Jaden Butcher of Dodge City
Dylan Codey of Overland Park
Kelsey Crow of Delia
Richard Day of Leawood
Dr. Jessica Loveless of Prairie Village
Cody McNulty of Arkansas City
Ryan Prosser of Claflin
Trent Shenefield of Overland Park
Adina Solomon of Overland Park
Lauren Stricker of Overland Park
Yacey Young of Lawrence 

Mid-America Green Industry Council
Mark Balderston of Shawnee
Curby Hughes of Gardner
Frank Male of Lawrence

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 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.

Very truly yours,

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