Kansas Common Sense
Kansas Common Sense - The Senate Passes a Budget
May 11 2015
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The Senate Passes a Budget
During my first speech as a United States Senator, I noted that one of the greatest concerns facing our nation is our country’s out-of-control spending. Now, for the first time since 2009, the Senate has passed a budget and set us on a path toward fiscal responsibility. By focusing on pro-growth policy and responsible regulatory reform, this budget will balance the budget in 10 years and potentially create one million new jobs according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Kansas households and businesses have long understood that they must operate on a budget and they have expected their government to do the same. However, for the past six years Congress failed in one of its most basic responsibilities – drafting and passing a budget. By returning to regular order and establishing guidelines for future spending, this budget will set the stage for a stronger and more prosperous America. While there is more work to be done and debate to be had, it is encouraging to see the Senate working again.
Senate Passage of Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act
On Thursday, the Senate passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act by a vote of 98 to 1. As the United States government seeks to limit the risk of a nuclear Iran, the safety and security of America and our allies are at risk. Given the gravity of this global threat, it has been troubling to see President Obama seek to act unilaterally and evade Congressional oversight.
While I believe the Senate should have done more to strengthen the bill and demand accountability from Iran, this legislation provides the only opportunity for Americans to review the nuclear agreement and have their voices heard. Congress must impose oversight and prevent the president from committing the United States to a potentially dangerous nuclear deal.
Hearing on Rural Health Care
On Thursday, I participated in a Senate Appropriations Health Subcommittee Hearing on rural health issues. I am a member of this subcommittee, which has funding jurisdiction over most agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that impact hospitals and others providers. Much of the hearing focused on the burdens Washington policies place on health care providers as they work to care for patients in Kansas and other parts of rural America. I was honored to invite a Kansas hospital administrator – George Stover, CEO at Hospital District #1 of Rice County in Lyons – to testify as a witness at this hearing. Rice County Hospital, which originally opened in 1959, is a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital (CAH) that employs around 150 individuals and serves the North Central Kansas community that has a population of nearly 3,800. CAHs are small, rural hospitals classified particularly classified under Medicare to receive an enhanced reimbursement for providing care in rural areas. Eighty-four of Kansas’ 127 community hospitals are CAHs.
During this hearing, I asked questions about a range of health care issues impacting Kansas and other rural states, including:
- What the federal government is doing to prevent rural hospital closures, determine the reasons for such closures, and evaluate the impact hospital closures have on access to health care in their communities.
- Concerns that the federal government does not sufficiently reimburse CAHs for significant expenses required to care for rural populations.
- Burdensome paperwork requirements for Medicare home health services that are causing confusion among physicians, home health agencies, and beneficiaries
Thank you to Mr. Stover for testifying at this hearing on behalf of Kansas patients and health care providers. His insight was very much appreciated. Click here to watch my discussions at this hearing.
Meeting with New Postmaster General
This week, I joined a group of senators representing rural states to host a discussion with the new Postal Service Postmaster General Megan Brennan. I shared with the Postmaster General many of the stories I’ve heard from Kansans in letters, phone calls and town hall meetings about slow or unreliable postal service. To be heard on these issues of critical importance to our communities, it’s necessary for Republicans and Democrats with aligned rural interests to work together and ultimately bring about the best possible policies for our respective states. I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to improve the service and financial health at the USPS. Click here to read a Washington Post story about the conversation.
Celebrating GM's 500 Millionth Vehicle Globally at KCK Assembly Plant
Before flying back to Washington on Monday, I gave remarks at the General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas, to celebrate the completion of GM's 500 millionth vehicle globally. I enjoyed visiting with GM CEO Mary Barra, as well as the factory workers, company managers, and loyal customers at the event. The Fairfax plant has produced more than 12 million vehicles since production began in 1945, and today reportedly produces one vehicle every 58 seconds. GM recently completed $600 million in improvements to the assembly plant, which employs 3,500 hourly and salaried employees. I was pleased to hear the company plans to invest another $174 million in the near future. Thanks to UAW Local 31 President Vicki Hale for representing automobile workers and for her organization’s commitment to improve the lives of working men and women.
Crop Insurance Professional Association (CIPA) Annual Meeting
This week, I spoke at the Crop Insurance Professional Association (CIPA) Annual Meeting in Kansas City. CIPA is committed to maintaining and strengthening the safety net for American farmers and ranchers through a strong Federal Crop Insurance Program. There were more than 100 crop insurance agents and company representatives from across Kansas and the country.
Without crop insurance, not only would farmers be at the mercy of the weather each year to keep their livelihood, but some wouldn’t even be able to get an operating loan from their local bank. As farmers faced tough decisions this spring on what Farm Bill commodity program to choose, I know many of them look to agents for trusted wisdom and counsel. I will continue to be engaged and on the forefront of farm policy and crop insurance discussions as the Chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. I appreciate the service agents do for farmers and ranchers in Kansas and enjoyed the opportunity to visit with their group.
Kansas Listening Tour in Butler County
I continued my listening tour on Saturday with a stop at the Andover City Library. Thanks to the more than 75 Kansans who made time to attend. Topics discussed ranged from trade and education to the budget and national debt. Special thanks to City Administrator Mark Netter for arranging the meeting. Thanks also to Butler Community College President Kim Krull, City Council President Kris Estes, City Council members Sheri Geisler and Caroline Hale, and State Senator Ty Masterson for joining me.
I toured D-J Engineering in Augusta on Saturday, and saw first-hand how they support the aerospace industry with highly technical engineering and manufacturing services. Here, I'm pictured with D-J Engineering Owner Rezaul Chowdhury, Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet, and D-J Engineering employees James Rowley and Bill Rohner. Thanks also to State Representatives Kristey Williams, Bud Estes and Travis Couture-Lovelady for joining the visit.
Thank you to our spring 2015 interns: Victoria Lee and Paige Hungate of Wichita and Brian Ard of El Dorado. Their efforts this spring benefited many Kansans across our state, particularly those who visited and received a Capitol Tour through our office. These individuals were a great asset during their time here, and I have no doubt each one of them has a bright future ahead.
I was also happy to meet a number of students from the University of Kansas who are interning at various organizations in Washington, D.C. this spring. It was nice to discuss the direction of our country and how to address the important issues we currently face. It is inspiring to see young students so enthusiastic about improving our state and country.
The deadline for fall internship applications is quickly approaching, and anyone interested should submit their application before Friday, June 26. Application forms can be obtained and completed under the “Services” section of Sen. Moran’s website at www.moran.senate.gov. Applicants should submit a completed application form, resume, academic transcript, two letters of recommendation and a cover letter explaining the applicant’s interest in public service and goals of serving as an intern. Please submit required materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions, please contact Sen. Moran’s office at email@example.com or call 202-224-6521 and request to speak with the Intern Coordinator.
Kansas State University’s 2nd Annual "Rhapsody!" Concert
Over the weekend, Robba and I attended K-State’s 2nd Annual "Rhapsody!" Concert at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts’ Helzberg Hall. The event featured the Kansas State University Grand Chorus with professional orchestra, KSU Concert Choir, KSU In•A•Chord• and special guest alumna Jan Kraybill, Conservator of the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant organ. Proceeds benefit scholarships and performance opportunities for Kansas State University students. It was good to catch up with K-State President Kirk Schulz and his wife Noel at the event.
Teacher Appreciation Week – Honoring Elouise Miller
During Teacher Appreciation Week, special thanks to all the teachers who care deeply about their students and challenge them to reach their goals. Just last week, Elouise Miller, a teacher who taught in the USD 489 school district for 60 years, passed away. Elouise was well-respected by administrators, fellow teachers, parents and students. She was considered a mentor not only as an educator, but also for her lifestyle and care and concern for kids and people in general. Click here to learn more about her story.
Giving Remarks at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
This week, I gave remarks to more than 1,000 members of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Despite the challenges posed by an ever-growing number of burdensome federal regulations, the NRECA works to support the interests of electric cooperatives and the consumers they serve.
Kansans in the Office
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Dennis Reynolds of Topeka
Audrey Schinewerk of Lawrence
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Stephen Higgs of Manhattan
Kansas City Federal Reserve
Diane Raley of Overland Park
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Kansas Youth Volunteers
Caitlyn Willis of Wichita
Carol Willis of Wichita
National Brain Tumor Society
Julie Linn of Topeka
Jenalea Randall of Topeka
The Independent School
Dave McIntire of Wichita
Abby Ottaway of Wichita
Luther Ottaway of Wichita
Malar Muthukumar of Wichita
Manjula Muthukumar of Wichita
Association for Advanced Life Underwriting
Matt McAvoy of Overland Park
R. Philip Sarnecki of Overland Park
Kansas Hospital Association
Chad Austin of Topeka
Reta Baker of Fort Scott
Tom Bell of Salina
Mike Burroughs of Dodge City
Amy Fluke of Topeka
Dennis George of Overland Park
Val Gleason of Newton
Steve Kelly of Newton
Mark Miller of Abilene
Randy Peterson of Topeka
Carrie Saia of Holton
James Schmank of Topeka
Janet Stanek of Topeka
Michael Steiner of Kansas City
George Stover of Lyons
Todd Tangeman of Newton
Tom Bell of Topeka
Nelson Poultry Farms
Greg Nelson of Manhattan
Bret Reimer of Lenexa
Fred Galvin of Overland Park
Kansas Electric Coop
Keith Miller of Great Bend
Allan Miller of Norton
Beth Looney of Garden City
Earnie Lehman of Hays
Dave Childers of Cheney
Phil Wages of Topeka
Daryl Tieben of Dodge City
Bruce Graham of Garden City
John Whittington of Wellington
Fred Claassen of Richfield
Kansas Library Association
Robert Banks of Topeka
Marie Pyko of Topeka
Harry Willems of Great Bend
Children’s Mercy Hospital
Eric Weissend of Overland Park
Jack Erkmann of Leawood
Jay Portnoy of Overland Park
Kathleen Neville of Kansas City
Kansas Interfaith Power & Light
Rabbi Moti Rieber of Overland Park
Mike Vitelli of Topeka
Kansas Society of Anesthesiologists
Michael Duncan of Olathe
David Anderson of Kansas City
Mark Brady of Overland Park
Dave Hahner of Basehor
College of American Pathologists
Richard Gomez of Ozawkie
Kansas Wheat Commission
Jay Armstrong of Muscotah
President Stephen Minnis of Atchison
Ron Rahjes of Kensington
Scott Whittington of Burlington
Janet Barrows of Manhattan
The Surety & Fidelity Association of America
Monica Donatelli of Mission
Mortgage Bankers Association
A.W. Pickel of Olathe
David Proctor of Manhattan
Alan Sobba’s Group
Alan Sobba of Garnett
Alex Albert of Wichita
Peter Roberson of Lenexa
Arehart & Ernzen, P.A.
Yvonne Ernzen of Overland Park
Natalie Arehart of Overland Park
Kenneth Tauke of Lansing
David Lewis of Leavenworth
Randy O’Boyle of Manhattan
Aaron Shaddy of Kansas City
Meals on Wheels
Erika Kelly of Paola
University of Kansas Cancer Center
Danny Welch of Shawnee
Dave McIntire of Wichita
Abby Ottaway of Wichita
Luther Ottaway of Wichita
Malar Muthukumar of Wichita
Manjula Muthukumar of Wichita
Gary Shorman of Hays
Andrea Clinkscales of Hays
Shannon Ellenberger of Hays
Rick Gruwell of Glen Elder
Mary Gruwell of Glen Elder
John Porter of Glen Elder
Diane Porter of Glen Elder
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.
Very truly yours,
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