Kansas Common Sense

Fiscal Responsibility Requires Thoughtful Appropriations
This week, I addressed my colleagues on the Senate Floor about the need to reduce federal spending and keep our government open and functioning. It is vital that we continue the FY2024 appropriations process on the Senate Floor and not wait until the final moments of the current spending deal to find a funding solution. Otherwise, we are on a path to another continuing resolution or a much-criticized omnibus spending bill.

When considering appropriations bills, it is critical to adhere to two core principles. First, we must get federal spending under control. Second, it is our duty to draft appropriations bills that are thoughtful, judicious, responsible and carefully-tailored to the nation’s highest priorities for the fiscal year.

As the lead Republican of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, I have drafted a bill that demands fiscal responsibility and the thoughtful allocation of resources. This bill provides funding for many federal agencies that play critical roles in the lives of Americans, while still cutting spending by $1.3 billion. I’m pleased that our bill addresses the surge in violent crime across our country and gives DEA agents new tools to combat the fentanyl crisis.

It is Congress’ job to require fiscal responsibility, and I will encourage thoughtful appropriations bills to limit government control, reflect the priorities of the country and protect the American people.

You can watch my floor speech here.

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Protecting Postal Officers
On Tuesday, I joined my colleagues in cosponsoring The Postal Police Reform Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation aimed at addressing the steep increase in armed robberies against postal workers. From 2018 to 2021, the Postal Inspection Service reported that armed robberies of letter carriers increased sharply, rising from 36 incidents to 154 incidents. This bill would ensure that Postal Police Officers may be assigned to duty outside of Postal Service real property to offer protection to letter carriers on their routes.
 
The men and women who deliver our mail and packages play an important role in our communities, and this legislation will help make certain that the law enforcement branch of the USPS will have the authority needed to apprehend criminals and deter crime against postal workers while out on delivery.

You can read more about the bill here.

NIL Meeting with Conference Commissioner
On Tuesday, I met with Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark, ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Big 10 Commissioner Tony Petitti, and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to discuss the progress being made to establish a federal Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) standard for college sports. We discussed the bipartisan discussion draft legislation I published with Senators Blumenthal and Booker in July and the process to advance this bill through Congress.

Kansas has an unparalleled history of college athletics including several premier programs attracting student athletes from all over the nation and the world. I am pleased that the conference commissioners as well as my colleagues on both sides of the aisle share priorities such as student-athletes’ health, education and economic rights.

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Remembering Harold Stones
I was saddened by the news of Harold Stones passing on Thursday. Harold was an exceptional Kansan. He was a representative for bankers across Kansas and a true public servant, who never shied away from hard work and was dedicated to making Kansas a great state. He was always present – offering a helping hand, showing leadership, working to solve problems – and always treating others with care and compassion. I enjoyed talking with Harold and was encouraged by his constant optimism. Robba and I are praying for his loved ones, and he will be dearly missed.

You can read more about Harold here.

Recognizing Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn
This week, I spoke on the Senate floor to honor retiring Mayor Peggy Dunn. Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn has been serving as mayor since 1997 and contributed greatly to the Leawood community. Through her leadership, new shopping centers, religious buildings, fire stations, parks and recreational centers have been developed and bring beauty and life to the area. I congratulate Peggy on her retirement and wish her the best in the future.

You can watch my floor remarks for Mayor Peggy Dunn here.

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Recognizing Lenexa Mayor Michael Boehm
Lenexa Mayor Michael Boehm is the longest-serving Mayor in Lenexa’s history. During his time as mayor, Lenexa grew exponentially both residentially and economically with nearly 20,000 new residents and the development of a new downtown district known as City Place. Congratulations to Mike on his retirement, and I look forward to seeing what this next chapter holds for him.

You can watch my floor remarks for Mayor Mike Boehm here.

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Celebrating 4 Years of Space Force
This week, I attended the 4th Anniversary celebration of the U.S. Space Force and engaged in discussions with the Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall and General Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations. I had the opportunity to talk with Air Force Secretary Kendall about the strategic significance of the B-21 Raider. Contributions to a major weapon system such as the B-21 underscores Kansas' vital contributions to national defense initiatives. I also talked with General Saltzman about the establishment of the Space National Guard. I highlighted my support for the Space National Guard Establishment Act, which proposes the formation of a Space National Guard in the seven states and one territory who already have Air National Guardsmen currently performing space missions.

As a Space Force Caucus Co-Chair, I will continue advocating for the Space Force and all our military services, ensuring they are adequately resourced to meet the national security objectives of the United States.

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Visits Across Kansas

Osage City High School
On Friday, I had the opportunity to tour Osage City High School. I was encouraged by the staff’s dedication to their students and the opportunities students have to pursue their many and varied interests. Thank you to Superintendent Ted Hessong and the staff and students for giving me a tour.

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Council Grove Chamber of Commerce
Later on Friday, I visited the Council Grove Chamber of Commerce. I was able to meet with members and leaders of the community and discuss the Farm Bill, securing the Southern Border, and funding to Ukraine and Israel. Thank you to the Council Grove Chamber of Commerce for hosting me at their Trade and Tourism Association Annual Meeting.

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Commanding General's Holiday Reception 
On Friday evening, I attended the First Infantry Division Commanding General’s Holiday Reception at Fort Riley. This event was attended by numerous community leaders who work tirelessly to support Fort Riley, its soldiers and their families. This reception was also a reminder that even in the absence of U.S. involvement in war, servicemembers and their families continue to sacrifice to protect our freedoms.

Please be thinking of the soldiers and families of the 1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade, which is currently deployed to Europe and will be separated from their loved ones during this Christmas season. Thank you to Major General Meyer for hosting myself and the Fort Riley community for this special event.

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