Kansas Common Sense
This Week in Congress
By U.S. Senator Jerry Moran
February 7, 2010
Welcome to “This Week in Congress.”
Debate Over Health Care Law Continues
On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson of Florida declared President Obama’s entire health care reform law unconstitutional. Judge Vinson’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed by attorneys general and governors from 26 states, including Kansas. It has become clear that the Supreme Court will have to settle this matter.
In response to Monday’s court ruling, Senator Roberts and I sponsored the Save our States (SOS) Act, legislation that would halt implementation of the health reform law until the judicial review of the individual mandate is complete. Kansas is constitutionally prohibited from spending money it does not have, and should not be forced to make major budget decisions due to the requirements of the health law when its legitimacy is so uncertain. Click here to read more about this legislation.
Employers across our country continue to tell Washington how damaging the health care reform law is on their ability to hire new workers, grow and invest. Companies are facing destructive tax increases, 6,000 pages of new regulations, and burdensome mandates that increase the price of doing business in an already difficult economic environment. On Wednesday, I voted to repeal the damaging health care law, but the effort failed by a vote of 47-51. The Senate missed an opportunity to work toward reforms that will actually lower health care costs for families and businesses and increase access to quality care for Kansans. The reality is this new health care law raises premiums and reduces insurance options for families and incentivizes employers to pay a fine rather than provide coverage.
Although I am disappointed my colleagues failed to repeal the entire health law, the Senate did vote to repeal the costly 1099 tax reporting burden contained in the law. This provision, which takes effect in 2012, would force all businesses, charities, and state and local governments to file separate “1099 forms” with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reporting all goods and services transactions valued at more than $600 in a given year. This new requirement will impact 40 million businesses and increased 1099 filings by 2000 percent. Repeal of this onerous provision has been a priority for me in both the House and Senate, and the amendment that eliminated this mandate was based on S. 18, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, a bill I sponsored last week. The repeal of the 1099 provision must now be considered by the House. Click here to read more about the repeal of the 1099 provision.
Sponsoring Legislation to Prevent EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations
This week I joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and eight of my other Senate colleagues in introducing the Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act (S. 228). The legislation aims to stop Washington bureaucrats, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), from regulating greenhouse gases for the purpose of addressing climate change. With limited exceptions, S. 228 pre-empts existing and prohibits future federal restrictions on greenhouse gases, when related to climate change, in the absence of explicit Congressional authorization. This includes mandatory requirements that may stem not only from applications of the Clean Air Act, but also the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. The bill also precludes legal action against sources of greenhouse gasses solely based on their possible contribution to climate change.
The last thing Americans need is a national energy tax that would kill more jobs. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate greenhouse gases, and the EPA must be stopped from making decisions that circumvent Congress. We should do everything we can to create jobs and grow our economy – that includes stopping unelected bureaucrats from raising energy costs and using regulatory red tape to raise taxes and increase government intrusion into the lives of Americans.
Advocating for Fiscal Responsibility on Subcommittees
I learned this week that I have been appointed to five Senate Appropriations Subcommittees, including the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, where I will serve as Ranking Member. I will also serve on the following four subcommittees:
- Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies
- Homeland Security
- Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies
- Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies
Each of these subcommittees has the responsibility to set annual spending limits for the federal government. With our government’s fiscal situation getting worse by the day, I will be advocating for fiscal responsibility, tougher funding standards and broad reform.
Visiting the Freshman Center at Seaman High School in Topeka
Teachers make a difference in the lives of our students, and one student can make a difference in our state and nation. On Friday, I had the opportunity to visit the Freshman Center at Seaman High School in Topeka to learn about their new retention program, which has been successfully implemented for the past 3 years. What I saw at the Freshman Center is a valuable, common sense approach to engaging our students in education. How we challenge our students now will lay the groundwork for success for the rest of their lives. This means that we need to promote activities and programs that allow high schools to meet the needs of their students.
The competitiveness of our state and our nation is directly related to the quality of our children’s education. Thank you to Superintendent Mark Mathes, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Carolyn Orozco, Principal Tracy Hammes and Instructor Cathie Klein and for showing me around today. Click here to view a photo from my visit.
Remembering President Reagan on His 100th Birthday
Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s birth. To honor his legacy, Americans around the country celebrated with dinners, speeches, essay contests, and even a ceremony at the Super Bowl. It was a fitting time for all Americans to honor the memory of a man whose leadership guided our country through numerous challenges.
Our 40th President believed in the greatness of America. He believed that there “are no limits to growth and human progress when men and women are free to follow their dreams.” He believed in the principles of individual liberty, self-government and free enterprise. During a period of economic uncertainty, President Reagan helped instill a renewed confidence in our nation and trusted the resilience of our workers. He was a man of strong convictions, and a Commander-in-Chief who was willing to confront threats abroad.
Throughout his eight years in office, President Reagan worked to create a brighter future for the next generation. And it is our responsibility to be good stewards of all that we have been entrusted with. As I humbly serve Kansans in Washington, I will continue to work towards the day when America remains “a shining city on a hill.” Click here to watch the video tribute for President Reagan played before the Super Bowl yesterday evening.
Congratulating Senator Roberts as Ranking Member of Senate Ag Committee
This week, I offered my sincere congratulations to my colleague Senator Roberts, who was appointed ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Sen. Roberts, who has served on the Senate Agriculture Committee for 14 years, also served as chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture from 1995 to 1997.
His appointment as ranking member is good for Kansas and good for agriculture. Sen. Roberts is a long-time champion of the farming and ranching community and understands the importance of creating an environment where our agriculture producers can thrive. Ensuring the future of Kansas’ agriculture industry is a top priority we share, and I look forward to working with him in his new role to make sure farmers and ranchers in our state have the opportunities they need to prosper.
Moran Accepting Applications for Summer 2011 Internships
I am now accepting applications for internships for the summer 2011 term in my Washington, D.C. office and Hays, Olathe, Topeka and Wichita offices. The internship program provides an opportunity to learn about the Senate and work on behalf of Kansans.
In fact, my own interest in public service was sparked by an internship with First District Congressman Keith Sebelius in 1974. As an intern, I was able to see firsthand how a congressional office operates and how the legislative process works. These same opportunities are available to you as an intern in my office.
Applications for summer internships are due by Tuesday, March 1. The summer internship program is split into two six-week sessions:
Session I: May 23 – July 1
Session II: July 5 – August 12
Please click here to obtain application forms. Interested applicants should fax their completed applications to (202) 228-6966; Attention: Intern Coordinator. Questions or comments can be directed to Tom Bush at (202) 224-6521.
Continuing Statewide Listening Tour
Over the next couple of weeks I will continue my statewide Listening Tour throughout several parts of the state. Please find below information about my upcoming town hall meetings. If you’re nearby, I encourage you to stop by to share your thoughts.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Franklin County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Franklin County Annex Commission Room
Address: 1418 S. Main, Ottawa, KS
Time: 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Osage County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Lyndon Community Center
Address: 204 Topeka, Lyndon, KS
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Phillips County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Huck Boyd Community Center
Room: Conference Room
Address: 860 Park Street, Phillipsburg, KS
Time: 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Cloud County Listening Tour Stop
Location: 19th Hole at the Concordia American Legion Golf Course
Address: 600 W. 13th Concordia, KS
Time: 12:30-1:00 p.m.
Ottawa County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Ottawa County Courthouse, Basement Meeting Room
Address: 307 N. Concord, Minneapolis, KS
Time: 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Anderson County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Town Hall Center
Address: 125 West 5th Avenue, Garnett, KS
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Neosho County Listening Tour Stop
Location: The Brickhaus
Address: 202 N. Main Street, Erie, KS
Time: 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Crawford County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Girard Public Library
Room: Lower level
Address: 128 W. Prairie Avenue, Girard, KS
Time: 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Bourbon County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Fort Scott High School, Media Room
Address: 1005 S. Main, Fort Scott, KS
Time: 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Linn County Listening Tour Stop
Location: F&M Community Hall
Address: 5th and Main, Mound City, KS
Time: 10:00-11:00 a.m.
In the Office
Janet Smith of Overland Park and Kelly Hewins of Kansas City were in with the Emergency Nurses Association to discuss how nurses improve access to quality health care for Kansans. Sharon Loftspring of Leawood stopped by to advocate for the Army’s neurofibromatosis research program. Dr. Kirk Schulz, president; Dr. Ron Trewyn, vice president of research; and Dr. Sue Peterson, assistant to the president and director of government relations of Kansas State University (K-State) were in to talk about the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and K-State’s new website.
Bob Reynolds of Salina and Rhonda Knudson of Great Bend were in Tuesday with the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors to discuss new regulations being placed on insurance and financial advisors. Judy Billings of Lawrence was in to give me an update on Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. Douglas Penner of Topeka was in with the Kansas Independent College Association & Fund to visit about the role private, non-profit colleges play in Kansas higher education. Christine Tuck of Topeka was in with the National Association of School Nurses to update me on the health needs of Kansas students.
Bob Parkerson, senior vice president at ProAg of Overland Park stopped by to discuss current crop insurance policy issues. Several individuals were in with the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas to discuss legislation to increase opportunities and economic security for blind Americans. In with the group were Ron and Cheyrl Miller of Lenexa; Rob Tabor and Chikako Mochizuki of Lawrence; and Donna Wood, Leonard Silkey, Maryse Figueroa, Dianne Fleming and Tom Page of Wichita. Russ Hutchins of Topeka was in with the National Association of Elementary School Principals to visit about policy impacting Kansas elementary schools. Sue Wenger of Mulvane, Jeff Carson of Kansas City, and Jon Fort of Garden City were in with the Kansas Association of Realtors to discuss the mortgage interest tax deduction, real estate finance and the market in Kansas.
Steve Reitan and Mario Morales of Manhattan, Jaclyn Scudiero of Mission and Kimberly Rowland of Derby were in with Flint Hills Job Corps to tell me about the impact job training and education programs at Job Corps has on the lives of young Kansans. Hans Nettleblad of Overland Park and David Dreshner of Wichita were in with the American Institute of Architects to discuss the need to make credit available for commercial building projects and their support for comprehensive transportation reform.
Jennifer Jackson of Elsmore, mother of USMC 1st Lt. Ryan Jackman and National Hospital Chairperson for American Gold Star Mothers, was in to talk about the importance of caring for veterans.
Several Kansans were in this week to tour the U.S. Capitol, including Mark and Tanya Richey of Topeka and their children Hannah and Zachary.
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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