to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter.
Congress has returned to session in Washington and much work remains to be done. Without Congressional
action, Americans will be saddled with $500 billion in tax increases, nearly $4,000 per household, on
January 1. At the same time, as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, mandatory spending cuts known
as “sequestration” will take place, creating what is being referred to as a “fiscal
cliff.” While Congress must rein in government spending, it needs to be done in a responsible
manner. It is past time for Congress and the President to work together, set aside the game of politics,
and make certain the country remains strong for generations to come. You can read more about my activities
this week below. Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to your family and friends if it would
Elected to Serve
in Senate Leadership
On Wednesday, I was elected
unanimously by my Republican colleagues in the U.S. Senate to serve as Chairman of the National Republican
Senatorial Committee (NRSC). I am thankful to my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to serve in
Before pursuing this position, I spoke with
Senator Bob Dole about his time representing Kansas in the United States Senate. We discussed both the
challenges and opportunities that accompanied his role in Senate leadership and how he used his leadership
post to better represent Kansas. Though my new position will bring additional responsibility, I am deeply
committed to fulfilling my duties as a senator to promote the interests and values of Kansas. I look
forward to working with Leader McConnell and others within our Conference to make certain we make the
right decisions for Kansas and our country as a whole.
Concerns over U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Continue
This summer, 50 of my Senate colleagues joined me in sending a powerful
bipartisan message to the Obama Administration: A United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that does not protect
Americans’ Second Amendment rights will not be ratified by the Senate. When the U.N. Conference
dissolved in July without a treaty, it was clearly a positive conclusion for American gun owners and
I’m glad we were able to steer the Administration toward this outcome.
Unfortunately the threat to our Second Amendment rights
remains. Within hours of securing his reelection, President Obama declared his support for continued
negotiations of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty now scheduled for March 2013. The President’s insistence
on continued treaty talks is alarming. It is now clear that Congress must reiterate its concerns with
the latest draft of the treaty. I intend to lead this effort once again, and make certain President
Obama knows there is sufficient opposition in the new Congress to block ratification. A copy of the
letter that my colleagues and I sent to the President in July can be found here.
Global Entrepreneurship Week
This week, I spoke on the Senate floor to share with my colleagues
the importance of supporting our nation’s entrepreneurs during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Started
in 2008 by the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world's largest
celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic
growth, and expand human welfare. Since its founding, the celebration has grown to 129 countries with
some 35,000 activities that engage millions of people.
remains a key component of our growing economy. In fact, startups - businesses 5 years old or younger
- are responsible for all net job creation in the economy between 1980 and 2005, creating about 3 million
jobs each year. But recent economic data suggests that America’s startup engine is slowing down
because of a number of factors including regulatory burdens, lack of access to talent, difficulties
in attracting capital, and a host of other issues. Earlier this year, I introduced the Startup
Act 2.0 to reduce these burdens so more American entrepreneurs will take a chance to provide a new product
or service, tackle some of our world’s greatest challenges, and in the process get Americans back
to work. Click
here to view a video of my remarks.
Israel’s Right to Defend Itself
I traveled to Israel in 2008, I visited the town of Sderot. Located a mile east of Gaza, residents of
this border town have been the target of rocket and mortar attacks launched by terrorists in Gaza for
years. When the warning of an attack sounds, residents have just 10 seconds to find shelter. No one
should have to live like this.
Yet, more than a million
Israelis live within range of the rockets Hamas and other terrorists fire daily into Israel. This year
alone, more than 1,900 rockets have been fired at Israel. A recent increase in the number of attacks
from Gaza led Israel to respond this week. Like any nation, Israel has the right and responsibility
to defend its citizens.
I sponsored a resolution this week
expressing support for Israel as it battles to protect its people from acts of terrorism. Passage of
this legislation with unanimous support sends a powerful message that in this difficult time, America
stands with Israel at it defends itself.
Senate Banking Committee Reviews Proposed Regulations
On Wednesday, I participated in a hearing held in the Senate Committee
on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs focused on reviewing the new international banking standards set
forth in the Basel Accords. These international finance summits are held periodically in Basel,
Switzerland, with the intent of stabilizing and standardizing global banking practices. The most
recent meeting resulted in a set of capital standards referred to as Basel III. The Federal Reserve
Board of Governors (FRB), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation (FDIC) who regulate U.S. banks, have begun to draft new rules for our banks in accordance
with the Basel agreements. The recently concluded public comment period resulted in well over one
thousand comments from U.S. banks and insurance interests requesting more information on how these
rules were formulated.
Wednesday’s hearing was scheduled
to make certain these proposed rules were appropriate for our national financial system. If implemented
as currently proposed, Basel III would have far reaching negative effects on smaller banks. Smaller
financial institutions are unable to comply with complex international standards and they should not
be expected to do so. Forcing small town banks to comply with standards intended for large, complex
financial institutions with international interests will result in fewer home and business loans in
our rural communities. As the Banking Committee continues to review the proposed rules set forth
by the regulators, I will continue to push back on over burdensome, one-size-fits-all regulations that
will further stall growth in our communities.
Health Care with Kansas Hospital Administrators
Friday, I had the opportunity to visit with hospital leaders from across our state at the Kansas Hospital
Association 2012 Convention in Overland Park. This annual event allows Kansas’ hospital administrators
to get together and discuss strategies to meet today’s challenges and future expectations in the
changing health care arena. I appreciated hearing our hospital administrators’ valuable
perspective on a wide range of post-election issues that President Obama and Congress must work together
to address. Several of these important issues include the adverse consequences of the looming
“fiscal cliff,” automatic sequestration cuts and other reductions to Medicare reimbursements
to doctors and other providers, and a number of questions surrounding implementation of the Affordable
Care Act. Thank you to KHA President Tom Bell and new KHA Board Chair Vicki Hahn for inviting
me to this event.
Additionally, I wanted to wish KHA’s
Senior Vice President, Fred Lucky, best wishes on his upcoming retirement. Congratulations to Fred on
more than 20 years of dedicated service to our state’s hospitals and their patients. Throughout
his career, Fred has been a strong advocate for hospitals and a knowledgeable resource on health care
legislative and regulatory issues affecting Kansans. I appreciate having the opportunity to have
Fred’s advice and counsel. Click
here to view a photo from the event.
Board Interviews Applicants for U.S. Service Academies
Saturday, I had the honor of meeting more than 60 students from Kansas at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
in Abilene as part of my annual Service Academy Selection Day. Students applying for admission to the
U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy interviewed
with my Selection Board, and the Board provided me with recommendations regarding nominations. This
day has always been a favorite of mine because I get to meet some of the best and brightest of Kansas.
The day once again served as a reminder that Kansas produces smart, hard-working, civic-minded people
who want to serve their country.
Big thanks to Karl Weissenbach,
DeAnn Stone, and Linda Smith at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library for hosting us. And, this important
process would not be possible without the help of my Selection Board, made up of community leaders from
across the state who take great interest in seeing students succeed. The members review applications
and conduct interviews before giving me their recommendations.
of the 2012 Service Academy Selection Board include: Mike Junk of Salina; Ron Whitney and Steve Harmon
of Emporia; Ron Lucas of Goodland; Paula Ripple of Dodge City; Frank Clepper, Chris Meyer and John O’Leary
of Wichita; Robin Jackson of Hutchinson; Jacque Oakes of Independence; Jill McCarthy and Ernie Garcia
of Overland Park; Sam Turner of Leawood; Cecil Webb of Olathe; Bill Clifford of Garden City; Wendell
Maddox of Kansas City; Karen Clark of Leavenworth; Corinne Nilsen of Andover; Daralyn Arata of Manhattan
and Betty Click of Lawrence. I would like to thank Midshipman Brent Cline of the U.S. Naval Academy
for traveling home to Kansas to visit with this year’s applicants. Brent is the son of Kevin and
Wendy Cline of Mulvane. Click
here to see a photo from the event.
Visiting the Overland Park Rotary Club
En route to the airport I had the opportunity to visit the Overland
Park Rotary meeting. Their program featured students who are Youth Leadership Institute participants.
The Youth Leadership Institute promotes leadership skills, civic awareness and exposure to Rotary values
to high school students across the Kansas City area. I enjoyed speaking to members of this year’s
Institute class including Lauren Adamson, Ali Campbell, Willis Cook, Emily Hathhorn, Daniel Huhn, Sarah
Smoot, Cindy Wang, Stardust Wehmeyer, Elizabeth Wolock and scholarship winners Bobby Goheen, Logan Reilly
and Matt Schmitz.
Johnson County Community College
(JCCC) President Dr. Terry Calaway was also honored at the meeting. Dr. Calaway recently announced
he will be retiring in August of 2013. During his tenure at JCCC, the college has seen increased
enrollment and campus expansion, as well as several other numerous accomplishments. Dr. Calaway’s
exemplary leadership has been a model for many, and I greatly appreciate his service and dedication
to students, faculty and community members. I enjoyed attending the Rotary Club and appreciated
the hospitality of member Greg Musil, Youth Leadership Institute 2012 Program Chair Ryan Cook and club
President Doug Young. Click
here to view a photo.
Attending Eagle Scout Ceremony in Plainville
On Sunday, I attended the Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony for Brennan
Foster at the First Methodist Church in Plainville. As a former scout in Plainville’s Troop 109,
I was especially pleased to attend and personally congratulate Brennan on achieving Scouting’s
highest honor. Brennan worked diligently to achieve Scouting’s highest honor, earning more than
20 merit badges, taking a leadership role in his Boy Scout troop, and developing and completing a service
project for the Plainville community. The path to becoming an Eagle Scout calls on young men like Brennan
to adopt a spirit of service and prepare themselves for life’s great challenges. I encourage Brennan
and all other Eagle Scouts to stay involved in their Troops, continue to invest in their communities,
and provide leadership to the next generation of Scouts. Click
here to view a photo from the ceremony.
Recognizing National Adoption Day
November is National Adoption Month and Saturday was recognized as
National Adoption Day. As a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I am proud to celebrate
the many families in Kansas and across our nation who have made a lasting difference in the lives of
thousands of children through adoption. Their compassion and commitment has given these children
both a family and a bright future. Every child deserves the opportunity to be part of a permanent and
loving family. When dedicated individuals make a major difference in a child’s life through
adoption, families are strengthened and communities are enriched.
Adoption Day is a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the more than 104,000 children in foster
care in the United States waiting for families to adopt them. More than 400 communities across the country,
including in Kansas, hosted events on or around this day to finalize adoptions out of foster care and
celebrate families who adopt. Since 2000, nearly 40,000 children have been adopted from foster care
on or around National Adoption Day and this year thousands more children are expected to be adopted.
This week I sponsored S. Res. 595, a resolution promoting national awareness of adoption and the children
awaiting families, celebrating children and families involved in adoption, and encouraging Americans
to secure safety, permanency and well-being for all children.
This week I was saddened to learn
of the passing of Charlie Staab, Jr. of Hays. On Saturday I joined friends and family in celebrating
Charlie’s life at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Hays. Charlie was a kind and
special person who made an incredible impact upon the Hays community. He believed in serving God,
his community and others, made evident through his involvement in so many local causes including Thomas
More Prep-Marian High School, Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, Immaculate Heart of Mary,
and the Knights of Columbus.
As a World War II veteran,
Charlie remained extremely involved in his local VFW and American Legion and worked to make certain
no veteran was ever forgotten. Charlie’s involvement in the community resulted in him being
chosen as a past Hays Citizen of the Year. Charlie was a devoted husband to Marcella, who passed away
in 2005, and a loving father to his sons Charles of Federal Way, Washington; Ronald of Victoria; Douglas
of Lawrence and Conrad of Russell. I was honored to call Charlie a dear friend for many years and
will greatly miss him. Robba and I extend our sympathies to his family and friends during this
In the Office
This week we had several visitors in the Washington,
D.C., office, including the Kansans listed below.
President Ed Leonard of Lindsborg
Courtney Madden of Lawrence
Alejandra Hernandez-Castro of Lawrence
Kayla Moore of Topeka
Margarita Nunez of Emporia
Biak Nun of Kansas City
Miguel Dominguez of Garden City
Gary Shorman of Hays
Jay Gibson of Wichita
Govind Ramakrisha Pillai of Wichita
William Payne of Overland Park
Herbert Hansen of Overland Park
Hayleigh Howe of Wichita
Health Consumer Coalition
Anna Lambertson of Topeka
Independent College Association and Fund
Matt Lindsey of Topeka
Elementary, Blue Ribbon Award Winners
Principal Rob Leis
Green Baptist Church
Reverend Jarvis Collier of Kansas City
for Human Resource Management
Dan Hamel of Wichita
Phillip Hayes of Wichita
Claudia Saenz of Garden City
Dan Schultz of Manhattan
Ed Watson of Wichita
Eddie Estes of Dodge City
of Kansas Medical Center CHC Executive Fellowship
Marsha Killian of Kansas City
Mike Grasso of Kansas City
Kansans stopped by to take a tour of the US Capitol this week including:
Alejandra Hernandez-Castro of Lawrence
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,