Kansas Common Sense - Supporting Military Families at Fort Riley

Senator Jerry Moran
2012-12-17 19:27:40
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Kansas Common Sense
December 17, 2012



Dear Friend,


Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you 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.

This week, the Senate considered legislation to extend the  Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program. The bill, S. 3637, would  have extended through 2014 the program to provide unlimited deposit  insurance for noninterest-bearing transactions, as established by the  Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. However,  given the cost of the legislation exceeded the spending limits set in  the Budget Control Act of 2011, a budget point of order was raised and  the bill was returned to committee for additional consideration.

When the budget issue arose, I offered an amendment with Senator Joe  Manchin (D-West Virginia) to correct them. Unfortunately, no amendments  were allowed by Majority Leader Reid. It is my hope that the Senate can  reach an agreement on a limited TAG extension by the end of the year.


Supporting Military Families at Fort Riley

On Tuesday, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced that Geary  County Unified School District 475 has been awarded a $35.2 million  grant to build a new middle school on post at Fort Riley. USD 475 will  contribute $6.7 million to this project, and the nearly $42 million  total will be used to demolish and replace the existing Ft. Riley Middle  School with a new school that will serve more than 700 students on  post. The school’s groundbreaking is expected next month with doors  opening in 2014.

This is great news for the soldiers and their families at Ft.  Riley. Over the past few years, I have worked with USD 475 staff and DOD  officials to help address significant overcrowding and condition  concerns at Ft. Riley’s schools. The school facilities on post were well  beyond their designed capacity as the number of troops stationed at the  Fort has nearly doubled. DOD ranked these military schools as some of  the most in need of improvement. During my visits to Ft. Riley, it was  clear that the Junction City community has worked diligently to  accommodate the growth in Ft. Riley’s population. In May 2011, I joined  then Secretary of Defense Gates on post to break ground on a new  elementary school, now Seitz Elementary. This elementary school opened  for students this school year.

This grant recognizes that children of military families are a DOD  priority. USD 475 should be proud that it continues to make certain the  needs of those who serve our country are met, and their kids have access  to quality schools and other educational resources. I commend the  efforts of USD 475 Superintendent Ron Walker, and Ft. Riley Deputy  Garrison Commander Linda Hoeffner for ensuring that DOD makes Ft. Riley  schools a priority. We will continue working to secure the federal  support needed to address the remaining educational needs of our  military families at Ft. Riley.  read more about this announcement.  


Bipartisan Cosponsors Ready Startup Act for Reintroduction

This week I met with Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Chris Coons (D-DE),  and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to discuss the future of Startup Act 2.0, a bill  we introduced and co-sponsored earlier this Congress. The Startup Act  2.0 is legislation that seeks to harness the American engine of  entrepreneurship and innovation to jumpstart the economy. The provisions  of Startup Act 2.0 are engineered to create a better environment for  economic growth and equip the United States to better compete in the  global battle for talent. Startup Act 2.0 garnered bipartisan support in  both chambers of Congress as well as endorsements of much of the  business and technology community.

During Tuesday’s meeting, my colleagues and I worked together to  develop a new version of the Startup Act that we intend to introduce  early in the 113th Congress.  We believe that these updates  and adjustments will broaden appeal and increase the likelihood of this  bill becoming law next year. It’s reassuring to have an opportunity to  successfully collaborate with colleagues across the aisle and produce  common sense policies. You can learn more about the Startup Act .


NBAF Land Transfer Announced

On Friday, Kansans received news from the Department of Homeland  Security that they've been waiting to hear for a long time: NBAF is  moving forward. After years of hard work by Kansans and numerous studies  that substantiate the need for NBAF, I’m glad to see that DHS and  Secretary Napolitano have signed the land transfer agreement and will  work with the state of Kansas to move forward toward construction of the  facility. The first step of the land transfer is good news for Kansas  and critical to our national security. The facts are clear: without the  capabilities NBAF provides, our country is at risk from foreign animal  disease threats.

The state of Kansas has committed $105 million dollars of matching  state funds to the NBAF project and $35 million dollars of research  funding for transitioning the NBAF mission to Manhattan. The  approximately 46-acre site is located on the north side of the Kansas  State University campus. It provides land acquisition potential; highway  access; environmental compatibility; adequate utility infrastructure;  an available local work force for skilled labor and academic research;  and proximity to agricultural, academic, medical and bioscience  resources. to read more about the land transfer and what it means for NBAF.


Increasing Energy Security with Master Limited Partnerships

This week, I joined Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Congressman Ted Poe  (TX-02) and Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-01) at a press conference to  call attention to the need to expand eligibility for American energy  interests to structure as master limited partnerships (MLPs). The Master  Limited Partnerships Parity Act (MLP Parity Act), S. 3275 and H.R.  6437, will allow the renewable energy sector to utilize the advantageous  tax structure of MLPs for project development. MLPs in essence combine  the business development advantages of a corporation with the tax  advantages of a partnership to facilitate easier access to capital  markets. Master limited partnerships have been largely responsible for  the growth in our country’s energy infrastructure. In order to grow our  economy and increase our energy security, sound economic tools like the  MLP should be expanded to include additional domestic energy sources.  Allowing emerging technologies in the renewable energy sector to access  this structure, American investors can drive development and  commercialization as we seek opportunities to make our country more  energy independent. This legislation simply builds on a successful  model, and I look forward to working with my Senate and House colleagues  on policies that will drive innovation, create American jobs, and grow  our economy. to read our letter to President Obama about the MLP Parity Act.


Friend of the Farm Bureau Award

This week I was proud to receive the "Friend of the Farm Bureau”  award. Thanks to Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus for this  recognition and for all of his hard work on behalf of Kansas. Kansas  Farm Bureau continues to lead the way advocating on behalf of  agriculture and rural America. We must continue to work hard to preserve  family farms and ranches for the next generation.


Feeding the Hungry this Holiday Season

During the holidays, many Kansas families will celebrate by sharing a  meal together. While feasting with loved ones, we should remember that  hunger is a reality faced by too many in our country. We live in the  world’s wealthiest nation, yet nearly 49 million Americans struggle to  put food on their tables. This year, 1 in 5 children in our country will  face hunger. In Kansas alone, more than 14 percent of our neighbors are  uncertain about where their next meal will come from.

The good news is that many Kansas organizations are actively working  to put an end to hunger, including Wichita’s Cargill Cares Complex – a  food bank that is helping fill the hunger gap in 86 western, central and  south-central Kansas counties. Thanks to generous contributors from  around the state, and with the help of thousands of volunteers, this  Wichita food bank provides food for thousands of Kansans. It is the  primary source of food for hundreds of hunger-relief agencies throughout  rural Kansas, including soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and  senior delivery programs. The food bank also partners with local schools  to provide food and supplies to students who are not receiving  sufficient food outside of school on a regular basis.

This holiday season, I encourage you to remember those who are less  fortunate by donating to a hunger-relief organization, volunteering at a  local soup kitchen, or contributing to a local food pantry. You can  also look for opportunities to help in your local community by visiting  or . This Christmas, I hope you will be mindful that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.”


In the Office

This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office, including the Kansans listed below:

Herington UAS Flight Facility
Charles Jarnot

Kansas Farm Bureau
Terry Holdren of Topeka
Steve Baccus

Kansas TAG
Major General Lee Tafanelli

Kansas Water Office
Tracy Streeter of Topeka

Spirit AeroSystems
Rufus Forrest of Wichita

Sunflower Community Action
Sulma Aria
Janeth Vazquez
Mayron Payes
Mauricio, Jesus, and Isela Alvarez


Many Kansans stopped by to take a tour of the US Capitol this week including:

Carma Wilson

Jessica Tormey

Steven and Rebecca Behnke

Kyle Smith
Patricia Bossert

Bea Behnke


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, . You can also to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.

Very truly yours,