A Thankful Nation Honors Its Veterans
This weekend we honor the men and women who have served our nation in the armed services. Our veterans put their lives on the line so that we might live freely and prosperously. We owe it to them to make sure that the America they fought to defend for our generation is here for the next. As I discuss in my weekly column, there are three ways we can strive to show our respect and gratitude to the men and women who put it all on the line for us. First, we must fulfill the promises made to our veterans. Second, we must ensure that the rights of our veterans and active and reserve duty service members are never neglected. Whether it is their religious liberties or their voting rights, they deserve the freedom to exercise the very same freedoms they fight to uphold. Third, we can keep the American Dream alive. They fought to defend it abroad, we must fight to defend it at home.
Please Pray for Rain
We continue to experience one of the worst droughts in years. The entirety of Kansas is classified as a drought, with nearly 40 percent of our state classified as being in an “Exceptional Drought.” Please pray for some moisture! Earlier this year, I supported the House-passed Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012 (H.R. 6233) to help mitigate the effects of the drought for livestock producers, but the Senate has yet to act on the legislation. With the drought taking a toll on winter wheat, farmers should rest assured that even though there is no new Farm Bill, crop insurance continues.
A Busy November & December
Congress will be back in session this week. Top-of-the-agenda items for us include:
- Stopping Washington from Sending America Over the Fiscal Cliff: Within a matter of weeks, the Bush-Obama tax cuts will expire, across-the-board defense and non-defense discretionary spending cuts are set to take effect, we will hit the debt ceiling, and dozens of new Obama regulations are likely to be unveiled. There is no more time to punt on leadership, and I will continue to push my colleagues to work toward permanent solutions – not temporary fixes – that deal with the real problems in Washington: overspending and overregulation.
- Finishing the Farm Bill: Even though only 20% of the Farm Bill goes toward actual agricultural programs (the other 80% goes toward nutrition and food stamp programs), I know that not having a Farm Bill finished is leaving some uncertainty for our farmers and ranchers. I believe that we must target and transform the food stamp programs within the Farm Bill in order to provide some accountability to taxpayers as well as to just improve the programs for those who truly need it.
- Holding the VA Accountable: In the last three months, my staff has completed a significant amount of independent investigative research into excessive and wasteful spending at the VA. I was excited to learn from VA Committee Chairman Miller that the Committee will hold additional hearings this year to get more answers about why VA spends so much money on exotic travel and luxurious conferences for government bureaucrats when there are so many homeless veterans and wounded warriors not getting the care that they need. You can read more about our investigation here.
Member of Congress