I Meant It
Well, I wish I were writing you with news of a resolution to averting the so-called fiscal cliff, but negotiations appear stalled. After more than four years of trillion-dollar-plus deficits and more than $5 trillion added to the debt since 2009, you would think that President Obama and many Democrats would be more willing to deal with the overspending. But, they are still insistent on taking more money from hard-working taxpayers. They still believe that it is better to punish small business owners with higher taxes than it is to tackle overspending and overborrowing in Washington. Like many of my colleagues, I made a promise to Kansans that I would oppose tax increases. I meant it:
In the upcoming week I pray that there is more progress on fixing America's overspending problem. On Friday morning I appeared on CNN to call for negotiators to remember that we have a spending problem – not a taxing problem – in Washington. If we were to embrace the so-called “Buffett Rule,” it would pay for a few hours of spending. If we were to embrace higher taxes just on those who make more than $500,000, it would pay for about two or three days of spending. As you will see in the video, I also called for negotiations to happen with the public eye watching. America got the short end of the stick with the debt deal last year – and I think a big part of that can be attributed to the fact that talks happened behind closed doors.
We Kept the Tradition Alive
When I took office in January 2011 I promised that I would continue the tradition of Senators Roberts and Moran and host a town hall in each of the First District’s 69 counties. I met that goal last year, and Saturday I repeated and completed the goal for 2012. My last town hall of 2012 was in Seneca (Nemaha County); Nemaha County will not be a part of the First District come 2013. Thank you to all of the Kansans who have taken the time to come to a town hall and share their ideas, priorities, opinions, and feedback with staff and me. Not only has our district staff benefited from hearing directly from the constituents we serve, but I have also required all of our D.C. staff to attend at least one town hall. Our priorities are yours, so we appreciate all who have given us direction.
Kansas State Wildcats
My family and I enjoyed a great time at the K-State football game this weekend. Congratulations to the Wildcats, Coach Bill Snyder, and the entire K-State community for an exciting and fun season - especially the upcoming victory in the Fiesta Bowl! While at the game, I had the opportunity to visit with President Kirk Schultz, long-time Professor Barry Flinchbaugh, Business Dean Ali Malekzadeh, and Jeffery Morris, Vice President communications and Marketing and many other K- State leaders. I look forward to representing Manhattan and K-State in 2013 and beyond.
Ending Market-Distorting Corporate Welfare
I have heard diverse opinions from Kansans about the expiration of the wind energy subsidy. If we were to extend it for one more year – as lobbyists have asked – then it would cost $12 billion over the next ten years. The lobbyists asking for an extension say that failing to make it available next year will cost 37,000 jobs. Of course any job losses are horrible, but the cost-per-job of the subsidy amounts to $324,324. Surely there is a more efficient and effective use of that money – especially when it is propping up an industry that should be able to stand on its own after 20 years.
When America is $16 trillion in debt, we have to start prioritizing. Certainly subsidizing a billion-dollar industry should not be a top priority. Please take a few minutes to read the entirety of my column explaining the issue.
Guests in the Office
This past week your D.C. staff and I had the privilege of meeting with Ron Seeber with the American Legislative Exchange Council (and also with the Kansas Agri-Business Retailers Association and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association); Dave Slead, Kansas Soybean Association Board Member; and Dennis Hupe, Director of Field Services for the Kansas Soybean Commission; Rose Mitchell, Senior VP, Governmental Affairs at Hy-Vee Inc.; representatives of the Kansas Hospital Association including: Chad Austin, Tom Bell, and Fred Lucky with KHA; Tom Bell with the Salina Regional Health Center; Karen Endicott-Coyan, Mercy Hospitals, Fort Scott; Vicki Hahn, Wichita County Hospital, Leoti; Kevin Miller, Hutchinson RMC, Hutchinson; Hugh Tappan, Wesley MC, Wichita; and representatives of the Kansas Credit Union including: Don Homan, Frontier CU, Leavenworth; Michael Augustine, Frontier CU, Leavenworth; Jim Holt, Mid American CU, Wichita; Mike Welli, Mid American CU, Wichita; Sarah Meehan, Mid American CU, Wichita; Valerie Taylor, Quest CU, Topeka; LeeAnn Marker, Hutchinson CU, Hutchinson; David Graf, Mainstreet CU, Overland Park; Marla Marsh, KCUA, Wichita; and small business owners from Kansas, including: Karen Maness and Mitzi Alexander, Owners of Absolutely Flowers, Hutchinson; Ben and Amy Kraft, Owners of Kraft Electric, Hutchinson; and Jon Austin, Owner of Hutchinson Small Animal Hospital, Hutchinson.
Member of Congress