To Preserve, Protect, and Defend ALL of the Constitution of the United States
Today, President Obama publicly takes the Oath of Office. He will put his hand on the Bible and promise to 'preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.'
With this Oath, President Obama agrees to uphold every single part of the Constitution – not just the parts he likes. This means respecting every single amendment as well as every single boundary limiting his power. The Constitution guarantees rights for the people, and places restrictions on those in power. Not the other way around.
But, last week, President Obama announced nearly two dozen executive actions as well as proposed legislation designed to curtail Second Amendment rights. Taking away the rights and abilities of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves is yet another display of the Obama Administration's attempt to consolidate power and limit the rights of Americans.
When it comes to addressing tragedies like Newtown, I believe that Washington and all of America must have a serious debate and honest discussion about what fuels a very small segment of the population to commit such violent acts. This means holding Hollywood accountable for its culture of violence and death, and talking about mental health issues and the responsibilities of families and communities.
But beyond culture, we must demand that the Obama Administration enforce current laws. The latest information, according to Syracuse University, shows that federal weapons prosecutions are down dramatically – meaning that the Obama Administration is neglecting its obligation to enforce current law.
One major concern I have with President Obama’s proposal on firearms is how it intertwines with his health care law. With earlier and on-going efforts by the Obama Administration to invade personal liberties by collecting sensitive patient data, we should now be concerned that the Administration wants to reassure providers that they can ask – and record information – about patients' gun ownership and storage of firearms. It seems that there is no end to the Administration's efforts to conduct citizen surveillance in the exam room.
A Serious Budget for Serious Times
This week in The Washington Times I laid out what I believe should be the way forward for Washington to get its fiscal house in order. I hope you will take a few minutes to read the entire column, but essentially I believe there are four major steps that will get us on a path toward greater fiscal responsibility – and away from government-by-crisis:
- We need a budget. Nearly 1400 days have gone by since the Senate passed a budget – almost four years! And, we need more than a budget for show – one that actually reduces deficits and allows us to pay down the debt.
- Fundamental tax reform. America is supposed to be the land of free enterprise – the place where dreams can be turned into successful businesses. But, we have the highest corporate tax rate of any developed nation, and small business taxes are killing Main Street as well.
- Entitlement reform. Left unchecked, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will consume the entirety of revenues within a matter of years. Let’s empower states to handle Medicaid with block grants, and enact commonsense, consumer-oriented reforms to Medicare.
- Pro-growth regulatory reform. The fiscal cliff bill left many small businesses paying a lot to Washington. On top of that, they are expected to meet expensive and onerous health care mandates with ObamaCare. The least Washington could do is to turn off the regulatory spigot that is drowning Main Street in red tape and rules.
Another ratings agency announced this past week that it might downgrade the U.S.’s credit rating should Washington fail to enact a reasonable, responsible, and comprehensive solution to the exploding debt and persistent deficits. Fitch Ratings’ announcement follows the threat from Moody’s nearly three weeks ago and the downgrade that already happened by S&P in August 2011.
The gravity of America's fiscal crisis cannot be overstated, and Washington owes it to taxpayers and to the next generation to assume responsibility for fixing the mess they created. These warnings are not about politics, but rather about policies that impact the overall health of the economy. President Obama and Congress must, above all else, address the underlying cause of this threat: massive deficit spending. Any debt limit increase should include short-, medium-, and long-term solutions to the overspending problem.
Shining the Light on FEMA
This past week the House considered legislation to provide disaster funding to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I was pleased that my Amendment to require FEMA to disclose all grant funding – not just the recipients who receive $1 million or more – was accepted and included in the final bill.
Transparency issues have been a passion of mine since I served in the Kansas State Senate. How can leaders be accountable if the public lacks the information it needs about where money goes and about who is spending it? I will continue to look for additional ways to hold Washington accountable for the hard-earned tax dollars that you send.
Please visit this page to read more about the amendment as well as to watch my floor statement on it.
Thanks to the folks who stopped by the Manhattan office during its first week open. Staff will be available on the following days and at the following times:
- Wednesday, January 23, 2013: 11:00AM-1:00PM
- Thursday, January 24, 2013: 11:00AM-1:00PM
- Tuesday, January 29, 2013: 8:00AM-10:00AM
- Wednesday, January 30, 2013: 11:00AM-1:00PM
As a reminder, the office is located at: 727 Poyntz Avenue, Suite 10 (in the Commerce Bank Building). If you have questions, please call 785-309-0572.
Upcoming Town Halls
We will host six town halls next week. If I am in or around your area, please stop by to hear a brief update from me, to ask your questions, and to provide your feedback.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Pottawatomie County Town Hall
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Wamego Telecommunications Company
2nd Floor Conference Room
1009 Lincoln St., Wamego
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Cheyenne County Town Hall
8:00am – 9:00am
Cheyenne County Courthouse
212 E Washington St., St. Francis
Rawlins County Town Hall
10:00am – 11:00am
Rawlins County Courthouse
607 Main St., Atwood
Decatur County Town Hall
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Decatur County Courthouse, Courtroom
120 E Hall St., Oberlin
Norton County Town Hall
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Town & Country Kitchen
East Hwy 36, Norton
Graham County Town Hall
4:00pm – 5:00pm
Graham County Courthouse
410 N. Pomeroy, Hill City
In the Office
Before heading to Washington last Monday, I stopped by the Kansas State Capitol to visit with state legislators and Governor Brownback as the new legislative session began. Kansas is truly leading the way for other states in the nation, and I look forward to what 2013 holds for our great state. While in D.C. we had the privilege of meeting with representatives of Military Chaplains who are worried about religious liberties under this Administration.
Member of Congress