Grateful for the Snow
February 24, 2013
What a blessing the snow was this week! Although we had to reschedule some of our town halls, we are so grateful for the moisture in the midst of a statewide drought! Hopefully this is a sign of more to come.
We were able to hold our town hall meetings in Elkhart, Hugoton, Ulysses, and Sublette. During these town halls, we talked about a number of issues, including Social Security and Medicare, excessive government spending, immigration, the Farm Bill, and the lesser prairie chicken (and the attempt by federal regulators to infringe on private property rights). We hope to announce soon the rescheduled dates and times for the town halls we had to cancel due to the snow.
In addition to the town hall meetings, I had the opportunity to visit an Occidental Petroleum drilling rig near Deerfield, Kansas. It is a vertical drilling rig targeted to drill 5,000-6,000 feet deep and is on the edge of the Mississippian Lime Formation. During the tour, we went through all of the vast safety precautions Oxy, USA uses on its rigs, and also learned how they filter the oil with mud to help bring it to the surface. Thanks to Carl Herrman and Gilbert Williams for hosting us on this tour.
Congressman Huelskamp with the Barton County Farm Bureau
We appreciate the Barton County Farm Bureau for hosting a roundtable with us on Wednesday morning. We discussed a number of issues, including the Farm Bill and NBAF (see below for great news on that front)! Also on Wednesday, we met with the management team at CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, Inc., including Jon Prescott, President; Dana Miller, Chief Operating Officer; Reneé Dykes, Chief Financial Officer; Chris Krueger, Chief Information Officer; and Erika Brining, Director of Human Resources. We talked about issues facing the future of retirement, including Social Security, tax policy, the budget, and what government needs to do to provide the right incentives for investment and planning for retirement.
Congressman Huelskamp and the CPI Executive Team
NBAF Moving Ahead
On Friday, I joined my colleagues in the Kansas congressional delegation and Governor Brownback to announce that the Department of Homeland Security has awarded the contract for the construction of the Central Utilities Plant for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) located in Manhattan. The $40 million that will be spent on this project was awarded in FY11 appropriations, but progress was delayed to allow completion of new risk assessments. Now that those have been completed, we are ready to move forward and deliver much needed, long overdue research vital to the security of America’s food supply.
When is the Conference Boondoggle Going to End?
If you recall, our office led efforts in 2012 to uncover the wasteful spending at the VA on conferences for employees. Well, here we go again. This past week we learned that the U.S. Postal Service plans to spend $2.2 million on one conference alone for 400 employees in San Francisco. According to a media report, the conference will include "workshops, golf, a dance party, music entertainment, and a taste of San Francisco banquet." How nice.
We are launching an immediate investigation into conference spending by the USPS because only in Washington do you not tighten your belt and prioritize spending when times are tough. While concerned citizens have been knocking on my door for the past two years worried about getting their medications delivered, USPS has been planning a trip to one of the most expensive cities in America. For the $5,500 per person they waste on this conference, USPS could operate more than 50 post offices it announced it would close in Kansas' First District. Although those plans have been withdrawn in exchange for cutting staff and office hours, it just goes to show the lack of priorities at USPS.
Local Office Hours
Staff will be available in the Manhattan office next week on the following days and at the following times:
· Tuesday, February 26, 2013: 10:00AM-12:00PM
· Thursday, February 28, 2013: 10:00AM-12:00PM
In addition, we have announced other local office hours for staff across the entire First District of Kansas. Please review this page to find out where staff will be to take your questions, provide casework assistance (for agencies and programs like the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the IRS, Medicare, and Social Security), and give an update about legislative action in Washington. Constituents seeking casework services are encouraged to bring any relevant paperwork regarding claims and benefits.
Member of Congress