Waste? What Waste?
As President Obama campaigns across the country trying to blame the Republicans for his own sequester plan, reports continue to surface detailing how Washington wastes your tax dollars.
Some of Washington’s wasteful spending includes:
- The federal government spent $2.2 billion for free cell phones last year.
- The VA bought a $47,000 cigarette smoking machine that holds up to forty cigarettes.
- The Presidential dog-walker is one of 226 White House staff earning over $100,000 a year.
- The IRS spends $4 million to operate its TV production studio.
- President Obama spent $51.6 million of taxpayer money touring the country to promote ObamaCare.
- The federal government admitted they paid more than $115 billion in improper payments in 2011, which is $30 billion more than the sequester "cuts."
- In 2012, Washington wined and dined its own bureaucrats at wasteful conferences in some of the most expensive cities in the country to the tune of $340 million dollars.
- The VA alone spent $72.7 million of your money to send bureaucrats to 127 exclusive conferences. This excess spending is even more egregious considering that their backlog to process a veteran’s disability claim is over nine months.
These are just a few examples of waste that should be cut from the budget. Instead of taking this fiscally responsible path, we have a President that would rather resort to scare tactics, and threaten to cut programs that actually impact real people, to score political points.
As you may know, sequestration went into effect on Friday. It requires the President and the millions of federal bureaucrats to find $85 billion in savings for the American taxpayers over the next two years. For this year, the "cuts" equal about 1% of the total budget. And even after the "cuts," the budget will still be bigger this year than last - and still bigger next year. The deficit will still be an astounding $845 billion!
I did not vote for sequestration in 2011, because there were much smarter ways to make necessary and larger spending reductions. However, the sequester is a huge step in the right direction -- the first time ever that we have forced the federal government to reduce planned spending. Yet, we still have a long way to go to put our fiscal house back in order.
But be aware: you will hear many more doomsday claims about the sequester in the next few weeks. Don't believe them. America's families and businesses have been tightening their belt - it is time Washington did the same.
Fish and Wildlife Service Responds to our Pressure
For years now, the federal Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has been moving toward listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) as a threatened or endangered species. If they do so, it will threaten the livelihood of thousands of Kansas farmers, ranchers, and energy producers. In recent weeks, I let the FWS know of my strong opposition to their proposal, plus my colleagues and I sent them a letter urging them to review a proposal written by an Interstate Working Group (IWG) comprised of state and local governments, landowners and other interested parties within the LPC habitat range. This voluntary plan demonstrates the effectiveness of localized conservation efforts without federal intervention. In response, the FWS has agreed to allow additional time to comment on this IWG proposal. Rest assured, I will keep up the pressure on the FWS to approve only a voluntary plan to protect the habitat and population of the lesser prairie chicken.
Telephone Town Hall:
On Tuesday, February 26, I hosted my first telephone town hall of the year. If you joined me, I appreciate the time you took to listen, and I hope you had some of your questions answered. During the town hall we asked some questions of the audience and you can click here to view the interesting results.
My next telephone town hall will be Tuesday, March 26 at 7:00pm. If you haven't received these calls, we'd love to add you to the call list.
Local Office Hours
Staff will be available to assist constituents in the Manhattan office during the following dates and times:
· Friday, March 8, 2013; 11AM-3PM
· Wednesday, March 13, 2013; 11AM-3PM
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.
Guests in the Office
This week your D.C. staff and I had the privilege of meeting with representatives from the Kansas Fraternal Order of Police, Kansas Emergency Management Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Duane L. Dorshorst, Superintendent and Principal of USD 294 (Oberlin), the American Legion, Kansas Soldiers' Home, U.S. Cattlemen's Association, Kansas Civil Air Patrol, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics of Kansas City, National Treasury Employees Union, Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, The Greater Kansas City Association of Health Underwriters, The Senior Citizens League, and Shawn Mitchell and Stuart Little with Kansas Community Bankers. See pictures of guests here.
Do you know a college-aged adult interested in public policy who is looking to gain real-life experience in a Congressional office? If so, please invite him or her to visit http://huelskamp.house.gov/internships to learn more about the opportunities available in our Washington, D.C. and Kansas offices. The deadline to apply for summer internships is March 15, 2013.
Member of Congress