On Friday, I introduced legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that would return to the basics of what a majority of my colleagues and the president support — providing the necessary resources to strengthen and modernize border security and long-term certainty to DACA recipients. Our legislation would establish a $25 billion trust fund to better secure our borders and codify DACA protections. I urge my colleagues to support this sensible solution that provides us a realistic path forward to resolve this partial government shutdown.
100 years of American Farm Bureau
On Thursday, I introduced a resolution in the Senate to honor the 100th anniversary of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). AFBF is one of the leading groups advocating on behalf of agriculture and rural America. This resolution honors AFBF and the countless contributions they and their over six million member families in all 50 states have had on our nation’s producers. Across the country, generations of Farm Bureau members contribute to production agriculture, lead local organizations and give back to their communities. I am pleased to introduce this legislation with Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the state where the first Farm Bureau convention was held in 1919.
Attending the 100th American Farm Bureau annual convention
Over the weekend, I attended the AFBF Annual Convention and met with the Kansas Farm Bureau delegation. At the convention, I spoke about the importance of trade to Kansas and the country, and the need for Congress to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). My discussion also focused on the importance of rural hospitals and the inclusion of the FARMERS First Act in the 2018 Farm Bill that will provide greater resources for mental health services for farmers and ranchers. I heard from producers about the impact of the government shutdown on agriculture and USDA services, including the trade mitigation payments, farm loans and market reports. I’m grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the centennial anniversary with the American Farm Bureau and to have Kansas Farm Bureau as a close partner in my efforts to strengthen rural economies, open markets for agricultural goods, advance rural 5G and digital infrastructure and inspire the next generation of ag leaders in Kansas and across the county.
Discussing the importance of the Federal Reserve remaining independent
Last week, I joined Bloomberg TV and CNBC’s Squawk Box to discuss the importance of the Federal Reserve to remain independent. The Federal Reserve and their decisions on monetary and economic policy have far-reaching consequences on our nation and its economy. Their dual mandate to limit inflation and maximize employment is core to our financial system, and we must work to protect them from the political passions of the moment as they try and create long-term success for our economy. I will continue working with my colleagues to make certain this important independence is maintained.
Introducing legislation to expand chiropractic care to all military service members
Last week I joined Senator Tammy Baldwin to reintroduce the Chiropractic Health Parity for Military Beneficiaries Act. Many of the brave men and women who have served our country have sustained back and other neuromusculoskeletal injuries that can be treated through chiropractic care. Currently, the Department of Defense offers limited access to chiropractic care to active duty servicemembers and certain members of the Reserve Component. This leaves many retired servicemembers and other Reservists who utilize TRICARE at a disadvantage —unable to receive the same care they had access to while on active duty.
This bill will increase access to chiropractic care by expanding TRICARE coverage for military retirees and all reservists, which is something I’ve advocated to the VA many times over. The men and women of our Armed Forces, past and present, deserve access to the same care they received while on active duty to prevent a lapse in care. I’m pleased to re-introduce bipartisan legislation that makes certain they are able to maintain that access to care, regardless of their status.
Speaking with HHS Secretary Azar on OTPN’s liver transplant policy
This week, I spoke with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to express my deep concern over recent changes to our national liver allocation policy that will have a detrimental impact on Kansans’ access to life-saving donated livers.
This latest policy change is a reaction to a lawsuit, where a misguided approach is being forced through without due consideration for concerns from important stakeholders, such as our major transplant hospitals including those in the Kansas City area. This flawed process disregards expert medical opinion and moves simply to increase the shift of organs to areas where they have not attempted to improve deficient donation rates in years.
I will continue to engage with Secretary Azar, HHS and affiliated organ allocation organizations, to ensure that the interests of Kansans are being heard at the federal level, and that quality transplant centers and organ procurement organizations are rewarded rather than punished for effectively carrying out their responsibilities to patients and their families.
Supporting concealed carry reciprocity legislation
This week, I cosponsored Concealed Carry Reciprocity legislation, which I have done each congress since joining the Senate in 2011. The right to self-protection afforded to American citizens by the Second Amendment should not be limited by the borders of the state in which you reside. This legislation would make certain that Kansans who lawfully carry a concealed weapon will have those rights extended to other states who share concealed carry laws. This legislation also would not establish national standards for concealed carry permitting; rather, it preserves states’ rights by providing mutual legal recognition for permits issued by states that allow concealed carry practices.
Honored to serve you in Washington
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Thank you to the many Kansans who have been calling and writing in to share their thoughts and opinions on the issues our state and country face. I appreciate the words of Kansans, whether in the form of a letter, a Facebook comment or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.