Last week, I voted to proceed to S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, which would help address the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) financial troubles. Without reform, the USPS will start closing post offices on May 15 and will not be able to stay in business beyond September. The motion failed 51 to 46. With these deadlines quickly approaching, it is critical that Congress considers postal legislation this spring.
On Thursday, the Senate held a vote on whether to end debate and proceed to vote on S. 2204, the "Gas Tax" legislation which eliminates some tax subsidies for energy manufacturers. Requiring a 60-vote threshold, the motion was not agreed to by a vote of 51-47. Members on both sides of the aisle agree this bill would have had minimal positive effect on high gas prices, which continue to increase financial hardships on Kansas families and businesses.
Also on Thursday, the Senate confirmed former Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Tom Hoenig to the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Nominated by the President to this important position, Tom joins the FDIC at a critical time given the work load placed on the agency by Dodd-Frank and other burdensome legislation. Tom spent more than 40-years working with Kansas bankers and other leaders in our community. He knows our economy and how best for government to encourage its growth. In short, he knows Kansas and his commonsense approach should serve the nation well as the FDIC attempts to solve such complex issues as the future of community banks and the end of "too big to fail" institutions. I was pleased to be supportive of his nomination throughout the process and wish him well as he extends his public service.
Lastly, the Senate passed by unanimous consent a 90-day extension for highway funding this week. The legislation, H.R. 4281, is intended to give the House and Senate time to enact a long-term reauthorization for surface transportation programs, as the current authorization expired on March 31.