It's been a busy few weeks in Washington and Kansas. I'm pleased to fill you in on what I've been working on and what it means for Kansans.
Congrats to KU
I'm pleased to congratulate the University of Kansas (KU) Cancer Center on its prestigious National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Center designation. This designation is such an important development for us because it means that many Kansans and their families who have faced frightening diagnoses -- and trying treatments -- will no longer have to seek cures in distant locations.
In the Senate, we've talked a lot about the need for job growth in the country. According to KU, since 2006 the NCI designation pursuit has created 1,123 jobs and had a regional economic impact of $453 million. We can only expect with this announcement that these numbers will grow.
I am personally gratified by this designation because it represents more than a decade of work with so many outstanding partners. It has truly been a team effort to achieve this important federal designation. I was pleased to help KU earn this designation by teaming up with Senator Sam Brownback, now our State's governor, to secure federal funds for the project back in 2009.
Our work does not end today. We'll always be focused on ensuring better treatment of cancer victims. A great thanks go to so many -- past and present. I am honored to have been there at the beginning, but in some ways, I believe, "you ain't seen nothing yet.' Congratulations to KU and to the entire state of Kansas.
You can click here to listen to me congratulate KU on the Senate floor.
Latest in Ag News
I am pleased to see the House of Representatives marked up their version of the Farm Bill this week. Their work to further eliminate waste and abuse in nutrition programs is a great step forward.
Also on the ag front -- this week U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced efforts to improve federal disaster assistance by cutting red tape and reducing delays for critical aid. This is welcome news, and I applaud his efforts at a time when Kansas and other states are suffering from ongoing severe drought. The bureaucracy and red tape which producers must navigate will be reduced so that they can receive expedited aid when they need it most.
The streamlined disaster designation process allowed the USDA to announce the designation of 66 Kansas counties as primary disaster areas for 2012 crop losses due to drought, along with 16 contiguous counties that also qualify. Kansans should contact their local FSA office for more information.
In other ag news, you may have heard that USDA has been encouraging increased participation in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, through Spanish Soap Operas. How's that for good use of your tax dollars? I sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack demanding a full account of the scope of these taxpayer funded promotional campaigns on the SNAP program. We'll be following this closely as we get the information from the USDA -- and will take the necessary action to protect taxpayers.
Honoring Montford Marines
Recently, it was an honor to attend a ceremony for the Montford Point Marines, the first African Americans to serve in the Corps, where they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. I was proud to help gather support for this award. In 1942, these brave men answered their country's call and joined and served in the Marine Corps despite segregation. Their sacrifice and service to our nation was especially selfless given the segregation and discrimination they faced. I can think of no better way to celebrate the service of the men and women of the Marines than by bestowing this long overdue honor. Semper Fi.
Supreme Court Rules on Health Care Reform
Just a few weeks ago, we received the long awaited Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. The Court ruled to uphold the law.
I'm deeply disappointed in its decision to keep Obamacare in place. This is the wrong decision for our country. After two years, we have seen the problems and pitfalls of this law and they fall squarely on the shoulders of patients and Kansas families. The Court has affirmed that Obamacare is a new, additional tax. Care will cost more, and access to quality care will be reduced. No wonder a majority of Americans oppose it.
It's now up to the Congress to repeal and replace this law with step by step, common-sense, cost-cutting solutions that work for Kansans and all Americans and that's what I will work to do in the Senate. There is no question this decision is a real setback for America and will make our work that much more important, and that much harder.
Now Accepting Fall Internship Applications
I bid farewell to five of my summer interns and welcomed five additional interns for the second summer term. Thanks to David McGruder from Kansas City, Kent Toland from Iola, Laura Schlapp from Wichita, Soni Hamza from Overland Park and David Smart of Leawood.
Internships can be an important path to starting a career in public service. I know firsthand because my service to Kansas began with an internship. The experiences provided to interns on Capitol Hill are endless and I encourage those who are interested in our federal government to apply to join me for a semester internship.
I am currently accepting applications for students interested in an internship on Capitol Hill for the upcoming fall semester. Those students who are interested can find the application listed on my website at Roberts.senate.gov or by clicking here.
The deadline is July 23, 2012. I look forward to more Kansas students joining my staff and I in Washington.
Check Senator Roberts' Website, YouTube and Facebook Sites for Updates
You can visit my YouTube site for more information on what's happening in Washington, D.C. and Kansas by visiting www.youtube.com/SenPatRoberts. It's a great place to find speeches and debates on the Senate floor, press conferences, interviews and Senate hearings. You can also stay updated on all these happenings on my Facebook and Twitter sites.
If you wish to contact me about an issue or want more information, please visit my website, roberts.senate.gov.