Welcome to "Kansas Common Sense." Thank you for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.
Despite a great deal of unfinished work, the Senate has adjourned for election season and will not return until Tuesday, November 13, following Veteran's Day. With the looming "fiscal cliff" of mandatory sequestration cuts and nearly $500 billion in tax increases set to strike the economy in January, it is woefully irresponsible for Congress to delay action until the so-called "lame duck" session following the November elections. This continued uncertainty generated by Washington only makes it harder for American businesses to hire new workers and families to plan for their future.
Before leaving town, the Senate held votes on a series of proposals Friday evening, including a six-month continuing resolution to fund the government through March 27, 2013. This legislation, H.J. Res 117, will maintain current spending levels as determined by the 2011 Budget Control Act, and punt the task of difficult budget decisions to the new Congress. I voted against this measure, as I believe the Senate should do its job by finishing our appropriations work in regular order, with the new fiscal year set to begin October 1. While the House of Representatives has passed six of 12 appropriations bills, we have yet to consider a single one on the Senate floor. Eighteen months ago Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid informed me that nothing would get done until after the elections, and it is awfully discouraging to see his words actually come to pass. This is not the kind of leadership Kansans expect or deserve from their elected officials in Washington.
Other bills considered by the Senate last week include S.J. Res 41, a resolution to reaffirm our interests in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability, and S. 5357, Senator Rand Paul's legislation to set restrictions on foreign aid. I supported the Iran Containment resolution, which passed 90-1, as well as Senator Paul's bill which failed to pass the Senate. Countries that receive help from American taxpayers must defend our interests. With our country facing such enormous fiscal challenges, we cannot afford spending taxpayer dollars on anything that is neither effective nor makes America safer.
Over the next six weeks, I will be traveling throughout our great state, listening to Kansans and getting feedback on how I can better serve you in Washington.