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Blog: Internship Applications Due; Veterans Day; ObamaCare Rollout Update; District Visits

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Internship Application Deadline Nov. 15: The application deadline for Spring congressional internships in my Washington, Topeka, and Pittsburg offices is November 15. I encourage students interested in public policy to contact my office at 202-225-6601 or visit my website to learn how to apply.

Happy Veterans Day!

As you attend events and parades this Veterans Day weekend, I encourage each of you to remember why we are able to enjoy freedom in this country -- like being able to choose where we go to work, how we worship, and when we want to speak our minds. Our nation's devoted service men and women, and brave veterans have made countless sacrifices to protect American lives and liberties for hundreds of years.

When I speak with veterans, most do not talk of the foreign battlefield, but of the strength of the people they leave here at home: their families. I encourage you to not only thank a veteran, but their families and loved-ones who have fought the battle from their homes when their soldier is far away. These folks deserve our support as much as our gratitude, and I appreciate the organizations that offer assistance to our veterans when they return home including the Disabled Veterans of America (DAV), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), the Wounded Warrior Project, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, the Military Veteran Project (formerly the Jamie Jarboe Foundation), and the countless other veterans organizations.

We owe these American heroes an enormous debt: thank you for your service and dedication to this great nation.

ObamaCare Rollout and Enrollment Data Subpoena

This week the House Ways and Means Committee issued a subpoena to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide all enrollment data the agency has from the ObamaCare exchanges.

Each day, more and more Americans are finding out their health care plans have been canceled, and it is my committee's job to hold the administration accountable for the failed launch of the ObamaCare exchanges. Administration officials have given Congress some cherry-picked statistics, but they refuse to give us the full picture. The lack of openness and transparency from the administration is hindering our oversight role as we work to mitigate this crisis for hardworking Americans and their families.

The enrollment data was originally requested during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing with CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner on October 29, 2013. Tavenner said she did not have the enrollment information, although we have learned both she and Secretary Sebelius have been briefed on these numbers. Chairman Camp demanded CMS provide the documents by close of business Friday, November 8.

After nearly six weeks, the administration still has not solved the widespread problems with ObamaCare's rollout. In the weeks and months ahead, I am committed to focusing on ways to protect Americans from this broken health care law.

One of my efforts includes my bipartisan bill with Congressman John Barrow, the "Restoring Access to Medication Act," that repeals an ObamaCare rule preventing people from using their medical savings accounts to buy over-the-counter (OTC) medications. With nearly 50 million Americans using medical savings accounts to manage their rising health care costs, this bill will help put consumers back in the driver's seat, and mitigate the negative effects of the president's health care law. I was pleased when Senator Pat Roberts and Senator Mary Landrieu introduced a companion bill in the Senate this week.

District Work Period

On Monday, I visited Berry Plastics, one of Lawrence's largest private-sector employers, to meet the local Berry employees and learn about the company's impact on the local community. On Tuesday, I visited Capitol Concrete Products in Topeka to see how they make their masonry units and discuss how federal policy is affecting their business operations. As my committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, continues to pursue fundamental, pro-growth tax reform, it is important to see how the tax code is affecting Kansas businesses and job creation.

I also visited Benedictine College on Tuesday, and it was an honor to have the opportunity to discuss how our federal government operates with students from Professor Bill Raymond's American Government class. It is so important for young people to be engaged with what is going on in Washington, and I was delighted to spend time with the students discussing the various ways our federal government impacts their daily lives. Thanks to President Minnis, Professor Raymond, and his class for hosting me.

On Thursday, it was a pleasure to visit Dillon House and Jayhawk Theatre, the State Theatre of Kansas, and learn about how these two restoration projects are working to revitalize downtown Topeka and create more jobs. It is so important to preserve these historical sites for future generations and I am glad I had the opportunity to learn about the plans to renovate these buildings.


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