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This Week in Congress


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Congress Must Support Private Sector to Create New Jobs

This week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nation's unemployment rate increased in August to 9.6 percent. Unemployment has now remained above nine percent for 16 consecutive months. This report is yet another reminder that the policies of this Administration and the Democratic-led Congress have failed to create new jobs and stimulate economic growth. Instead of passing another failed "stimulus" plan, Congress should lower the tax and regulatory burden on American businesses to spur job creation. If Congress fails to act, taxes will go up for all Americans on January 1st, many of whom run small businesses and employ American workers.

History shows that sustainable economic growth begins with the private sector, yet many Kansas business owners have told me that current policies have created an environment of uncertainty. Small business owners are reluctant to hire new workers or invest in their companies because they do not know which tax hike, regulation or mandate will come next from Washington. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, so we must empower them to begin hiring again, and that starts with ending the cloud of uncertainty. When Congress returns to Washington next week, our focus should be to spur growth in our economy by lowering the tax and regulatory burden.

End of U.S. Combat Operations in Iraq

This week, President Obama delivered remarks from the Oval Office to mark the end of combat operations in Iraq. In the face of significant challenges and calls for premature withdrawals, American troops stayed the course in Iraq. Today, Iraq is more stable and America is more secure because of their brave service. These accomplishments are a testament to the great sacrifice and the remarkable professionalism of our troops and military leadership. Kansans in particular have contributed greatly, from the deployment of thousands of Kansas National Guard members and Ft. Riley troops, to developing the counterinsurgency strategy at Ft. Leavenworth.

Ending U.S. combat operations in Iraq is a welcome milestone, but we must remember that our mission in Iraq will continue as we advise and assist the Iraqis in achieving lasting security and forming a stable government. I pledge my continued support for our men and women in uniform and will work to make sure our troops have the resources they need to complete the mission.

Court Should Uphold Arizona Immigration Law

In July, a U.S. District judge blocked implementation of important provisions of Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070. Following the ruling, the State of Arizona appealed the decision and the case will soon be heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This week, I signed two amicus curiae, or "friend of the court," briefs in defense of Arizona's immigration law. The briefs outline why the Arizona law is legal and should be allowed to be enforced.

For the past several weeks, Kansans have had an opportunity to cast their vote in a poll on my Web site about the Arizona immigration law. Eighty percent of Kansans who participated said they support the Arizona law.

Arizona is only trying to enforce our nation's immigration laws--something the federal government has failed to do. Lawsuits against states like Arizona do nothing to stop illegal immigration. Rather than spending money on a lawsuit, the Obama Administration should have used those resources to secure the border.

Visiting McConnell Air Force Base

Our state's military installations are critical for our nation's security. This week, I visited McConnell Air Force Base (AFB) in Wichita. McConnell AFB is home to the 22nd Air Refueling Wing and the 931st Air Refueling Group, which fly vital KC-135R air refueling and airlift missions to extend our military's reach globally. Also at McConnell, is the Kansas Air National Guard's 184th Intelligence Wing, whose service men and women provide critical intelligence to fight terrorism around the world.

During the visit, I toured McConnell's facilities and was briefed by 22nd Air Refueling Wing Commander Col. Jamie Crowhurst. We discussed a number of issues important to the base, including military construction needs and the placement of the next generation aerial refueling tankers at McConnell.

I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about McConnell Air Force Base, which is so important to the Wichita area and our nation. I also enjoyed meeting the outstanding airmen who serve our country. Special thanks to Col. Crowhurst, Vice Commander Col. Kevin Lamberth, Command Chief CMSgt. Mike Edwards, 184th Intelligence Wing Commander Col. JJ Hernandez, Col. Ron Langford, Col. Allan Day, Col. Pat Rose, Col. Russell Boester, Mr. Jim Wurzer, Lt. Col. Mike Moeding and Capt. Barb Mauk.

Attending Harper County Annual Farm Bureau Meeting

On Monday, I attended the Harper County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting at Chaparral High School in Anthony. As a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, I find it valuable to talk to farmers and ranchers across Kansas about issues concerning their livelihood. I will continue to work hard to represent Kansas producers so that the next generation of farmers have an opportunity to experience the way of life we enjoy. I appreciate the members extending great hospitality to me. Thank you to County President Sid Burkholder, County Coordinator Wanda Harnden and District Administrator Matt McCabe.

In the Office

Karyn Page of Wichita was in with the Kansas World Trade Center to discuss trade promotion activities being conducted by the Center. Jay Gibson and Doug Scott of Wichita were in with Hawker Beechcraft to update me on the ways that the Export-Import Bank of the United States could be beneficial to aviation companies. Jim and Firma Carrithers of Johnson and Lori Carrithers of Wichita were in to visit.

Several Kansans were in this week for a tour of the U.S. Capitol building, including Jerry and Annetta Donnelly of Wichita, John and Kristin Collier of Alta Vista and Jana Ewing and Richard Roets of Salina.

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It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Please let me know how I can be of assistance.

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