For Kansas, having the same Capitol Hill delegation must not mean more of the same. The Kansans in Congress need to join with President Obama to demonstrate leadership.
Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and his fellow House Republicans can take credit for having inspired and dominated the debate over the past two years about the size of the federal government and budget deficit. Now, the Kansas Republicans need to accompany House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in embracing strategic compromise. The way forward for the 113th Congress will start with whatever the lame-duck 112th does to avoid the year-ending fiscal cliff, when the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and across-the-board spending cuts are set to kick in. A long-term solution surely will take new revenue, and the president will need to get serious about entitlement reform.
Meanwhile, the GOP-led House should end its monotonous attempts to repeal the health reform law. With the American public and the U.S. Supreme Court having spoken, Congress should focus on ways to reduce the law’s burdensome impact on business while maximizing its benefits to providers and the uninsured.
While the memories of Mitt Romney’s demographic shellacking remain fresh, Republicans in Congress should seize the lead on crafting a comprehensive immigration reform. The right approach will fortify the border but also deal humanely and productively with the millions of undocumented individuals in the U.S. who are raising families and contributing to the economy and their communities.
Over Pompeo’s vocal objections, the other Kansans in the House should join Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran in seeking at least a one-year renewal through 2013 of the wind-energy production tax credit, which has helped Kansas be a wind leader. Following Roberts’ lead, they also should work for quick House approval of the version of the five-year farm bill that passed the Senate in June but has stalled, leaving drought-weary farmers in limbo.
And with so much focus on spending cuts, the delegation will need to be aggressive in advocating for funding for the planned National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. Moran’s recent move to Manhattan will make him NBAF’s chief advocate in Congress – a relief, given that redistricting newly put NBAF in the district represented by nay-saying Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler.
In the course of their work, the five men and one woman who represent Kansas on Capitol Hill also should find every opportunity to impress upon their colleagues and the president the importance of general aviation, not only to the state but to the nation and its economic recovery. The next time the president mentions “corporate jets,” it should be to tout them as crucial business tools and U.S. exports.
Kansas’ lawmakers in Congress return to work Tuesday with a lot to do, and a nation eager to see some bipartisanship and progress for a change.