D.C. visit a chance for Wichitans to talk business

A group of business leaders left Wichita on Tuesday morning for a two-day visit to Washington, D.C., where they will meet with the Kansas congressional delegation to talk about banking regulation, the new federal health care law and national debt.

Jason Watkins, director of government relations for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, said he, about four other chamber staff and a dozen business leaders are making the trip.

He said the chamber hopes to make the trip an annual event. It's been at least two years since the chamber's last organized visit to Washington.

"We think it's important that we connect our business leaders to our delegation in Washington, as well as to the staffers that work for the delegation," he said.

Watkins said the chamber group has scheduled time with every member of the Kansas delegation: Reps. Mike Pompeo, Tim Huelskamp, Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder; and Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran.

While "our members may have an issue or two they feel is relevant" to discuss, Watkins said the focus of their discussions will be about the federal deficit, the impact of the new federal health care law on businesses and the effect of the Dodd-Frank banking bill on local banks and their customers.

"Our business members need access to capital," Watkins said, adding that in some instances the banking law is "choking off access to capital."

Watkins said the group also will receive a briefing from officials at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.