December Roberts Report

December 11, 2009
Health Care Reform

Health Care continues to be the top issue in the U.S. Senate. The current $2.5 trillion health care reform bill will result in higher premiums, tax increases and Medicare cuts to pay for more government. This bill cuts home health care, nursing homes, hospitals, Medicare, and taxes the middle class to pay for this government expansion that will still leave 24 million Americans uninsured.

Senator Roberts said, “I remain committed to responsible health care reform that improves access to affordable insurance and health care for all Americans. I want to protect the benefits of millions who would like to keep the coverage they have. However, this bill is irresponsible and funded on the backs of our seniors by slashing Medicare by a half-trillion dollars, raising taxes and expanding Medicaid. These cuts will hurt Medicare beneficiaries, our Kansas seniors who have worked their entire lives with the promise that this program would support them through their older age. This bill aims to control the government’s spending on health care by rationing your access to that care. I have already voted against this legislation and I will continue to oppose it at every opportunity.”

To view a recent Senate floor speech by Senator Roberts on health care reform, visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/SenPatRoberts#p/a/u/0/mzfDH9P4RKQ .

Plan for Afghanistan

After the President’s speech on his plan for Afghanistan, Senator Roberts remarked: “President Obama laid out his plan for success in Afghanistan, sending an additional 30,000 troops to the country and starting a withdrawal of our forces in 2011. I have long said that in order to finish the missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan, we must trust the advice of our commanders on the ground. I am especially confident in experienced leaders like General Petraeus and General Caldwell, who both recently served as the Commanding General at Fort Leavenworth. I have no doubt that General Petraeus is bringing his extensive experience to bear and that General Caldwell is working hard to ensure the Afghan forces will eventually be self sufficient, allowing our troops to come home.

“To be successful, Afghanistan needs to be able to govern and defend itself from terrorists within the country. The key question for the American people, our allies, the people of Afghanistan and especially our adversaries will be whether the President accepts responsibility for what has to be done and through his actions demonstrates that he is fully committed to the difficult task of bringing stability to the region. If this is the case, I support the President’s increase in troop levels. However, I remain concerned that artificial time lines for withdrawal will tie the hands of and further endanger our men and women in uniform while emboldening the Taliban and other terrorists. I hope this will not be the case.”

World War I Memorial in Kansas City

Senator Roberts recently sponsored legislation to designate the Liberty Memorial and Museum in Kansas City as the National World War I Memorial. Currently although more than four million Americans served in WWI, there is no national recognized memorial honoring their service. Senator Roberts said, “Liberty Memorial has been a fitting national tribute to World War I since 1921. As a former Marine, honoring our nation’s veterans, past and present, is of the utmost importance. WWI veterans and their families deserve a recognized national memorial, and our nation needs to be reminded of this Great War for generations to come. Liberty Memorial should be named the official national memorial for WWI.”

Following the 1918 armistice, the Liberty Memorial Association raised $2.5 million for a memorial for World War I to be built in Kansas City, MO. The site was dedicated in November 1921 with the ceremony attended by Allied Commanders. After three years of construction, the 217 foot tall memorial was dedicated in 1926 by President Calvin Coolidge before a crowd of 150,000 people. In 2004, the Liberty War Memorial Museum was dedicated the “National WWI Museum,” which is the only public museum dedicated to the history of the Great War. For more information, visit www.theworldwar.org .

New Website

To continue to better serve Kansans, Senator Roberts launched a new “home on the web.” Kansans can visit the updated site at: http://roberts.senate.gov and sign up for a monthly e-newsletter, the “Roberts Report.” To complement the new site, Roberts has started an official Facebook page and a YouTube branded site where floor speeches, interviews and other video can be found.

To find Senator Roberts on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SenPatRoberts and to watch videos of Senator Roberts on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/SenPatRoberts .

The new site will still focus on service to Kansas, facilitate greater communication with constituents, and still includes a link to email Senator Roberts. There is also direct access to legislation Senator Roberts champions, with detailed issue statements, bill status and voting records. For students, the website provides information on applying for a nomination to the country’s military academies as well as information on internships for college students in Senator Roberts’ Washington, DC office. Roberts said, “The site offers information on my activities on behalf of the state, on what to see and do when you visit our nation’s capitol and help with scheduling tours in Washington. If you visit D.C., I hope it will include a stop in my Washington office and a tour of the U.S. Capitol building.”

Homeland Security Visit to NBAF Site

Showing further commitment to NBAF, Senators Roberts and Brownback and Rep. Jenkins (R-KS) lauded the Department of Homeland Security’s Under Secretary for Science & Technology Dr. Tara O’Toole’s visit to Kansas in preparation for construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). Sec. O’Toole met with state leaders in Topeka and toured the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) in Manhattan with state officials and members of the Kansas Bioscience Authority. The NBAF, which will be built at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., will serve as the nation’s premier research center for combating threats to agriculture from naturally occurring diseases and agro-terrorism. DHS plans to break ground in 2010 and expects to be operational by 2015. For more information, visit www.nbafinkansas.org .

“Dr. O’Toole’s visit to Kansas demonstrates DHS’s commitment to building the NBAF and responding to the critical need for new animal vaccines and countermeasures. I am pleased Sec. O’Toole is in Kansas touring the BRI and that this vital project remains a high priority for the Administration. With the NBAF, the nation is bringing its capabilities in this area into the 21st century, and the result will be accelerated research to safeguard America’s dinner table,” Senator Roberts said.

Tanker

Amid reports that Northrop Grumman will not bid on the U.S. Air Force contract to replace the nation’s aging tanker fleet, Senator Roberts made the following statement:”I find it appalling that Northrop Grumman is using the threat of no competition to skew what has so far been an open and fair process to their advantage. This is nothing less than sole source blackmail, and it is unfair to the warfighter and to the American people. Northrop Grumman’s insistence on biased changes in the last competition lead directly to its cancellation and yet another delay in the procurement of a tanker. I hope the Department of Defense stands firm under this pressure and will not be coerced to provide something other than the best plane for our warfighter. Bottom line: we need a new tanker. We have been going back and forth on this for more than seven years and we’ve failed to update the tanker for our troops who are now flying missions in planes that were first delivered in the 1950′s. I hope the Department of Defense maintains their schedule so that this competition can finally move forward.”

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