Category Archives: Washington D.C.

Parkinson to be sworn in as governor at 7 p.m.

TOPEKA – Kansas will have a new governor by the time the sun sets tonight.

Shortly after the U.S. Senate confirmed former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, as Health and Human Services Secretary, she stepped down as governor and is on her way to Washington D.C., governor’ spokeswoman Beth Martino said in an email.

Gov. Mark Parkinson will be officially sworn in at 7 p.m., Chief Justice Bob Davis will administer the oath of office.

Lawmakers return to Topeka Wednesday to start a wrap up session where they are likely to try and override one of Sebelius’ final vetoes.

The bill would require doctors providing late-term abortions to provide more detailed justifications for the procedure on forms sent to Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The measure would also allow a woman or her immediate family to sue a physician providing late-term abortions in civil court if they think the procedure was illegal.

Conservatives were critical of Sebelius for her stance on abortion, including the most recent veto, and her ties to late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller of Wichita.

Senate confirms Sebelius as HHS secretary

The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services.

The vote, 65 to 31, came just before 6 p.m. in Washington D.C. after an all-day debate.

Both Kansas senators, Republicans Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, voted for Sebelius, a Democrat.

Last week, Brownback had said the governor’s veto of a bill aimed at tighetning regulations of late-term abortions made it harder to support her. Sebelius had vetoed similar bills in previous years.

The move means Kansas is likely to have a new governor when the Kansas Legislature returns Wednesday for a wrap-up session.

It’s hard to say if Sebelius could hand the reins of power over to Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson tonight or not – her office is keeping mum on its plans.

Peterjohn endorses Huelskamp for Congress

State Sen. Tim Huelskamp has picked up the endorsement of anti-tax activist and Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn.

Huelskamp, a Fowler Republican, is running for the 1st Congressional District hoping to replace U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, a Republican, who is running for the U.S. Senate that Sen. Sam Brownback is vacating. Brownback, a Republican, is running for governor.

Huleskamp is one of many Republicans hoping to replace Moran in Washington D.C. Other contenders include: Fort Hays State University education instructor Sue Boldra: Pratt businessman Tim Barker; and former Brownback chief of staff, Rob Wasinger.

Below is the release sent out by Huelskamp’s campaign announcing the endorsement.

“Kansas Anti-Tax Leader Notes Huelskamp Always Honored ‘Taxpayer Protection Pledge’

Conservative anti-tax Kansas crusader Karl Peterjohn today announced his endorsement of Republican Tim Huelskamp (KS-01) for Congress.

According to Peterjohn: “Some others in this race have bragged about being the first to sign the ‘no tax’ pledge. Well, I’m here to tell you that Tim Huelskamp signed American’s for Tax Reform’s ‘Taxpayer Protection Pledge’ thirteen years ago — and despite great pressure to break his pledge on several occasions – he has always honored his promise to Kansas taxpayers. I am proud to support his bid for Congress.”

Peterjohn has been the Executive Director of the influential Kansas Taxpayers Network since 1992 and was elected to the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners in 2008.

“Karl Peterjohn has worked tirelessly on behalf of Kansas taxpayers. I am honored to receive his endorsement,” said Huelskamp.

Last week, Huelskamp met with Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist and has again signed the pledge — this time as a candidate for U.S. Congress.

“We signed the ‘Taxpayer Protection Pledge’ thirteen years ago when I first ran for the state senate and have never gone back on our word. I’m looking forward to continuing that same tradition of integrity and fiscal leadership in the United States Congress,” said Huelskamp.”

NYT: Sebelius’s efforts to forge consensus on healthcare rarely succeed

sebeliusGov. Kathleen Sebelius has won praise from health insurance companies, consumer groups and even some Republican governors. But her history in Kansas has drawn a critical eye, according to a report in today’s New York Times.

“But on matters of health policy, which she will oversee if she is confirmed as President Obama’s secretary of health and human services, Ms. Sebelius’s efforts to forge bipartisan consensus have rarely succeeded. She recently observed that the greatest frustration of her six years in office had been her inability to persuade lawmakers to raise tobacco taxes for a modest expansion of government health coverage.” Read More »

Can you improve the federal budget? Here’s a game to test you

Are you with Obama or McCain? Are you pushing for alternative energy or increased drilling? Would you cut military spending or increase homeland security? How about ending No Child Left Behind?

Difficult questions. And they’re usually left up to politicians. But it’s up to you in Budget Hero, a new game on American Public Media’s web site.

(Warning: I killed 20 minutes playing with this — so it’s probably not a good game for those in a rush or for those with a boss looking over their shoulder.)

Kansas Republicans launch a new blog

ElephantKansas Republicans launched a new blog today called The Kansas Tunkline. And judging from the first few posts, Congressman Dennis Moore and Congresswoman Nancy Boyda aren’t going to like it. The most recent post after they announced the new blog ripped the Democratic superdelegates for not declaring who they’ll support in the presidential race. “Who will Boyda and Moore support—the most liberal Senator in the nation who claims half of their constituents are bitter? Or the woman who has voted to raise taxes 230 times?”

Of course, the Democrats have had their blog — Buffalo Blog — for about a year and a half. Their most recent post takes a shot at Congressman Todd Tiahrt for delaying debate on critical issues by asking for a re-vote on a resolution celebrating the role of mothers. “Tiahrt then joined 177 of his Republican friends and voted against their mothers, and ate up 28 minutes of their day in doing so.”

Nothing like more strong dialog in the Kansas political blogosphere.

Report: millions in earmarks for Kansas

u_s__capitol_building.jpgCall them pork. Call them business as usual. Whatever their name, congressional earmarks send hundreds of millions to Kansas to the delight of some and the dismay of others. That’s according to a report issued today by Taxpayers for Common Sense. On the delight side would be the military. Nearly all of Wichita’s earmarks went to the aviation industry, which builds things for the military. Among those was the biggest earmark — $8.3 million, which went to Hawker-Beechcraft for UC-12 replacement aircraft. (See press release.) But the cash also paid for redevelopment of the Dunbar Theater and sent money to Wichita’s school district for technology upgrades.

Sen. Sam Brownback, who stood a couple feet behind Sen. John McCain in an airplane hanger in Wichita last week as McCain lambasted the use of earmarks, leads the Kansas delegation with $87 million in special projects, according to the report. But even with that $87 million, Brownback is way down on the Senate earmark rankings in spot 82. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts helped secure $54 million in earmarks, the report shows.

In the House, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, is Kansas’ biggest earmark advocate with $66 million (he ranks 35th highest in the House, in part because he secured the UC-12 airplane replacement project). Rep. Nancy Boyda, a Kansas Democrat, logged $38 million in earmarks; Rep. Jerry Moran and Rep. Dennis Moore were nearly tied with $8 million a piece.