Category Archives: Kansas delegation

Pompeo defends Koch brothers, criticizes Reid

reidharryRep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, defended Charles and David Koch after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (in photo), D-Nev., blasted the brothers for helping finance attack ads against Democrats that Reid said were misleading and dishonest. “It’s too bad that they’re trying to buy America, and it’s time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers who are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine,” Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday. Pompeo called Reid’s comments reprehensible. “This cannot be tolerated – not for these two great men or for any individual who disagrees with those in power,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Moran’s popularity stands out; Huckabee favored

huckabee,mikeThirty-seven percent of Kansas voters surveyed by Public Policy Polling approve of the job being done by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., compared with 26 percent who disapprove. That makes him more popular than Sen. Pat Roberts (29 percent approval), Gov. Sam Brownback (33 percent) or Secretary of State Kris Kobach (31 percent). And when asked about an array of potential GOP presidential nominees for 2016, the Kansans favored Mike Huckabee (20 percent; in photo), followed by Jeb Bush and Chris Christie (13 percent each), Ted Cruz (12 percent) and Rand Paul (11 percent); Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal drew less support. Democrat Hillary Clinton came out the loser in Kansas each time in hypothetical matchups against Bush, Christie, Huckabee and Paul.

Gruesome X-rays, jokes don’t just hurt Wolf politically

Wolf,MiltonMilton Wolf may not just be in political trouble because he posted online and joked about gruesome X-ray images. He may also be in professional trouble. Wolf, a Leawood radiologist who is challenging Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., in the GOP primary, said he posted the X-rays of gunshot fatalities and medical injuries to his Facebook page “several years ago.” After the Topeka Capital-Journal reported on the postings and Wolf’s jokes about the images, Wolf apologized, calling his actions a mistake. But even if voters forgive him, the medical community might not. “Absent any legitimate educational purpose or context, this is not ethical behavior,” said Jerry Slaughter, executive director of the Kansas Medical Society.

Wolf’s views gaining notice

Wolf,MiltonMother Jones introduced Leawood radiologist Milton Wolf to readers with this headline: “Obama’s Tea Party Cousin Who’s Running for Senate Compared President to Hitler,” also noting Wolf has the backing of the prominent Senate Conservatives Fund in his GOP primary challenge to Sen. Pat Roberts. The Washington Post conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin, who has bemoaned “wacky, unvetted candidates who emulate the faction of the GOP voters dislike the most,” reacted by saying it’s a good thing that “Roberts is likable and solidly conservative.” She concluded: “Kansas Republicans have a clear choice. Republicans around the country better hope they get it right, or they’ll be spending a lot of time running from Wolf.”

Roberts didn’t poll well, either

robertspat2Negative campaign ads by his GOP challenger and news reports on his residency status may be hurting Sen. Pat Roberts’ approval ratings. Only 29 percent of Kansans approve of Roberts’ job performance while 38 percent disapprove, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling. Also, 47 percent said that Roberts was focused on being a Washington, D.C., insider, while only 26 percent said he was focused on representing Kansas.

Snowden an ‘ordinary traitor,’ Pompeo said

snowden,edwardRep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, is not among those, including some in his own party, who consider National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden (in photo) to be a patriot. “He is just an ordinary traitor” who did “extraordinary damage” to our soldiers and sailors, Pompeo told The Eagle editorial board. Pompeo, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said that there are adequate safeguards in the NSA programs and that he has seen nothing that made him worry about Americans’ privacy. What was so damaging about the Snowden leak was that most of the information was about tactics, Pompeo said – and now the Russians know all of it.

Colyer: ‘Roberts was cool before conservative was cool’

robertsleftThe heat on Sen. Pat Roberts (in photo), R-Kan., over his voting residency has stirred rumors that he might retire in favor of a “stronger candidate – potentially Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer,” according to the Hill. Tea partier Milton Wolf has a radio ad referring to the three-term Roberts as “the senator from Virginia.” But Roberts is fighting back, including with his own radio ad mentioning Kansas 11 times. Colyer told the Hill that “Pat Roberts is running and he’s a great candidate” and disputed any suggestions of insufficient conservatism on Roberts’ part: “He was cool before conservative was cool.” Meanwhile, national radio commentator Jim Hightower weighed in on Roberts’ tea party challenge and hard right turn. “Roberts has put on his crazy pants, altered his beliefs, and is dancing like a fool with the ideologues,” Hightower said, noting he voted against the farm bill and the United Nations treaty to ban discrimination against people with disabilities. He concluded: “Come on, Pat, you’ve been in Congress for 34 years, you’re 77 years old, and you’re getting a gold-plated pension for the rest of your life. Is six more years in the Senate really worth selling out people with disabilities – not to mention selling out your own integrity?”

So they said

roberts3“The New York Times does not get to define what it means to be a Kansan.” – Sen. Pat Roberts (in photo), R-Kan., in a statement regarding a Times story about how he has made his voting residency the Dodge City home of two campaign donors

“Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach did not respond to repeated inquires about Roberts’ residency status.” – from a CNN Political Ticker story on a Milton Wolf ad challenging Roberts’ ties to Kansas

“He gave the president exactly what he wanted, which is exactly what the Republican Party said we did not want.” – Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, in the New York Times, on House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to vote on a clean debt-ceiling bill

“We urge our state’s leaders to put Kansans first and say ‘no’ to Medicaid expansion.” – Americans for Prosperity Kansas, in its legislative priorities

No viable GOP alternative to debt-ceiling bill

BudgetDeficitHouse Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is being blasted by some conservative groups for allowing a vote on a clean debt-ceiling bill. But House Republicans couldn’t agree among themselves on an alternative. And the last time Boehner deferred to the tea party crusaders on the budget, it resulted in the government-shutdown fiasco. “When you don’t have 218 votes, you have nothing,” Boehner said. All six of Kansas’ House and Senate members opposed raising the borrowing limit through March 2015. That wasn’t too surprising, though Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, was one of the few in House GOP leadership to vote against the bill.

Wolf making hay of Roberts’ residency, recliner

robertsleftU.S. Senate GOP candidate Milton Wolf wasted no time capitalizing on a New York Times article on how Sen. Pat Roberts (in photo), R-Kan., switched his residency to a house owned by campaign donors in Dodge City. Wolf has a campaign ad running on conservative radio stations saying that “Roberts has left us behind.” Wolf also takes a dig at Roberts’ joke that he has “full access to the recliner” in the house. “Let’s clean house and give Pat Roberts and all the other career politicians permanent access to their very own La-Z-Boy recliners,” Wolf says at the end of the ad. Roberts adviser Leroy Towns dismissed Wolf and the ad, telling CNN that Kansans know Roberts and his work for the state.

Pompeo: Obama directive hurts intelligence capabilities

spyingliberty1Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and former White House attorney David B. Rivkin Jr. argued in a Wall Street Journal commentary that President Obama’s recent intelligence directive “undermines our intelligence capabilities in service of a novel cause: foreign privacy interests.” They especially criticized Obama for extending the “same privacy protections to foreigners that now apply to data regarding ‘U.S. persons’” and called on Congress to “hold him accountable for a directive that will hobble our foreign-intelligence capabilities, even as the world spies on us and threats to Americans multiply.”

Kansas, Missouri on different pages on farm bill

KYLE DYCKFor the first time, all of Kansas’ representatives in the U.S. House voted against a farm bill, according to a New York Times analysis of votes going back to the 1950s. And of the entire congressional delegation, only Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., voted for the farm bill that President Obama signed Friday. “We were really disappointed that they didn’t vote with us,” said Steve Baccus, president of the Kansas Farm Bureau. A comparison of Kansas with neighboring Missouri is striking. Nine of Missouri’s 10 representatives and senators (including all seven Republicans) voted for the farm bill, and the 10th delegation member didn’t vote.

Kansas delegation is most conservative in House

rightturnonlyNational Journal’s 2013 vote ratings confirmed that Kansas has the most conservative delegation in the House, while ranking Sen. Pat Roberts as No. 8 among the 15 most conservative senators and Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran as No. 16. None of the Kansas Republicans made the list of 15 most conservative representatives, though, with Mike Pompeo ranked as 48th most conservative, Kevin Yoder as 66th, Lynn Jenkins as 94th and Tim Huelskamp as a surprising 164th. The magazine judged the 2013 Congress to be “more polarized than any Congress since National Journal began calculating its ratings in 1982.”

When Roberts questioned surgeon general nominee

robertsmugThere was a moment during Tuesday’s Senate confirmation hearing for President Obama’s surgeon general nominee, Vivek Murthy, when Sen. Pat Roberts (in photo), R-Kan., suggested to the Boston physician, “with measured pride,” as Slate’s David Weigel put it, that Dodge City has some great Indian-American doctors and he ought to visit. Roberts told Murthy: “I’m going to invite you, because we have a wonderful doctor from India. She’s in her mid-30s, and she’s highly respected by the community. And another doctor from India that did my carpal tunnel when I did a stupid thing. And so, I think you’d be right at home, and we would welcome you.” Some Republicans on the panel quizzed Murthy about his comments on social media regarding the National Rifle Association and Obamacare’s contraception coverage. But his confirmation seems assured, given the controversial change in Senate rules to allow a simple majority to override filibusters on some of Obama’s nominations.

Roberts likely to fight off Wolf

Wolf,MiltonWhile noting that “since 1946, just 5 percent of incumbent senators seeking re-election have lost in their party primary,” Sabato’s Crystal Ball (issued by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics) said last week that Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is likely to fend off tea party challenger Milton Wolf (in photo): “Let’s see if Wolf can raise the kind of money he needs to make a show of strength to outside conservative groups. The only polling we’ve seen comes with the obvious caveat that it was commissioned by the incumbent’s campaign, but the survey showed Roberts leading Wolf 69 to 15 percent among likely GOP primary voters. Also worth noting is that while some other conservative groups have endorsed Roberts, the Club for Growth – despite having little use for the incumbent Roberts – has not waded into this race yet.”

So they said

kobachcandid“I think that’s actually an extraordinarily high percentage.” – Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (in photo), telling a Senate panel that 72 percent of Kansans (52,000 people) who tried to register to vote last year met the proof-of-citizenship requirement and completed their registrations

“If we didn’t have the requirement it would be 100 percent.” – Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka

“Happy Kansas Day! Celebrating 153 years of not being Missouri.” – U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, in a Wednesday tweet

“Uhh, stay classy @RepLynnJenkins I’m sorry you feel the need to dis my state to celebrate yours! #stoptheborderwar” – Tweeted reply from a Kansas City, Mo., teacher

Huelskamp’s tweets embarrassing but not surprising

huelskamp,timIt was disappointing and embarrassing that Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, tweeted belittling comments while President Obama was delivering his State of the Union address Tuesday. It’s fine to oppose Obama and criticize what he said, but doing so during the speech was disrespectful of the presidency and the address. Sadly, such behavior is what Kansans have come to expect from Huelskamp. It’s also what Americans now expect from the House of Representatives. As Washburn University political science professor Bob Beatty noted, “Lately it’s not if a breach of decorum will occur, but when.”

Pompeo joining in ‘destination’ fundraising

pompeo,mikeRep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, was one of the lawmakers mentioned and pictured in a New York Times article on “destination fundraisers, where business interests blend with pleasure in exclusive vacation venues.” Pompeo was among the “special guests” at a “Winter Escape to Vail Weekend” early this month at the Four Seasons Resort, when the “suggested contribution” was $2,500 per political action committee and $1,500 per individual. “Neither the lawmakers nor the lobbyists attending the events want to talk about them, even though such trips are permitted under the law,” the Times reported, though Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., was quoted as saying of the Colorado gathering: “This was a good way to raise some funds.” A health care lobbyist who attended called it “a way to get some large chunks of a lawmaker’s time.” The fundraising trend is bipartisan: “It has become kind of the norm,” said Democratic lobbyist Vic Fazio, a former California congressman.

So they said

roberts3“In Kansas, we’re bootstrap people.” – Sen. Pat Roberts (in photo), R-Kan., at the Kansas Workforce Summit in Topeka

“You cannot make friends with our adversaries.” – Milton Wolf, Roberts’ tea party challenger, telling a Lawrence crowd that Republicans shouldn’t work with Democrats

“I have yet to see any United States citizen in the state of Kansas who is unable to register to vote because of our proof-of-citizenship requirement.” – Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, despite the more than 20,000 voter registrations on hold because of the law

“A rising tide floats all boats, but it appears ours is sinking.” – Rep. John Edmonds, R-Great Bend, on how Kansas’ economy could be contracting while the rest of the country’s is growing

“They won’t be playing so much ‘Candy Crush’ on their phones.” – Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, on how lawmakers might respond if committee hearings were viewable online

“I’m not going to make a motion. I don’t even understand motions anymore.” – Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton, amid an hour-long debate and multiple votes on a confusing drainage-related annexation proposal

Moran says GOP should share ideas for economic opportunity

morannewSen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., told the Wall Street Journal that Republicans should be eager to discuss GOP ideas to promote economic opportunity. “It’s very beneficial for us to talk about the things we are for, the things we care about, and most importantly how they impact the lives of people around the country,” Moran said. Although “there are legitimate philosophical and policy differences. . . we ought to do everything we can to avoid this being the political show that is trying to categorize Republicans and Democrats in ways that is only useful for partisanship,” he also said.

So they said

Robert Gates“People have no idea how much I detest this job.” – Wichita native Robert Gates (in photo), in an e-mail to a friend while serving as U.S. defense secretary

“Today I learned that football helmets are made out of soybeans while speaking to the Kansas Soybean Expo.” – Gov. Sam Brownback, tweeting on Wednesday

“Sometimes they’re mad at me, but we’ve always had a good conversation. Kansans disagree in a respectful way.” – Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., after a Salina town hall got testy on Thursday

“Liberal organizations endorse liberal candidate. Shocking.” – David Kensinger, a spokesman for the Brownback re-election campaign, about the endorsements of Democratic challenger Paul Davis by the Kansas Families for Education PAC and the Kansas National Education Association

“Because the state runs downhill from western Kansas to eastern Kansas, is the simplest answer.” – Josh Svaty, vice president at the Land Institute in Salina and former Kansas agriculture secretary, on why eastern Kansas residents should care about declining aquifer levels in western Kansas

“Thank you very much for your advice. We will take your opinion on these matters, consider them along with opinions from all other segments of the Kansas public and of interested parties, and we will make our decision, because the constitution tells us it is our decision as to how much to fund schools for in the next budget.” – Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, suggesting to KCUR Radio how the Legislature might answer a Kansas Supreme Court decision ordering a specific school funding increase

“I think that we should actually be boring all of you tremendously. That means that we’re doing our job.” – Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, also on KCUR, on whether it would be anti-climactic if the court instead directed lawmakers to do a new cost study

Moran says GOP needs to work on image

morannewSen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., recently told a gathering in Waterville in Marshall County that calls to his office are about evenly split between those who want him to find compromise and those urging him “not to budge one inch,” the Marysville Advocate reported. “I actually think both segments are right,” Moran said, suggesting there are “many things we can compromise on.” Moran also advocated that his party work on its public image. “It’s not just a matter of communication. Our policies have to be beneficial to all Americans. . . . We have to get rid of the image that we care about the wealthiest compared to the everyday person. Those things are very important if you want to see a future for the Republican Party.”

2014 will answer some pressing questions for state

questionmark“Will Kathleen Sebelius continue to run the Department of Health and Human Services?” asked the Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling, in one of his “14 questions for 2014.” There were other pressing questions specific to Kansas, including: “Have the Kansas tax cuts worked? Gov. Sam Brownback promised more jobs and more residents if the Legislature slashed tax rates. A year later, the results are mixed, to say the least. A year from now the verdict will be in – on the tax policy, and on Brownback.” “Will the Kansas Supreme Court provoke a showdown with the Legislature over school funding?” “Will Pat Roberts run out of conservatives to whom he can pander?” And, “Can Kansas Democrats still be considered a major political party? They have a candidate for governor but have struggled to find well-qualified candidates for other important races.”

Roberts applauds rule change on school lunches

schoollunchSen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture for allowing flexibility on maximum caloric limits for meats and grains in school lunches. “This has been a battle for common sense in the cafeteria,” Roberts said in a statement. “These guidelines were leaving students hungry throughout the school day and athletic events.” USDA loosened daily and weekly portion limits in 2012. The new rules make that change permanent. “In the end we were able to convince USDA to listen to reason,” Roberts said.

Is Roberts’ conservatism a ‘foxhole conversion’?

rightturnonlySen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was recently ranked as the fifth most conservative member of the Senate by Heritage Action for America. So how could some tea party groups consider him not conservative enough? The Madison Project, which is headed by former Kansas congressman Jim Ryun, attributed Roberts’ current ranking to an election-year foxhole conversion, the Washington Times reported. Roberts was ranked much lower on Heritage Action’s 2012 list, before he was facing a primary challenge for 2014. His 65 percent rating for 2012 was the lowest of the Kansas delegation. But other conservatives warn that tea party groups are undermining their credibility by trying to paint Roberts as some liberal.