Ernst Speaks at Kansas GOP Convention
February 1, 2015

Topeka Capital Journal:
Conservative first-term U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, who won election with an ad stating that growing up on a pig farm meant she would know how to “cut pork” in Washington, met several Kansans claiming similar backgrounds Saturday in Topeka.

Ernst, R-Iowa, was invited to Topeka by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., to speak during halftime of the Sunflower Showdown basketball watch party at the Kansas Republican Party’s State Convention at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

Moran, who introduced Ernst before her remarks, joked about the comments he heard while standing in the receiving line with Ernst.

“I have never heard or met so many Kansans who claim to have grown up, lived in or come from Iowa,” he said. “And I did not realize or have never noticed that in the Wheat State — perhaps the Livestock State — that almost everybody in this audience, at least the ones that came through the line, claim to have raised pigs.”

Ernst credited Moran and his work as chairman of the National GOP Senatorial Committee in winning her 2014 campaign. Now, with Moran facing re-election in 2016, she returned the favor with a show of partisan support.

Although a Republican majority now controls the U.S. Senate, Ernst said, the party is seeking more Republican candidates to boost efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and create tax reform, among other goals. Even so, she said, “there is a lot we can do with a Republican majority.”

“We can make the president take a second look at the legislation we are sending in his direction, and we need to do that,” Ernst said.

On Jan. 20, Ernst delivered the Republican address following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech. Multiple media outlets hailed an anecdote from her childhood as the most memorable part of her address: Ernst spoke of how as a child she had just one pair of shoes, so when it rained, her mother covered her shoes with plastic bread bags.

The moral?

“You don’t need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference,” Ernst said in the address. “You just need the freedom to dream big and a whole lot of hard work.”


Moran, Blunt to Lead Key Subcommittee on Senate Appropriations Panel
January 21, 2015

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran has been named the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and related agencies.
“Farmers and ranchers provide the food, fuel and fiber for our growing world and are the economic drivers of communities and local businesses across Kansas. Regardless of our job or where we live, agriculture matters to all of us. As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, I welcome the opportunity to focus on investing in policies that are vital to Kansas farmers and ranchers, such as agriculture research and extension and Farm Bill implementation,”Moran said in a statement.
Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt was also named a Subcommittee Chairman for the Appropriations Labor, Health & Human Service, Education panel.
“I’m pleased to lead this subcommittee, which oversees one-third of all non-defense discretionary spending in the federal government,” said Blunt. “Almost all of the president’s health care law is paid for by mandatory spending, and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of the Senate Finance Committee. However, this subcommittee will have a chance to directly address some of the most pressing issues brought forth by ObamaCare, including the administration’s proposed cuts to cancer screenings and immunization programs.”

Moran Says Wichita VA Med Center “Begging” & “Borrowing” to Avoid Shortages
July 23, 2014

(AP) – U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran says a veterans medical center in Wichita left its laboratories unstaffed for entire shifts and sometimes resorted to “begging, borrowing and manipulation” just to obtain vital surgical equipment.

Moran made the allegations in a letter sent last week to Sloan Gibson, the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affair. The Kansas Republican senator says the problems at the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center put veterans’ lives at risk and forced employees to work under conditions of fear and retribution.

Moran cited whistleblower complaints and 177 pages of internal documents, including meeting minutes, budgets and equipment request lists.

The VA medical center Wichita confirmed it had received the letter a day earlier but was still reviewing it Wednesday

3 Regional VA Facilities Named for “Further Review”
June 9, 2014

A nationwide investigation by the Veterans Administration has designated three facilities in Kansas and Missouri for “further review”.

The report cited the Veteran Hospitals in Wichita, Leavenworth and West Plains, Missouri.

The facility in Wichita has been criticized by Kansas Senator Jerry Moran for having an unauthorized waiting list of veterans waiting more than 90 days for treatment.

The VA released a report Monday saying more than 57,000 veterans have been waiting more than 90 days for their first appointments.

The report says another 64,000 never got appointments after enrolling and request to see a doctor.

Moran called the VA’s own report a “cursory investigation”.

“I have no doubt these numbers only scratch the surface of the problems plaguing veterans. While more than 3,772 VA staff were interviewed, I’d like to know how many veterans themselves — if any — were interviewed,” he said in a statement.

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says he is still waiting for answers from the VA hospital in St. Louis.

“This report is appalling – too many of our veterans in Missouri and across the nation have been denied adequate care for far too long,” Blunt said. “I contacted the VA St. Louis Health Care System for an explanation a month ago, and still haven’t received a response,” Blunt stated.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is joining five other GOP Governors who now want the Veterans Administration to give them authority review VA medical facilities in their states.

Brownback’s news release says that would allow the state to “partner with the Veterans Health Administration to ensure there is accountability and that changes are implemented.”

KC VA Says Waiting List Report ” Erroneous “
June 6, 2014

The Kansas City Veterans Medical Center says reports of a ‘secret wait list”, as the VA describes it, is ‘erroneous”.
Thursday Missouri Senator Roy Blunt said he had confirmed a waiting list of 90 days or more for 37 VA Kansas City patients.
Friday, in a statement, the Kansas City facility said some return appointments for vets were delayed ‘due to a serious clerical mistake.” The VA says all the patients involved had received treatment at the Medical Center in the past.
“This is no way reflects a list of Veterans being denied care due to a lack of capacity,” according to the statement.
Officials of the KC VA Medical Center talked about the situation Thursday in meetings with Kansas Senator Pat Roberts and Kansas City congressman, Emanuel Cleaver.
“We have all of those statistics. So I appreciate the candor we had in the meeting. And we’re going to continue to meet with them. And they know, everything they do now is going to be, frankly, in a glass house,” said Cleaver in an interview with KMBC TV.
Also Friday, Kansas Senator Jerry Moran asked for an investigation into the Midwest Region of the VA that covers Kansas City and Kansas. Moran is a Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
Moran sent a letter to VA administrators Friday. He is puzzled because the numbers stating how many veterans are on long waiting lists he received from the Dole Medical Center in Wichita and the VA Heartland Network (VISN 15)are different.
For example, Moran point to two letters he received on two days in late May.
The first one was from the VISN 15 Network Director William Patterson. It said on May 28 there were 108 Veterans waiting more 90 days for service.
The next day the Dole Center in Wichita wrote Moran a letter stating there were 96 Veterans on the list.
Moran wants to know why the numbers don’t match up.