U.S. Senator Jerry Moran spoke on agriculture, veterans and the Supreme Court nomination in the town hall at the Dodge City Rotary Club meeting on Monday.
"I need your help on issues related to veterans," Moran said to the group of Rotarians and nearly 20 guests. "We should always meet our responsibilities to our veterans. Those who serve our country are worthy of our respect. The promises that were made to them ought to be kept. It is clear to me that many (veterans) are slipping through the cracks."
His main concern was problems with the Department of Veteran Affairs.
"The VA is overwhelmed," he said. "The VA lacks leadership. The VA is huge and bureaucratic. It is evidence that big government organizations don't work well. We need a strong leader to help solve the problems that exist at the VA."
He explained the recently passed law that allows veterans living more than 40 miles away from a VA hospital to get service at local hospitals.
"The VA doesn't like this law," he said. "They have testified that veterans don't like this law and don't want local services. Common sense tells me that is not true. In addition, local doctors and hospitals can't get their bills paid when they do treat veterans.
"My request is if you know veterans that need help in navigating through this mess, please let us know because we will go to bat for them in helping them get the service they are entitled to at home or close to home. We will also help the hospital and others get the bill paid when they get lost in the bureaucracy of the VA."
He added he is trying to get the VA to cooperate with mental health providers as well.
Audience member Courtney Rankin asked why the TSA won't hire private screening agencies since they are no longer willing to screen passengers at rural airports like Dodge City.
"That's the conversation I had with the TSA director and we are working in that direction," he replied.
Rankin also asked about Moran's view of the President's Supreme Court nomination.
"I think we have the responsibility to have a hearing, to have the conversation and to make a determination on the merit," Moran said. "I can't imagine this president is going to nominate someone I find acceptable. I have a restricted view of what judges are supposed to do."
He explained the job of Supreme Court justices are to only interpret the consititution and the law as passed by Congress, not make the law.
"I think I have the responsibility to consider a nominee presented by a president and make a determination whether he or she is qualified," he said. "I'm willing to participate in the process. I don't think that will happen. The decision has been made."
Ford County Commissioner Shawn Tasset asked how to implement oversight on federal government regulatory agencies whose actions are costing local communities money.
"One of the reasons I asked to be placed on the appropriations committee, is it's the place that if we get our act together we can reign in the craziness," he said. "One of the problems is for four years we never passed a budget. We passed a budget a year ago and we're working on one for this year. What's supposed to happen is once that's in place we pass 12 appropriations that fill in the budget.
"In the absence of a budget, congress passes continuing resolutions keeping funding the same year after year. If you don't do appropriation bills, why would any agency head pay any attention to a member of Congress? Congress has given up the power of the purse. The key to oversight is a Congress that does it's job and determines how much money they get."
During his presentation, Moran also said he would support rural America, farmers/ranchers, crop insurance and restoring the country's fiscal condition.