On Thursday, President Barack Obama signed the House and Senate veterans’ reform legislation into law.
This law overhauls and corrects some of the systemic shortcomings of our veterans’ health care delivery and the widespread problems at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. For too long our service men and women have suffered due to the agency’s lack of accountability and lack of leadership.
These reforms will immediately give relief to veterans who have been waiting an inordinate amount of time to see a physician, by allowing them to seek non-VA treatment.
In addition, it will give the VA the authority to immediately fire or demote Senior Executive Service employees for poor performance or misconduct. I believe this provision will shore-up some of the leadership and accountability problems that have been reported at VA facilities around the country.
The men and women who have served and continue to devote their lives to the defense of our nation deserve the highest quality of care we have to offer and these reforms are a good first step to ensure our promise.  
Legislation to give employers clarity
I recently introduced bipartisan legislation with my colleagues Congressman Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., and Jim Costa, D-Calif., that will clarify the employer mandate’s seasonal worker exemption provision within the president’s health care law.
Employers who depend on seasonal help deserve some clarity regarding their responsibility to comply with the Employer Mandate. H.R. 5213 will give employers a clear-cut definition that will allow them to hire seasonal employees without fear of being penalized because of confusing rules. My commitment is and always will be to ensure small businesses are not negatively impacted by laws, and this is a continuation of efforts to create an environment for them to grow, create jobs, and foster a healthy economy.
Audiology Patient Choice Act
I recently introduced H.R. 5304, a bipartisan piece of legislation to align Medicare with best practices in audiologic health care delivery.
Seniors should have the right to choose their audiologist, just like the rest of us. The Audiology Patient Choice Act will not only allow seniors to choose their own doctor, but it will widen the field of providers to choose from by addressing some of the doctor shortages we face in our country. I am proud to champion this legislation with Congressman Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., to ensure our parents and grandparents have the highest quality and safe audiologic care available.
Tornado recovery efforts in Baxter Springs
I recently went to Baxter Springs with State Senator Jake LaTurner to meet Mayor Randy Trease and see the progress of the recovery efforts after the devastating tornado touched down in April.
Baxter Springs is resilient and is a great example of how when Kansan's are dealt a blow, their character shines through, answers the call, and refuses to be beaten. I want to thank everyone who took time out of their day to share personal experiences with me, especially concerns over the federal government’s response to the disaster in the weeks following the tragedy.