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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Representative discusses divided Congress

  • U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins said some news media don't paint an accurate picture of what happens in Washington, D.C.
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  • U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins said some news media don't paint an accurate picture of what happens in Washington, D.C.
    The Kansas congresswoman said the media perpetuate the myth that no one in Washington is trying to work together.
    Jenkins, who spoke Thursday at Fort Leavenworth, said cable news programs tend to feature the "nuttiest" representatives of Republicans and Democrats who scream at each other.
    "It's just really nonsense," she said.
    For fact-based information, Jenkins recommended shutting off television and subscribing to The Wall Street Journal.
    Jenkins' remarks were made to members of a Leadership Kansas class. The class includes people who hold leadership positions throughout the state of Kansas.The class was spending the day at Fort Leavenworth.
    The 2014 class includes Kirby Brown, deputy to the commanding general at Fort Leavenworth.
    The Leadership Kansas program is administered by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
    Jenkins said she is a past graduate of the Leadership Kansas program.
    While in Leavenworth, Jenkins also toured the U.S. Penitentiary.
    Jenkins, a Republican from Topeka, represents Kansas' 2nd Congressional District, which includes Leavenworth County. She is running for a fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
    In the Nov. 4 election, she will face Democrat Margie Wakefield and Libertarian Chris Clemmons.
    Jenkins told the Leadership Kansas class she is a member of a Problem Solvers caucus in Washington, D.C. The group is made up of Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate.
    "We have breakfast together twice a month," she said.
    Jenkins said members of the group spend time getting to know each other and finding common ground.
    With a divided government, nothing will happen unless people find common ground, she said.
    She said the group needs to grow.
    "We really need 535 members in the Problem Solvers caucus," she said.
    That's the number of members who serve in the House and Senate.
    Jenkins said there is a narrative that nothing happens in Washington, D.C., because of obstructionists in the U.S. House of Representatives.
    "The House, oddly enough, is functioning quite well," she said.
    She said the House has passed more than 350 bills that are awaiting action in the Senate.
    "I think that's surprising to people," she said.
    She said the problem is getting the Senate to act.
    During her presentation, Jenkins was asked about doing what's right for the country when it's unpopular with constituents.
    Jenkins said taking people where they don't want to go is the real test of leadership.
    The congresswoman said she likes to think voters put their trust in her to make the best decisions.
    Page 2 of 2 - Jenkins pointed to voting to increase the debt ceiling as one decision she's made that probably is not popular with voters.
    "No one thinks you ought to raise the debt ceiling until you fix the problem," she said.
    But, the congresswoman said she didn't want to experiment with crashing the economy.
    Jenkins said she chose the option of trying to keep the train on track while also trying to fix the problem.

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