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Rural Kansas will benefit from more trade talks, WOTUS ruling, CNA legislation
Rep. Ron Estes’ Monthly Column
Ken Estes official portrait.jpg
Congressman Ron Estes (R-KS)

Each month I want to provide you with regular updates about what’s going on in our nation’s capital and throughout the 4th District of Kansas. Here’s what has happened in September.


Kansans regularly tell me that the most important federal issues are trade, health care and immigration. However, recent actions by the Democratic majority have made impeachment the top story online, in print and on TV.

The impeachment inquiry recently announced by Speaker Pelosi is really nothing more than an attempt to appease the extreme left in her party. House committee chairs like Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) have prioritized investigations of the President over more important matters that actually affect the lives of everyday Kansans for nearly two years.

Even before seeing the telephone transcript or whistleblower report, Speaker Pelosi decided to surrender to the most radical voices in her party by formalizing an impeachment inquiry.

Now that the transcript and whistleblower report are out, it’s clear that Democrats are grasping at whatever they can to justify moving forward with impeachment. Some Members have already tried to bring forth articles of impeachment earlier this year – and failed.

Kansans should know that I’m committed to the truth and transparency. I disapprove seeking foreign help in an election, but the content of the transcript and report does not rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors as outlined in the Constitution.

Instead of impeachment, Congress should be focused on the things that matter most to Americans.

CNA Legislation

Preserving rural health care is critical to ensuring vibrant communities throughout our state.

One way to do that is to support programs that recruit and train medical professionals in rural areas. That’s why I was proud to introduce bipartisan legislation that addresses a critical shortage of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). H.R. 4468, the Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act, will allow nursing homes that have been forced to suspend in-house CNA education programs after receiving a certain level of penalties to resume those programs once quality standards are met.

In-house CNA education at nursing homes is often free to the CNA candidate, allowing students to avoid the burden of paying for an education program at a local community college or school which may or may not exist in their geographic area. This helps meet the need for CNAs while allowing nursing homes to build their own pipelines of skilled nursing staff.

Ensuring these CNA programs are allowed to continue once requirements are met is good for the CNA participants, patients, and the areas they are serving.

Japanese Trade Deal

In August at the G7 Summit, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to a bilateral trade agreement in principle. Recently, the President further outlined a U.S. - Japan Trade Agreement that is great news for Kansas farmers and ranchers.

With this deal, Japan has agreed to eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7 billion worth of U.S. food and agriculture imports including beef, grain sorghum and wheat. In addition, the deal will eliminate or reduce tariffs on industrial imports and set new standards on digital trade.

While I look forward to further negotiations and a comprehensive agreement with Japan, President Trump has once again followed through on his promise to improve America’s trade deals and support our farmers, ranchers and workers.

WOTUS Victory

In September, the EPA and U.S. Army finalized a repeal of the Obama administration’s controversial “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule.

While this rule was intended to set guidelines for navigable waters, in practice it expanded the federal government’s ability to regulate and control excessive amounts of private property, including puddles, ponds and areas where water flows only when it rains.

This overreach particularly impacted the ability of those in the agriculture sector to run their operations. Repealing WOTUS is a victory for Kansas farmers and ranchers and one more example of how the Trump administration is cutting overreaching regulations to limit the scope of government and unleash our economy.

Taiwan Letters of Intent

A delegation from Taiwan recently signed three letters of intent to purchase more than $3.6 billion worth of American soybean, wheat, corn and beef. It was an honor to participate in the signing ceremony at the 2019 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission in Washington, D.C., and thank them on behalf of Kansas farmers and ranchers.

 As Kansas is one of the largest producers in America of grains, corn and beef, the announcement is great news for our state and country. According to the Goodwill Mission, in 2018, Taiwan ranked as the fifth-largest market for U.S. corn and wheat, the sixth-largest market for U.S. beef and the seventh-largest market for U.S. soybeans. Overall, Taiwan imported U.S. farm products worth nearly $4.3 billion, making it the eighth-largest overseas market for U.S. agriculture exports.

The letters of intent state Taiwan plans to purchase $1.1 billion worth of U.S. corn, $1 billion worth of U.S. soybean, $600 million worth of U.S. wheat and $960 million worth of U.S. beef over the next two years.

529 Legislation

I believe 529 savings accounts are vital to helping more families and students use their hard-earned money to pursue education and skills needed for a job.

That’s why I was proud to co-author the American Workforce Empowerment Act – legislation that will expand 529 accounts to help cover costs of registered apprenticeships and postsecondary education leading to a credential. While our economy grows at historic rates, apprenticeships and postsecondary education are critical to help fill open jobs.

I look forward to working with my colleagues on this bipartisan solution to help get people to work and grow our economy.

Connect with Me

Interested in receiving regular updates about what’s going on in Congress? Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter at and please don’t hesitate to reach out to my District Office in Wichita at 316-262-8992 if you have questions, concerns or need help with a federal agency.

Ron Estes is a 5th generation Kansan and represents Kansas’ 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means.