Washington, DC — Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) announced today at the Quindaro Symposium in Kansas City, KS that he is introducing legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to designate the historic Quindaro Townsite as a National Historic Landmark. Quindaro is one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Third District of Kansas, and National Historic Landmark status will help elevate and preserve this townsite in a way that is consistent with its historical and cultural importance. Representative Yoder issued the following statement with the announcement:
“The town of Quindaro played a crucial role in the establishment of Kansas as a free state, and during the Bleeding Kansas conflict it served as a prominent example of how people from many different backgrounds can come together to make a difference. Unfortunately, the historic site of this town has never received the attention and preservation that it deserves. However, a small group of local stakeholders have worked hard to protect Quindaro and keep its stories alive. I am proud to join them in their efforts by introducing federal legislation to designate the Quindaro Townsite as a National Historic Landmark. This designation will be a huge step forward for the site and for the community around it. I am confident that the city, our state, and the country as a whole can learn from the stories of Quindaro, and National Historic Landmark status will help make that possible.”
The town of Quindaro was founded in 1857 as a safe haven for anti-slavery activists and an important stop on the Underground Railroad. Today, the site of the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. National Historic Landmark status is a much rarer and more prestigious designation, and it would foster more investment in and preservation of the Quindaro Townsite. Representative Yoder’s bill, the Quindaro Townsite National Historic Landmark Act, would make Quindaro the third National Historic Landmark in the Third District, in addition to the Shawnee Methodist Mission in Fairway and the Wyandotte National Burying Ground in Kansas City, KS.
Washington, DC – Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) announced today that he will host a bipartisan screening of the film Big Sonia at the US Capitol in recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 12th. Big Sonia is the story of Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski, 92, who lives in the Third District of Kansas and owns John’s Tailor Shop in Overland Park.
In addition to a limited release in movie theaters, community theaters, and film festivals across the United States, the makers of Big Sonia have been using the film for educational purposes in classrooms in Kansas and hope to show how schools in other congressional districts and communities might benefit from similar efforts.
“I've known Sonia for years as a friend and customer,” Representative Yoder said. “Now she is a local celebrity. Big Sonia is a wonderful tribute to her life and her story from Holocaust survivor to small business owner right here in Overland Park. It’s a story about survival, a true example of the American Dream, and a wonderful tribute to Sonia and her message of love. We must never forget and work every day to fight against forces of evil and hatred and that’s why I’m proud to bring Big Sonia to the US Capitol to share it with my colleagues in Congress.”
“The themes in Big Sonia have never been more relevant and timely, and we’re honored to show the film at the Capitol during the same week that Sonia was liberated from Bergen-Belsen more than 70 years ago,” filmmaker Leah Warshawski said. “Sonia and her three children are traveling to Washington, DC for this special screening and we hope that Members of Congress from both parties can attend and meet her in person.”
Alongside the film, there will be an opening prayer from Rabbi Andy Baker, Director of International Jewish Affairs at the American Jewish Committee, and a panel discussion moderated by Leawood native Jonathan Edelman, Curatorial Associate at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, on the legislative issues facing Holocaust survivors and the government services that are available to them.
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) will attend as a special guest, in addition to other bipartisan Members of Congress, their staff, and family members.
BIG SONIA SYNOPSIS:
In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski—great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor—runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than thirty years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to revisit her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, BIG SONIA also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all.
Washington, D.C. – Representative Kevin Yoder is now accepting entries from all interested Third Congressional District high school students for the 2018 Congressional Art Competition. Since 1982, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition every spring to recognize and encourage artistic talent across the nation. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition.
“I’m excited to announce that I am now accepting artwork from high school students across the Third District of Kansas for this year’s Congressional Art Competition,” Representative Yoder said. “This competition gives our students the opportunity to put their talent and hard work on display in the halls of Congress for guests from around the country and around the world to see. I look forward to seeing the incredible pieces of artwork that will be submitted this year by gifted young artists across the Third District.”
Artwork must be two-dimensional. Each framed artwork can be no larger than 26” x 26”, including the frame, and up to 4 inches deep. Accepted mediums for the two-dimensional artwork are as follows:
Students may enter more than one piece of art. Interested students should submit entries to Representative Yoder’s District Office located at 7325 W. 79th Street in Overland Park by 5:00 PM on Friday, April 13th. An Arts Advisory Committee made up of artists from around the district will then select the winning entry to be put on display at the U.S. Capitol.
For more information, please call Representative Yoder’s District Office at (913) 621-0832, or visit http://yoder.house.gov/2018-Congressional-Art-Competition.
Washington, D.C. – This morning, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) raised concerns about the Trump Administration’s recent policy announcements regarding tariff policy with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a hearing in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services.
The following is a transcript of Representative Yoder’s question and Secretary Mnuchin’s answer:
Representative Yoder: “I appreciate you bringing up trade because I’d like to ask you a little bit about the tariffs discussion happening and the recent policies the Administration has announced.
“In Kansas, many of my constituents – many of our businesses – rely on trade and exports. Over 400,000 jobs in Kansas are supported by trade – $17 billion in annual exports – to help boost our economy. Many of my constituents – many of our local businesses, many of our farmers – believe that tariffs and the potential trade wars that can result will inevitably create big challenges for Kansas workers and farmers.
“Tariffs on steel and aluminum will negatively impact Kansans who work in manufacturing. I’ve got a GM plant in my district with 2,200 people employed. Retaliation from our trade partners will also end up hurting Kansas farmers and ranchers who are already struggling as they try to export wheat, beef, and other agriculture products around the world.
“I’m concerned with everything that we’ve done to help our constituents with tax reform, that tariffs the President recently announced are going to undermine some of these recent gains. Do you share any of these concerns about the impact of these tariffs and do you believe these tariffs will make American businesses more competitive on the global market?
Secretary Mnuchin: ”First let me just say, I have participated, and we meet on a weekly basis on trade, on our economic team. These things are discussed very carefully and we are trying to balance different issues.
“The President is personally involved in these decisions. I think on the steel and aluminum tariffs we are trying to balance protecting these industries, which are very important, with making sure we don’t to undue harm to the economy.
“As the President just announced, Canada is a very significant partner that buys steel and sells steel. To the extent that we are successful in renegotiating NAFTA, those tariffs won’t apply to Mexico and Canada. We look forward to the president releasing those specific details and working with other people.
“We are not looking to get into trade wars. We are looking to make sure that US companies can compete fairly around the world.”
Washington, DC — Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) has returned $127,700 of his 2017 office budget to the United States Treasury, nearly 10 percent of his budget for the year. In total, Representative Yoder has returned nearly $400,000 to the Treasury since his first term in office. Yoder issued the following statement with the announcement:
“When it comes to being a good steward of taxpayer dollars, I’ve always believed it’s important that my office set an example. Kansans have to make tough decisions on how to spend their paychecks every month, and Congress needs to be doing the same. That’s why I’ve returned money to the treasury every single year I’ve been in office, and why I’ll keep fighting to save the taxpayer money in my own budgets and in my role on the Appropriations Committee.”
Yoder serves as the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch. Last year, he authored the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, which maintained spending levels on the House about 13 percent below where they were under then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2010. The bill passed the House 211-198 as a part of the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill in September.
Washington, DC — This evening, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) voted for a short-term funding bill to re-open the federal government and issued the following statement after the bill passed by a 266-150 vote:
“I was pleased to cast a vote moments ago to end this needless government shutdown and am relieved it has ended after only a few short days. This evening, the House voted on a short-term funding bill to keep the government open for the next three weeks as Congress continues to debate and finalize the funding levels for 2018. Its passage means members of our military will again get their paychecks and our veterans will have no doubts about getting the care they deserve. It also means the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, gets the six-year extension House Republicans have been fighting for months to secure.
“For some context, this bill is nearly identical in policy to the one that was filibustered and blocked by Senate Democrats at the end of last week. I’m thankful Democrats finally conceded and I look forward to working with Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to come up with immigration solutions as we should be – separate from essential funding bills. Nothing was accomplished by this shutdown, period.”
Washington, D.C. – This morning, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives to honor and remember the life of former Representative Larry Winn, Jr., who served Kansas’ Third District in Congress from 1967 to 1985.
Click here to watch Yoder's remarks.
The following are Yoder’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor and remember the life of a long time servant of this body, one of my predecessors, a former Kansas 3rd District Representative Larry Winn, Jr. Larry passed away New Year’s Eve at the remarkable age of 98, and he will be dearly missed by his family and the people of the 3rd District.
Larry will long be remembered in our community and in the halls of Congress as a devoted public servant. Representative Winn served in this body for eighteen years, from 1967 to 1985. His time in the House spanned across nine Congresses and five presidential administrations – from Lyndon B. Johnson to Ronald Reagan.
He served alongside some of the great statesmen of his time. Larry’s freshman class in the House included George H.W. Bush. Larry and his wife Joan became good friends with the Bushes; Joan and Barbara Bush were proud members of a club for Congressional spouses called the “66 Club.” Larry became close friends with and greatly respected President Gerald Ford, who once visited the 3rd District and drew a huge crowd in my hometown of Overland Park. Larry also represented our state along with one of the most prominent Kansans ever: Senator Bob Dole. Larry was known as a congenial Member, who worked to find consensus and developed strong relationships with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. While he spent his entire time in Congress in the minority party, he made a priority of seeking out opportunities and friends on both sides of the aisle.
Representative Winn served on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for many years, ultimately rising to the position of Ranking Member on the committee. During his time working on Foreign Affairs, the United States grappled with major world events, such as the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and conflict in the Middle East. In addition to his role on the Foreign Affairs Committee, he also represented the U.S. as a Congressional Representative to the United Nations, appointed by President Reagan. In all of these roles, he was an excellent representative of our country to the rest of the world.
Larry took pride in serving the people of the Third District. Constituent service was always one of his top priorities, and he believed that solving problems for his constituents was one of his most important responsibilities. If someone had an issue with a federal agency, Larry and his staff would make sure that it got resolved. This principle of valuing and serving each individual constituent in the district is one that I try to follow as a Representative.
He lived a great life outside of Congress as well. Larry was an alumnus of the University of Kansas school of Journalism, and a proud Jayhawk. I’ve even heard he taught life-long Wildcat Senator Pat Roberts how to Wave the Wheat. When WWII began, he was unable to join the military due to the loss of one of his legs in an accident. However, he still served his country admirably by building airplanes in Kansas City. Other accomplishments of his included serving as director of the National Association of Home Builders and the founding of the KCK Chamber’s Congressional Forum, which I have the privilege of regularly addressing as it is still going strong today, starting its 50th year.
Larry was a mentor to me and so many aspiring elected officials in Kansas, dispensing valuable advice and old war stories to help guide us along. He had a gift for humor, and an ease with people that served him well in all of his endeavors. Most of all his was a good man.
While we mourn the loss of Larry, I take comfort knowing that he is now being reunited with Joan, his beloved wife of 73 years who passed away in 2015. Larry also leaves behind a large and loving family. His legacy will live on through his four children: Larry Winn III, Douglas Winn, Janet Payne, and Cynthia Burr, plus eight grandchildren and sixteen grandchildren.
Larry’s legacy will live on in other public servants who he mentored and inspired. He left an indelible mark on this body, and because of his leadership here, Kansas and the United States is better off for it. Larry, on behalf of the United States Congress, we are thankful for your service to our country; you are in God’s hands now and may you rest in eternal peace.”
Washington, DC—On January 5th, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS), lead sponsor of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, sent a letter to President Trump urging his Administration to reject a proposal to deport H-1B holders awaiting permanent residency processing. Soon after, along with mounting pressure from business, technology, and government leaders, the Trump Administration has reportedly backed off from the counterproductive proposal.
The United States grants 85,000 H-1B visas every year to highly skilled applicants who are here legally, including roughly 70 percent for Indians, seeking employment and educational opportunities. According to the National Foundation for American Policy, more than half of privately-held companies worth $1 billion or more in the United States had at least one immigrant founder – with many having come to America on an H-1B visa, including the CEOs of both Microsoft and Google.
Yoder and Gabbard released the following statements today.
“I have seen personally how high-skilled immigrants have helped my community and so many others across the country by filling critical labor shortages in specific industries, preventing employers from fleeing overseas to fill them,” Representative Kevin Yoder said. “Plus, many of these immigrants hope to eventually start their own businesses and create new jobs here in the United States. These are the people who have helped America grow and thrive as a nation of immigrants and we need to make sure our system continues to value those who are following our laws and doing the right thing.”
“H-1B visa holders, many of whom become small business owners and job creators, drive innovation and help build and strengthen our U.S. economy,” Representative Tulsi Gabbard said. “The Trump Administration’s decision to back off this counterproductive proposal is a positive step forward. While it remains a priority to invest in training and create a pipeline of skilled American workers, we must continue to leverage the talent and expertise of the hundreds of thousands of H-1B visa holders to fill the gaps in our domestic workforce.”
“America has provided me and many hundreds of thousands of folks on H1-B an opportunity to further our careers after education,” Alok Madasani, an H1B visa holder and survivor of last year's shooting in Olathe, Kansas, said. “America also taught us that if you are determined and hardworking and follow the established process, there are opportunities for everyone. There are folks who moved here decades ago and have kids going to school here, the place they call home. Every process can be improved continuously for maximum output and current H-1B process can also be improved but eliminating it on a whole affects much larger audience. I’m grateful the administration has reconsidered these changes to H-1B extensions for folks with pending green card applications and I appreciate Representatives Yoder and Gabbard’s efforts to help us and our families continue staying together here in USA and continue contributing to the society.”
Representative Yoder is the lead sponsor of HR 392, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which would remove the existing per-country cap on employment-based green cards. Currently, citizens from any particular nation are capped at receiving seven percent of the 140,000 green cards the United States distributes annually to high-skilled immigrant workers. The cap has created a massive backlog affecting somewhere between 230,000 and 2 million Indian workers in the United States causing them to wait anywhere between half a century and their entire lifetime to receive a green card. The bill would remove the arbitrary cap and create a first-come, first-serve system where all immigrants are treated equally without regard to their country of origin. Representative Gabbard is one of 302 cosponsors of the bill, the most-cosponsored legislation in the 115th Congress.
The text of the letter is reproduced below.
January 5, 2018
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
We are writing to you today regarding alarming reports about proposed changes to the H-1B visa program that could result in the deportation of H-1B visa holders residing in the U.S. who are awaiting application determinations for permanent residency. We strongly believe this action would be harmful to the American economy, credibility, and relations with India and the Indian-American community. As members of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, we urge you not to deport H-1B holders awaiting permanent residency processing.
The H-1B visa program is not designed to replace American workers with foreign workers, it is designed to augment the American workforce in specific areas where demand is high and gaps in skill sets exist. These visa holders are frequently from the medical, education, architecture, or science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations, fields critical to American economic prosperity and security, where too often we have a shortage of qualified American applicants. H-1B visa holders are permitted to apply for permanent residency, but due to chronic application backlogs, their permanent residency status is frequently not determined until after their H-1B visas are set to expire. They must therefore rely on the granting of these extensions until their applications can be adjudicated. Removing this benefit will result in a tremendous loss of skilled labor that greatly benefits our economy.
Indian citizens have remained the top H-1B visa program recipients each year since the program began, and these visa holders and their host companies pay hundreds, and frequently thousands of dollars to the U.S. government to process visas. For the duration of their stay, they pay federal, state, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. Their desire for permanent residency only improves the skilled, tax-paying American workforce and attracts business to the U.S. These participants are working with the American immigration system, not against it. They, their families, and the companies they work for should not be punished.
The unemployment rate is at a new low, 4.1%, on a steady and healthy decline since 2010. This commendable low includes significant employment gains in the industries that are augmented by the H-1B visa program participants. If it is correct that you plan on removing the ability to grant extensions to current H-1B visa holders with pending permanent residency application processing, it is unclear the intent as the U.S. currently maintains a healthy unemployment level, and many H-1B visa holders have gone on to start their own small businesses, contributing to our economy as job creators. Furthermore, the changes we need to bridge the skill gaps we currently have will take many years, during which time we will likely still need to rely on a robust H-1B system.
India is the world's largest democracy, and Indian workers in the U.S. bring with them the spirit of hard work and democracy that is vital to our country. The Indian-American population has a long and decorated history of contributions to the fabric of our country. India is also an increasingly important trade and security partner, on the front lines in the fight against global terrorism.
We urge clarification on the reports that you are contemplating the removal of extensions for H-1B visa holders living in the U.S., who are awaiting permanent residency visa processing. We strongly oppose this action. It is not realistic to expect H-1B visa holders, who are well invested in the American economy, including real estate markets, to return to their home country to await an answer regarding their permanent residency status only to restart their livelihoods from scratch once more. The potential of losing these skilled workers poses a serious risk to the American economy. We look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.
Representative Kevin Yoder
Representative Tulsi Gabbard
Secretary of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
Secretary of Labor
Department of Labor
Secretary of State
Department of State
Overland Park, KS – This afternoon, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) issued the following statement on the death of former-Representative Larry Winn, who served Kansas’ Third District in Congress from 1967 to 1985:
“Larry Winn was a loyal Jayhawk and a statesman whose service to our country, to Kansas, and to our community left each a better place. For me, he was a mentor whom I admired and could always count on for advice and counsel on how to best represent the Third District in Congress, as he did proudly for 18 years. I will certainly miss him, but I take comfort knowing he has been reunited with his beloved wife Joan.”
Washington, DC – This afternoon, the House of Representatives voted to send the conference committee agreement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to the President’s desk by a vote of 227-203. Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) issued the following statement after voting in favor of the bill:
“Today, the House of Representatives passed generational reforms that will reduce the tax burden for hardworking families across America. This was a vote to give relief to the 75 percent of Americans currently living paycheck to paycheck who have been suffering from a stifling economic anxiety and little to no wage growth over the last eight years. Today’s vote was a vote for every family, every single mom, every entrepreneur, and every student fighting to climb up the economic ladder and achieve the American Dream.
“The typical middle class family will see a tax cut of $2,059 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. On top of that, the typical middle class family in Kansas will see an increase in after-tax income by $2,500 – meaning they’ll finally get that pay raise they’ve been hoping for the last decade.
“We do it primarily by making three vital changes to our tax code. We double the standard deduction, making the first $24,000 of a family’s income tax-free. We double the child tax credit to $2,000 and make it refundable, allowing low-income families to reduce their payroll tax burden. And we lower tax rates for all Americans.
“The facts show that relief is specifically targeted to middle and low-income Americans, fulfilling our promise to lower the tax burden for those who need it the most. Analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation shows that those making between $20,000 and $30,000 per year will see the largest percentage tax cut under our bill.
“In Congress, it’s a fight between those who demand higher taxes and more spending in Washington and those who want to return tax dollars to the hardworking Americans who earned them. Today, the Washington bureaucrats lost and the American people won.”
In addition to voting for the legislation, Representative Yoder led the fight to preserve several important provisions for working families:
***Editor’s Note: the House will vote on a technical fix to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act tomorrow due to a procedural point of order.
215 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Kevin is a 5th generation Kansan who grew up on a grain and livestock farm in rural Kansas near a town called Yoder. It was on the farm where Kevin learned the true value of hard work and where he saw first-hand the ingenuity and prairie spirit that makes Kansas such a special place.
Pell Grants are vital to students with financial need. Donnelly students also utilize the TRIO program assisting fi… https://t.co/aPP08m35Ut