Archive for Thursday, June 1, 2006

Military call home bill just makes sense

June 1, 2006

Every once in a while, legislation is proposed in Congress that makes so much common sense you really wonder why it isn't already on the books.

A perfect example of this is the Call Home Act. This legislation would reduce the cost of calling home for military personnel stationed overseas. When stationed abroad, our men and women in uniform need to remain connected to their families. Calls home are critical for morale and enable the soldier, sailor, airman or marine to better concentrate and fulfill their mission, and better communication also benefits family at home.

This bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to evaluate and analyze the costs of calls to and from official duty stations, evaluate methods of reducing rates, including deployment of new technology such as Voice Over Internet Protocol or other Internet protocol technology and encourage phone companies to adopt flexible billing procedures and policies.

As a former Marine, I understand the importance of this legislation and will work with my colleagues in the Senate to pass it.

Another common sense proposal is the Tax Relief bill that the president just signed into law. This measure provides a one-year extension of alternative minimum tax, the so-called ATM relief, which ensures that more than 22 million middle-income U.S. taxpayers will not be subject to this complicated and unfair tax in 2006. It also extends for two years the reduced rates on capital gains and dividend income, which will benefit more than 200,000 Kansas taxpayers. The bill also extends increased expensing for small businesses to help them grow and expand and create jobs.

Because of this and other pro-growth tax policies that Congress has enacted in recent years, the economy has created nearly 5.3 million jobs. Unemployment is down to 4.7 percent nationally, and in Kansas, we have a 4.2 percent unemployment rate, well below the national average. Homeownership, home building, and household wealth have reached all-time highs.

This new law will help Kansas taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned dollars and invest and plan for their future. Tax relief benefitting small businesses will encourage job creation, business expansion and will help grow our Kansas economy. This is great news for our state.

If you would like to know more about issues before the Senate, please visit my Web site at

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(Pat Roberts is the state's senior senator in the U.S. Senate)

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