Rep. Davids elected vice chair of New Democrat Coalition

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist. (File photo)

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., has been elected vice chair of the New Democrat Coalition.

The New Democrat Coalition, one of the largest Democratic caucuses in the House, represents 96 members of Congress who have set a goal of bridging the gap between parties, passing pro-economic growth, pro-innovation and fiscally responsible policies.

“A commitment to finding common ground and addressing everyday issues is how we got so much done this session, from the bipartisan infrastructure law to lowering health care costs to boosting domestic manufacturing. New Dems have been at the table and leading the charge on all of those efforts,” Rep. Davids said in a news release. “I’m honored to have the support of this pragmatic group of lawmakers, and I look forward to continuing that progress in the next session.”

It is her second term in the NDC, where she was vice chair of member services last year.

She worked with the NDC to pass the bipartisan infrastructure law and the major, bipartisan manufacturing law. The caucus has also addressed inflation, releasing an action plan that was praised as the “best plan yet” to lower costs for American families.

Adkins taps into anxiety of IRS audit surge, criticizes Kansas Democrats’ focus on abortion

Davids challenges Adkins’ position on abortion, link to Brownback

by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Shawnee — Republican congressional candidate Amanda Adkins argued staff increases at the Internal Revenue Service would trigger more audits of middle- and low-income Kansans rather than target extremely wealthy individuals or companies suspected of cheating on federal taxes.

Adkins, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids in the 3rd District, said during a news conference Monday potential voters attending her campaign events were rattled by allocation of $80 billion over the next decade to improve IRS customer service, upgrade computer systems and bolster enforcement.

“They view the action as the IRS is going to be out there to get all of us,” said Adkins, who claimed Kansans’ fears were justified. “The belief system of people in this district … is the federal government is coming after me. I’ve heard it over and over.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jane Yellen directed new funding to the IRS be used to raise audit rates for Americans making more than $400,000 per year, Bloomberg Tax reported. In addition, the treasury department said new IRS employees hired under the expansion program would concentrate on “high-income and corporate tax evaders.”

Adkins used her event to endorse the “Commitment to America” policy blueprint released by U.S. House Republicans. It outlined how a GOP-led House would approach the economy, public safety, government accountability and other issues.

Under the plan lauded by Adkins, one of the top priorities of GOP House leaders would be repeal of appropriations for more staff at the IRS.

Davids defeated Adkins by 10 percentage points in 2020, but the Legislature gerrymandered the 3rd District to eliminate half of Wyandotte County and add Miami, Franklin and Anderson counties to the district. The redrawn map retained vote-rich Johnson County, which rejected an abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution 174,900 votes to 79,800 votes in August.

The U.S. House is led by Democrats, who hold 221 seats to Republicans’ 212, with two vacancies. The balance of power could shift in the November election if Democrats lost a handful of seats.

Abortion ‘misread’

In response to a question, Adkins said she was opposed to a federal ban on abortion but would work to support legislation in Kansas or elsewhere to reduce abortion in the United States. The issue took on heightened importance in 2022 elections after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade to sever the national constitutional right to abortion.

“Everything changed with the Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe,” said Adkins, who put opposition to abortion at the forefront of her campaigns in 2020 and 2022. “I’ve said the federal government should not focus on a ban.”

In August, Kansas voters defeated by more than 172,000 votes an amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would nullify a Kansas Supreme Court opinion the document gave women the right to bodily autonomy and abortion.

Passage of the amendment could have opened a path to adoption of further state restrictions on the right to abortion, including a prohibition without exceptions for rape or incest.

Adkins expressed doubt abortion policy would be a significant issue in her Nov. 8 showdown with Davids.

“It is a misread on the part of the Democrats to think that this is the issue that is driving people,” Adkins said.

On the record

Ellie Turner, spokeswoman for Davids’ campaign for reelection, said Adkins was on record as endorsing a platform banning abortions without exception in the United States.

“That is wildly out of step with voters in the Kansas 3rd, who came out in record numbers to reject exactly that type of extremism in August — and who will do it again in November,” Turner said.

Davids released a television commercial on broadcast, cable and satellite TV emphasizing Adkins’ “100%” support for the state abortion amendment rejected by three-fifths of Kansas voters. The ad pointed to Adkins’ endorsement of a GOP conservative group’s policy agenda that included bills eliminating abortion rights on a national basis.

The commercial referenced a National Right to Life organization staff member’s view that a 10-year-old rape victim ought to be compelled to give birth. Adkins is endorsed by the organization’s state chapter, Kansans for Life.

Davids’ campaign also pushed back on the attempt by Adkins to distance herself from unpopular former Gov. Sam Brownback, who was governor from 2011 to 2018.

Adkins served as a campaign manager for Brownback, led the Kansas Republican Party and was appointed by Brownback to lead the Kansas Children’s Cabinet, but Adkins said she never earned a state government paycheck while serving the Brownback administration.

She said Democrats didn’t want to acknowledge her career at Cerner, a health information technology company.

“Amanda Adkins shaped, supported, and celebrated Sam Brownback’s disastrous policies for almost two decades, working at his side even when it meant Kansas kids suffered,” said Turner, Davids’ spokeswoman. “A record like that is not something you can brush off, especially when Kansans are still recovering from the harm Brownback and his allies did to our state.”

GOP objectives

In terms of the House GOP’s “Commitment to America,” Adkins said it was important to build more wall and surveillance towers on the border with Mexico to deter drug smugglers and human trafficking. She said the United States had to expand oil and gas production and renew interest in nuclear power, which she labeled the “cleanest form of energy.”

Kansans are most concerned about price inflation and the need to restrain “reckless” federal spending embraced by President Joe Biden, Adkins said.

In terms of education policy, Adkins said Congress ought to let states determine content of a parental bill of rights that would increase transparency about what and how children were taught.

“There’s no reason why that dialogue can’t happen within a trusted relationship between a parent and a teacher and it should happen,” Adkins said.

Kansas Reflector stories,, may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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New law to lower prescription drug costs will help Kansas residents

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., said allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs will help put money back in residents’ pockets.

Rep. Davids recently held a roundtable discussion on new provisions to lower the cost of prescription drugs in Kansas. Davids also joined Glenda DuBoise, state director of AARP Kansas for a virtual town hall to speak directly to Kansas seniors about these new cost-saving measures.

Americans pay two to three times what citizens of other countries pay for prescription drugs. Thanks to a new federal law, beginning next year several policies will go into effect to help Kansans afford their medications, including a cap on insulin prices for Medicare beneficiaries, rebates if pharmaceutical companies raise prices faster than inflation, and the first-ever out-of-pocket cap on seniors’ medication costs.

“There’s no reason Kansans should pay so much more for medicines than people in other countries, and we’re finally starting to change that,” Rep. Davids said. “Allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs has been a priority of mine since coming to Congress, and I am so glad we were finally able to get it done. These new provisions will put money back in Kansans’ pockets and reduce the stress of having to choose between life-saving medications and other necessary expenses.”

New, key provisions that will save Kansans’ money on prescription drugs include:

• Capping insulin copays at $35 per month for Medicare beneficiaries. An estimated 28,000 Kansas Medicare beneficiaries used insulin in 2020. Starting next year, their costs will be capped at $35 a month for life-saving insulin.

• Capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs at $2,000. Starting in 2024, Medicare prescription drug plans must offer improved financial protections and in 2025, a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap will take effect. Each year, that will benefit about 18,000 Kansas Medicare beneficiaries who would otherwise have out-of-pocket costs above the cap—and, for the first time, all 401,000 Kansans with Medicare Part D will have the peace of mind of knowing their pharmacy costs are capped.

• Allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for high-cost drugs. Approximately 5 to 7 million Americans on Medicare will likely see reduced costs on their most expensive medications thanks to Medicare negotiation. Additionally, billions of taxpayer dollars will be saved and put towards reducing the national debt.

• Addressing skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Starting next year, companies will be required to pay Medicare a rebate if they increase prices faster than inflation.

While these savings were included in the Davids-supported Inflation Reduction Act, comprehensive legislation to lower health care and energy costs and reduce the national debt by more than $300 billion, Rep. Davids has been working to lower health care costs since before her election. She led her colleagues on similar actions to lower the price of prescription drugs and co-sponsored legislation to do so. She also released a report on the high price of insulin in the Kansas Third and held a roundtable with local parents to discuss how the rising cost of insulin impacts their family after voting to cap insulin co-pays at $35 a month for all Americans.

  • Story from Rep. Davids’ office