Kansas GOP candidate Adkins lauds blueprint for slashing budget, tackling social issues

U.S. Rep. Davids’ campaign blasts plan as ‘Adkins-Brownback agenda gone national’

By: - September 14, 2022 8:39 am
Kansas GOP congressional candidate Amanda Adkins, at right in photograph, is campaigning in the 3rd District and endorsed sweeping fiscal and social policy blueprint denounced by rival U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids' campaign. (Submitted)

Kansas GOP congressional candidate Amanda Adkins, at right in photograph, is campaigning in the 3rd District and endorsed sweeping fiscal and social policy blueprint denounced by rival U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids’ campaign. (Submitted)

TOPEKA — Republican congressional candidate Amanda Adkins embraced a U.S. House GOP group’s manifesto for balancing the federal budget that would slash trillions from Medicare, raise the full retirement age for Social Security and end Head Start for low-income preschoolers.

Other provisions of the plan would halt government efforts to lower prescription drug prices, make sweeping reductions to federal regulations, and forbid intrusion into businesses and schools of the type adopted in the COVID-19 pandemic. The package would hit agriculture by cutting federal spending on crop insurance, block new enrollment in the conservation reserve program and dissolve a longstanding urban-rural voting coalition by separating nutrition programs from agriculture programs in farm bills.

Another cut: The bipartisan international education and food program named for U.S. Sens. Bob Dole and George McGovern to reduce hunger and improve literacy, especially for girls.

Adkins, running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids in the revamped 3rd District, offered support for the 122-page “Blueprint to Save America” issued by the Republican Study Committee. She said she would join the fiscally and socially conservative caucus if elected in November. It includes about three-fourths of House GOP members, including Kansas U.S. Reps. Ron Estes, Jake LaTurner and Tracey Mann.

“I commit to reducing the deficit,” Adkins said in an interview with KCUR radio. “The Republican Study Committee has a plan to completely reduce the deficit within five years. I absolutely support that. I believe strongly that the federal government should be focusing and investing in areas that are enumerated in the Constitution as being a core responsibility of government.”

The latest edition of the House GOP study committee’s report promised to accomplish a balanced federal budget by lowering spending by $16.6 trillion. The plan also would cut taxes $3.9 trillion and make permanent individual tax provisions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Donald Trump.

The “Save America” portfolio would also limit abortion access, roll back climate change initiatives, lower barriers to carrying concealed guns, crack down on transgender rights and eliminate an agency protecting rights of workers.

Ellie Turner, a spokeswoman for Davids’ campaign, said parallels could be drawn from the document spelling out how a future GOP-led U.S. House would govern and the philosophy of governing advanced in Kansas when Sam Brownback was governor from 2011 to 2018. Adkins worked directly on Brownback campaigns, led the Kansas Republican Party and served as a Brownback appointee on the Kansas Children’s Cabinet.

“This is the Adkins-Brownback agenda gone national,” Turner said. “She wants to gut your hard-earned Medicare and Social Security benefits, enact a federal abortion ban without exceptions and revive corporate tax giveaways like those that left Kansas families, schools and infrastructure in the ditch.”

Adkins’ campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday on Democrats’ reaction to her endorsement of the GOP study committee’s comprehensive strategy. In August, Adkins did criticize Davids for voting in favor of the Inflation Reduction Act signed by President Joe Biden.

“Unfortunately, this bill doesn’t live up to its name or bring financial relief to Kansas families and businesses who are suffering,” Adkins said.

The campaign of U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a Democrat running for reelection against GOP nominee Amanda Adkins, said Adkins supported the U.S. House Republican Study Committee's policy blueprint that disenfranchised Kansans by overhauling Medicaid and Social Security while restricting abortion rights (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)
The campaign of U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, seeking reelection against GOP nominee Amanda Adkins, said Adkins supported policies that undermined Kansans by overhauling Medicare and Social Security as well as restricting abortion rights. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican and chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said Democrats’ critique of the study committee’s budget and policy agenda was misplaced. He said spending embraced by Biden and Democrats had fueled the run of high inflation.

“The federal government has spent more at a faster rate over the past two years than at any point in history,” Banks said.

Johanna Warshaw, of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, questioned Adkins’ support for the Republican Study Committee’s prescription for elevating the Social Security retirement age to at least 69 and creating new barriers to the eligibility age for Medicare benefits. It could compel more than 2 million Kansans to work longer for these benefits, Warshaw said.

“Kansans work long and hard to access their earned benefits, but that doesn’t seem to mean anything to Amanda Adkins,” she said.

Warshaw said the Republican plan featured 23 anti-abortion policies, including a federal ban on abortion at five to seven weeks of gestation. The list included Wichita Republican U.S. Rep. Estes’ bill banning abortion in instances of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Adkins and Davids have tangled on abortion politics at the same time Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected in August a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would deny women a right to abortion. That vote followed reversal by the U.S. Supreme Court of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that provided a national right to abortion.

Davids, in response to introduction Tuesday of a national 15-week abortion ban bill by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, said the South Carolina Republican affirmed “extreme politicians have been looking for an opportunity to strip away our right to choose through a total ban on abortion, and without Roe, they have one.”

“We should believe people when they show us who they are,” Davids said. “Amanda Adkins has shown time and again that she will not stand up against these extreme policies — in fact, the bans she has supported go even further.”

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.