- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Members of Kansas’ congressional delegation hesitated Friday when asked during a summit whether the Islamic State group or Russia is more of a threat to the United States today.

After lengthy, awkward silence among the three Republicans, Rep. Tim Huelskamp said Fort Riley is on the front lines of the fight against the Islamic State so the group is first on his mind.

Rep. Mike Pompeo said none of them answered the question right away “because it is a bit of a parlor game.”

The summit was hosted by The Kansas Chamber and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Pompeo, a former Army officer and member of the House Intelligence Committee, cited additional threats from China, Syria and the reach of global terror into the U.S. He noted that FBI Director James Comey talked recently about investigations of radical Islamic extremism in every state, including Kansas.

“These are very real, they take leadership to respond to and we are 18 months from having a chance to get that leadership,” Pompeo said, referring to the 2016 election.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins also used the security threat question as an opportunity to attack the Obama administration.

“We are not going to pick and choose one or the other because the fact is we are under assault from so many fronts,” she said. “And I think that the frustration we all have is that it appears the administration is not taking this seriously as they need to - whether it is Russia or ISIS.”

Kansas’ fourth representative in Congress, Kevin Yoder, and Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts did not attend the summit. The entire Kansas delegation is made up of Republicans.

The three representatives who did attend briefly answered a wide range of questions, but broke little new ground:

- Huelskamp, a tea party favorite and one of the chamber’s most conservative members, railed against the federal government’s debt and said Congress will ultimately raise the debt ceiling. “No worries, there will not be a default … it is not going to happen,” Huelskamp said.

- Pompeo lauded the legislation approved by the House that would prohibit states from requiring labels on genetically modified foods, and expressed confidence the president would sign the bill if the Senate passes it.

- Jenkins, who sits on the House Committee on Ways and Means, said there’s a “really good chance” Congress will come together on a long-range transportation bill because there are, as she put it, “no good options” otherwise.

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