Claire McCaskill
1:52 pm
Wed October 19, 2011

McCaskill on failed China trade hub efforts, use of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

Missouri's Democratic Senator, Claire McCaskill, is expressing disappointment with the state legislature for failing to agree on a proposal for millions of dollars of tax credits to transform the St. Louis airport into a trade hub with the Chinese.

During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, McCaskill said most of the blame falls on Missouri Republicans. She says she hopes they can get their act together before January.

"This is real exports from Missouri manufacturers and importantly Missouri agriculture, " McCaskill said. "Everybody says well 'why do we want Chinese planes to land in St. Louis?' That's because they fill up and go back. That's because it creates economic activity that is vital."

At issue is whether the legislation should include 2018 expiration on a pair of current tax credits to aid construction of low-income housing and renovation of historic buildings. The Missouri Senate insists the programs must have an expiration date to save money in future state budgets. The House opposes expiration dates, saying they would make it too easy for a future senator to filibuster a bill reauthorizing the tax credits.

During the call McCaskill also said the use of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan has gone wild.

McCaskill and others have asked the Government Accountability Office to review how Executive Branch departments and agencies have addressed the findings and recommendations of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recommendations involve sustainability changes, controlling costs and reducing risks.

McCaskill says the Commission has found several systematic failures and oversight with government.

"I think it's maybe more important than the work of the commission in that now we have to make the commission matter, " McCaskill said. "We have to make sure the recommendations they have made get implemented."

A Wednesday hearing is expected to address why the departments may have failed to implement certain changes.