Ann Wagner

The Missouri delegation may be housed in Akron, but it has a clear view of the stage.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Missouri Republicans are increasingly optimistic that presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump could offer a boon, not a bust, for the GOP’s entire statewide ticket in November.

“The worst poll I’ve seen has him eight points up in Missouri,’’ said U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, as she mingled Monday with Missouri delegates. “The best poll has him up 12.”

That’s among the reasons Wagner dismisses the last-minute effort by some anti-Trump delegates — mainly in other states — who are seeking a rules change to allow them to vote for somebody else.

U.S. Reps. Ann Wagner and Lacy Clay on Wednesday continued to press for the Environmental Protection Agency to transfer jurisdiction of the West Lake Superfund site in Bridgeton to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Residents and area activists, dissatisfied with the Environmental Protection Agency's handling of the site, have been waiting for Congress to pass a bill to put the nuclear waste in more capable hands. Despite how easily the bill passed the U.S. Senate, it is at a standstill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Wagner, R-Ballwin, and Clay, D-University City, sponsored the proposed legislation that would put responsibility for removing the World War II-era waste under the Corps' cleanup program, known as FUSRAP.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Prompted by a Democratic filibuster, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote next week on proposals to expand the nation’s background checks for gun purchases, and to bar some people on no-fly lists from purchasing guns.

But the proposals are expected to highlight a sharp divide over what Congress should do, if anything, in the wake of last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando that killed at least 49 people in a gay nightclub.

Chance Bedell and Stephanie Weidner hand out stickers to attendees before the start of an ice cream social at Lincoln Days.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When it comes to any issue, from abortion to tax cuts, Missouri’s four major Republican candidates for governor admit there’s little daylight between them.

All support gun rights and pledge to put in place a “right to work” law restricting union rights. All oppose abortion and promise to block any settlement of Syrian refugees in Missouri.

Their only key disagreement — laid out at this weekend’s Lincoln Days festivities -- is which is the strongest Republican to take on the likely Democratic nominee, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin
Official photo

It might be hard to imagine that less than a month ago, House Republicans were in turmoil; sharply divided over their future and what they were looking for in a new leader. They were so divided that there were serious questions as to whether any one person could bring all of their internal factions together.

All that animosity and anger seems to be a distant memory, at least from the outside looking in, and based on conversations with several House Republicans.

In "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Jimmy Stewart, right, portrays a senator who tries to use the filibuster for good. Now the threat of a filibuster is enough to stop votes.
Columbia Pictures | Wikipedia

In January, Republicans celebrated taking control of both gavels on Capitol Hill and promised to advance legislation important to their conservative base. After months of thwarted efforts and leadership compromises with Democrats to fund the government, the House majority is in disarray and Senate Republicans are considering a change in a longstanding rule that empowers the minority — a key function of the Senate as envisioned by the framers of the U.S. Constitution.

Advocate and author Christine McDonald, right, listens to Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner's testimony during a public hearing in St. Louis about human trafficking.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

About three dozen minors in the St. Louis region have been rescued from sex trafficking so far this year, and a nationwide sting last week recovered 149 children, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But during a public hearing in St. Louis, local agencies who help victims said they’re strapped for resources.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin
Official photo

The House Republican Conference is scheduled to select its candidate for speaker Thursday to replace John Boehner, who’s leaving Congress at the end of the month. The rifts in the Republican Party that led to Boehner's departure are reflected in the thinking of House Republicans from Missouri and Illinois.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin
Official photo

St. Louis area congresswoman Ann Wagner acknowledges that she’s not always “politically correct.”

But Wagner, R-Ballwin, says that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has taken that term to an all-new level with his harsh jabs at  critics and reporters. And she suggests that he dial it back.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin
Official photo

Two committees of the Republican-led House of Representatives will look into whether a clip of video shows an official with Planned Parenthood discussing the sale of human organs from aborted fetuses.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, is one of several lawmakers asking both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee to investigate allegations made by an anti-abortion group.

St. Louis Regional Chamber | File photo

For the first time in 13 years, Congress has passed new regulations on human sex trafficking. On May 29, The Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act of 2015 (JVTA) was signed by President Obama.

The bill is comprised of a number of specifications, which include:

For Loretto Wagner, the effort to end abortion was more than a cause. It was her life.

Wagner, one of the major figures in Missouri’s early anti-abortion movement, died late Wednesday at the age of 81.

She was the mother of Ray Wagner, an executive at Enterprise Holdings, and the mother-in-law of U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin.

Rep. Bill Otto, D-Maryland Heights, has been elected to two terms in the Missouri House.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Bill Otto, a Democrat from Maryland Heights, has announced that he’s prepared to challenge U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner for Congress in 2016.

Wagner, R-Ballwin, is former head of the Missouri Republican Party and already has begun moving up the congressional House leadership. But Otto contended in Tuesday’s announcement that she’s also among the “elitists’’ who are ignoring the average voters in favor of powerful special interests.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, wears a bracelet made to raise awareness of human sex trafficking.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

WASHINGTON - The House Tuesday gave overwhelming approval to an anti-human trafficking bill, containing provisions sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. The measure won final approval on a vote of 420 to 3.

The U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
(via Flickr/Wally Gobetz)

After a two-week Easter recess, legislators are back in Washington, D.C.

“There’s a lot of trying to paint the other guy as the bad guy. There’s a lot of posturing,” St. Louis Public Radio’s Washington, D.C. reporter Jim Howard told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

Even while several candidates have announced they’re running for president in 2015, Howard said that it’s not a distraction; rather it is the main event.

A bill co-sponsored by two local legislators is now stalled.

Mo. Secretary of State's office

The fight against sex trafficking is being waged in Jefferson City -- and Washington, D.C. Closer to home, the Missouri legislature is considering bills to allow victims of human trafficking to shield their home addresses from the public. And, in the nation's capital, the U.S. House passed several bills targeting human trafficking.

Missouri legislation to help human trafficking survivors

St. Louis had a large contingent at the March for Life in D.C.
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

The Missouri General Assembly may be taking a break from handling major anti-abortion legislation, but that’s not necessarily true in Washington – and that could have an impact on Missouri’s 2018 contest for the U.S. Senate.

The drama in the U.S. House centered on its decision to drop plans to vote Thursday on an abortion ban after 20 weeks, as thousands of abortion opponents participated in the annual March for Life to mark the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing most abortions.

Wikipedia

(Updated 1:30 p.m., Wed., Jan. 20 with remarks from U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.)

President Barack Obama ended his State of the Union address with a sweeping call for "better," less divisive politics, but the reaction to the speech fell along the usual partisan lines.

What fellow Democrats such as U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-University City, called “a smart, energetic agenda,’’  Republicans like U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, labeled “the same old, tired, Washington-based ideas.”

Wikipedia

From naming local post offices for fallen service members to changing the president’s signature health-care law, area lawmakers are beginning the 114th Congress ready to introduce a wide array of legislative proposals.

Every session of Congress sees far more bills introduced than could ever be considered, and most legislative proposals last only about as long as it takes a lawmaker to issue a news release announcing the bill’s introduction.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Were area members of Congress to sum up this session in a single word, that word would most likely be “Growler.”  The funding for 15 of Boeing’s high-tech E/A 18G Growlers, which are built in St. Louis, is included in the $1.1 trillion government funding package approved by the Senate over the weekend.

Support for the Growler is the one thing most frequently mentioned by Missouri lawmakers.  That bipartisan support helped secure nearly $1.5 billion to keep the Growler going through the end of 2017.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaking Monday at a news conference before the grand jury announcement on Monday, Nov 25, 2014
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

Within minutes after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that the grand jury did not recommend that Darren Wilson face indictment for the shooting death of Michael Brown, reactions from area politicians came quickly. 

Before and after the grand jury’s decision was made public, area officials made clear Monday night that they understood the stakes.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., joined a handful of other centrists-Democrats in voting against Nevada Sen. Harry Reid to be the caucus’ minority leader for the 114th Congress beginning in January. McCaskill said she made her decision in the wake of last week's election, which she said showed that Missouri voters want change.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Actions often speak louder than words.

The region’s two major candidates for St. Louis County executive – Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream – play down any talk that their campaigns target women voters.

Both say they’re seeking support from any and all voters, regardless of gender, age, race or other demographics.

Wikipedia

Missouri voters will make decisions this fall on who will fill all eight of the state’s congressional districts.

But as it stands, there’s little debate over who likely will win.

All eight of the state’s incumbents in the U.S. House are in seats that – thanks to the 2011 redistricting – heavily favor one party or the other. As a result, none of them faces well-funded challengers this fall.

Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

Following a delay that tested the ability of a new team of House Republican whips, lawmakers approved on Friday night a $694 million border security plan and a separate bill aimed at curbing President Barack Obama’s ability to expand deferrals of young immigrants by executive action.

While Republicans worked into the night to pass the legislation before adjourning until September, neither bill is expected to be passed by the Senate, which had already adjourned Thursday night.

Jim Howard/St. Louis Public Radio

Imagine two schoolboys scrambling to their feet after tussling in the dirt, both trying to convince a teacher that their fight wasn’t all that bad, and each vouching for the other that they really do get along just fine. That image may give you an idea of how hard-fought negotiations over a compromise bill to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, turned into the kind of jovial news conference conducted Monday by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The federal government puts St. Louis in the top 20 jurisdictions for human trafficking.

That ranking, as well as a host of other sobering facts about human trafficking came to light during a summit Monday morning in Edwardsville hosted by Republican Congressmen John Shimkus and Rodney Davis of Illinois.

Attendees also learned:

Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

This week, the Politically Speaking podcast  brings prominent GOP consultant Jeff Roe to the show. He joins St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jo Mannies, Chris McDaniel and Jason Rosenbaum.

Based in Kansas City, Roe is among the top Republican consultants in the Midwest – and is headed toward a national reputation.  Only in his early 40s, he operates the fourth-largest GOP direct-mail firm in the country. He's expected to land at least one Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

(via Wikimedia Commons/ United States Department of State)

The two Republican members of Congress who represent the St. Louis area – Ann Wagner and Blaine Luetkemeyer – are calling for the resignation of  U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Their declarations come as several of the nation’s VA facilities, including Cochran Medical Center in St. Louis, have been accused of improper or delayed care to military veterans.

Wagner, R-Ballwin, said that Shinseki – in office since 2009 -- had “failed to provide timely services and care for our veterans.  Secretary Shinseki has failed to fulfill his mission at the VA.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio
Medill DC | Flickr

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner will be the special guest – and the chief beneficiary – at a fundraising event in St. Louis this evening at the Ladue home of wealthy businessman Dave Spence and his wife, Suzie Spence.

The gathering – billed as a “roundtable and reception” -- is co-hosted by all six of Missouri’s Republican members of Congress, including Ann Wagner of Ballwin. Most are expected to attend.

Tickets range from $1,000 a person to $25,000 for host-committee couples for the event, slated for early this evening.

Pages