Claire McCaskill

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has promised to help get a contribution limit measure on next year's ballot. But other Democratic officials have promised such a move and haven't delivered.
Courtesy of Claire McCaskill's Flickr

You’ve planned the perfect vacation and painstakingly searched for the best on-line deal for a hotel room. After making your reservations you head out, confident that you’ve got a handle on your planned expenses, but once you arrive at your destination, you are confronted with a long list of “hotel fees” that weren’t disclosed on the website when you did your search.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says that’s a form of fraud. “To me that is deceptive, to me that is inappropriate and I believe that we need to take a look at this practice.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., speaks at a St. Louis Chamber luncheon.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she’s a strong supporter of a multi-year federal highway bill, and she’s willing to go along with House Speaker John Boehner’s call to mesh any long-term transportation package with a broader look at federal tax policy.

McCaskill told St. Louis business leaders Friday that such a measure could provide state officials with more flexibility to direct the federal money to needed transportation projects.

But that said, McCaskill is concerned that all that work could be for nothing if Missouri officials don’t figure out a way to come up with the state’s matching funds, which would be required to collect the federal money.

teacher in classroom
U.S. Department of Education

Both of Missouri’s U.S. senators like the idea of shifting more control over elementary and secondary education back to the states and away from the federal government. A Senate education bill being debated this week does just that, but the degree to which state and local officials may reclaim control over their schools will depend on a wide-range of amendments being offered and whether Republicans and Democrats are able to compromise on some divisive issues.

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

A group of about a dozen U.S. senators, including Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., are proposing to create a new agency to help local and state governments leverage private dollars for critical infrastructure projects. The bill is called the BRIDGE Act, which stands for Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has promised to help get a contribution limit measure on next year's ballot. But other Democratic officials have promised such a move and haven't delivered.
Courtesy of Claire McCaskill's Flickr

Last year the Consumer Protection Division of the Missouri attorney general’s office received 57,000 complaints about a wide variety of scams and fraud, ranging from illegal debt collecting practices to identity theft, according to Deputy Attorney General Joe Dandurand. 

“However, the No. 1 complaint of Missourians – by a significant margin – is about unwanted and illegal telemarketing calls,” Missouri's Deputy Attorney General Joe Dandurand told the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging today.

Attorney General Chris Koster parts ways with the Missouri Democratic Party on the issue of campaign donation limits. His position on the issue may make already difficult road to capping donations impossible if he becomes governor.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Sen. Rob Schaaf probably wouldn’t be classified as bleeding heart liberal.

Throughout his tenure in the Missouri General Assembly, the St. Joseph Republican took sometimes-provocative conservative positions in battles over Medicaid expansion and unemployment benefits. He's encountered rightward plaudits and gubernatorial jeers for his latest stance against a St. Louis stadium funding plan.

But Schaaf parts ways with his party on campaign donation limits.

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.

Flickr

In response to the unrest in Ferguson last year, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is unveiling a bill to impose more control and restrictions on the equipment and money that federal law-enforcement agencies provide to local police departments.

“The bottom line is, this equipment saves lives, but these programs need reform,” said McCaskill, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, in a conference call Thursday with reporters. “And that’s exactly what this bill would do.”

Sen. McCaskill's Flickr Page

Clearer skies might hang on the political horizon with the swearing in of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, but matters are not all clear just yet between Republicans and Democrats.

On Monday, Mo. Senator Claire McCaskill told St. Louis on the Air host, Don Marsh, that in order to achieve more heights, both parties must be willing to compromise. With a number of politicians from the Republican Party running for president, McCaskill says that matters of the here-and-now may become distracted. Those matters include a highway bill and the debt ceiling, among others.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Ordinarily, candidates for governor would go out of their way to publicize a major fundraising event that attracted 400 people.

But not so Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the state’s only major Democratic candidate for governor, who opted to quietly hold the $500-a-couple (and up) gathering this week at the Renaissance Grand hotel downtown.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill at a hearing at Washington University with more than a dozen experts in medicine and geriatrics 3/31/15
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

As U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill sees it, the Missouri General Assembly will be sharing more of the blame as the state’s medical professionals find it more difficult to provide the services and funding needed to care for Missouri’s growing elderly population.

Office of Sen. McCaskill

Almost half of working-aged Americans are at risk of having a lower standard of living in retirement than they now enjoy, according to a new study by the National Institute on Retirement Security.

“This retirement security crisis is very real,” said U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the ranking member on the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. “In Missouri, only 45 percent of private sector workers are participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, and that is not an anomaly.”

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

Ferguson may already be having an impact on how officials elsewhere respond to incidents involving racial tensions. 

That's the opinion of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that "the fact that lessons have been learned from what happened in Ferguson is a terrific legacy for this event that obviously ripped us apart in St. Louis.”

One lesson officials appear to have learned is the important of a quick, decisive response.

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

More than 400 people a day call the national sexual assault hotline, three quarters of whom are college age or younger.

Office of Sen. McCaskill

Missouri officials and businesses have been moving quickly to enter the Cuban market ever since President Barack Obama’s announcement in December of plans to drop the more than 50-year-old trade embargo.

Office of Sen. McCaskill

Just back from a trip to Cuba, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says ending the embargo would be a win-win for both sides.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Just hours before the Senate confirmed Ashton Carter as defense secretary on a vote of 93 to 5, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., issued a brief statement saying he would oppose both Carter’s and attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s confirmation.

“After careful review, I’ve decided to vote against President Obama’s nominees for both the departments of defense and justice. Unfortunately, I believe both of these nominees will simply continue to uphold President Obama’s flawed agenda at these important agencies.”

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

With the Feb. 27 deadline looming to fund the Department of Homeland Security -- and a weeklong congressional recess approaching -- an end to the impasse over deportation policy seems as elusive as ever.

House Republicans already have passed a nearly $4o billion budget for Homeland Security, but it included controversial provisions to cut funding necessary to implement President Barack Obama’s executive order halting deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants. Senate Democrats have refused to pass a funding bill as long as it contains those provisions.

Roy Temple
Official photo

As expected, leaders of the Missouri Democratic State Committee have re-elected Roy Temple as state party chairman, despite the party’s poor showing last fall.

Temple faced no major opposition during Saturday’s vote, held at the Truman Hotel in Jefferson City. He is close to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and state Attorney General Chris Koster, who had supported his initial ascension to the top party post in 2013.

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green was re-elected as the state party’s vice chairman.

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

Even though they’re in the minority, Senate Democrats are flexing their muscles -- and stopping, at least for now, the new Republican majority's $39.7 billion budget for the Department of Homeland Security.

At issue? President Barack Obama’s executive order halting deportations for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. The Republicans want to cut funding for the executive order; the Democrats don't.

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.”

Rex Sinquefield
From Sinquefield website

During 2014, wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield cemented his place as Missouri’s top political donor — by far — by distributing close to $10 million to candidates and political groups.

DON"T USE TOO SMALL Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has ended months of speculation by declaring that she’s definitely not running for governor in 2016 and is endorsing Missouri Attorney Chris Koster instead.

“I have an amazing job. I am challenged every day,” McCaskill said in an interview Monday with host Steve Kraske on KCUR-FM, the public-radio station in Kansas City.

“I love the work, and so at the end of the day, you’ve got to decide. ‘Is the job that you’re thinking about going for, is it a better job than the one you have? And can you do more?’ ”

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

With Republicans moving quickly to show Americans the GOP can be both productive and bipartisan in leading Congress, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Wednesday that if Republicans go too far in amending the Keystone XL pipeline bill, she might be forced to abandon her support for the measure.

While McCaskill differs with President Barack Obama and many in her party in backing the pipeline, she said that she would look closely at amendments Republicans might add to the pipeline bill. 

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.

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

Missouri’s U.S. senators – Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill – hold starkly different views on the release of the congressional report into the CIA’s actions in the detention and torture of some prisoners in the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Rex Sinquefield
Courtesy of Rex Sinquefield's website

(Updated 2:50 p.m. Tues., Dec . 9)

Wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield appears to have made his choice for Missouri’s next lieutenant governor:  Bev Randles, chairman of the Missouri Club for Growth.

Sinquefield is backing up his support with a $1 million check into Randles’ newly created exploratory committee, set up Monday. Randles says she will spend months talking to fellow Republicans to decide whether she has adequate support for a 2016 campaign.

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.

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