Congress

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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.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A bipartisan group of senators is pressing forward with a reporter shield bill that includes new Justice Department guidelines for investigations that involve the media.

The guidelines announced Friday would make it harder for prosecutors to obtain journalists’ phone records without advance notice. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says the new bill will make it much more difficult for political appointees to stop reporters from doing their job.

Dr. Randy Jotte contends that his experience as an emergency room physician is just the type of "independent-thinking approach" needed in Congress.

Jotte, a Republican, says that's why he is jumping in to the already combative contest for the 2nd District congressional seat, which takes in parts of St. Louis and St. Charles counties. Two Republicans -- Ann Wagner, a former ambassador and state party chief, and St. Louis lawyer Ed Martin -- have been competing for months.

(via Flickr/League of Women Voters of California)

Dr. Randy Jotte contends that his experience as an emergency room physician is just the type of "independent-thinking approach" needed in Congress.

Jotte, a Republican, says that's why he is jumping in to the already combative contest for the 2nd District congressional seat, which takes in parts of St. Louis and St. Charles counties. Two Republicans -- Ann Wagner, a former ambassador and state party chief, and St. Louis lawyer Ed Martin -- have been competing for months.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated with comments from Costello's press conference and reaction from political figures.

A long-time political figure in the Metro East has announced he will not run for re-election.

(official photo via Missouri State Senate website)

A Republican state senator from suburban St. Louis has decided to remain in Jefferson City.

Jane Cunningham had been pondering entering an already-crowded GOP primary to fill the Congressional seat of Todd Akin, who wants to challenge Democrat Claire McCaskill in 2012.

But in a statement released today, Cunningham said she doesn't run for titles, and wants to hold a position where she can have the largest impact defending conservative values.

Mo. House Communications

A State House committee’s plan to redraw Missouri’s congressional districts is drawing fire from both urban and rural residents and from both political parties.

The state is losing a seat in Congress based on the latest U.S. Census figures.

(Wikimedia Commons/Online Guide to House Members and Senators)

Though he says a government shutdown would be "tragic," Missouri Democrat William Lacy Clay says he doesn't expect Republicans and Democrats to be able to reach an agreement on a budget for this year before a temporary spending plan expires next Friday.

The extension is the sixth since the federal budget expired in September 2010. And Clay says the U.S. House is in "total disarray," with Congressional Republicans choosing to advance policies simply to hurt the Obama administration.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says Congress needs to play by the same rules as everyone else.

Speaking at her St. Louis office on Sunday, the Democratic Senator unveiled a package of reforms she says will help bring transparency and accountability to Congress.

McCaskill proposed creating an independent watchdog office to oversee Senate operations and take complaints from the public.

As a progressive Democrat, I have a very different view of health-care reform than that of conservative Republicans. The dividing point is this: Do we, as a people, care enough about providing effective, affordable health care for everyone to put citizens' needs ahead of the financial interests of the health care industry?

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