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McCaskill on secret holds, St. Louis hosting the DNC and spending cap legislation

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill at a press conference in St. Louis on Jan. 18, 2011. McCaskill spoke on a variety of topics including secret holds, St. Louis' chances to host the 2012 DNC and spending caps. (Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio)

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill touched on several topics today during a press conference. We have a breakdown of her comments for you:

On St. Louis’ chance of securing the 2012 Democratic National Convention…

        "It's a matter of, do they kind of want to think outside the box and go someplace where no one has ever gone before for a political convention. That's the lure of Charlotte."

  • A decision could come this month. St. Louis last hosted a convention in 1916, when the Democrats nominated Woodrow Wilson, and was a finalist to host the 1988 GOP convention.

On proposing a spending cap…

  • McCaskill says she'd like to see both the U.S. House and Senate take serious steps toward reducing spending before she votes to increase the amount of money the country can borrow.
  • McCaskill is proposing a spending cap along with Republicans Jeff Sessions of Alabama and John Kyl of Arizona.
"As we look at the budgets that are going to be produced by the House, they said they are going to cut 100 billion dollars. If they can get some budget cuts done, if we can get a spending cap done, then I think the debt ceiling vote will not be as contentious as it looks like it might be right now."

  • McCaskill refused to say whether her spending cap would have to pass before she could vote to raise the ceiling. But she also says she will not allow the country to become a "deadbeat."
  • The vote may have to happen as soon as March.

On “secret holds”…

  • McCaskill says she's "fairly certain" her fellow Senators will vote soon to end the practice known as "secret holds,” and that she has no problem with a Senator delaying a piece of legislation or a nominee to get questions answered.
  • But she says current rules that allow Senators to do this anonymously lead to backroom deals.
"You certainly should not be able to shut down government in terms of nominees taking their place in the executive branch because there's something else you want from the executive branch that you want by saying I won't give you this nominee until you give me XYZ."

  • McCaskill's proposal would allow a Senator to anonymously hold Senate business for at least 24 hours. After that, whoever made the objection on the floor would have his or her name in the record.

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