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McCaskill speaks about bailout success, "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy

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St. Louis Public Radio
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U.S. Senator of Missouri Claire McCaskill

By Adam Allington, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill says the package of financial bailouts passed by Congress last year has been a landmark success.

The St. Louis Democrat traveled across Missouri Tuesday holding town hall forums with Veterans' groups.

The Senator fielded a number of questions about healthcare, bank bailouts and socialism. Whatever you want to call it, McCaskill says, propping up the banking and auto industries has been money well spent.

"So I guess, if that's socialism than I think we're guilty of it," said McCaskill. "But it's not socialism, it's responding to a crisis in a responsible way. And we are a long way from well yet, but we are so much better than we were in January of 2009."

She says the majority of that bailout money has already been paid back, with interest.

The Senator also expressed guarded criticism of Israel's deadly altercation with Palestinian aid vessels over the weekend.

McCaskill says she is confident that a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the President.

The House approved a Defense Authorization Bill including the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," last week. A similar bill was approved 16 to 12 in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

But some Senate officials quietly speculate that Democrats won't move quickly on an issue this divisive ahead of the August recess. McCaskill, however, feels repeal will not be dropped from the agenda.

"I don't think it will be a big delay in the Senate," said McCaskill. "It is included in the Defense authorization Bill and that bill we debated on the floor within the next few week. And so it would take 60 votes to get it out and there are not 60 votes to get it out. So, I am confident that the compromise language that was embraced in the Senate Armed Services Committee will go to the President's desk."

Regardless of what the Senate does, a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal would be delayed until the release of a Pentagon readiness study due in December.

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