Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Helling Profiles Milton Wolfe in Politico
March 31, 2014

Politico:
OVERLAND PARK –In a small office in this Kansas City suburb, Milton Wolf–doctor, columnist, distant cousin of Barack Obama–tells two dozen supporters he would make a better U.S. senator than the incumbent, Pat Roberts.

“He’s our senator, and he deserves our respect,” he says, to polite applause. “I hope that we can convince the senator that this should be a campaign about issues, instead of about personal destruction.”

Then: “I’d ask you to stand up for our Constitution. And I would ask you to stand up for the American idea itself, that American idea of individual liberty, of limited government and free market values.

“If you’ll stand for those things, we’ll be standing together, and we’ll be fighting, and we will win.”

Heads nod all around. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Milton, what with those strange Facebook posts, but maybe his Tea Party crusade is getting back on track. Maybe the lamestream media is moving on. Maybe the government can still be saved.

Or, maybe not. It’s possible Kansas is too conservative for Milton Wolf. Too conservative, in fact, for the Tea Party.

***

Kansas seemed primed for a Tea Party insurgency six months ago, when Wolf, who turns 43 on April 8, announced a primary challenge to Roberts, a fixture of the state’s Republican politics since Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural.

By almost any measure, the state was, and is, deeply red, perhaps the most conservative place in America. Every statewide elected official is a Republican, led by Gov. Sam Brownback, a tax-slashing social conservative and one-time presidential candidate. Secretary of State Kris Kobach is nationally known for his work to restrict immigration and voter registration. Koch Industries is headquartered in Wichita. All four of the state’s House members regularly top the lists of the most conservative Republicans in Congress. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, of the sprawling 1st District, fought with his House leadership over spending and the debt limitso publicly he was kicked off the Agriculture Committee – bothering some constituents, but making him a hero to the Sean Hannity crowd.
More: politico.com

3 Impeachment Articles Against Nixon in House Committee
March 31, 2014

(AP) – Three articles of impeachment against Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon are now in a state House committee.

Republican lawmakers have raised several complaints against the Democratic governor.

One article seeks to impeach Nixon over an executive order directing state tax officials to accept joint returns from same-sex couples who married legally in other states.

Another asserts Nixon did not move fast enough to call special elections for vacant legislative seats. The third complains there was insufficient punishment of officials involved in a dispute over the handling of concealed gun permits.

The articles of impeachment have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee

Ks. House Appropriations Chairman Resigns Over School Bill
March 31, 2014

(AP) – The House Appropriations Committee’s chairman has resigned from the committee because he says he can’t support a school funding plan drafted by the chamber’s Republican leaders.

Newton Republican Marc Rhoades resigned Monday, just before the start of his committee’s hearings on the plan.

The proposal seeks to address two flaws in funding for poor school districts identified by the Kansas Supreme Court in a March 7 ruling in a school funding lawsuit. The court said the state must boost aid to poor districts.

The fix is estimated to cost $129 million, but the House plan would fund part of that increase by adjusting transportation aid to school districts.

Rhoades said even with the offset, the new spending isn’t sustainable. He said his resignation allows the bill to move forward.

White House Responds to AB’s Call to Make Baseball’s Opening Day a Holiday
March 29, 2014

Post. Dispatch:
Sorry baseball fans, the White House says it lacks the authority to make Major League Baseball’s Opening Day a national holiday, an effort that was pursued by Anheuser-Busch and supported by the league.

The White House responded Friday evening to a petition by A-B to make Opening Day a holiday a week after a petition backed by the brewer reached 100,000 signatures, the minimum number necessary for the government to respond. In its response, the White House said it’s up to Congress to decide federal holidays, and President Barack Obama’s administration didn’t say it supported A-B’s effort.

Since it debuted in 2011, more than 10 million users had signed nearly 300,000 petitions on the White House’s “We the People” citizen petition website as of mid-November, according to the White House. Of those petitions, the White House responded to more than 200.

Budweiser, the official beer of Major League Baseball for more than three decades, paired with former Cardinals player and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith in late February to back a petition to get national recognition for America’s pastime. The effort on WhiteHouse.gov needed a minimum of 100,000 signatures by March 26 to garner a response from President Barack Obama’s administration.

Friday night, Josh Earnest, the White House’s principal deputy press secretary and “lifelong Kansas City Royals fan” according to a statement, said it’s up to Congress to establish federal holidays, not the White House.

“While we are sympathetic to your pitch to make Opening Day a national holiday, it’s a little outside our strike zone: creating permanent federal holidays is traditionally the purview of Congress,” Earnest’s statement reads. “So, it’s up to the men and women on Capitol Hill to decide whether to swing at this pitch.”

Silvey Developing ‘Private Option’ Medicaid Alternative
March 28, 2014

Clay County State Senator Ryan Silvey is developing a Missouri Republican alternative to Medicaid expansion is the state is being developed, according to KMBC TV.
The plan is similar to one now in place in Arkansas, Iowa and Pennsylvania. The plan would permit the uninsured to use state health care law money, provided for Washington, to buy private insurance coverage.
Silvey objected to Medicaid expansion because he fears the state budget can’t handle it.
Silvey, however, believes the state’s Medicaid system has to be reformed.
In an opinion piece earlier this week in the Springfield News Leader newspaper, Silvey wrote doing nothing on the issue is not an option.
“Moving some folks into a private option, having the state give subsidies for them to obtain their own insurance is an attractive way to try and make things run a little bit smoother,” said Brendan Cossette a lobbyist for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber has now joined Governor Jay Nixon and the Missouri Hospital Association in the effort to expand Medicaid in the state.
Currently, Missouri has 801,000 uninsured citizens, according to the Hospital Association.
A Medicaid expansion plan being pushed by Democratic Governor jay Nixon would provide health insurance through Medicaid for almost 300,000 Missourians.
One of the premises of this plan is that the ‘private option” would permit the state to obtain about $2.2 billion dollars a year the federal government is offering.
That would be 100% of the cost of Missouri Medicaid expansion. The money is available to 2014 and 2015. Because Missouri did not start its own exchange last year, the money was not available to the state.
Governor Nixon has complained bitterly Missouri is letting money that should come back to Missouri be sent to other states.
He says his plan would add coverage for about 300,000 Missourians.
In a statement Friday, Nixon’s office was critical of the plan linking Medicaid expansion with welfare reform.
“By bringing in unrelated programs, this proposal creates unnecessary obstacles to health care for 300, 000 Missourians,” according to the statement.
In an effort to lure reluctant GOP lawmakers to the plan, its developers are including entitlement reform as part of the package.
Some of those proposed reforms would include tightening regulations in the state’s assistance to needy families program, and the state element of the Food Stamp program.
Cossette also says this plan eases the strain on Missouri hospital caused by the unpaid for care they provide to Missourians without insurance.
The Hospital Association states more than $1 billion a year is spent by Missouri hospitals on uncompensated care. In the Kansas City area, the unpaid for care amounts to more than 530 million dollars a year, according to the Association.

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