Four Area Reps Want Congressional Debate Before Syrian Strike
August 29, 2013

Four members of the Kansas and Missouri Congressional delegations have signed a letter to President Obama calling for Congressional debate before any military strike against Syria.
The four are Rep. Kevin Yoder Ks-3. (Johnson & Wyandotte County in suburban Kansas City); Rep. Lynn Jenkins Ks-2 (Eastern Kansas); Rep. Billy Long Mo-7 (SW Missouri); Rep. Jason Smith Mo-8 (SE Missouri).
The letters says “Engaging our military when no direct threat to the United states exists,” violates the conditions of the use of military force under the War Powers Resolution of 1973, according to the letter.
More than 100 members of Congress, including 18 Democrats, signed the letter to Obama.
It says if the president thinks military action is necessary, Congress can reconvene quickly at his request for a debate.
The letters says Congress is “willing to share the burden of decisions” that may be needed in what the Representatives call ‘the quickly escalating Syrian conflict”.

Federal Lawmakers Worry About Sequestration Cuts Affecting Small Airports
March 15, 2013

(AP) — Several Congress members from Missouri are raising questions about a federal plan to close air traffic control towers at some local airports.
The Federal Aviation Administration recently released a list of 238 airports were control towers could be closed as a result of budget cuts enacted under the so-called sequester. The list includes airports for five Missouri cities – Branson, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin and St. Joseph.
U.S. Reps. Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Billy Long and Blaine Luetkemeyer wrote to federal aviation officials saying the potential cuts appear to disproportionately fall on airports that use contractors for air traffic controllers. They said the federal proposal “borders on reckless behavior.”
The Congress members want the FAA to explain why airports with contracted control towers should receive larger cuts.
Earflier this wewek, Kansas Senator jerry Moran made a similar move in support of Kansas airports.

Missouri Returns All of It’s Congressional Delegation to DC, No House Upsets
November 7, 2012

(AP) — Two years’ of legislative gridlock in Washington didn’t keep Missouri voters from again selecting each of the state’s seven incumbent members of Congress in Tuesday’s general election.

First-term Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican, held off Democratic challenger Teresa Hensley in the most closely-watched race in Missouri’s 4th District. Hartzler earned national attention in 2010 with her upset of long-time Rep. Ike Skelton.

In suburban St. Louis, former state and national GOP leader Ann Wagner won the open 2nd Congressional District seat created by Rep. Todd Akin’s decision to run for U.S. Senate. The one-time U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg and co-chair of the Republican National Committee during former President George W. Bush’s first term defeated Valley Park Democrat Glenn Koenen.

The suburban St. Louis district was Missouri’s only open U.S. House seat this year. Both Wagner and Koenen won multi-candidate party primaries in August to advance to the general election.

Hartzler, a former teacher and state lawmaker who helped lead the successful fight for a 2004 state ballot measure banning gay marriage, called her win a victory for “common sense ideas and heartland values.” A staunch opponent of President Obama’s administration, she pledged to “look for common ground” with Democrats over the next two years, particularly on economic issues.

Hensley called the campaign “the most amazing journey” and complimented her opponent’s decisive win. The Democrat said she expects to seek another term as Cass County prosecutor when she is up for re-election in 2014.

“We knew this was going to be a tough district to run in,” Hensley said. “I was very proud of the campaign we ran. I don’t have any regrets.”

As a House freshman in a redrawn district, Hartzler was considered the most vulnerable of the seven congressional incumbents. Hensley and her supporters hoped that the addition of Columbia after the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional boundaries would give the Democrat an advantage among the college town’s largely liberal voting base.

Hensley started out strong, raising more money than Hartzler in the first few months while attracting outside attention from inside the Beltway. But that fundraising advantage soon evaporated as the expected support from national Democratic campaign committees largely didn’t materialize.

In the city of St. Louis, six-term Congressman William Lacy Clay Jr. defeated Republican challenger Robyn Hamlin for the second consecutive time in Missouri’s 1st District.

Clay had to fend off fellow Rep. Russ Carnahan in an August Democratic primary after redistricting matched the two incumbents, both sons of long-time state politicians. Carnahan had chosen to face Clay rather than seek an open seat in the 2nd District.

In a revamped 3rd District, Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer won a third term, defeating Democratic business owner Eric C. Mayer. The new district stretches from western St. Charles County to Lake of the Ozarks and now includes Jefferson City, which had been part of the 4th District. Missouri lost its ninth district because of population declines in the latest U.S. Census.

In Kansas City, former mayor Emanuel Cleaver turned back yet another effort by perennial opponent Jacob Turk, defeating his Republican challenger in Missouri’s 5th District for the fourth straight time. Cleaver is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In northwest Missouri, Republican Rep. Sam Graves won a seventh term by defeating Democrat Kyle Yarber of Gladstone in the 6th District. In southwest Missouri, first-term Rep. Billy Long of Springfield turned back Democrat Jim Evans of Republic in the 7th District.

And in southeast Missouri, Jo Ann Emerson of Cape Girardeau, the state’s longest-serving member of Congress, beat Poplar Bluff chiropractor Jack Rushin in the 8th District to win her ninth term in the House.

Democrats Accuse Hartzler of Breaking Promise Not to Earmark
April 26, 2012

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is accusing Mo-4 Congresswoman of breaking her pledge not to support earmarks in legislation.
The DCCC says Hartzler and 64 other Members are asking the GOP Leadership to take up a measure called the "Miscellaneous Tarriff Bill"(MTB).
The bill would exempt small business from having to pay some tariffs on imports.
In the letter requesting the bill be considered, Hartzler and the other take note of the earmark issue.
They write, "Unlike spending earmarks, as they are sometimes erroneously characterized, a duty suspension included on the MTB is available to any US manufacturer."
A report in Politico assigns a political motive for the request.
"The push is a sign that freshmen who arrived in Washington talking up their anti-pork principles are now worried about what — if anything — they’ll have to show constituents when they hit the campaign trail. And, in typical Washington fashion, they think they’ve found a loophole that will get them past the ban."
Thursday Hartzler spokesman Steve Walsh also pointed out how the MTB is not a an earmark.
"MTBs are NOT limited tariff benefits or earmarks. House rules define limited tariff benefits as provisions benefitting ten or fewer entities. However, MTBs are benefits that are broadly available to anyone who imports a product."
Walsh also points out many earmarks increase spending, this reduces tariffs.
The issue is one House republican may have to sort out for themsleves.
Roll Call reports the Chairman of the house appropriations Committee is not as sure about the tariffs as hartzler and the other Republicans.

House Appropriators Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said he thinks the tariff bills are no different from earmarks. One of his cardinals, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), said that if the tariffs are allowed, there’s no reason earmarks should be banned, Roll Call reported.
“What my resentment has always been is what’s the difference between this and a well-vetted road project for the transportation bill or a research project on the agriculture bill?” said Kingston, who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that deals with agriculture and rural development. “If you can give a tax relief, could you not do the same on a well-vetted expenditure that has broad support?”
Another Missouri Congressman, Billy Long, of southwest Missouri, also signed the letter. So did Ks-1 Rep. Tim Huelskamp

The ‘Rich’ List of Missouri Members of Congress
December 29, 2011

From the St. Louis Riverfront Times via

The Center for Responsive Politics recently released its report on the nation’s wealthiest U.S. representatives and senators.

No one from Missouri makes its Top 10 list, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have some worthy contenders. Turns out we actually have some of the richest — and poorest — politicians in Washington, based on the financial disclosures the elected officials file each year.

Here, then, is the average net worth* of Missouri’s congressional delegation based on those disclosures:

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D): $26.5 million
Sen. Roy Blunt (R): $3.7 million

William Lacy Clay (D – Dist. 1): $32,000
Todd Akin (R – Dist. 2): $160,000
Russ Carnahan (D – Dist. 3): $328,000
Vicky Hartzler (R – Dist. 4): $8.9 million
Emanuel Cleaver (D – Dist. 5): $891,500
Sam Graves (R – Dist. 6): $1.1 million
Billy Long (R – Dist. 7): $2.4 million
Jo Ann Emerson (R – Dist. 8): $490,500
Blaine Luetkemeyer (R – Dist. 9): $3.4 million

Total them up and they add up to $47.9 million, of which McCaskill’s fortunes (courtesy of her developer husband, Joseph Shepard) account for over half. Hartzler, the second-weatlhiest Missouri politician in D.C., owns a farm equipment business with her husband, Lowell.

Lacy Clay is the poorest of the group. In fact, he’s one of the least-wealthy people in all of Congress, ranking as the 395th richest member of the 435-person House of Representatives.