The Buzz

May 29, 2014

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt blasts Obama

The Missouri senator wonders who’s running the store after a series of management blunders

The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

Smile. Here comes a three-day weekend.

“No wonder taxpayers are wondering, ‘Who is minding the store, who is managing the government, who is doing things that would just make common sense anywhere else?’ ” — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt criticizing the Obama administration for a bevy of shortcomings, including allegations of a lack of work at a Missouri facility that processes applications for the Affordable Care Act and poor care at a VA facility in St. Louis.

Even Blunt’s Missouri sidekick, Sen. Claire McCaskill, acknowledged that questions about management are fair game. Said McCaskill of the president: “There is a reason it is called the hot seat, and that is why Harry Truman said the buck stops here.”

“With a single agency responsible, and a single federal official in charge, we can stop the finger-pointing and know exactly who to hold accountable for fixing this troubled program, and honor our POW/MIA personnel and their families with a transparent and responsible recovery effort.” — McCaskill on Thursday after the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the senator’s plan to strengthen POW/MIA recovery efforts by establishing a single agency responsible for those efforts.

In an era of D.C. gridlock, McCaskill has found a way to move ahead through laser-like focus on concerns such as the POW/MIA issue and sexual assault in the military and on college campuses.

“Given the diversity of views expressed and the volume of substantive input, we have concluded that it would be more efficient and useful to hold a public hearing after we publish the revised proposed regulation.” — the IRS in a statement this week about its plans to rewrite a proposed rule on the political activities of non-profit groups.

It was those rules that got the agency into a tub of hot water with the tea party last year. The IRS said it will soon start writing new regs aimed at governing the tax-exempt status of social welfare groups. Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican, on Thursday applauded the move. The initial rewrite, though, will occur without benefit of a public hearing.

“This is the year, in our view, that we are able to demonstrate that you can use climate, you can do it well, you can do it in a mart way, to win political races.” — Chris Lehane, the long-time Democratic consultant who’s advising Tom Steyer, a hedge fund tycoon. Steyer is helping fund a $100 million campaign against GOP “science deniers.”

Steyer’s group is called NextGen Climate and bills itself as a progressive answer to the Koch brothers and the oil and gas industry.

The group is committed to becoming heavily involved in this year’s mid-term elections.

McCaskill’s amendment—included in the annual defense bill that received committee approval today—would create one Department of Defense agency responsible for POW/MIA matters, with one federal official in charge.

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