The Buzz

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

BuzzChatter Friday: Blunt unloads on KC VA center wait list

06/06/2014 2:00 AM

06/06/2014 7:18 AM

We made it to Friday! Good for you and good for me, too.

“These so-called ‘unauthorized wait lists’ for America’s heroes are simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated.” — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, on Thursday on the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s acknowledgment that the center did, in fact, have an “unauthorized” wait list for area vets.

Kansas City’s VA center joins Wichita’s as facilities where veterans waited more than 90 days for care. Blunt said the lists resulted in compromised care.

“Articulate, forthright, straightforward and candid — something we really haven’t had from the secretary of HHS for the last year or so.” — Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican, on Sylvia Mathews Burwell who’s succeeding former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services.

Republicans regard Burwell, who won nomination Thursday on a bipartisan 78-17 vote, as something of the anti-Sebelius, a leader who will tell it like it is when it comes to Obamacare. That the Senate could get behind anybody for the pivotal HHS post is a surprise given that the predictions were that the controversy surrounding the health care program would preclude anyone from winning a Senate majority. Burwell’s confirmation may also be a sign that the GOP is moving onto other issues.

“It is better than we initially thought it might be in that it allows some flexibility and it allows some states to have more control over how they implement and meet these standards.” — Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a Harrisonville Republican, on the new power plant emissions standards the Obama administration issued this week.

Hartzler represents a breakthrough in the GOP’s staunch opposition to the new regulations. It’ll be interesting to see if other Republicans wind up agreeing with her.

“Overwhelmed.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill on how she feels about visiting Normandy this week as part of the U.S. delegation to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

McCaskill, whose late father served in World War II (but not at D-Day), is one of nine senators in Europe for the ceremonies. The senator said she was “overwhelmed that I'll be present where so many of my father's generation sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”

“They...failed to explain how they had time to plan a White House Rose Garden press conference, but not time to notify members of Congress – as required by law. This issue is far from over...” — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, on the administration’s handling of the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Roberts joins many other of his GOP colleagues in teeing off on the administration for its handling of the Bergdahl case. The senator also accused the president of having a change of heart when it comes to the ancient creed of never leaving a soldier behind. The president did precisely that following the Benghazi terrorist attack, Roberts said. The challenge for Roberts is to one day say something positive about this president. The everything-he-does-is-wrong dance is getting old. Then again, it’s an election year.

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