The Buzz

TheChat: Kansas melts down


It had better not rain this weekend. I’ve got plans.

▪ “The options are limited.” — Kansas budget director Shawn Sullivan on the few options facing Gov. Sam Brownback to balance the state budget if the Legislature fails to pass a tax increase.

And they are horrible options, Sullivan explained to Republicans on Thursday. Brownback could veto the entire budget, line-item veto some $350 million of expenses or cut the budget 6.2 percent across-the-board. “Horrible” is an accurate description.

▪  “This is what it looks like when a political institution fails.” — KU political scientist Burdett Loomis on the Kansas Legislature.

“Make that two institutions,” Loomis wrote, “given that the governor bears his full share of the responsibility as he has backed unrealistic tax policies, way past the point of seeing them flounder.” Loomis said his opinion will stand “no matter what happens” in the session’s remaining days. Translation: “train wreck.”

▪ “Returning donations gives some sense that you are going to look at the behavior of everybody who gives money to a campaign,” Blunt said. “I don't know if I have time to do that.” — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, announcing that he would not return $11,000 in campaign donations that he received years ago from former Dennis Haster, the former House speaker. Hastert now faces charges in connection with hush money he paid to an alleged victim of sexual abuse.

Democrats are trying to make a big deal out of this as Blunt faces re-election next year. Here at The Buzz, we don’t think this reaches big-deal status.

▪ “I watched my mom get these calls, and my mom was highly educated and assertive and opinionated and strong, and she was confused by some of the calls she got. She was clearly being targeted as a senior.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill on robo-calls to homeowners across the country.

McCaskill is trying to go to the aid of consumers who are under siege from these phone calls. She has introduced a bill that would expand the federal government’s authority to track down people who are making robocalls from outside the country and boost penalties.