The hot chit-chat this morning:
• “Ensuring state-administered food assistance programs operate as effectively and efficiently as possible is an important priority of my administration.” — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announcing a reversal of his plan to limit food-stamp eligibility.
Nixon said he changed course because of “greater certainty” about federal funding following last week’s budget agreement. But know that the Democrat had also taken a barrage of criticism from members of his own party.
• “Although the state’s overall economy is on the upswing, thousands of individual Missourians are still struggling with the effects of the recession. The proposal to prematurely tighten food stamp eligibility was the wrong move at the wrong time, and the governor did the right thing today by reversing course.” — Missouri state Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, a Kansas City Democrat, on Nixon’s decision.
Case in point.
• “Months would be nice.” — Andrew Slavitt, an executive vice president of Optum, an Obamacare contractor, on how much time he would have liked to have had for testing. Instead, he said Optum had only a few days.
As a House committee learned Thursday, the lack of time for testing was a key problem with the unveiling of Obamacare to the public. The push to roll out the site was rushed, and the public is paying a big price for that.
• “There was a miscommunication...” — a White House statement Thursday in response to a Facebook post by Sen. Dick Durbin. The Illinois Democrat wrote that a GOP lawmaker told President Barack Obama during budget negotiations that “I cannot even stand to look at you.”
The White House is desperately trying to quash this story. Administration officials have said repeatedly that the quote is inaccurate, and so have Republicans. Durbin, though, is standing by it. The controversy pit Obama’s team against a staunch ally in Durbin as well as furious Republicans.
• “Now, obviously, just because something is smart and fair, and good for the economy and fiscally responsible and supported by business and labor and the evangelical community and many Democrats and many Republicans, that does not mean that it will actually get done. This is Washington, after all.” — Obama in the East Room on Thursday speaking about immigration reform.
As noted yesterday, the president is eager to change the conversation from the Affordable Care Act to anything else. Immigration reform is a handy crutch right now.