We begin today with a bully congressman:
• “You’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.” — Congressman Michael Grimm, a Staten Island Republican, to a TV reporter who asked the representative about allegations of campaign finance misconduct.
The reporter, Michael Scotto, had just told his audience that the congressman didn’t want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign reports. Grimm would have none of it and responded, “Let me be clear to you. You ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f--- balcony.” He then continued with his threat to break Scotto in half. Grimm has since apologized, but Politico reports that this was hardly an isolated incident. An apology may not be enough.
• “Millions of Americans are being forced to wonder how they will heat their homes while making the mortgage payment and putting groceries on the table.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill on surging propane costs that she said have doubled in some parts of Missouri.
The Democrat has asked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which watches for abusive practices, to examine what’s causing the spike. She said the agency has found previous examples of manipulation of the propane market.
• “While our own governor has remained complacent on the sidelines, I have worked with Governor Brownback to resolve this issue. What we have now is a reasonable solution that will end the border war and provide some stability to the families and employers of the Kansas City region.” — Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones on legislation he filed Wednesday aimed at ending the economic border war between Missouri and Kansas.
Nixon would take exception to the notion that he’s sat on the sidelines. He visited the Kansas City area late last year to push for a solution, although he was accused of grandstanding instead of seeking real progress. The speaker’s plan, like others offered by lawmakers, such as state Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, would prohibit either state from offering incentives to employers to move across the border in the KC metro. But before declaring victory, let’s get Jones’ bill passed first.
• “The time to fight for spending cuts is when you’re talking about spending, not at debt ceiling time.” — Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador, a Republican, on the GOP’s decision not to fight over the debt limit the next few months.
An overlooked story: House Republicans are backing off another showdown on the debt limit and are acknowledging privately that they are willing to pass a “clean” debt ceiling increase, which is what President Obama has demanded. That fight has largely defined Republicans in recent years. This represents a significant turning of the page and the promise of GOP interest in issues other than budgets and debt ceilings.