The Buzz

TheChat: Pat Roberts wants to get stuff done

Good morning.

▪ “What we ought to do is the low-hanging fruit business.” — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, on the types of issues President Barack Obama and the GOP Congress should tackle in the new year.

Roberts considers trade to be an example of low-hanging fruit. “There are things that we can agree on, I think, or at least put on discussion. We ought to go after those and get them done,” the senator said after his re-election this week. More trade agreements could improve export markets for Kansas farmers, he said.

▪ “It really becomes important to appear to want to be a governing party rather than a complaining party.” — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican and a member of party leadership, on how the GOP should handle its new-found Senate majority.

Blunt said he believes that Republicans have about six months to prove to the American people that they can do the job. (link via

▪ “Some damage is going to be done to the ACA.” — Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Kansas City, predicting what Republicans in Congress will do to the Affordable Care Act next year.

Cleaver said the GOP is unlikely to repeal the law. But he said Republicans may try to trim the federal budget for the Health and Human Services Department, which might hamper the agency's ability to hire people to work on the program.

▪ “Poison the well.” — House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, on what will happen if Obama pursues immigration reform through executive order.

The president faces a big decision here. He’s under enormous pressure to act on the issue, having promised groups around the country that he would act following the election. Now, Boehner is saying that such a move would fracture relations between the president and the newly empowered GOP Congress in the new year.