The Buzz

TheChat: Rand Paul says cop who choked Eric Garner should be booted off the force

▪ “You probably shouldn't have the power to be a policeman anymore, at the very least.” — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul talking about the New York police officer who choked Eric Garner to death.

Hiring standards for police need to be “much higher,” Rand said. The Republican continues to try to broaden his appeal as he gears up for the 2016 presidential race. The Washington Post rates him as the GOP front-runner.

▪ “The Senate Intelligence Committee's decision to release this report to the public threatens the lives of diplomats, military personnel and all Americans around the globe, and irreparably damages our relationships with our allies.” — Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner, a Republican, on Tuesday’s release of a Senate Intelligence Committee report that was harshly critical of tactics the U.S. employed on terrorist detainees after the Sept. 11th attacks.

Still, three committee Republicans voted to declassify the report in April. On Tuesday, thousands of soldiers around the globe were on alert amid fears of retaliation in the wake of the report’s release. Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill supported the report’s release, calling it a “gut-check” moment for democracy and key to ensuring that the CIA is held accountable.

▪ “...I am requesting that the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission analyze and provide options for utilizing tolls to address one of our most pressing transportation infrastructure needs – improving and expanding Interstate 70...” — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday calling for the commission to consider the possibility of using tolls to improve and expand the key east-west route through the state.

Nixon is taking some leadership on an issue that’s been stalled for years in Missouri. The public has rejected gasoline tax increases, and Republican lawmakers haven’t moved the ball on this very contentious issue. Missouri has shown steadfast resistance to tolls despite Kansas’ largely positive experience with its turnpike. How the GOP majorities in the House and Senate respond in Jeff City will be fascinating.

▪ “I look forward to presenting a full budget proposal and policy recommendations to the legislature in January.” — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announcing his plans Tuesday to fill a $280 million budget shortfall in the current budget year.

Brownback was referring to phase II of the cuts, which he’ll announce in January. That’s an additional $436 million in reductions for the next fiscal year. Our word of caution to the governor: Don’t look forward to the January announcement too much. Advocates for early childhood education, highways and public employees weren’t pleased with the trims announced Tuesday, and the additional budget cuts only mean more bad news is on the way.