The Buzz

TheChat: Roy Blunt insists the U.S. is paying ransom to Iran

Welcome to Super Bowl week.

▪ “A $1.7 billion ransom payment.” — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt on a payment to Iran that the senator says may well be ransom for recently released prisoners.

Not so, says the State Department. The government said the senator, a Republican, is mischaracterizing how the payment is to be made. But Blunt points out the payment came one day following the release of captive Americans. (link via

▪ “Terrible.” — Missouri Senate Pro Tem Ron Richard describing the relationship between lawmakers and the University of Missouri.

Several issues are at the heart of those bad feelings, including Planned Parenthood and the handling of communications professor Melissa Click’s suspension. The path forward for the university here is unclear, and that’s not a good place for any institution to be.

▪ “Campaign contributions in my view are political speech. That won’t be part of the discussion.” — Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder speaking about efforts to place caps on campaign contributions.

Richard, who not long ago said he was open to a conversation about contribution caps, agrees with Onder. That suggests that campaign caps won’t be part of the ethics conversation going forward. Democrats, including Gov. Jay Nixon, will have problems with that.

▪ “We need to be able to make the Legislature an available process and an available opportunity for everyone.” — Kansas state Rep. Marvin Kleeb, an Overland Park Republican, who is calling for the Legislature to limit the length of legislative sessions during odd-numbered years to no more than 60 days.

Now, the state Constitution limits the duration of even-numbered sessions to 90 days. Lawmakers are reacting to last year’s record-breaking session, which spanned 114 days. Kleeb said limiting the length of sessions would ensure that the Legislature remains a citizens body populated by folks who can take time away from their jobs.