The Buzz

TheChat: President Barack Obama went to Cuba too soon, Sen. Roy Blunt says

Good morning.

▪ “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t require Cuba to move further in the direction of democracy and freedom before we reached out our hands.” — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt on President Barack Obama’s trip to Cuba.

Blunt, a Republican, was suggesting that the president should have insisted on more individual freedom in Cuba before agreeing to visit the island nation. (link via

▪ “The last time I looked, (the Constitution) said the president had a four-year term, not a three-year term.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill insisting that the Senate hold a confirmation hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

Even Justice Antonin Scalia would have appreciated an appeal to at least hold a hearing because he believed in close adherence to the Constitution, the Democratic senator said. The Senate has the right to reject the nominee, but a hearing comes first, she said.

▪ “When you have one person in the Missouri General Assembly — a staff member — that’s making $400,000 a year, that leaves the question as to what is actually taking place with moving legislation forward.” — Missouri House Minority Leader Jake Hummel discounting the significance of an ethics measure that would bar elected officials from being paid political consultants.

The General Assembly is close to passing this measure, and the Legislature has had problems in the past with lawmakers doubling as consultants. But Hummel and other Democrats are unimpressed because the measure would not apply to elected officials’ staffs.

▪ “Attempting to usurp the power of the other branches of government.” — one of the new causes Kansas lawmakers are considering that could lead to impeachment proceedings against Kansas Supreme Court justices and several statewide officials.

Democrats say lawmakers are looking for ways to punish judges on issues such as school finance and abortion, and “usurping the power of other branches of government” is the way to go. Including the statewide officials is a smokescreen, they say. The real target is the courts.