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TheChat: Sen. Claire McCaskill warns Missouri lawmakers about college affordability

Good morning.

▪ “If I was a member of the Missouri Legislature, I'd be worried about the fact that we are making it harder and harder for young people to get an education in this state because of a lack of funding coming from Jefferson City.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, on the problems so many young people are having paying for college.

McCaskill met with students and parents this week in Ashland, Mo. She pointed out that Missouri funds higher education 20 percent below the national average. (link via johncombest.com).

▪ “If Donald Trump is the nominee, we could see a lot of people staying home.” — Frank VanderSloot, an Idaho nutritional-supplement executive who backed Marco Rubio for president. He’s now giving money to groups focused on keeping Republicans in charge of Congress.

VanderSloot said his big concern is the next justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Donors like VanderSloot are trying to erect a fortress around Congress to protect Republicans from the impact of a Trump candidacy.

▪ “We’ve got a fair amount of time left. They would really have to tie things up for quite a while to be able to do that, so I really don’t see that happening.” — Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Columbia Republican, expressing his confidence that the body will be able to pass a state budget even though Democrats remain miffed over a same-sex-marriage fight.

Senate Democrats are controlling the pace of the chamber these days after their long filibuster against a religious liberty bill was quashed. The bill was aimed at protecting businesses that don’t want to cater to same-sex couples. But Schaefer remains convinced the bad feelings won’t affect the budget.

▪ “I’m proud of the fact we are going to empower teachers to make decisions on who they want to represent them.” — Kansas state Sen. Jeff Melcher, a Leawood Republican, on a bill that would require teachers to vote every three years to retain their local union.

Melcher pointed out that the majority of teachers have never had the opportunity to vote on representation. Democrats labeled the bill as “union-busting.” The bill passed the Senate.

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