Thursday, January 27, 2011

Senators McCaskill and Blunt respond to State of the Union

Senator Claire McCaskill reacted to the President's State of the Union address by stating that she will be willing to work with Republicans towards a more accessible health care plan for those in the private sector. She predicts that by bringing more people into the health care pool, health care costs will go down without adding to the nation's defecit.

"I am perfectly willing to change anything in the bill that will accomplish the goal, which is maintaining a private sector insurance market in this country, not a government program, making sure that insurance is accessible and affordable and that we can bring down healthcare costs, and not increase the deficit," McCaskill says.

She states that ceasing to spend federal dollars on earmarks will allow for wiser spending in the future.

McCaskill, a Democratic Senator from Missouri, was critical of the President's spending cap. Next week, she will introduce legislation with Republican Senator Bob Corker that furthers the federal freeze on subsidies to U.S. industries.

Meanwhile, Missouri's new Republican Senator, Roy Blunt, says that Mr. Obama's speech did not connect with the moment, nor with the people.

He agrees with McCaskill that earmarks are one way to cut government spending. But Blunt also thinks that all options should be on the table, including defense, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Blunt supports the balanced-budget amendment championed by Utah Republican Orrin Hatch. The amendment would establish a spending limit of 20% of the country's GDP.

"We've been right in the neighborhood of 20% of GDP until the last two years. And now we're spending more like a quarter of GDP and we're collecting about 18%," Blunt says.

Blunt reiterated his belief that divided government brings an opportunity to solve big problems, and that he thinks that we are on the cusp of a legislative year devoid of earmarks.

Jacob McCleland and Danny Rohr, KRCU


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