McCaskill: Senate has lost its way, must do better

1 month 5 days 1 hour ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 3:20:50 PM CST December 13, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON D.C. - Democrat Claire McCaskill had stern words for her soon-to-be former colleagues in the Senate in a farewell speech on Thursday, saying that polarization and fear of political consequences have rendered the body ineffective and unwilling to take on difficult issues.

The two-term senator lost to Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley in her re-election bid in November. In an emotional speech from the Senate floor, McCaskill said she was proud of her 34-year public service career that included stints as Jackson County prosecutor, state representative, state auditor and senator.

She called her fellow senators "family," but expressed concern about what the Senate has become since she first took office in 2007.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say I was worried about this place," McCaskill said. "It just doesn't work as well as it used to."

McCaskill, 65, didn't single out any individual senators, but she said the Senate has "too many embarrassing uncles."

"The United States Senate is no longer the world's greatest deliberative body," McCaskill said. "And everybody needs to quit saying it until we recover from this period of polarization, and the fear of the political consequences of tough votes."

She cited a litany of concerns: Legislation written behind closed doors, omnibus bills so large that senators don't know what is in them and lobbyists learning details of tax bills before senators do.

"Something is broken and if we don't have the strength to look in the mirror and fix it, the American people are going to grow more and more cynical and they might do something crazy like elect a reality TV star president," McCaskill said, a reference to President Donald Trump, who was the host of TV's "The Apprentice" prior to his election in 2106.

McCaskill was subdued in her criticism of Trump during the campaign — perhaps understandable, considering that Trump won Missouri by 19 percentage points in 2016. But her floor speech and comments earlier Thursday during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" indicate she may be far more outspoken now that she's leaving elected office.

On the TV program, McCaskill was asked what Republican senators say about Trump behind his back.

"Nuts," McCaskill said. "Weak. Doesn't really understand government. Doesn't care to understand anything complicated. Asks and says the most unbelievable things in meetings that clearly show he doesn't understand the subject matter. No intellectual curiosity."

In her farewell speech, she urged senators to "throw off the shackles of careful. Open the doors of debate. Reclaim the power of members and committees, and most of all, realize that looking the other way and hoping that everything will work out later is a foolish idea."

Other senators took to the floor to honor McCaskill.

Her Missouri colleague, Republican Roy Blunt, lauded the work they were able to do together on their home state's behalf despite their political differences.

"Our state has benefited from your service in incredible ways at all levels," Blunt said.

Another Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said McCaskill, like one of her political heroes, fellow Missourian Harry Truman, is "feisty."

"She was always well prepared," Collins said. "She was always insightful. And she was always tough."

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Works department is preparing for the winter storm that is set to hit this weekend.... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 10:01:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man has been charged with child endangerment after his 14-month-old son arrived unresponsive at a... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 6:04:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Route AC (Grindstone Parkway) bridge of U.S. Highway 63 will close for 60 days this summer. MoDOT... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 5:34:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
(CNN) -- The State Department is ordering its staff back to work next week, pledging that it will find the... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 5:12:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – The Columbia Police Department acknowledged Thursday it’s looking into a possible connection between an early morning homicide in... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 5:01:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis newscaster has apologized for what he called an unintentional racial slur while referencing... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 3:30:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 25-year-old Kansas City man is charged with murder in the shooting death of a... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 3:11:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday announced the restructuring of state agencies in his quest to highlight economic... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 1:58:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Domestic violence shelters in mid-Missouri could stop receiving federal funds starting Friday at 6 a.m. due to... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 1:30:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri appeals court says a lower court judge was wrong to order a woman to... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 12:34:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City couple claims in a federal lawsuit that state requirements for foster parents who... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 12:12:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – There are 28 more deer from 11 Missouri counties that have chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 10:45:00 AM CST January 17, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Sen. Josh Hawley plans to move his family to a suburb of Washington D.C., but will... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 10:04:00 AM CST January 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – As the partial government shutdown continues in Washington, Heart of Missouri United Way is stepping up to help... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 9:12:00 AM CST January 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA -- Police confirmed one man was shot and killed early Thursday morning. In a press release, CPD said... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 6:21:00 AM CST January 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's budget and State of the State address Wednesday... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:55:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is proposing a $351 million bond to repair or replace 250... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:29:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
Watch KOMU 8 newscasts and download the KOMU WX app for live coverage and alerts. COLUMBIA - Our confidence... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:23:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in Weather
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 33°
4am 30°
5am 29°
6am 28°
7am 29°