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The Carthage Press
  • McCaskill: Federal gov. is not the enemy

  • The federal government is not the answer to all problems nor is it the enemy that local Republicans seem to paint it to be.
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  • The federal government is not the answer to all problems nor is it the enemy that local Republicans seem to paint it to be.
    That was the message from U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill when she was asked about proposals from Missouri Sen. Ron Richard and other Missouri lawmakers to hold a constitutional convention to try to reign in what Richard called "the over-reaching of the federal government."
    Richard, who is the Majority Leader in the Missouri Senate, told the local Chambers of Commerce at last week's "Eggs and Issues" briefing in Webb City that he was talking with state senate majority leaders in other states about the possibility of calling an unprecidented constitutional convention to discuss changes in the U.S. Constitution that he said federal lawmakers don't seem to be willing to make.
    "We've got an over-reaching governor and it's a small microcosim of what's going on in Washington with President Obama," Richard said. "That is when you make these grandiose plans to make executive orders or you don't have a department head appointed right away and you put in a czar, in the state of Missouri, if you have an acting department head, it's the same thing at the feds as it is in the states.
    "I got a call from a friend of mine that's the majority leader in the Senate in Tennessee, there is a willingness by some state to move toward a Constitutional Convention because of the overreaching of the federal government."
    Richard said the movement would call a limited constitutional convention to address only the narrow subject of federal overreach, but Sen. McCaskill, speaking after a business roundtable in Joplin on Wednesday, said she thinks moves like this are designed to score political points.
    "The federal government is not the answer, but the federal government is not the enemy," McCaskill said. "I think some people are trying to make federal government the enemy for political purposes. People don't realize is their federal dollars working for them. I wonder what the state of Missouri would have done after the tornado if it wasn't for the availability of the federal government to come in here immediately, with a lot of money and resources. I wonder what they'd do in Jefferson City if half the money they appropriate went away."
    Richard said he's been reluctant to sign on to the plan to call a Constitutional Convention, but he's planning on attending a national conference to discuss the matter.
    "In the 10th amendment, there are some rights the state has, and we believe they're part of our protections," Richard said. "We believe the founders believed it was important, we believe it's important. I've been reluctant to do that, but with what's been going on in Washington, we're probably going to have to do that, so I've been invited to go to a conference with some of the other majority leaders around the country and talk about the federal overreach and I'm going to do that."
    Page 2 of 2 - McCaskill said she's fought against unreasonable regulations, but painting the federal government as "the enemy" is not the answer.
    "I frankly think it becomes slightly unpatriotic to try to preach to the people of Missouri that their federal government that they have a representative role in, and that protects us, our military that protects us and the federal money that builds our highways and the Medicaid program and the Social Security program," McCaskill said. "I'm wondering, at that constitutional convention they're going to have, are they going to explain to Missourians that there would be no Medicare or Social Security if it weren't for the federal government.
    "I bet if I sat down with those folks, there would be things we'd agree about and we could work on, but they seem so anxious to villanize and demonize the federal government that it makes it very hard to find a working partner."

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