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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mo. State Senators Think They're in D.C., Argue Federal Budget, Health Care Reform

Posted By on Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 8:19 AM

Mr. Schmitt goes to Washington, err Jefferson City.
  • Mr. Schmitt goes to Washington, err Jefferson City.
Attention State Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale): The Missouri Capitol may look like the U.S. Capitol. (Indeed, the building in Jefferson City is modeled after the one in Washington D.C.) But let us remind you of one little thing:

You're a state senator from Glendale, elected by a couple ten thousand people in west and south St. Louis County to represent their interests in state government. You're not a U.S. senator, elected by hundreds of thousands of Missourians to represent our interests in Washington.

So, ahem, about those two non-binding (ie. feckless) resolutions of yours concerning federal policy:

Don't you have more important relevant issues to address?

Schmitt's first resolution demands that Attorney General Chris Koster sue the federal government if health care reform is passed. Schmitt and his colleagues think it's unfair that Nebraska's Ben Nelson (a U.S. senator) got an amendment to a health care bill that exempts his state from funding expansion of Medicaid.

But there are a few problems with Schmitt's argument. First, Nelson has now asked that the special provision for Nebraska be removed from the health care bill in the Senate. And -- even more relevant -- health care reform has been tables and it's unclear it will ever reach fruition.

Those fine points were lost on Schmitt and his colleagues who spent two hours debating the resolution before passing it yesterday. And Schmitt was only getting warmed up.

Another resolution he also got approved yesterday demands that the U.S. Congress pass a balanced budget amendment. Again, another powerless piece of grandstanding. But who knows? Perhaps Schmitt can get 37 senators in other states to pass a similar resolution and they can hold a constitutional convention. Then perhaps Schmitt really could affect change.

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