Congress

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Drawing voting districts to favor one party or another, a process known as gerrymandering, is widely considered a key factor behind the country's intensely partisan climate. Today, we discuss the practice of "packing and cracking" in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's announcement this week to take up the issue.

Kaiser Family Foundation

Just 31 percent of Kansans and 32 percent of Missourians support the House-approved bill to repeal Obamacare, according to new estimates published Wednesday in The New York Times

In fact, not one state has a majority of residents who are for the measure, with support ranging from a low of 22 percent in Massachusetts (Washington, D.C., is even lower at 16 percent) to a high of 38 percent in Oklahoma, according to the estimates.

Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen/Twitter

Two Kansas lawmakers say they are okay after reports of a shooting at a Congressional baseball practice outside Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning. 

NPR reports Rep. Steve Scalise, Republican from Louisiana, one of his aides, and two Capitol Police were injured in the shooting. 

Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen/Twitter

Two Kansas lawmakers say they are okay after reports of a shooting at a Congressional baseball practice outside Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning. 

NPR reports Rep. Steve Scalise, Republican from Louisiana, one of his aides, and two Capitol Police were injured in the shooting. 

Sam Warlick / National League of Cities

Earlier this month Kansas City, Missouri, residents raised their own property taxes for 20 years in part to help pay for federally-required improvements to public buildings under the Americans With Disabilities Act. 

While Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and potential GOP rival U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner collect millions of dollars in campaign donations, many Missouri officials are raising far less as they adjust to new state campaign donation limits.

Campaign finance reports from Jan. 1 to March 31 also showed that Gov. Eric Greitens spent more than a half-million dollars in that timespan, with a large chunk going toward a media services firm run by Georgia-based consultant Nick Ayers, who also has done work for Vice President Mike Pence.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6 p.m. April 13.

Paul Davis, a former legislator and Democratic candidate for Kansas governor, said Thursday he is considering a run for the 2nd District congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins.

Davis narrowly lost to incumbent Republican Sam Brownback in the 2014 race for governor. Davis is from Lawrence and served as the Democratic leader in the Kansas House of Representatives.

In an interview Thursday, Davis said he has concerns about some of President Donald Trump’s proposed policies.

The Pentagon

Kansas City leaders seemed unified Friday in supporting President Donald Trump’s decision to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base in response to that government’s deadly chemical weapons attack this week.

Rep. Kevin Yoder Twitter

Updated 2:41 p.m. 

The vote on the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will not take place on Thursday. The AP reports that House GOP leaders have delayed the vote. According to NPR, "it could get a vote Friday, but the path forward is uncertain." 

Congressman Kevin Yoder still appears to be undecided. 

moneyinc.com

The replacement of the Affordable Care Act, is currently making its way through Congress. As President Trump has said, healthcare "is an unbelievably complex subject," and the American Health Care Act is certainly raising concerns from those covered by Obamacare. Today,  we take your questions on how existing coverage could be affected if the AHCA is passed.

Senate Democrats / Flickr - CC

From his vantage point in the U.S. Senate, Sheldon Whitehouse is of the mind that the longstanding tradition of honor in American politics is disappearing. Today, he argues corporate infiltration into the political system is to blame.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Mark Holland speaks with host Steve Kraske about the State of the Government Address he presented on February 28, noting the progress made in Wyandotte County, and what more needs to be done. Also, our Political Pundits examine President Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress.

Nearly a week after a deadly shooting in Olathe, Kansas, left one Indian man dead and two more men wounded, President Donald Trump condemned the incident in the opening lines of his first joint address to Congress Tuesday. 

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Members of the Kansas congressional delegation are under fire — like many of their colleagues across the country — for ducking town-hall meetings with their constituents.

At the Kansas GOP convention earlier this month, two of them explained their reaction to raucousness at their offices. 

Kansas’ two Republican senators said Monday they support increased vetting of those entering the country, but want Congress involved in developing permanent policy changes.

Sen. Jerry Moran and Sen. Pat Roberts issued statements in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 3:45 p.m. Jan. 25.

Kansas 2nd District Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins said Wednesday she will leave her seat at the end of this term and explore jobs in the private sector.

There have been rumors about Jenkins running for Kansas governor in 2018, as Gov. Sam Brownback’s second term will be ending. In a statement, Jenkins seemed to put those rumors to rest.

Voters in the 4th District in south central Kansas will choose a new member of Congress on April 11.

Republican Mike Pompeo officially stepped down Monday after he was confirmed as the new director of the CIA. Gov. Sam Brownback signed an order Tuesday setting the date for the election. Brownback says he chose the earliest Tuesday available under state law.

Kansas News Service

Think twice and don’t be in such a hurry to repeal Obamacare.

That’s the message that an alliance pushing for Medicaid expansion in Kansas is sending to members of the state’s congressional delegation.

It happens every year — in fact, maybe more often than not: people run for office with almost no shot at winning. With the 2016 Election fast approaching, we reign in a few local candidates running with "no chance in hell." Why are they still in the race? 

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Earlier this month, a hacker published U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s personal cell phone number and home address, spurring an onslaught of racist phone calls and e-mails directed at the Missouri politician.

“With the good sometimes comes ugly and to be sure, the internet offers people an opportunity to do anonymous ugly things,” Cleaver told host Steve Kraske on KCUR's Up To Date

He says it’s not the first time his personal information has been shared. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Congress is in recess until September but the upcoming general election, ongoing data breaches, and sustained congressional unpopularity means our elected officials won't get much time to relax. While they sit on opposing sides of the aisle, Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, and Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, agree there's plenty of work left to be done.

Extreme partisan divisions have given the U.S. Congress a bad rap. Its inability to compromise has resulted in an ineffective government and public disapproval. We look at the effects of having such a polarized institution with two former congressmen who offer suggestions for how it might be saved.

Guests:

  • Tom Davis (R) represented Virginia's 11th district from 1994 to 2008.
  • Martin Frost (D) represented Texas' 24th district from 1979 to 2005. 

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill visits Kansas City on Wednesday and Thursday as part of her 'McCaskill on Main Street' tour.  

She’s fresh off a big legislative win in the Senate where her version of a bill dealing with sexual assault in the military won out over a competing measure.

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Sen. McCaskill about sexual assault in the military and her opinions on progress made as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Guest:

U.S. Senate

  We’re nearing the end of this year’s legislative session in Washington, but things aren’t cooling off quite yet.

In the second part of Tuesday's Up to Date, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joins Steve Kraske to discuss the future of the farm bill, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the recent House budget deal and what’s going on with John Boehner after his speech about the Tea Party to Republican lawmakers.

Guest:

Way back in 1981 when Ronald Reagan was president, politics simply worked, or at least that’s what Chris Matthews says.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with Matthews about his new book, Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked, which chronicles the bipartisan efforts of President Reagan and then Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil to raise the debt ceiling and pass other important legislation back in 1981, and why Congress just can’t seem to do the same now.

Guest:

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D, MO-5) joins Steve Kraske to give an update on what happening with the federal government shutdown and the impending debt ceiling issue.

401(K) 2012/Flickr-CC

When thousands of federal employees are being forced to go without a paycheck indefinitely because of inaction in Congress, is it really ethical for members of Congress to keep accepting their own paychecks?

On Thursday's Up to Date, the Ethics Professors join us to discuss that and other issues of murky morals. Should we consider signing up for healthcare part of a civic duty to lower medical costs for everyone? And how should we set a limit when it comes to the cost and scope of treatment?

Guests:

Vcelloho / Flickr-CC

What do you do after your congressional career is finished?

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we catch up with two former U.S. congressmen from Missouri, Alan Wheat and Kenny Holshuf, who have returned to Washington as policy advisors on behalf of a local law firm.

Guests:

Members of Congress will soon be asked to decide whether to support President Barack Obama's request for authorization to attack the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Assad's regime allegedly used chemical weapons on civilians and rebels in an attack last month. Here is a round-up of what we know so far from congress members in Kansas and Missouri.

Kansas Congressional Delegation:

davidpc_ flickr

The weather isn’t the only think that’s still got some heat behind it. Although Congress is in recess, hot-button topics such as immigration and sequestration cuts are still in the news.

In the first part of Thursday's Up to Date, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D, MO-5) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R, KS-3) join us to talk about these issues and shed some light on where Congress might be headed when it goes back into session in September.

Guests:

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