U.S. Senate

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Updated, 4:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump's move to fire FBI Director James Comey shocked Washington Tuesday night. It's only the second time in American history an FBI Director has been dismissed in the middle of a term, and it comes as the FBI investigates ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

Reaction from members of Congress from Kansas and Missouri was mixed.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill stood on a stage at Park University Thursday and took questions from some of the several hundred people packed into the majestic college chapel.

It was the latest in a string of town halls she's holding around the state.

The Senator was in Sikeston and Hannibal earlier in the week. On Friday she’s scheduled to be in Springfield and Rolla.

The two-term Senator, a Democrat, has made it clear she plans to run for re-election in 2018.

Mark Schierbecker / Wikimedia Commons

In a statement on Twitter Friday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said she will oppose Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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.

Helene C. Stikkel / U.S. Department of Defense

As  the first woman to represent Kansas in the U.S. Senate, Nancy Kassebaum Baker is a political legend. Today she shares her thoughts on the current state of the Republican Party, locally and nationally. Also, tracing one's lineage is popular, but it remains challenging for descendants of slaves. A genealogist explains the common challenges that can arise, and offers professional advice to ease the journey.

Twitter

As expected, U.S. Senators from Kansas and Missouri this week voted on President Trump’s cabinet nominations along party lines.

Voting for former Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general included Republican Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts of Kansas and Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri.  

Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill voted against Sessions, saying that as a former prosecutor from Kansas City, she understands “the massive power of federal law enforcement.”

Wikimedia Commons

Updated, 11:40 a.m. Wednesday: The U.S. Senate has confirmed Betsy DeVos for education secretary, 50-50 with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.

Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri; Jerry Moran, R-Kansas; and Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, voted yes. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, voted no.

The original post continues below. 

The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s embattled pick for education secretary, Tuesday afternoon.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

These days political news provides plenty of fodder for Up To Date's Ethics Professors. Today, we ask them if it's okay for protestors to break the law for a cause. They also discuss whether Senate Democrats would be justified in stonewalling President Trump's new Supreme Court nominee, the same way Republicans refused to recognize President Obama's.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has endured for decades, but former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell believes a nonviolent resolution is still possible. Then, one data scientist says expanding misuse of algorithms and mathematical modeling is creating Weapons of Math Destruction.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Veteran GOP incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri kept his job Tuesday, riding the Republican wave of winners across the country.

Blunt, 66, easily overcame his Democratic challenger, Jason Kander. Blunt was part of the pack of Republicans racking up wins, including Eric Greitens in the Missouri governor's race and Donald J. Trump in the presidential race.

Blunt met with his supporters at a Springfield hotel where the crowd was chanting "USA! USA!"

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With Election Day a week away, we check in with local political reporters for analysis of elections in Kansas and Missouri. Then, political commentator E.J. Dionne discusses the presidential campaign and themes from his book Why the Right Went Wrong. We finish with this week's Statehouse Blend Kansasfeaturing state Rep.

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Senate hopeful Jason Kander has returned $25,000 in campaign contributions that are connected to an alleged straw donor system by a prominent Democratic law firm.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt may currently be Missouri's freshman senator but he has worked in the Capitol since 1997. Early in his career, he served as chief deputy whip for the GOP, eventually becoming House majority leader in 2005 and 2006.

Republican Roy Blunt has represented Missouri in Washington, D.C., for 19 years. After seven terms in the House of Representatives, Blunt moved to the Senate in 2010. Now, Blunt finds himself in a tight race against Democrat Jason Kander that may cost his party control of the U.S. Senate. Also, Brian McTavish presents the latest Weekend To-Do List.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

GOP incumbent U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt on Thursday denied ownership of pro-tobacco legislation that he tried to place in a homeland security bill in 2002, a criticism that has dogged him for a decade.

It’s a dreary, rainy day in Troy, Missouri, and Jason Kander is about to meet a small group of veterans at the Roasted Bean Coffee Shop. In a weird, parallel universe, the 35-year-old Democrat would be stumping for his second term as secretary of state. But Kander’s aiming higher and is focusing his time and energy on trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Few national pundits believed Kander’s gambit would be worthwhile. They looked at presidential results and polls, and concluded (wrongly) Missouri was just too Republican for a Democrat to prevail. But Kander never bought into that type of assumptive prognostication. And now, Kander is within striking distance of being a building block for his party’s return to power in the U.S. Senate.

Aaron Pellish / KCUR 89.3

It's been 40 years since Missouri voters have sent two Democrats to represent them in the U.S. Senate. If Jason Kander has his way, that will soon change.

A recent poll released by Monmouth University indicates Kander, the state's Secretary of State since 2013, has narrowed incumbent Roy Blunt's lead to within the margin of error.

Aaron Pellish / KCUR 89.3

Missouri hasn't had two Democratic U.S. Senators in 40 years, but Jason Kander is looking to change that. Today, we speak with the current Missouri Secretary of State about his run to defeat incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt in what has become a very competitive race.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren rallied in Kansas City Friday for fellow Democrat Jason Kander, saying he is the candidate for the working middle-class while GOP incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt works only for “millionaires and billionaires.”

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Chris Wells’ orders are crisp, terse and quick.

“Shooter ready. Access,” Wells says to his student. “Fire. Sight. Fire. Scan and access. Place the firearm on safe. Re-holster.”

His student reacts to each command, pulling his pistol from back and under his shirt, and fires twice. He then sets the safety and puts the pistol back into the waistband of his jeans.

“Alright,” Wells says, “good job, good job.”

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

As the race for the U.S. Senate seat from Missouri is tightening, the candidates are taking on the bread-and-butter issues they hope will resonate with voters.

Secretary of State Jason Kander, who is challenging GOP incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt, on Wednesday met with a group of college students and university administrators about the high cost of college.

Kander told the group that he believes those costs – and resulting high student loan debt – is a middle-class issue that affects generations of families.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Every other Wednesday, the Rollin’ Grocer truck parts outside the Victoria Arms Building so residents can buy fresh food.

“Kansas City is the No. 6 city in the nation for food deserts,” says Natasha Ria El-Scari with Rollin’ Grocer. “Anywhere there’s more than one mile of walking distance or you have to catch more than two buses to get there is considered a food desert.”

There’s a Thriftway closer than that, but many of the people who live here are elderly or disabled. They’d have to cross 63rd Street in walkers or wheelchairs.

farmprogress.com

Jerry Litton, a congressman from northern Missouri, died in 1976 … on the same night that he won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.  His death was an unspeakable tragedy for a man many thought would one day occupy the White House.

Guests:

Former U.S. Senator John Danforth has spent years speaking out against the abuses of our political system. On this edition of Up To Date,  he speaks with Steve Kraske about Missouri, the 2016 presidential race and his latest book, The Relevance of Religion: How Faithful People Can Change Politics.

Senate-Bound

Aug 21, 2015

Blaine Stephens knew he was up against the odds when he applied for a U.S. Senate intern position. As the Plattsburg, Missouri, high-schooler packs his bags for Washington,  D.C. Up To Date caught up with him to learn how he made the cut. 

Guest:

  • Jason Rae served as a Senate page 10 years ago. He is currently a senior associate at Nation Consulting in Milwaukee. 

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill's political journey from Jefferson City to Washington D.C. has been far from easy.  On this Up to Date, Sen. McCaskill talks with host Steve Kraske about coming up through the ranks in Jefferson City, her soon-to-be-released memoir Plenty Ladylike, and recent happenings in the nation's capitol.

U.S. Senate

On Monday's Up To Date, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill announces she will not run for governor in 2016. The Missouri Democrat also talks with Steve Kraske about campaign finances, her future in the senate, and her upcoming trip to Cuba. 

Beth Lipoff/KCUR

Senate races in Kansas aren't usually big news in the rest of the country, but this is an unusual year. Greg Orman, challenger to incumbent Pat Roberts, is running as an independent. If he wins, that would make him a much more powerful senator.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk with Orman about how he's different from Roberts, what his main policy stances are and how his background got him to this moment. We invited Pat Roberts to join this discussion, but he did not respond to our repeated requests.

TaylorForSenate.com

Democrat Chad Taylor's name will stay on the ballot for the U.S. Senate from Kansas, despite his withdrawal from the race earlier this week.

Republicans, in the odd predicament of fighting to keep a Democrat on the November ballot on Thursday, won a legal challenge decided by Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Kobach sided with his fellow Republicans, who argued that state law requires that anyone trying to withdraw from the ballot must state the reason why he or she couldn’t serve.

Anita Hill's 1991 testimony in the confirmation hearings for then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas ignited a firestorm, both in the media and the public.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with Hill about a new documentary that examines her experience giving the testimony and the fallout that resulted, both in the media and in her personal life.

Guest:

  • Anita Hill, professor of social policy, law and women's, gender and sexuality issues at Brandeis University

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