State Has Less Clout in Congress - The Missourian: Opinion

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State Has Less Clout in Congress

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Posted: Saturday, June 15, 2013 5:30 pm

Length of time as a member of Congress is important when it comes to a state having clout. Missouri has lost considerable influence in Congress and now is ranked No. 30 in the clout ratings.

That report comes from the Capitol Hill’s Roll Call newspaper and was passed along by MOScout of the Internet.

The report said Missouri has dropped in clout, “in part, because Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton was swept out in the 2010 GOP tide, and, in part, because Roy Blunt gave up his considerable influence in the House GOP leadership to start from scratch again in the Senate, where he took the place of the pretty-powerful-after 24-years Christopher S. Bond.”

There is no question the loss of Skelton and Blunt in the House was a blow to the state as far as clout is concerned. Their replacements are like any other new member of the House in that it takes years to gain power. A newly elected member of the House or Senate has zero influence. We suspect it has always been that way.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, in her second term in the Senate, has steadily gained recognition in that august body with hard work, keen attention to what’s going on, being outspoken on issues and being regarded as a tenacious advocate for reforms in the interest of taxpayers.

Sen. Roy Blunt, in his first term in the Senate, has a somewhat different approach. He works quietly, gaining respect of other senators, displays leadership abilities, really understands Congress and its inner workings and in time obtains clout. He did that in the House.

Although from different parties, Sens. McCaskill and Blunt aren’t that far apart on many issues. Both understand values that Missourians hold dear and try to represent those desires. Make no mistake that Sen. McCaskill leans to the liberal side while Sen. Blunt is a conservative. However, Sen. McCaskill is not always marching in line with the Obama liberals.

In the House, Missouri really doesn’t have a member with much clout. With the number of members in the House, it takes a long time to move into the power alley.

How important is clout in Congress? There are many examples of the federal graces that can be received through a member of the House and/or Senate who has power that has been gained by years of service.

To point to a couple examples, Ike Skelton had a major influence in the growth of Fort Leonard Wood as a major base, and Kit Bond secured the dollars for the new Hermann bridge over the Missouri River, which bears his name.

/opinion