Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill met with Columbia residents during a town hall meeting on Monday. She talked about the economy, boosting jobs in the state and the improvement of the nation’s deficit.
“Our deficit at its height was 1.4 trillion," McCaskill said. “The estimates just came out for this year, and it will be as low as less than 500 billion. So what we’ve done is, we’ve cut our deficit by the end of this year by two thirds. That’s a good start.”
The democrat went on to say that Missouri still has work to do on the state’s infrastructure front.
“We cannot be the economic superpower we are if we do not invest in infrastructures in this country”, McCaskill said. “We have more roads to maintain in Missouri than Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa combined. So we have more miles to maintain than almost any State in the Midwest and clearly we don’t have the resources to do it.”
McCaskill said she was working with Republican Senator Roy Blunt to solve this issue. Her proposal creates auctions for American companies working overseas with the goal to lure them to the US. She says for example, the State would put 50 billion dollars in a bond fund, and companies would bid on the amount of taxes they would pay to buy these bonds.
“It’s called a reverse dodge auction and it would allow us to maximize the taxes they pay, bring that money in and then all of that 50 billion dollars would be used to build roads and bridges”, she said.
Senator McCaskill also answered questions concerning her military sexual assault bill recently passed in the Senate. A few days before, she did not vote for a competing sexual assault bill proposed by New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand. McCaskill said her bill gives voice to both the prosecutor and the commander on the continuation of investigation.
“Under the Gillibran proposal, which would remove that commander, the prosecutor would have the last say”, she said. “No checks and balances. So it’s counterintuitive, that if look at the facts and the data, in the last two years alone, there have been almost a hundred cases where the prosecutor said ‘Don’t go forward’, and the commander said ‘We’re gonna get to the bottom of it’”.
Columbia residents also asked about Marijuana legalization in Missouri. McCaskill remained somewhat vague on her stance but she cited her colleagues in Colorado who are facing unexpected problems.
“There is no question that marijuana impacts your behavior”, McCaskill said. “It’s a mind altering drug, just like nicotine and just like alcohol. I can definitely understand the arguments that can be made, that nicotine and alcohol are as bad or worse. I get those arguments. But I’m not sure that putting another one being easily accessible, beside nicotine and alcohol, is the best way for us to go, maybe it’s not.”
The democrat also condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behavior regarding Ukraine.
“If our allies in Europe stand strongly with us it will make it very difficult for Putin”, she said. “He’s got a lot of customers in Europe. So his desire to make sure that none of the former Soviet Republic goes quote on quote West, is gonna have to be tempered by the reality of the damage it does to his world standing and to his economy”.
McCaskill is visiting several cities in Missouri this week to get feedback, questions and ideas from her constituents on jobs and the economy.