Sunday, November 26, 2006
McCaskill Plans To Question War Funding
Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, Sen.-elect Claire McCaskill said the United States needs to begin to withdraw from Iraq and said she plans to question supplemental funding requests for the conflict.
McCaskill's comments came in response to a question from moderator Gloria Borger about whether U.S. troops should still be in Iraq for longer than a year.
"I think we have to begin to withdraw. I think all of us are looking forward to the Baker-Hamilton report," McCaskill replied. "I think all of us know we have made a terrible mistake in Iraq. There are no good answers."
McCaskill said engaging other moderate Arab nations in the region would be key to solving the Iraq crisis, but acknowledged that neither party really has a solution.
She said while there is only one Commander-in-Chief, Congress has a role of oversight and accountability.
"It is unrealistic that we're going to pull the plug on the finances to make sure our troops have what they need on the ground in Iraq," McCaskill said.
But she did promise probing questions about future funding requests from the White House.
"I want to ask some questions, because this supplemental appropriation of $150 billion dollars the President is going to ask for, clearly we need some accountability. People have gotten rich off this war and I want to make sure we put a stop to that," McCaskill said.
McCaskill said she wanted to investigate war profiteering and find out why $350 billion dollars has been spent on a war, "and some guys still don't have the right armor."
The two other guests on the program, Sens-elect Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bob Corker of Tennessee, along with McCaskill, signaled that they want to wait and see what the James Baker Iraq Commission reports before calling for any specific solution.
But in her first Sunday morning appearance as a Senator-elect, McCaskill used her street cred as an Auditor to focus many of her comments on finances.
McCaskill was asked about how she planned to "take the swagger out of the step of the Democrats." She said it was clear Democrats didn't dominate the election and would need to work with Republicans on issues. When pressed by Borger on a specific issue, McCaskill went back to fiscal restraint, a theme she stressed in campaign stops here in the Ozarks.
"I think saving money for taxpayers and the way we spend money. I think attacking this earmark process," McCaskill said.
"I never met Claire," responded Republican Sen-elect Corker. "But I like what she said."
McCaskill then called ethics reform, "the kissing-cousin of earmarks," signaling that she might support dealing with both issues in a larger legislative package.
Borger also asked McCaskill briefly about her openness to Social Security reform. "If there's no privatization, I'm open," McCaskill replied.
The Face the Nation appearance is just part of McCaskill's trip to Washington. McCaskill's husband, Joseph Shepard was with her in the studio for Sunday's interview. According to spokeswoman Adrianne Marsh, McCaskill will spend a few days in the nation's capitol, devoting most of her time to meetings and conducting interviews for Senate staff. McCaskill is also scheduled to appear on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews Monday as well as the Tavis Smiley show on PBS.
Marsh says McCaskill will make her first trip into the U.S. Senate chamber this week.
I'm betting that McCaskill will have a much bigger presence on national political talkshows and cable channel gab-fests than Sen. Talent did. Talent's shying away from the shows, and McCaskill's probable gravitation to them, suits their personalities.