Right before he spoke to attendees of a jobs fair at Harris-Stowe University, U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis City, talked about his vote for a measure raising the nation’s debt ceiling. Clay joined U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, in voting for the measure earlier this month, which didn’t even come close to passing.
Clay was at Harris-Stowe Monday to talk with attendees of a jobs fair that he sponsored. Nearly 106 companies were attendance, which Clay said was the most that had come to the event.
The U.S. House yesterday voted down legislation that would have raised the nation’s debt ceiling. It was for all intents and purposes a proposal that had little chance of passing and was decried by some Democrats a “sham” vote.
But two members of the state’s congressional delegation - U.S. Reps. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis City, and Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City - voted for the proposal. And Cleaver even wrote a lengthy Facebook post explaining why raising the debt ceiling is necessary, noting “we must now increase the debt ceiling to avoid economic cataclysm:”
Judging from the nutbuckets on television these days, you would not think that the debt ceiling and the debate on whether or not to raise it was a bipartisan issue. Congress has raised the federal debt ceiling limit 10 times in the past 10 years—under both Republican and also Democratic-led Congresses.
Without another increase, the government will either default on its bonds or have to slash spending by about 40 percent. All economists—at least those who are not engaged in quackery—agree that we must raise the debt ceiling. My colleagues across the aisle are using the full faith and credit of the United States as a bargaining chip—they say they will not vote for an increase without big additional cuts in spending. We need to raise the debt ceiling. Until we do, the Department of the Treasury will do its best to ensure that we meet our obligations, but this can only go so far. On August 2, 2011, we will start to default. And defaulting on our financial obligations, for the first time in history, as President Ronald Reagan once said, would be “unthinkable.”
I asked House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, and Rep. Tishaura Jones, D-St. Louis City, about whether U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis City, asked either one of them vote in a certain way on redistricting.
The Post-Dispatch reported that state Rep. Penny Hubbard, D-St. Louis City, said Clay wanted her to vote affirmatively for the proposal that combines St. Louis City into one congressional district.
U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis City, was in the Missouri House Wednesday, spending most of his time conversing with legislators from all over the state.
But Clay - who has spent nearly three decades in elective office - said he’s also speaking to lawmakers about the redistricting process. The map that was passed out of the General Assembly puts Clay and U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis City, in the same district.
I caught up with Clay this afternoon to ask him about what he thinks of the redistricting process, the reported hostilities between him and Carnahan, whether he fears a Democratic primary and whether he’s been discussing redistricting with state lawmakers.
There’s an interesting report from Politico about an apparent tiff between U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis City, and U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis City.
As of now, Clay and Carnahan would be drawn into the same congressional district under two plans being considered by the General Assembly. Politico reports that Carnahan is unlikely to run against Clay in a Democratic primary, and instead could run in a neighboring district currently held by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country.
But according to the article, there’s been some palpable tension between the two lawmakers:
Two weeks ago, a frustrated Carnahan approached Clay on the House floor. Carnahan had been hoping to get Clay and fellow Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleave to pressure Gov. Jay Nixon to veto a Republican remapping of the state’s congressional districts. Not only had Clay and Cleaver declined to help, they had stopped taking Carnahan’s calls on the matter.
“[F—-] you,” Carnahan said, according to a source who heard the obscenity. Then, with sarcasm, he added “Thanks for your help.”
It’s easy to see why Clay and Cleaver aren’t rushing to fall on their swords for Carnahan. The maps under discussion would strengthen Cleaver in his Kansas City-based district, and the new district that would be drawn from the current seats of Clay and Carnahan, who is white, would have a heavily African-American electorate. All of that, of course, is dependent upon the Missouri Senate and House coming to agreement on a plan — a big “if,” given that the Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation converged on Jefferson City on Monday to try to help hash out a deal between the warring chambers.
The folks at St. Louis Public Radio were kind enough to let me record an analysis on U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan’s electoral path after redistricting. Some of the commentary was gleaned from this post I wrote earlier this month.
Click on the audio clip above to hear the commentary. And click here to read the transcript.
The two congressmen that represent St. Louis City blasted a proposed congressional map that effectively pits the two Democrats against each other.
As noted yesterday, a proposed map from a House committee in charge of congressional redistricting would put the entire City of St. Louis in one congressional district. Right now, the city is split between U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, and U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis. If the two lawmakers decided to run in the district that encompasses their residences, they would have to run against each other in a Democratic primary.
In a joint statement, Clay and Carnahan called the map “overly partisan, damaging to the St. Louis region, and unfair to communities of common cultural and historical interests.”
“We are extremely disappointed that the Missouri House Special Committee on Congressional Redistricting has produced a map that emphasizes partisanship over fairness,” Clay and Carnahan said in the statement. “The population of the St. Louis metropolitan area clearly justifies three congressional districts. We are surprised that the committee chose to weaken representation for our region, which is the economic engine that drives Missouri’s economy.”
The statement went on to say that St. Louis City “has been represented by two Members of Congress who strongly advocated for neighborhoods of like interests.”
“This proposed map ignores vital historical and cultural considerations which should be taken into account in this process,” Clay and Carnahan said. ”The current proposal is unfair and it ignores the best interests of the people of Missouri and the entire St. Louis region.”
State Rep. John Diehl – a Town and Country Republican in charge of the House committee – said Wednesday it’s “pretty hard to justify the county that’s decreased the most in population still being the population base for two of eight congressional districts across the state.”
“I would argue that’s no good for the City of St. Louis,” Diehl said. “If you take a look at the new reality of the maps, the districts go from 620,000 to 750,000. We tried to look at what’s best for each region of the state. And if you make the argument that the City of St. Louis should have two congressmen in 750,000 person seats, the city’s only going to have an influence of 20 percent of two seats. They’re not going to have the influence in any district.”
Meanwhile, the Senate committee looking into redistricting will meet at 1 p.m. on Monday. The House could vote on the reconfigured map next week.
Photo courtesy of Washington University. Carnahan is second from the left of the picture, while Clay is on the far right. U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Giradeau, is second from the right.