Democrats and Republicans trade accusations that both parties engage in cheap political stunts during budget debate until the House Speaker puts a stop to it.
Top House Democrat Paul LeVota of Independence made the first accusation, assailing Rep. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) for a series of amendments he proposed. Hoskins and another Republican representative sponsored amendments to strip appropriations to pay the salaries of Nixon Administration staff workers. Hoskins stated he wanted to accumulate $500,000 to match with $1.5 million in federal funding to restore cuts to the Area Agencies on Aging home delivered meals program.
LeVota questioned the explanation. He pointed out Hoskins is a member of the House Budget Committee and agreed with the cuts during committee meetings prior to taking the action on the House floor. LeVota accused Hoskins of a cheap political stunt and claimed he wouldn’t have taken such action against a Republican governor. Hoskins denied the accusation.
Even the nature of the Nixon staffers came into question. Republicans said the choice was between Nixon Administration lobbyists and meals for the elderly. Democrats countered that the people in question are legislative liaisons who help state representatives resolve constituent problems with state government and that Republicans were purposely distorting their role.
The accusations leveled by LeVota didn’t sit well with House Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) who said the LeVota accusation interested him, because he considered LeVota the king of political stunts.
That statement brought down the gavel of House Speaker Ron Richard (R-Joplin), who said he would not allow the accusations to continue. Richard, though, couldn’t stop the partisan accusations that punctuated the budget debate during the two-and-a-half days. In the end, the House approved the nearly $23 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year. The budget debate now shifts to the Senate.