Humphreys supports McCaskill challenger Josh Hawley in November Senate race; two candidates couldn’t be further apart on the issues
By TIM ROWDEN
Joplin businessman and pro-RTW GOP megadonor David Humphreys is the “No. 1 enemy” of working people in Missouri, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said at a Labor Day rally in Springfield, and – though she didn’t use these exact words – Attorney General Josh Hawley is his lapdog.
Humphreys, the CEO of TAMKO Building Products, has given millions of dollars to Missouri politicians, including $4 million to Hawley, McCaskill’s Republican opponent in the 2018 midterms.
One of Humphreys’ priorities was heavily investing in politicians who support “right-to-work” (RTW), which lawmakers passed in 2017 and Missouri voters overwhelmingly rejected on Aug. 7.
Hawley has equivocated on RTW since the election, leading McCaskill to suggest he was “embarrassed” to admit he supported a law Missouri voters rejected by a more than 2-to-1 margin.
“Missouri spoke out in a very strong voice and said, ‘No, we don’t want this to be a race to the bottom,’” McCaskill said at a town hall meeting shortly after the RTW (Prop A) defeat. “I have an opponent who wasn’t with Missouri on that issue.”
McCaskill also noted how Republicans in Jefferson City moved the vote from November to August – in part, because voter turnout is traditionally lighter in August primaries but also to eliminate the possibility in November that voters turning out to vote against RTW would also vote for her.
In Springfield, McCaskill urged supporters to keep up the momentum and elect worker-friendly candidates like herself in November.
“Let me go back and work for you,” McCaskill said.
Here’s where McCaskill and Hawley stand on the issues:
• Co-sponsored a measure that would allow the Senate Legal Counsel to defend protections for pre-existing conditions against a lawsuit filed by Hawley and 17 other Republican attorneys general and two GOP governors that would end those protections.
• Co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to stabilize the individual insurance market.
• Introduced legislation to help rural Missourians access health insurance, address unfair Medicare reimbursements and allow states to help small businesses by changing the definition of a “small group market.”
• Fought to maintain the health care protections that allow young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26.
“As I talk to Missourians across the state, almost everyone I meet has a story about a loved one who lives with a pre-existing condition,” McCaskill said. “Now they have to worry about whether or not they’ll be able to afford their health insurance, all because Josh Hawley sided with the insurance companies and filed a lawsuit to take away pre-existing condition protections.”
Health care advocates have slammed Hawley for joining the lawsuit, telling The St. Louis American that Hawley “owes his constituents an explanation for why ripping away protections from people with pre-existing conditions helps the state of Missouri or its citizens.”
Hawley’s lawsuit would also take away important prescription drug coverage for seniors through Medicare and end all other consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act.
If Hawley is successful, McCaskill said, “no consumer protections...stipulated under the act would remain,” and the Medicare “doughnut hole” for prescription drug costs would return.
PolitiFact Missouri checked the veracity of that claim and ranked it as “True.”
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE
McCaskill has endorsed Prop B, which would raise Missouri’s current minimum wage from $7.85 to $8.60 in 2019, then gradually increase it by 85 cents a year until it reaches $12 an hour in 2023.
“We have an opportunity in November to raise the minimum wage in Missouri and I am 100 percent in favor of that,” McCaskill said in a recent visit to Lona’s Lil Eats in St. Louis.
Raising the wage, she said, would be a “shot in the arm” for the state’s minimum wage workers, including about 100,000 parents.
Hawley has not joined McCaskill in supporting Prop B, instead proposing a “work credit” for workers making below the median wage.
That’s ironic since, shortly after taking office in January 2017, Hawley filed an amicus brief in federal court as part of an effort to nix Obama-era rules that would have expanded overtime pay eligibility to millions of workers.
McCaskill said Hawley “is not fighting for the workers. He is fighting for the folks in the boardroom.”
• Worked to make college more affordable by expanding Pell Grants and affordable student loans.
• Introduced bipartisan legislation to crack down on the way campuses handle sexual assault, so all students can learn in a safe environment.
McCaskill held a “Your Vote Counts” event with SLU and Wash U students recently, where she highlighted the importance of voting in November.
“Voting is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans, and I want to encourage all of our students to come out and vote on Nov. 6,” McCaskill said.
“From college affordability to affordable health care coverage, there are issues in this Senate race that are going to directly affect the lives of college students. I want them to know that their voice matters.”