Despite his intention to keep the conversation private, Sen. Paul Wieland said he was discussing his call for new Senate leadership with other lawmakers.
“It was never my intention for it to be a public discussion,” he said. “Now that it’s out there, I can tell you that every day since it’s been out there I’ve talked to one or more senators every day about the situation in our caucus, and it’s something we’re going to have to work through as a caucus and decide what we’re going to do.”
Wieland sent a letter to his Republican colleagues in the upper chamber last month, advocating for new leadership after the final week of session fell apart over the renewal of the state’s federal reimbursement allowance (FRA) tax program. He said the letter was released by one of the members.
Wieland appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” to discuss the controversy surrounding the program. Wieland was a staunch opponent to the renewal during the final week of session as it came up without an amendment he had previously attached to prohibit the use of funds for drugs or devices “that may cause the destruction of, or prevent the implantation of, an unborn child.”
Wieland said the issue was one he had considered in the past and hoped to see move forward as his time in the upper chamber comes to a close.
“I had played around with the language in years past, and then I finally figured I’ve only got two years left,” he said. “It’s time to do it or not do it, and I thought before I leave the Senate I needed to make a sincere effort to try to prevent taxpayers from having to fund these abortion drugs.”
While he said he was sure the FRA bill would pass by the Sept. 30 deadline, he said the chances of his amendment being part of the final version were “50-50.”
U.S. Senate race
State Rep. Shamed Dogan and strategists Lane Koch, Braxton Payne, and Pat White joined this week’s panel to discuss the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Roy Blunt in 2022. Payne said former Gov. Eric Greitens would likely win his bid for the Republican nomination.
“There’s a very good possibility, especially if you have just seven people in the race,” he said. “I think that would be an interesting race for any Democrat to get in.”
White said the outcome would depend on the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, something he said would carry considerable weight with Missouri voters.
“It’s one of those races where the litmus test begins and ends at Mar-a-Lago,” he said. “They’re all going down there to figure out how to get the blessing of a guy who won the state by double digits.”