Roy Blunt
5:00 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Blunt talks gas prices, military spending

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt is one of the Republicans blaming President Obama for gas prices that have reached close to $4 per gallon, saying his rejection of the Keystone pipeline hurt the economy.

Obama is defending his energy policies in Oklahoma today, pointing to plans to fast-track an oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas that emerged after he delayed the larger Keystone XL pipeline earlier this year.

Even so, Blunt says the president continues to obstruct progress.

"He's still standing in the way of actually getting the Canadian oil to the part of the line that they're expanding to take care of what's currently a small bottle neck in Cushing," Blunt says. "But what would be a very important expansion of that pipeline if we ever get access to the Canadian tar sands oil that we should have, that they want to sell us."

Missouri's Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill released a statement today praising the president's announcement that he is seeking expedited approval for the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline saying "we're another step closer to American jobs and stronger energy security."

Also addressed on a conference call today with reporters, one day after McCaskill came out strongly against military base closures, Blunt says officials need to have a discussion about military spending.

McCaskill is Chairman of the Senate panel with jurisdiction over base closures. Yesterday, she told top military officials that they had not made a convincing case for another round of base-closures.

During the conference call with reporters this morning, Blunt says the military budget like any other budget needs to be looked at carefully.

"We still need to have an overseas presence, but I would look at the overseas presence before I looked at the domestic presence of the military," Blunt said. "But we have to have a discussion about our military spending just like we have to have a discussion about everything else. And one of the problems in Washington right now is that no one wants to talk about anything that's going to solve this problem."

The Pentagon is requesting a new round of base-closings in order to cut federal spending in the defense budget.

Congress would approve legislation to create a new Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) that would carry out an independent review of installations and make recommendations.

McCaskill's announcement effectively kills any such effort this year.