Roy Blunt

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Jim Howard / St. Louis Public Radio

Military families would get added flexibility in moving to a new duty station under a bill introduced Tuesday by U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., that he says will provide those families with “geographic stability.”

The measure would provide up to six months of housing assistance in both the current and new locations.  Blunt says that will allow working spouses to maintain an often vital second income while looking for new work or continuing coursework to further their career.  It also allows children to finish their current grade in school.  

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt are the front runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations in the next Senate race.
official photos

Fifteen months before the 2016 election, Missouri’s major candidates for the U.S. Senate – Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander – are ensnared in two familiar issues:

  • The use of private planes;
  • Accusations that each is too tied to special interests.

A key difference is that, for the most part, the attacks aren’t coming from the candidates or their campaigns. Rather, they’re being launched by party surrogates on their behalf.

After meeting with female veterans and healthcare providers, Blunt walks to the VA Women's Clinic in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

After stopping at the VA medical center in Jefferson Barracks, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he continues to be concerned about the long waiting lists of veterans seeking treatment. 

Blunt says he’s particularly worried about growing delays in treating combat-related mental illness and emotional problems. He says the VA should be responding quickly to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders and should be committed to offering the nation’s best treatments.

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

It will be this fall at the earliest before Congress begins negotiating provisions in a cyber-security bill. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he’s disappointed a bill wasn’t ready to be debated next week, before senators leave town for their month-long August break. The House left Wednesday night.

Sen. Roy Blunt talked with the media early last week. july 2015
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

In a rare Sunday session, the U.S. Senate gave overwhelming approval to a plan to re-authorize the charter of the Export-Import Bank, as part of its six-year highway bill.  The bank’s charter expired in June.  All four U.S. senators from Missouri and Illinois voted for the plan, backed by Democrats and mainstream Republicans. Tea Party Republicans have long opposed the bank, calling it “corporate welfare” for big business. Supporters disagree and say the bank helps businesses of all sizes.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., continues to hold a comfortable finance lead over his chief Democratic rival in 2016, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.

But there are signs that Kander’s campaign is attracting Republican concern.

Both candidates provided St. Louis Public Radio with early copies of the official summary sheets for their reports, due Wednesday.

After meeting with female veterans and healthcare providers, Blunt walks to the VA Women's Clinic in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 38,000 veterans who live in Missouri are women, and that number continues to grow rapidly.

That means changes are in store for the Veterans Health Administration, a network of hospitals and clinics that provide care to active duty service members and discharged veterans. Serving more women means expanding the VA’s capacity to offer gynecological exams, services surrounding childbirth, and counseling related to military sexual trauma.  

teacher in classroom
U.S. Department of Education

Both of Missouri’s U.S. senators like the idea of shifting more control over elementary and secondary education back to the states and away from the federal government. A Senate education bill being debated this week does just that, but the degree to which state and local officials may reclaim control over their schools will depend on a wide-range of amendments being offered and whether Republicans and Democrats are able to compromise on some divisive issues.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

A group of about a dozen U.S. senators, including Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., are proposing to create a new agency to help local and state governments leverage private dollars for critical infrastructure projects. The bill is called the BRIDGE Act, which stands for Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Senator Blunt | Flickr

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who’s up for re-election next year, is getting some national exposure by delivering this week’s Republican Address.  The platform gives Blunt a chance to be seen going head to head with President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats on federal spending priorities as lawmakers craft a budget.

Jason Kander
Missouri secretary of state website

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, has adopted one of the GOP’s favorite words – “overreach” – as he attacks President Barack Obama’s habit of using executive orders and rule changes to implement his policies.

Kander’s  prime pitch Thursday to the St. Louis Regional Chamber was that the White House was too dependent, in his view, on using executive orders and rule changes to circumvent the Republicans who control Congress.

Affinia Healthcare employees listen to a press conference held by Missouri Senator Roy Blunt. Affinia has increased its staff by 16 percent in the past four years with an influx of funding from the Affordable Care Act.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt visited a community health clinic in north St. Louis Thursday and pledged support for the model, which uses federal funds to provide basic healthcare services for people who are uninsured or living in poverty.   

The Affordable Care Act included an increase in funding to community health centers over the past five years. Congress has extended the funding for another two years.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Senator Blunt | Flickr

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., wants federal agencies to review regulations that have an impact of $100 million or more on the economy to determine whether they have outlived their usefulness and have become an unnecessary burden on “job creators.” He’s introduced the “Regulatory Review and Sunset Act” to require agencies to consider public input when they conduct their reviews. 

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt meets with people Feb. 20 at Washington University's Alzheimer's Research Center in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt says that he wants to use his key position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to boost funding for research.

The Republican senator recently became the chairman an Appropriations subcommittee that controls federal funding for the National Institutes of Health. He said during a visit to Washington University’s Alzheimer’s Research Center that he wants to make funding for the agency a priority.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has maintained a large financial lead in his 2016 quest for governor, despite new self-imposed rules that prompted him to return $45,000 in donations.

Koster, a Democrat, reported over $3.2 million in the bank in his latest campaign filings, due Wednesday.

Jason Kander
Missouri secretary of state website

HANNIBAL, Mo.—Two weeks after his verbal hammering by Republicans, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander -- now a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate – was in GOP-held territory presenting his case.

Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Thursday he will run for the U.S. Senate. It sets up a collision course with U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Thursday he will run for the U.S. Senate next year.

It’s a move that ensures U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., will have competition in 2016 – and opens up a down-ballot statewide contest for both parties.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Just hours before the Senate confirmed Ashton Carter as defense secretary on a vote of 93 to 5, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., issued a brief statement saying he would oppose both Carter’s and attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s confirmation.

“After careful review, I’ve decided to vote against President Obama’s nominees for both the departments of defense and justice. Unfortunately, I believe both of these nominees will simply continue to uphold President Obama’s flawed agenda at these important agencies.”

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

With the Feb. 27 deadline looming to fund the Department of Homeland Security -- and a weeklong congressional recess approaching -- an end to the impasse over deportation policy seems as elusive as ever.

House Republicans already have passed a nearly $4o billion budget for Homeland Security, but it included controversial provisions to cut funding necessary to implement President Barack Obama’s executive order halting deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants. Senate Democrats have refused to pass a funding bill as long as it contains those provisions.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Even though they’re in the minority, Senate Democrats are flexing their muscles -- and stopping, at least for now, the new Republican majority's $39.7 billion budget for the Department of Homeland Security.

At issue? President Barack Obama’s executive order halting deportations for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. The Republicans want to cut funding for the executive order; the Democrats don't.

St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is the new chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee. 

Lawmakers have spent much of this week organizing the new Republican-led 114th Congress. Part of the  ritual requires both the Republican and Democratic Caucuses in each chamber to back resolutions on committee creation. Lawmakers then finalize those resolutions with votes in their respective chambers.

That process began on Wednesday, with Blunt confirmed as committee chairman on Thursday. 

Wikipedia

From naming local post offices for fallen service members to changing the president’s signature health-care law, area lawmakers are beginning the 114th Congress ready to introduce a wide array of legislative proposals.

Every session of Congress sees far more bills introduced than could ever be considered, and most legislative proposals last only about as long as it takes a lawmaker to issue a news release announcing the bill’s introduction.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Were area members of Congress to sum up this session in a single word, that word would most likely be “Growler.”  The funding for 15 of Boeing’s high-tech E/A 18G Growlers, which are built in St. Louis, is included in the $1.1 trillion government funding package approved by the Senate over the weekend.

Support for the Growler is the one thing most frequently mentioned by Missouri lawmakers.  That bipartisan support helped secure nearly $1.5 billion to keep the Growler going through the end of 2017.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Missouri’s U.S. senators – Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill – hold starkly different views on the release of the congressional report into the CIA’s actions in the detention and torture of some prisoners in the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaking Monday at a news conference before the grand jury announcement on Monday, Nov 25, 2014
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

Within minutes after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that the grand jury did not recommend that Darren Wilson face indictment for the shooting death of Michael Brown, reactions from area politicians came quickly. 

Before and after the grand jury’s decision was made public, area officials made clear Monday night that they understood the stakes.

DON"T USE TOO SMALL Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

With a notable exception, congressional reaction to President Barack Obama's decision to issue an executive order on immigration divided predictably along partisan lines.

Republicans universally panned Obama’s action as “lawless” and unconstitutional while Democrats, for the most part, praised and defended his decision to act where Congress has failed.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., issued a statement that managed to criticize both congressional inaction and the reliance on executive orders to address such an important and contentious issue.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

The president and his administration are maintaining regular contact with Missouri officials ahead of an announcement by the grand jury investigating the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told reporters this week that she spoke with President Barack Obama on Tuesday for what she described as a “full and complete discussion about a lot of issues surrounding Ferguson.”  She added that “I’m in contact with the Department of Justice every few days, encouraging them to continue their independent and complete investigation.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., joined a handful of other centrists-Democrats in voting against Nevada Sen. Harry Reid to be the caucus’ minority leader for the 114th Congress beginning in January. McCaskill said she made her decision in the wake of last week's election, which she said showed that Missouri voters want change.

Senate Democrats return to Washington Wednesday morning knowing that their time in the majority will expire in just a few weeks. 

The lame duck session starts Wednesday and ends before Christmas, with a Thanksgiving holiday in between. The new Congress, with its Senate Republican majority of 52 seats, starts shortly after the New Year. The House remains firmly in Republican hands.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

When the Republican majority takes over the U.S. Senate in January, Missouri will still have influential friends in high places, but St. Louis and urban interests may lack strong champions.

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