Roy Blunt

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.

Rex Sinquefield
Courtesy of Rex Sinquefield's website

Shortly before the polls close on Nov. 4,  wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield and his wife, Jeanne, will already have moved on to the 2016 elections.

The couple is hosting an early-evening fundraiser – billed as an “Election Night Reception”  -- on Nov. 4 at their St. Louis home.  The reception is scheduled to end when polls close at 7 p.m.

The beneficiary is U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. The senator is expected to seek re-election in 2016.

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

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is calling for a travel ban in response to the Ebola outbreak.

Speaking Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Missouri’s Republican senator said that the U.S. should temporarily suspend the visas of people traveling from the West African countries battling the disease.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

After the unrest in Ferguson, and the media images of highly equipped police, the “militarization” of police departments became a hot-button public policy issue.

After traveling the state on Monday, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said law enforcement officials have told him there’s misinformation about the type of equipment used in Ferguson.

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

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt says he supports the plan for dual local-federal investigations into the circumstances of Saturday’s police shooting in Ferguson of 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose death has ignited violence.

“This is a case where redundancy is a good thing,’’ said Blunt, R-Mo., as he talked to reporters Tuesday morning while visiting with businesses along the St. Louis riverfront.

“The more people looking at this, the better.”

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

(Updated 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 15)

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood, is continuing this week to make the rounds of the national news outlets as he promotes his new book, “Firing Back.”

But most Republicans, nationally and in Missouri, are continuing to ignore his book – and him.

In the book, Akin generally defends his controversial 2012 contention that in cases of “legitimate rape,’’ women rarely get pregnant because “their bodies have ways of shutting the whole thing down.”

Missouri Supreme Court

Updated 12:22 p.m., Thurs., June 19: On June 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Ronnie White's nomination to the U.S. Senate floor. The committee's 10-7 affirmative vote makes it highly likely that White's nomination to the federal bench will be approved.

Here's the original story about White's nomination from April:

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

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., contends that a residual U.S. force left in Iraq could have prevented the sectarian violence now ripping the country apart, and he says the blame is shared by Iraqi leaders and President Barack Obama.

“We would have made a big impact if we’d left some people there,’’ Blunt said during a conference call Wednesday with Missouri reporters.

“I firmly believe, as I said at the time, that not leaving some sort of stabilizing force in Iraq would lead to exactly the kind of religious breakdown and infighting that’s occurred.”

Claire McCaskill's Flickr Page

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says the Iraqi government bears most of the blame for the violence now engulfing the country and is urging caution as the U.S. government decides how to respond.

“The mess that is in Iraq right now is Iraq’s doing,” McCaskill said in a conference call Tuesday with Missouri journalists. “The U.S. put them on a path of free and fair elections, and to have a military that could enforce the rule of law...I’m sick to my stomach that what we have done in that country has been so carelessly and casually abandoned in favor of sectarian dominance.”

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