Roy Blunt

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.”

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

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. – a former leader in the U.S House of Representatives – suggests that House Republican leaders move quickly to renew their focus on their issues. His advice comes in the wake of the unexpected defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in Tuesday’s primary.

“Whatever they decide to do for the remainder of this year, decide it quickly and move on,’’ said Blunt in a conference call Wednesday with Missouri reporters.

(via Flickr/[sic])

(Updated 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, June 3)

Within minutes after the Environmental Protection Agency announced its proposed regulations for coal-fired power plants, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt blasted the decision as a “unprecedented power grab.”

Blunt followed through on Tuesday by co-sponsoring a bill, called the “Coal Country Protection Act,’’ that would allow carbon-emissions limits to go into effect only if other federal agencies could guarantee that no jobs would be lost, electricity rates wouldn’t go up, and the nation’s economy wouldn’t be hurt.

(via Wikimedia Commons/ United States Department of State)

The two Republican members of Congress who represent the St. Louis area – Ann Wagner and Blaine Luetkemeyer – are calling for the resignation of  U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Their declarations come as several of the nation’s VA facilities, including Cochran Medical Center in St. Louis, have been accused of improper or delayed care to military veterans.

Wagner, R-Ballwin, said that Shinseki – in office since 2009 -- had “failed to provide timely services and care for our veterans.  Secretary Shinseki has failed to fulfill his mission at the VA.”

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

On Friday, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is releasing the latest results of a survey of Missouri military veterans who have received care at Veterans Administration’s facilities around the state, including Cochran and Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.

While not disclosing any details, McCaskill told reporters Tuesday that “every year we’ve done it, the VA has done a little better. I’m particularly pleased this year because we’ve had even more responses this year than we had last year.”

Missouri’s U.S. Senators are seeking answers from the Department of Veterans Affairs  about reports of lax mental health services in St. Louis’s VA hospital system.

The inquiry stems from allegations by the system’s former Chief of Psychiatry, Dr. Jose Mathews, regarding an “artificial backlog” of patient care created by staff who treat veterans for only a fraction of the workday.

According to the Associated Press, Mathews claims in a federal whistleblower complaint filed last year that he was demoted after his efforts to make employees work harder and more efficiently.

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

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is stepping up his longstanding focus on energy — and his opposition to a federal carbon tax that he believes will increase energy and fuel costs for Missourians.

“The carbon tax would have a huge impact on our state,’’ Blunt said in a conference call Wednesday with reporters. “We’re very coal dependent. It would have a devastating impact on our utility bills.”

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

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri is touring the St. Louis region today to promote a bill to set up special bond sales for a fund that state and local governments could use to rebuild roads, bridges and other public works projects.

Blunt, R-Mo., is among the chief sponsors of the bill,  the “Partnership To Build America Act." It would encourage companies to bid on the bonds by allowing them to exclude some of their overseas profits from federal taxes.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Raising the minimum wage would be a big help for people like Shnette Hooker, an employee at a McDonald’s in Spanish Lake. Hooker said, it would allow people “to save a little money,” “take care of their kids” and “get off the assistance that everybody is on.” 

But more than just that, Hooker said boosting the minimum wage is a matter of fairness.

Mo. National Guard, via Flickr/M. Queiser

Missouri’s two U.S. senators – Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill – are joining forces as they raise concerns about the Defense Department’s proposed cuts in spending for the National Guard.

The trims would have a $34 million economic impact on Missouri through 2016, Blunt told reporters Thursday. The reduced spending would primarily affect Guard operations in Springfield, Warrensburg and St. Joseph, he said.

File Photo

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Potential 2016 presidential hopeful Rand Paul scanned the packed ballroom of fellow Republicans, most of them older and white, and declared Saturday that their party’s makeup needs to change if the GOP is to have any hope of recapturing the White House.

“We need a bigger party. We need a party that looks like America,’’ said Paul, currently a U.S. senator from Kentucky, during the closing banquet for the Missouri Republican Party’s Lincoln Days festivities, held this year in Springfield.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –  From U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt on down, Missouri Republicans at the party’s annual Lincoln Days festivities are full of confidence about their chances at the polls this fall and in 2016.

And the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,’’ is getting much of the credit.

“If this disaster doesn’t help us take control of the Senate, it will surprise me,” said Blunt, who sparked several ovations at Friday night’s opening banquet of the weekend gathering, held this year at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield, the senator's home turf.

Blunt Hopes To Honor 'Monuments Men'

Feb 19, 2014
Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Of the roughly 350 men and women who preserved and protected art during World War II, 14 of them had ties to Missouri. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., toured the St. Louis Art Museum Wednesday to take a look at some of the pieces the so-called "monuments men" fought for.

The Republican has sponsored a bill to award the "monuments men" with the Congressional Gold Medal.

They're credited with protecting millions of cultural artifacts from the Nazis, and Blunt took a look at a couple of them during his tour.

Blunt Offers State of the Union 'Prebuttal'

Jan 25, 2014
St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says President Obama has "a lot of explaining to do” in his State of the Union address Tuesday.

Blunt offered a preemptive rebuttal to the speech in the GOP’s weekly radio address Saturday, saying Americans are suffering under unnecessary regulation and lackluster job creation.

Obama is expected to call for a “Year of Action” on poverty, but Blunt calls the focus on income inequality “more of the same.”

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

When it comes to energy, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt says that the federal government has taken the wrong approach for years.

“The refusal to acknowledge that we’re the Saudi Arabia of coal is a big mistake for us,” Blunt, R-Mo., told St. Charles County officials and business people gathered Thursday night at the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce.

Instead, he said, “There’s a clear war on coal.”

Blunt Praises Community Mental Health Supports

Jan 11, 2014

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., toured the Independence Center in St. Louis Saturday, aiming to draw attention to mental health legislation and the importance of community mental health centers. 

Blunt is trying to drum up support for legislation he has co-sponsored to expand community mental health services. The proposed legislation would create a pilot program in 10 states establishing criteria for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.