Roy Blunt

(Bernt Rostad)

On day two of the government shutdown, it continues to cause headaches, including for a group of Missouri and Kansas veterans that flew to Washington. 

The nonprofit Heartland Honor Flight organized the trip and the closed National World War II Memorial was the first stop Wednesday. The group was met by many Missouri and Kansas lawmakers, who helped them get inside the memorial where barriers had been set up. 

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., on Wednesday accused some House Republicans of behaving like her misspoken GOP nemesis of 2012 – former Rep. Todd Akin – with their efforts to kill the implementation of Obamacare, even if it forces a government shutdown.

“A group of them have ‘Akin-itis,’ “ McCaskill told reporters during a conference call with reporters.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Sedalia was swarming with politicians Thursday, as office holders from both parties descended on the Missouri State Fair.

Nearly a thousand people, politicians and citizens alike, dined on country ham, eggs and peaches at the Governor's Ham Breakfast.  Governor Jay Nixon began his annual speech by condemning the incident in which a rodeo clown wore a President Obama mask this weekend.

"What has always united us is (that) no matter what part of the state you're from, or who you voted for, we treat people with respect," Nixon told the applauding crowd.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – Hopes were high when the new Congress convened in January and President Barack Obama started his second term, with progress predicted on issues that included immigration reform, gun control and perhaps even a long-term budget deal to avert a sequester.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A bipartisan group of senators is pressing forward with a reporter shield bill that includes new Justice Department guidelines for investigations that involve the media.

The guidelines announced Friday would make it harder for prosecutors to obtain journalists’ phone records without advance notice. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says the new bill will make it much more difficult for political appointees to stop reporters from doing their job.

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri visited Mercy Hospital in St. Louis Monday to speak with healthcare workers about the implications of federal healthcare changes. He also received a tour of the hospital's Telehealth Services, often used to serve rural communities that don't have access to specialty or intensive care. 

Mercy SafeWatch is an electronic Intensive Care Unit(e-ICU) that serves Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Blunt learned how Mercy is able to provide an extra set of eyes and ears for doctors that can't always be there in person.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he remains a critic of the federal Affordable Care Act -- and remains convinced that the measure’s pending health insurance changes could eventually end up reducing the number of Americans with coverage.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – Top Senate Democrats say they have enough GOP support to win a key test vote Monday on immigration reform, but U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said Friday that he won’t support what is being called the “border surge” deal.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON -- With the White House stepping up the pressure, conservative lawmakers firing salvos, and one senator going so far as to deliver his remarks in Spanish, the Senate's long-anticipated debate began this week on an immigration bill that is a high priority but faces an uncertain future in Congress.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON -- The extent of phone and internet information collected by intelligence agencies is "troublesome" and should be debated, says U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who had been briefed on such activities as a longtime member of congressional intelligence panels.

"I actually am concerned by the volume of records the federal government is keeping and future potential uses for those records," Blunt, R-Mo., told reporters Wednesday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - WASHINGTON – On opposite sides of Capitol Hill on a busy Wednesday, two witnesses ruffled some feathers when they invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – With congressional probes of the Internal Revenue Service and Benghazi likely to remain in the spotlight, both allies and critics of President Barack Obama are predicting that fallout from the revelations could endanger key parts of his second-term agenda.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – Responding to the revelations about the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said his office was looking for Missouri examples — but so far had not found any.

“I’m going to continue to see if any Missouri groups have had a problem. So far, the groups I’ve talked to either had their IRS status before this began or just simply didn’t try to get it,” Blunt, R-Mo., told reporters on Wednesday

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – When U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt announced that he planned to block President Barack Obama’s nominee for the nation’s top environmental job, he couched his opposition in terms of a controversial flood-control project in Missouri’s Bootheel.

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

Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo) is one of many co-sponsors of a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes for online purchases.

Under current law, states can only require stores to collect sales taxes if the store has a physical presence in the state.

As NPR's Planet Money puts it:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – With speeches, ads and new vote ratings, advocates of new laws to stem gun violence are trying to turn up the pressure this week on GOP lawmakers who are trying to block action on gun control.

On Tuesday, Mayors Against Illegal Guns – a group backed by funding from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – put congressional offices on notice that it would start issuing a “scorecard, assigning members a letter grade on their gun policy records.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has sought to put the blame on President Barack Obama for the crucial federal employees and services – including air traffic control towers – that have taken the hit during the implementation of the across-the-board budget cuts known as the “sequester.”

That said, Blunt indicated that he continued to support the overall concept of the sequester, in effect since March 1.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – Senators call it the “vote-a-rama,” a rapid-fire series of votes on dozens of amendments to the budget resolutions that may or may not have anything to do with the government’s budget.

That’s what was happening late Thursday, Friday and possibly into Saturday’s wee hours as senators tried to finish the budget so they could leave town for their spring “work period.” More than 400 potential amendments were filed, but Senate leaders hoped to pare down the actual number of votes to 30 or so.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – For Mayor Jo Anne Smiley of Clarksville, Mo., clean water is key, given that the Mississippi River provides drinking water to 18 million Americans.

For Alton, Ill., Mayor Tom Hoechst, the emphasis is on efforts to help farmers to prevent erosion that leads to sediment buildups that require river dredging. And, of course, the need for more federal investment in river locks and dams.

The Sequester Is Here To Stay, Blunt Says

Mar 14, 2013
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

The sequester’s across-the-board cuts to both entitlements and defense went into effect at the beginning of the month, and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) says it's here to stay, at least for now.

The sequester was never meant to be a permanent change, just a threat so Congress would compromise on a plan. But Blunt wants to give the President more authority in deciding what is cut.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of the moderates whom President Barack Obama called last week to discuss budget issues, said Tuesday that the $85 billion in sequester cuts is likely to stay but might be re-targeted.

“I think it’s doubtful that we will change the $85 billion in cuts,” McCaskill told reporters. “I still think it’s possible that we will change the impact of those cuts so . . .  it makes more sense where and how we are cutting.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – The day before the sequester budget axe was due to fall, there was plenty of posturing on Capitol Hill but apparently precious little progress on reaching a deal to avert the across-the-board cuts.

While U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the Senate would consider today a Democratic bill that aims to replace the sequester with a “balanced approach” including some revenues, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said GOP senators would block that plan. A separate Republican proposal also will be offered.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

Standing in the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) called out House Republican leadership for failing to renew the Violence Against Women Act -- legislation meant to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Until recently, the act received bipartisan support since its inception in 1994.

House leadership didn't bring the Senate version to floor, allowing the VAWA to expire. Leadership cited problems with LGBT and Native American provisions in the bill. But McCaskill said she doesn’t buy the reasoning, and calls it a “fig leaf.”

Tim Bommel, Mo. House Communications

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R) addressed the Missouri House today during a visit to the State Capitol.

He told House members that state and local governments should play a bigger role in solving problems than the federal government.

“Everyone of you should fight everybody in Washington when it’s clear to you that Washington’s trying to take some responsibility from this Capitol that you can do better than people can do in Washington," Blunt said.

Free gun locks will be given out Friday at City Hall in St. Louis
M Glasgow | Flickr

During his State of the Union address last night, President Barack Obama emphasized the need for more background checks for gun buyers, saying that that the majority of Americans favor the proposal as a way to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.

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

From the start, Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo) has been critical of the Obama administration’s response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last September that resulted in the death of an ambassador and three other Americans. And on Thursday, Blunt had the opportunity to question departing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about the attack.

Panetta testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in what will likely be his final appearance before Congress.

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

Just months after the GOP’s poor performance among Latino voters, a group of eight senators -- four Republicans and four Democrats -- has renewed calls for immigration reform.

The plan would address four issues: border security, expanding opportunities for legal immigrants, an employee identification system and an arduous path to citizenship.

But Republican Senator Roy Blunt told reporters that it's the last one that will be the most problematic.

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

Missouri’s two U.S. Senators are calling for a stakeholder meeting to discuss how to close a 1,500 foot gap in a Mississippi River levee located in the southeastern part of the state.   

In a joint statement released today, Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt say a host of government agencies have failed to make adequate progress closing the gap.

Construction on the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project stalled out in 2007 because of technical problems related to its Environmental Impact Statement.

Blunt Will Vote Against Hagel's Confirmation

Jan 31, 2013
(Screenshot via CSPAN)

Updated 2/1/13 9:44 with news that Senator Blunt will be voting "No" on former Senator Hagel. Updated 2/1/13 3:03 with additions throughout.

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says it was a bad day for former Senator Chuck Hagel, as he appeared before the committee that will consider his nomination to be defense secretary. Bad enough that he will be voting against Hagel's nomination. 

via flickr/shannonpatrick17

One of the major holdups in the expansion of the Keystone Pipeline was Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman’s apprehension. But after Nebraska state officials approved a revised route this week, both of Missouri’s U.S. Senators are calling on the president to sign off on the expansion.

The Keystone Pipeline already runs through Missouri. What the Keystone Pipeline XL would do is expand the pipeline – adding routes from Alberta to Kansas and Oklahoma to Texas.

It would also enlarge the size of the pipes’ diameter by 6 inches.

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