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Roy Blunt

Blunt, McCaskill play roles in Senate 'Vote-a-Rama'

Mar 22, 2013

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 18, 2013 - WASHINGTON – Following through on an earlier threat, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt placed a temporary “hold” Monday on the nomination of the top Environmental Protection Agency official until there is progress on an impact statement for a controversial levee proposal in Missouri’s Bootheel.

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, Feb. 27, 2013 - 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.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 21, 2013 - WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill – who campaigned for reelection partly on her centrist ranking for 2011 Senate votes – was somewhat more liberal in her voting last year, according to a National Journal analysis.

The ratings place McCaskill, D-Mo., as the 43rd most liberal senator and the 57th most conservative, with a “composite” liberal score of 62.5 and a conservative score of 37.5.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 15, 2013 - U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he expects the federal spending cuts mandated by “sequestration” – a last-ditch budget deal agreed to in 2011 --  to go into effect in March, since Congress and the White House haven’t agreed on an alternative.

But Blunt indicated that the cuts might not curtail new spending that he considers worthy, notably more money for mental health services.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 13, 2013 - WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said he may threaten to hold hostage the nomination of a new Environmental Protection Agency administrator until the agency stops holding up an impact statement on a controversial levee proposal in Missouri’s Bootheel.

A gun show in Houston, Texas, in 2007.
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.

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 7, 2013 - WASHINGTON – While efforts to restrict assault weapons have grabbed the headlines, a quieter campaign is gaining support on Capitol Hill to try to curb gun violence by bolstering mental health services at the community level.

On Thursday, Oscar-nominated David O. Russell – director of “Silver Linings Playbook,” whose main character has bipolar disorder – appeared at a news conference with lawmakers including U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt to back a new effort to strengthen mental health care in medically underserved areas.

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

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.

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

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. 

Torture, 'torment' and 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Jan 24, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 24, 2013 - WASHINGTON – Waterboarding. “Stress positions.” Sexual humiliation. Bombardment with “agonizing sounds” at “damaging decibel levels.”

Those who watched the film "Zero Dark Thirty" – a fictionalized account, supposedly based on fact, of the CIA’s decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden – got a glimpse of those harsh interrogation techniques, which many would describe as torture.

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.

Blunt Has 'Concerns' About Hagel's Defense Nomination

Jan 11, 2013
Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

As a new appointee on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Republican Roy Blunt of Missouri will have a say in the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to Secretary of Defense.

Blunt will join Democrat Claire McCaskill on the committee that will oversee Hagel's hearing.

Hagel has solicited the ire of many conservatives for his prior statements on Israel. While he served in Congress, Hagel stated that he was a United States Senator, not “an Israeli Senator.”

Blunt and his fellow Republicans are concerned he won't be a close enough ally to Israel.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 11, 2013 - When it comes to military spending, many Missourians may not realize how important it is to the state’s economy – and to their pocketbook.

And they need to know it.

That, in effect, was the prime message of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who stopped by Boeing on Friday to privately meet with workers and executives to underscore that he has their back. Especially now that Blunt is joining U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 7, 2013 - WASHINGTON – When former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, the nominee for Secretary of Defense, faces what is likely to be a contentious confirmation hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee, both of Missouri’s senators will be there.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 2, 2013 - WASHINGTON – Several years ago, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and his wife Abby endured Russia’s demanding administrative and court processes to adopt their son Charlie, now a rambunctious 8-year-old.

Shortly afterward, Russia began to tighten its adoption restrictions. And this week – despite a 2011 bilateral agreement that aimed to ease the adoption process – a new Russian law went into effect that bans all U.S. adoptions of Russian children.

Mo. GOP Divided Over Fiscal Cliff Deal

Jan 2, 2013

Congress may have passed a deal to avert the self-inflicted “fiscal cliff” crisis Tuesday night, but you might want to hold off on celebrating. Another gridlock could be here in a couple of months.

Missouri lawmakers were divided on the deal. Missouri’s Democrats joined Republican Senator Roy Blunt and Representatives Blaine Luetkemeyer and Jo Ann Emerson in voting in favor of the bill.

Below you can see how Missouri's representatives voted. Both Senator Blunt and McCaskill voted in favor of the deal.

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

The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a bi-partisan resolution condemning a newly passed Russian law that would ban Americans from adopting Russian children. The ban is retaliation for U.S. sanctions against Russian officials accused of human rights violations.

Missouri Republican Roy Blunt introduced the resolution condemning the ban – a ban Blunt calls “outrageous.”

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt says if the country goes over the fiscal cliff, Democrats will be to blame.

Blunt and his Congressional colleagues will convene later today in a last-ditch attempt to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that would take effect Tuesday.

In this week's GOP radio address, Blunt says the Republican-led House, has already taken passed legislation that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts and make what he called more responsible reductions in spending

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 29, 2013 - Talks to avoid the fiscal cliff were off, then apparently on again Sunday afternoon as Republicans reportedly withdrew a demand that temporarily brought progress to a halt. | New York Times

This Week's Politically Speaking Podcast

Dec 20, 2012
Alex Heuer

St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon's Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week's politics.


On today's episode: After the tragedy in Connecticut, many are looking to our elected officials to take action. The Politically Speaking Podcast takes a look at what is being proposed at the national and state level. Then we discuss the possibility of the special election for Missouri's 8th Congressional district being moved up, and we close it out with a discussion about Missouri's positive budget projection.

Many Look To Lawmakers To Curb Gun Violence

Dec 19, 2012
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

After the tragedy in Connecticut, many are now looking to elected officials to enact legislation that will curb gun violence. But Missouri’s Senators and state representatives don’t agree on what that response should be.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 16, 2012 - U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says there’s no question that the Connecticut murders of 20 school children and six educators is “a huge tragedy.”

But Blunt, in St. Louis on Saturday, said the question of a response “is a lot more complicated” than calls to ban assault weapons or to put in place other gun-control measures.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Members of Congress from across the country are responding to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Mo.  Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt called the shooting a huge tragedy and said that it put other parts of life in perspective.

But Blunt said stricter gun laws are unlikely to deter similar acts of violence.