The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 8, 2013

Susan Redden: Senator laments attitudes leading to gridlock

JOPLIN, Mo. — U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., lamented the “all-or-nothing” attitude among many Washington lawmakers in remarks before a Joplin audience last week.

He said that sort of stance has left the government in “lockdown” for five years, and he blamed the White House and both political parties for the problem.

“When you go for all or nothing, you don’t get anything,” said Blunt, who was elected to the Senate in 2010 after 14 years in the House of Representatives.

He quoted former President Theodore Roosevelt, who advised “to hold out for all you can get — and no more.”

Though all the Missouri Republicans in the House voted against measures ending the recent government shutdown, Blunt voted to reopen government functions, as did U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. Blunt, after his remarks, said constituents he heard from who favored the shutdown did so because they believed it could defund imposition of the federal Affordable Care Act.

“People had lots of bad information,” he said.

Blunt did have some praise for Congress, too, citing passage of tax measures that he called “the first permanent tax law since 2000.” He said the package would provide some predictability, which has been lacking in the absence of budget measures.

He also praised the Budget Control Act, commonly referred to as “sequestration,” which he said would cut discretionary spending by $1 trillion. He even praised the impact of the act on military spending.

Responding to a question from the audience, Blunt agreed that current policies regarding Social Security and Medicare are increasing future burdens on the dwindling number of young people who are paying into the system.

He said the two systems need to be “demographically readjusted from time to time,” adding, “Sixty-five is different today from when those programs went into effect.”

The senator also praised increased energy production in the U.S., saying it will mean more jobs and better national security.

“And I’m not just talking jobs in energy production, but also the kind of jobs that are created when businesses know they will have a predictable utility bill,” he said.

He said he believes cheaper energy will translate into a resurgence in American manufacturing.

Blunt spoke Wednesday at a breakfast sponsored by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce at the Continental Banquet Center.

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