Aug 02 2018

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, questioned a panel of third-party social media experts regarding foreign influence operations and their use of social media. Blunt sought answers regarding the scope of operations targeting the United States and other countries, the role social media platforms play in facilitating these operations, and what can be done to protect against them in the future.

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Aug 01 2018

WASHINGTON – After voting in favor of the FY2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) took to the Senate floor to outline the critical defense priorities included in the bill. Blunt noted that the bill includes $716 billion in total authorization, providing for the resources, equipment, and training necessary to rebuild the military. Blunt also highlighted the 2.6 percent military pay raise included in the measure, which is the largest pay raise for our service members in nearly 10 years. The NDAA also authorizes multiyear procurement authority for F/A-18 Super Hornets, which are manufactured in St. Louis.

Following are Excerpts from Blunt’s Remarks:

“Mr. President, today the Senate overwhelmingly supported the conference report for the 2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. That bill is now on the way to the president's desk. And, Mr. President, many Americans have bravely fought to uphold the values that our country holds dear. Many people in the Senate have been stalwart supporters of the military during their time here, but the legislation we passed today is named for one of these senators. Our colleague from Arizona, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator McCain. Senator McCain not only has given much of his life in military service, but he has given tirelessly in service to the country himself, in so many ways, including service here. …

“One of the principal responsibilities that we have is to defend the country. It's the one job the federal government does that almost no American will argue that somebody else could do that better, either personally or at a different level of government. It's the number one priority I think of the federal government, and this bill addresses that priority. Now in our state, we have Whiteman Air Force Base, we have Fort Leonard Wood, Rosecrans Air National Guard Base where people from all over the world come to train on how to use the C-130's, we have a AVCRAD facility, a National Guard facility in Springfield, Missouri, that repairs helicopters for the armed services and saves a lot of money in doing that. We're the home of the National Geospatial Agency's western headquarters, and proud to be. Missourians serve in uniform and proud to serve, Missourians serve in other ways, and all of those organizations I have just mentioned, and they are proud to do that as well.

“The people who serve in the military, the people who served in the intelligence branch of our government really are increasingly challenged. I think the missions we have around the world, the challenges we have around the world, the national security threats we have around the world, as you know from your job as Foreign Affairs Chairman, are as complex and complicated and multifaceted as they have ever been. Some have said more threats from more directions, in more ways than any other time, and I think this bill begins to recognize that, tries to recognize that, understands that to remain successful, America has to have a military that creates a military advantage. …

“This National Defense Authorization Act authorizes the necessary investments and establishes the policies to carry out our National Defense Strategy. First and foremost, President Trump and his administration have prioritized rebuilding the military. This bill, with a total of $716 billion in authorization provides the resources, the equipment, and the training necessary to do so. Now, for two years in a row, we have authorized a substantial increase in defense spending. We'll have a chance when we get back in a week or so to bring the defense appropriating bill to the floor, which hopefully will be the second year in a row that our defense spending has matched the plan that's been authorized. This defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, provides our service members with a pay raise, the biggest pay raise in 10 years, 2.6 percent. Our troops and their families make a tremendous sacrifice to serve. They move often on a minute's notice, but in the last year's legislation, we gave more flexibility to families on that topic, but still when you're in the military, you know you're not likely to be wherever you are for very long, and that increase in pay is something that we should be pleased about as a country. This bill authorizes critical multiyear procurement authority. Now why does that matter?... It allows people to plan, allows people in the military to plan, not only what they are getting this year, but how that gives them the ability to build on that next year. The Super Hornets, for instance, that are made in St. Louis, Missouri. We have been using those at pretty high volume with desert warfare. …

“This bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, contains modernization language for the foreign investment in the United States’ effort to look at what national security issue may be at risk when a foreign company is able to buy the company or a technology of an American company. The National Defense Strategy, in addition to China, also says that Russia seeks to shatter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and change European and Middle-East security and economic structures in its favor, also not in our advantage nor in the advantage of those in the world that will be affected by it. Russia has violated key arms control treaties, it's expanded and modernized its nuclear arsenal sometimes outside agreements that have been made. It's tested counter space weapons. It's used emerging technologies. It's undermined our election process. It's infiltrated the way that we communicate with each other in social media. It has confronted elections of our NATO allies and others. And I think this bill shows not only a firm commitment to NATO, but a firm commitment to Article 5, which means that any NATO country when attacked will have the other NATO countries come to its help and aid.

“Additionally, this bill authorizes that important resources and policies are there to counter North Korea, to counter Iran, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Syria, and others that we should be concerned about as they oppress the people of their countries and try to expand their oppressive governments to other places. This bill recognizes the critical importance of our allies and our partners around the globe so that we can be willing to stand together and to advance shared values and goals. The men and women that serve us in uniform, the men and women that serve us in the intelligence agencies, the men and women, the civilian employees that come every day to be part of that defense and intelligence structure work hard for America. This bill shows that we appreciate that work. The overwhelming vote today on this bill in the Senate verifies that, and the president's signature soon to follow, will set a blueprint that allows us to do the number-one job of the federal government, to defend the United States of America.”

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Jul 31 2018

WASHINGTON – During the Senate Republican leadership press conference today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, announced that the committee will soon consider election security legislation that would help ensure cybersecurity information sharing between federal, state, and local election officials and strengthen post-election auditing.

Following Are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:

“[W]e’ll be marking up an election security bill in two weeks.  We’ll put out, in a few days, a chairman’s mark, basically just updating the work that Senator Lankford and Senator Klobuchar have led on. You know, we’ve had a number of hearings in Rules. Intel has spent a lot of time on this issue, I think we all believe, at least, I certainly believe, that the diversity of the election system continues to be the strength of the system, that state and local officials, that are both answerable and responsible for what happens on election day, continue to be the people most concerned that everything go right.

“We also, I believe, are at the point we would want to legislate, which is the kind of cooperation and communication between federal officials, who have access to information and skills in areas like cybersecurity, that are fully communicating in ways that local election officials are now comfortable with. Largely, what we’ll try to do in this bill, is formalize and put in statute what’s happening right now. Largely what we'll try to do in this bill is formalize and put in statute what's happening right now. I think we can be confident that the things that need to secure an election are happening right now for this year, but who knows where we'd be two years from now or four years from now if we just let those processes continue to be the normal relationships.

“We're going to look at a bill that puts what's happening now in statute, that requires states to go in after the election in all states and have an audit process to look at a certain amount of precincts and be sure that they can even verify in an audit what happened on Election Day was what happened, and let voters know that. And so we're moving in that direction.”

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Jul 26 2018

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke on the Senate floor to highlight the infrastructure investments included in the transportation and agriculture funding bills the Senate is considering this week. Blunt highlighted the Missouri priorities in the legislation, including an increase for critical highway and infrastructure projects, dedicated resources for rural broadband expansion, and support for Essential Air Service communities.

Following are Excerpts from Blunt’s Remarks:

“There's no question that our nation’s infrastructure is not what it should be. The interstate highway system, built under the leadership of President Eisenhower, is now over, much of it is over seven decades old, a lot of it over five decades old. …

“It's been reported that we have a backlog of at least $836 billion in highway and bridge infrastructure, just that part of our infrastructure. I'm the Chairman of the Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Aviation… and in that committee we believe there's at least $100 billion of airport infrastructure projects. …

“Location’s important to us, in fact, Winston Churchill said at one time, talking about the United States, that the United States of America was the best located country in the world. … Winton Churchill didn't point out the Mississippi River that runs through the center of our country as maybe the greatest waterway in the world in terms of the system that created transportation from the very start. The Mississippi River and all the tributary valleys there, we’re incredibly well located, but all of these things can benefit us if we make the most of them. And it's possible to make the least of them. You know, if you get to the water, if you get to the river and you can get on it and you can use it, and it becomes an avenue of commerce, it's an opportunity. If you get to the water and you can't get on it, it's an obstacle. That's sort of what all these things are when we talk about transportation. …

“You know, in our state… Missouri is really at the hub of a lot of where not only the natural infrastructure of the country comes together, but the number one and number two and number three biggest rail yards in America are in our state. Number two is in Kansas City, number three is in St. Louis. The interstate highways come together there. …

“The bill provides a billion dollars in BUILD Grants. Those were previously known as TIGER Grants. And at least 30 percent of that billion dollars is to benefit rural areas. This is particularly the kind of program that we have benefited from, the TIGER Grants, the Champ Clark Bridge over the Mississippi River at Louisiana, Missouri. The bridge over the Missouri River at Washington, Missouri, all benefited from TIGER Grants. …

“There's another $49.3 billion of critical highway infrastructure, and that’s an increase of $3 billion over the authorized level. We've already had from this program, we've had in our state $79 million more in funding increases, federal funding increases for roads and bridges and freight programs. …

“The bill provides $175 million in discretionary spending combined with $140 million in mandatory spending for Essential Air Service, communities can almost support their own commercial system, but not quite, and still have an argument that they need it. In Missouri, Joplin, and Cape Girardeau, and Kirksville all benefit from that Essential Air Service program. …

“For ag to work, you have to have an infrastructure that works. … If you can arrive with a quality product and get it there cheaper than anybody else can, you get that marketplace. Don't want to forget broadband, as we think about rural America today, broadband is as important as the telephone was 70 years ago, when we figured out how to get telephones to people that were a long way from the nearest telephone… Rural Missourians, we have three percent of the rural population in our state, and half of that population doesn't have access to high-speed internet. That's behind the rest of the country and our state is trying to catch up. If we can take advantage of these broadband pilot grants that encourage everybody to catch up, we'll catch up faster than we would have otherwise. Distant learning and telemedicine looked at in these bills, part of rural community development and there are rural community development facilities grants here. Again, we've been benefiting from that and hope to see that program continue. We received rural community facilities grants for things like police facilities and road construction equipment and health care facilities in Dent County and Scotland County and Livingston County, Grundy County, and Schuyler County. …

“Mr. President, every level of government, local, state, and federal, as well as the private sector, really has to continue to recognize the importance of infrastructure. The infrastructure we see on top of the ground, the infrastructure we don't see below the ground, the broadband infrastructure that some people have and other people don't, that's how we compete. This bill largely is a bill about competition. Certainly the transportation and ag parts of this bill are about competition. We need to do what we can to strengthen our overall infrastructure, our transportation network to boost economic growth, create jobs, and be sure that we're more competitive where I live and where you live and all over our country.”

CLICK HERE To Watch Senator Blunt’s Remarks
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Jul 25 2018

VIDEO: Blunt Pays Tribute to Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s Role in Preserving and Sharing the History of African-American Baseball

Kansas City Is Home to the Museum and the Birthplace of the Negro National League, Which Was Established in 1920 at the Paseo YMCA

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) recently spoke on the Senate floor to highlight the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City and the important role it plays in preserving the history of African-American baseball. Kansas City is the birthplace of the Negro National League (NNL), which was established in 1920 during a meeting of team owners at the Paseo YMCA.

During his remarks, Blunt noted that the Kansas City Monarchs were the longest running franchise in Negro League history. The Monarchs won two Negro World Series titles, played 37 seasons, and sent the most players to Major League Baseball, starting with Jackie Robinson.

Blunt also highlighted the history of the St. Louis Stars, originally the St. Louis Giants. The St. Louis Stars played 12 seasons and won the NNL pennant in 1928, 1930, and 1931.

Last week, Blunt met NNL players and NLBM leaders at an event honoring the Homestead Grays. Photos here.

Following are Excerpts from Blunt’s Remarks:

“Mr. President, last night the All-Star Game was hosted in Washington, and in conjunction with that game, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum hosted an event honoring the Homestead Grays, one of the teams from that league, and there were great teams in that league. The Homestead Grays had won the Negro League World Series in 1943, which was 75 years ago, and they had a great exhibit here in town, of that team, and about that team, and about the history of that league. The museum, which was founded in 1990, is located in Kansas City, Missouri. It's dedicated to highlighting and preserving that important part of our history, of our sports history, the history of African-American baseball. Bob Kendrick runs that museum, and it's a museum I'd encourage all of my colleagues to visit. It's a museum when the All-Star Game was in Kansas City a few years ago, that one of the venues for Major League Baseball was there. It's a museum that when people are in Kansas City playing the Royals, often managers and coaches take their players, players who haven't been there before, and players who want to go back, just to have a sense of what that was like, the segregation of baseball, but also some of the great players that played there... But the museum is actually expanding, it’s expanding and building. The Buck O'Neil Research and Education Center on the Paseo in Kansas City. Buck O'Neil was a great Kansas Citian, but he had also been a great part of Negro League Baseball. …

“The Negro National League was created there in 1920, at that Paseo YMCA. There was an owners meeting and the owners decided, you know, it's time we really put more of a structure into this league, and so they established a league. Before 1920, these African-American teams had barnstormed around the country and played whoever they could play. But after 1920, they could still barnstorm, but there was a league, and there was a league championship, and there was a structure that they hadn't had before. In 1947, as every baseball fan knows, the Brooklyn Dodgers decided to integrate baseball, and Jackie Robinson, who’d played for the Kansas City Monarchs, was the first player to step into that challenge of integrating baseball. …

“But some of the greatest baseball and the most exciting baseball ever played, was played in this particular league. Names like Satchel Paige, who said he was so fast that he could, this is what he said about himself, he could turn off the light in the bedroom and be in bed before it got dark. He was a great pitcher. He was a great runner. Buck O'Neil, Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, Jackie Robinson, and 100 other names that, in that last three years of the 1940's, joined the Major Leagues, are all part of that story. Missouri teams were an important part of that story. The Monarchs, I already mentioned Jackie Robinson played briefly for the Monarchs before he went to the Dodgers, but the Monarchs played for 37 seasons. They won a dozen league championships. They sent more players than any other team to the Major Leagues. The St. Louis Stars on the other side of our state, originally the St. Louis Giants, played 12 seasons. They won the league championship in 1928 and 1930 and 1931. …

“We're going to be celebrating the 100th anniversary of that league in 2020. I know Congressman Cleaver, on the other side of this building, and I are looking at ways that we can draw more attention to this great part of our story. It's sad because of the segregated elements of it, but it's a great story because of the entrepreneurship and the sportsmanship and the competitive nature of that league.”

CLICK HERE To Watch Senator Blunt’s Remarks