Dec 04 2018

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) spoke on the Senate floor to honor the life and service of President George H.W. Bush. In his remarks, Blunt talked about the Bush family’s Missouri ties and some of the times they spent together in the state.

Following are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:

“Certainly in Missouri, we claim part of the Bush family. His mother grew up in Missouri. The Walkers were from Missouri, and he treated Missouri like it was one of the states that he was connected to by relationship. His uncle Herbert, along with his grandfather and later his uncle Herbert and the rest of the family, would go in the summer to Walker's Point, named after that Missouri part of his family, just like the Walker's Cup is named after that part of his family. The impact of his mother is pretty great. I heard the president talking the other day on an interview with Jenna Bush about who he would look for when he got to heaven and that was a couple years ago I think, and he said, well, if Barbara has gone there first, I think the right answer would be, I'm going to look for her first. But then he said, and I think my mom and my dad. He said their daughter that they had lost when she was three, Robin, but his mother was an important part of his life. And you could tell that in talking to him or his children that remembered their grandmother and you could see a lot of what she taught him in him. …

“Another part of his upbringing was sort of the upbringing of, in many ways, the best values of that World War II generation. Stand up straight, take responsibility, share credit, take blame. Those were all part of who George Herbert Walker Bush had become. That idea that you should do what you're supposed to do; that idea of the importance of service to others. … If you're going to be part of the team, but if you're President Bush, I heard Jon Meacham, his biographer say, that he tried to kind of get into the depth of that. What about this commitment to service and aren't there lots of ways to do that, and can't you have service without recognition? But President Bush, understanding the conflict actually in what he believed and the profession he had pursued, said, ‘well, there's nothing wrong if you're going to be on the team to want to be captain of the team.’ Whether it is captain of the Yale baseball team, which he was, or President of the United States. The Yale baseball team, Mr. President, leads me to another thing that you and I know when we think about him, the willingness as a young man to serve and to serve immediately. In fact, at 17, still in high school, after Pearl Harbor, he talked about going to Canada to join the Canadian Air Corps because you could do that at 17, but in our country you couldn't join the Air Corps until 18. … And he was persuaded by, I assume, his mom and dad and others, well, ‘let's finish high school. Let's finish high school first and then when you're 18, you can join the U.S. Air Corps,’ which he did, I believe, on his 18th birthday or really close to his 18th birthday, to become then the youngest aviator in the war at the time he got his flying credentials and serving in that way. That was part of that generation.

“But then the war is over and he and Barbara get married right before the end of the war and then he goes to college. Then he goes to college. That young man with a wife and a baby goes to college, becomes the captain of the baseball team. A man of really always great athletic ability, great grace in so many ways, grace under pressure, grace with others, but grace in sports as well and the ability to do that. Now, when you're the captain of the Yale baseball team, you can talk a lot about the team instead of yourself. When you decide to enter politics, there's an almost total contradiction between pursuing political office and not talking about yourself. It just doesn't quite work that way, you have to be willing to do that and you could always see in President Bush that reluctance to cross the line his mother had taught him and talk about himself. Talk about the accomplishments and even at his best he was held back in many ways by that reluctance to what he would see as bragging on himself, but his public service was significant and broad based. I believe you could make the case that perhaps no one had ever been better prepared to be president than George Herbert Walker Bush. …

“He was a man of appreciation and thank you notes and sympathy notes, and that network of friends and family eventually became very important. Now, where I live in Missouri, we were the ultimate bellwether state for about 100 years. … But for 100 years we voted from 1904 to 2004, we voted for the winner every time but one. So that last 20 years of that time period very much is the time period where President Bush 41 and Bush 43, for that matter, were part of national politics. So Missouri would have been a significant place for him anyway, but his brother lived there, his younger brother Bucky, who passed away in the last few years. Future Ambassador Burt Walker was there. Lots of sort of interrelated and connected family members. So we saw candidate Bush and then Vice President Bush and then President Bush in our state a lot. I was the elected secretary of state when he was vice president and was the secretary of state when he was president, and so I had the chance to benefit from knowing him, the chance to go to Walker's Point a few times, to go to church with the Bushes. And if you were with the Bushes on a Sunday, either you were going to be left by yourself or you were going to go to church because that was as much a part of who President Bush was as anything else, maybe a bigger part than anything else. He said in his faith, the Episcopal faith, maybe he wasn't as sharing publicly of his faith, but he was absolutely, Mr. President, committed to his faith. In fact, a chapel, he raised the money to build a chapel at Camp David during his presidency. …

“The Missouri connection goes a little bit further. Not only did Missouri vote for President Bush in 1988... But after Desert Storm, President Bush looked around to find a place to do the first 4th of July parade after Desert Storm and he came to Marshfield, Missouri, in the county where I was born, in Webster County. I was going to be the grand marshal of the parade that year, as I recall, but when it became apparent that the president wanted to come to be in that parade, I was more than willing to concede that he should be the grand marshal of that parade and walked not too far behind him. And then in 1992 after the convention, I believe the first kickoff, the first campaign kickoff was at Branson, Missouri, and I had the chance to be there with him. We went to a country music show at the Moe Bandy Theater, and Loretta Lynn was sitting with the president and Mrs. Bush, and their good friend from Texas Moe Bandy was performing, and that was a part of America and a part of our music that the president loved. …

“There was nowhere in that matrix that I just talked about where President Bush didn't leave with more friends than he had when he came, and friends in many times that he figured out how to develop a lifelong connection to. All of us could use more of that skill. …

“Let me just say, in terms of preparation and how it paid off, CIA Director, a Member of Congress, one of the very first envoys to China before we had official relationships, the envoy to the United Nations, Vice President of the United States, making connections and contacts and friendships. …

“And then, Mr. President, the collapse of the Soviet Union. We have just enough time now to look back and I've heard many others in the last few days talk about how that could have gone so badly wrong for all of the other countries that were trying to emerge from the domination of Russia and the Soviet Union. But George Herbert Walker Bush, on the phone, reaching out, talking to leaders, seeing the things that had just been predicted by the West Germans themselves to be impossible, that somehow East Germany could become part of West Germany, is exactly what happened. The president encouraged, stood beside, went out of the way to be sure that Helmut Kohl, the leader of West Germany, had the kind of support that he and his government needed to reach out and bring this country that had been isolated for 40 years, this part of the country back into the country, that all of these East European countries that were emerging from Soviet domination had a chance to move from domination to democracy. That would not have happened the way it happened if somebody less prepared and less capable had been there.”

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Dec 02 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, joined Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday this morning to discuss trade and Russia’s continued aggression toward Ukraine.

Following is a transcript of the interview:

On Trade Developments at the G-20 Summit:

“Well, Chris, first let me join all the Americans who are expressing such gratitude for President Bush in his life and his great example. But on this topic, people like me who have really been concerned about the president's stated trade policy can take some encouragement about what happened in the last couple of days, the signing of the U.S., Canada, Mexico agreement. That's a big step that six months ago or even just a few weeks ago we were concerned we would not be making that kind of progress. And on the Chinese front, you're exactly right. We need more specifics here. The ag products that come from my state, that come from the middle of the country, I think the soybean exports to China have gone to virtually zero from about one out of every three rows of Missouri soybeans were being exported to China. So whether it's those kinds of crops, or pork, or beef, or chicken, we need to see some real specific figures here. This has hurt a lot of Missouri farm families and farm families all over the country, but the president's goal to get China in a better and fairer place in trade is the right goal. I'm just hoping that what we've seen in the Canada-Mexico side of the ledger is now going to have the same kind of impact as we are negotiating seriously with China.”

On the Future of Trade Negotiations:

“I am concerned about it and the president knows that. He's been very open to talking with me about it but I think it's hard to win a trade war and I also think though that the facts on the table with China are stronger than any other country in terms of our legitimate concerns and the more other things that the president can move off the table, whether it's Canada, Mexico, the E.U., Japan, the more of those things he can move off the table, the more flexibility he has with China. But I would like to see China become the market that they should be for us, but I would also like to see China create the opportunities for American companies that invest there, to do things besides just steal our intellectual property and violate the agreements that China has clearly made and doesn't stand up to.”

On the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia Investigation:

“Well, you know I haven’t thought a lot about the Mueller timing here. I certainly do think that lying to the Intelligence Committee that I'm part of is a big mistake for whoever does it and creates lots of problems for the committee itself. You know, when you lie to a congressional committee, when you lie to an investigation where hundreds and thousands of man hours, people hours are being spent, the question you asked the next witness may be different, a witness you don't call may be somebody you would have called if you had gotten the right answer. I'm glad to see the special prosecutor taking that particular crime seriously.”

On Russian Aggression Toward Ukraine:

“But on the Russian front, I hope if the president did have any words to exchange with President Putin it was outrage about what the Russians are doing in Ukraine. It is totally unacceptable. The president, I think, announced that he wasn't going to have that meeting pretty quickly after what happened in Ukraine, as opposed to in response to anything else. And if the president had a chance to talk to President Putin, I hope his talk was very frank and no holds barred that we are not going to accept the kind of activity that the Russians are looking at in Ukraine and Crimea and we better send a strong message about the rest of Eastern Europe.”

CLICK HERE To Watch Senator Blunt’s interview

Nov 28 2018

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke on the Senate floor against Russia’s continued aggression toward Ukraine.

Following are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:

“[I] want to talk for just a minute about the continued outrageous behavior of Russia in Ukraine. The most recent incident where Russia, in all, has manufactured another crisis so they could take advantage of whatever they think the moment is to take advantage of. Clearly, this has been allowed to go on too long. While Ukraine is not a member of NATO, I think the NATO countries, including ours, have great interest in what's happening in Ukraine and the continued aggressive behavior of Putin. You know, we had a joint session, the only joint session the President of Ukraine has spoken at. A few years ago he made the point that while they appreciated the humanitarian help, I thought the most telling moment in that speech was when the President of Ukraine said ‘we appreciate the humanitarian help. We appreciate the blankets,’ but he said ‘you can't fight the Russians with blankets.’

“That was a time, where under the Obama administration, we were not giving Ukraine either the defensive or offensive capacity they needed. President Trump has made a different decision, which I support, in helping the Ukrainians defend themselves, but I also support whatever we can do at this moment to let it be known to Putin that we are supportive of Ukraine's efforts to have an independent, democratic government, that we will continue to be supportive of that, we will continue to be helpful in that effort, and President Putin had better be careful that he doesn't take one step too far. In fact, he's already taken steps further than should have been allowed but those steps, the seizure of Crimea, the invasion of Eastern Ukraine by people that were clearly Russian soldiers in plain green uniforms should not have been allowed. [The] President has to deal with that, but we need to deal with that in a way that gives Ukraine every help they need in dealing with that themselves. Whether the president should make that point by not meeting with Putin or whether he should make that point by meeting with Putin and clearly express not only our concern, but our absolute rejection of the efforts that the Russian government has made toward Ukraine in that aggressive way, I don't know, but I do know it's time for us to be very clear of how we feel about that and our commitment to the NATO countries involved along the Russian border that we absolutely would respond if there is any aggression toward those NATO countries and, frankly, should be aggressive in our efforts to help Ukraine defend itself.”

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Nov 28 2018

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA), spoke on the Senate floor to highlight National Adoption Month. Earlier this week, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Blunt and CCA co-chair Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) recognizing November as National Adoption Month and November 17th as National Adoption Day. Blunt shared stories of Missouri foster children in need of forever homes and discussed legislation he and Klobuchar introduced today to assist families with adoption.

Following are Blunt’s Full Remarks:

“Mr. President, I want to move now to the reason I'd scheduled this time today, which was to simply take a few moments to talk about November as National Adoption Month, as November draws to a close, but to also point out that every month should be Adoption Month. I'm pleased to work with my colleague and the co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Senator Klobuchar. We look forward to passing this resolution supporting National Adoption Month. This is the fourth year we've worked together on this resolution, and I thank all of my colleagues for the unanimous support of this resolution as it passed earlier this week.

“The Congressional Coalition on Adoption is the largest bipartisan, bicameral coalition in the Congress. We have our friends leading on the House side, as well as the opportunity for many of us to join together on the Senate side. The idea that every child deserves to grow up in a safe, stable home with a loving family is something that I think everyone can agree on and in fact, we year after year have that agreement here in the Senate and in the House. Unfortunately right now, more than 400,000 children in the U. S. foster care system and more than 100,000 children waiting in that system to be adopted don't have the benefit of a permanent family they can call their own. There are many more children all over the world who need families in settings that no one believes are ideal settings for those children to be on. But for those who reach out, for those who reach out in charitable institutions to have a place for children to go where their mother or family can no longer keep them, we are grateful for that. But for those families that create a home in the foster system in my state and around the country, we're grateful as well.

“There are over 13,000 children in foster care in Missouri and I'd like to share just a couple of those stories of people in foster care, who'd like to have a family that became their permanent family, their family that they would always be able to know that they were going to be secure in and be part of. Brooklyn is a creative girl in the fourth grade who loves arts and crafts. She is an active girl. She likes to play outdoors. She makes friends easily. She's inquisitive by nature. She loves to ask questions and discover how things work. Brooklyn needs a home. Levelle is a sixth grader who is an adventure seeker and animal lover, a Lego enthusiast. He has a knack for math and science and wants to work in a children's hospital when he grows up. Levelle also would like a home that's his permanent home. Kiara and Devin are siblings who hope they can be placed together. Kiara loves music and singing her favorite songs. When she isn't singing, Kiara loves reading a good book or playing outdoors. She wants to be a surgeon or a lawyer and a fulltime foster parent when she grows up. She knows how important that foster family has been for her. She'd like to have a family that she knows she would always be able to relate to in a more permanent way. Her brother Devin is also a sixth grader and enjoys learning and playing sports. He especially loves puzzles and figuring out how to put things together. He'd like to figure out how to put a family together and be part of that along with his sister. He likes singing and playing and reading. The two siblings have a lot of fun together. They'd like to have a forever family. There are a lot more stories that could be shared, and that's why it's so important on National Adoption Month to think about how important it is, year in and year out, that we're looking for ways to make it easier for families to come together in a permanent way.

“Nearly a quarter of the people living in our country have considered adoption. Many of those have misperceptions and concerns about adoption that aren't real. A lot of people believe that foster care adoption is expensive, if you adopt out of the foster care system when in reality, there's almost no cost to adopting from foster care. Financial support is available in many cases, adoptive parents can get that support to make their adoption of a new family more final. Ensuring that adoption remains a viable option for families is central to our efforts in the Adoption Caucus. And this week Senator Klobuchar and I will be introducing the Supporting Adoptive Families Act to provide adoptive families additional tools and supportive services to help them achieve a successful adoption and prevent adoptive children from reentering the foster care system. Since National Adoption Day started in 2000, more than 70,000 children have been adopted into permanent homes. Now, I'm an adoptive parent myself and I look forward to seeing more people have the experience of what happens when you change somebody's life and they change your life.

“I hope more families will take this time, not only in adoption month but also at the holidays to consider adoption. I can say that, without exception, one of the most rewarding things you could possibly do is create that environment. My wife and I have benefited from it. Our son has benefited from it, as have his brothers and sisters, and others in our family. So, Mr. President, it's an important time to think about ways to reach out and make a permanent difference in people's lives. It's, frankly, hard to imagine a greater way to make a more permanent difference than considering adoption and Senator Klobuchar and I, and others in the Adoption Caucus, would certainly encourage that that is something that people are thinking about as kids need a safe and permanent family.”

Oct 12 2018

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security, spoke on the Senate floor to highlight customer service and passenger safety and comfort provisions in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, which was signed into law last week. Blunt noted that the bill directs the FAA to set minimum seat size standards, bans in-flight cell phone calls, and addresses issues for passengers traveling with a disability. The bill also has several provisions to improve safety at airports, including increasing canine teams.

Following are Excerpts from Blunt’s Remarks:

“[I] want to talk a little bit today about the Federal Aviation Administration extension, that just last week, the Senate passed, and the President signed. It's, I believe, the longest reauthorization, the five-year reauthorization is the longest reauthorization since the 1980's. So the traveling public, the FAA itself, the Department of Transportation and the airlines, of carriers of both people and freight have an understanding of what the next five years should look like. Now, one of the things that will happen during the time that begins right now is that the Senate and the House listened, the President listened to the traveling public about their concerns about what happens on airplanes and in airports. …

“In the wake of consumer complaints about shrinking seat size on airplanes, the law directs the FAA to set minimum leg room standards and width and length requirements for airline seat size to ensure passenger comfort and safety. I think all of us had some experience with seeing those seats get smaller all the time, like every other member of the Senate, when I'm flying back and forth every week… but you can sense those seats getting a little smaller and the leg room getting a little tighter, and we've given new responsibility for the FAA to set those standards so the traveling public knows somebody is paying attention to them and how long they’re going to be in that seat and what it’s going to be like when they are there.

“We also have a provision that you can't take somebody off an airplane once they've been allowed to board because you somehow oversold. If somebody is on that plane, they can't be taken off that plane unless they agree to be taken off that plane, or the passenger acts in a way that safety and security and the health of other passengers could be a problem. So there's no more involuntarily bumping of passengers who are on a plane.

“The law prohibits placing live animals in overhead compartments. More and more people seem to travel with pets and we had some bad experiences, people had bad experiences, with that in the last few years so that overhead storage, not an appropriate storage any longer for your pet if you're traveling with a pet, and also sets a minimum standards for service animals that are allowed on flights. We all see that more all the time too, a pet not in a cage but important to the individual that has it as a service animal. Many veterans now have a service animal, but some standards on what that animal can be and how they have to be behaved on a plane.

“We’re going to ban in-flight cell calls. Now, if you’ve ever sat by somebody before the plane takes off and learn way more about them than you want to know, you can imagine what it would be like if you had to learn way more about them based on every call they could make all the time you were flying. So that's not going to happen.”

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