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With a budget deal looming this week, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri offered his thoughts on the bill during a stop at Ozarks Food Harvest in Springfield. KMSU’s Shane Franklin was there.
Blunt said there are two budget items he considers crucial in supporting the measure. One is that the federal government maintains its commitment to save $1.2 trillion over the next ten years. Secondly, Blunt wants a study of the budget item that would trim pay for young military retirees, to ensure that the plan works for both the defense of the country and for the individual soldier planning to retire.
“And of course the reason to make it a little less attractive to retire early is that you need so many skills in the military today and if you have people leaving the military that are 41, 42, or 43 years old, then a little more inducement to stay in would keep those skills in for a few years. That’s a good thing, but I want to be sure that at some point all of their benefits are restored,” said Blunt.
The Republican lawmaker also expressed his disapproval of congressional inaction, noting he’s doing what he can to be optimistic that the next legislative session will be more productive.
“But so far my optimism has been disproven. Senate’s been frustrating, and I absolutely understand why people are frustrated with the Congress, and I guarantee you they’re not more frustrated than I am,” said Blunt.
Blunt explained that there are senators that will start their eighth year in Congress this January who’ve never seen the appropriations process actually work. He calls this unacceptable, and says Congress needs to demonstrate for the American people that the same process which has routinely worked for over thirty years can still work today.
“Let’s see if we can’t have this process work the right way before the spending year that begins October 1 starts. Let’s have hearings. Let’s bring bills to the floor. Let anybody offer any amendment they want to as a better way to spend this money, and force people like me to ether support that amendment or reject it and say ‘no we think this is the way to go’,” said Blunt.
Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is also making a case for a more efficient federal government.
In a recent statement, McCaskill said she will be hosting a series of joint hearings “designed to improve government efficiency, streamline or eliminate duplicative programs, and boost economic growth.”
The first of these hearings began late last week.