NEWSMAKER — The Capitol Conversation: Senator Roy Blunt reflects on 2017, sees promise in 2018

| January 11, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — After a whirlwind year of politics in 2017, U.S. Senator from Missouri Roy Blunt is reflecting on his party’s accomplishments last year.

The Republican from Springfield is also looking ahead to 2018 in the first of a two-part series with Senator Blunt for this week’s KMZU Capitol Conversation.

Click below to hear the conversation between KMZU’s Brian Lock and U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), which aired Wednesday morning on KMZU.

“Well, I’ve got to tell you Brian, I think one of my top priories in 2018 is explaining to people what happened in 2017,” Senator Blunt explained.

The Republican-controlled government struggled over many hurdles as 2017 pressed on, but Blunt said he considers the changes made on taxes and what he and his colleagues see as regulatory overreach capped off a successful year.

“I think focusing on people seeing their take-home paychecks grow in 2018,” Blunt said, referencing the landmark tax overhaul passed by Republicans in the House and Senate before being signed into law by President Trump.

“Focusing on what we’ve done in the tax code, to make us more competitive,  continuing to emphasize the incredible reforms on the regulatory side, where truly federal regulators were out of control under President Obama.”

Focusing on the past, however, is no way to govern. So Senator Blunt is looking forward, considering the lay of the land in 2018.

“From the point of view of our state, infrastructure is important,” Blunt said. “It is important everywhere, but it’s more important where we live, because it is one of our greatest competitive advantages. Where rail and highways and rivers come together in a way that allows us to be more competitive. I think infrastructure is going to be an area of significant focus.”

President Trump campaigned aggressively on infrastructure, recently declaring “We are proposing infrastructure reforms to ensure that our rural communities have access to the best roadways, railways and waterways anywhere in the world.” Trump has expressed his confidence in getting a “big infrastructure bill” over the finish line this year, reportedly saying it would be “easy” to garner bipartisan support for the measure.

Senator Blunt is bullish about infrastructure as well, but says regulatory overreach can’t hinder progress if an infrastructure measure were to pass.

“Multiple permitting agencies, or really two of them, can’t wait around for a third one to do what it needs to do,” Blunt explained. “You need to have a lead permitting agency with an aggressive timeline, so let’s see what happens.”

Blunt also cheered the passage of tax reform in December 2017, saying that the changes to the tax code will have a direct and immediate impact on Missourians. He rejected detractors who say the changes to the tax code are preferential to the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations.

“If you make $73,000 as a family of four in our state, you are going to be taking home almost $200 more every month this year than you took home last year. If you are a single parent with one child and you make $41,000, you are going to be taking more every month. For you, that’s a 70-percent, that $13,00 tax cut is a 70-percent tax cut.”

Blunt hailed provisions lowering the corporate tax rate from 25%, a rate set in 1986, to 21%, which Blunt says makes the U.S. economy more competitive for businesses.

“I was pleased to see the president talk at the American Farm Bureau national meeting about doubling the exemption from the death tax, the importance of trade and the ag economy. There is no where more in the heart of that anywhere in the country than right where you are sitting at your radio station where agriculture not only drives the economy but has a lot to do with feeding the world.”

In part 2 of this KMZU Capitol Conversation series, Senator Blunt goes into the weeds on infrastructure, NAFTA and agriculture.

 

“NAFTA has made our neighborhood much more cohesive. We still have people coming over our southern border, but not many of them are Mexicans any more,” Blunt said.

Be sure to tune in to KMZU 100.7 FM on Friday at about 7:25 a.m. for that and more in part two.

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