JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Senator Roy Blunt is in Missouri this week as the legislative recess begins to come to a close. KMZU’s Brian Lock was able to talk with the Senator about work he has been up to in Washington, D.C. and specifically discussed Blunt’s thoughts on different areas of the Trump Administration’s proposed budget.
Click below to hear their full, edited interview which aired live on KMZU.
Senator Blunt told KMZU News that he sees cuts to education funding in the budget in its current form with a silver lining. The cuts, he said, can allow states and local governments to take a more controlled approach to education.
“I think actually, it’s a mistake to assume the federal government is the place to either try to fund or manage what happens in elementary and secondary schools,” Blunt said. “. . . The federal government probably should do what funding it does to try things to fund studies and see what works and share what that is, but the more that you move control of schools away from communities and families, I think the worse off you are. So I’m not in favor of a Department of Education that makes a lot of decisions,” he explained.
The Republican from Niangua stated that in his view, it only makes sense for state governments to take a more active role in facilitating public education.
“The Missouri Constitution even says that public education is the top priority of the state government and I agree with that priority,” Blunt declared.
When asked if he would be concerned that giving local and state governments the reigns on public education could lead to education inequalities, Senator Blunt pushed back.
“It’s like leaving a local levee to people in a community,” Blunt explained. “Are you concerned when people in a community decide they’re going to support their schools in a better way than people in a community down the road? It has always worked pretty well when we have encouraged communities and states to do they best they could with education.”
Blunt went on to say that at every level of government, lawmakers should tailor their responsibilities to fit what works best for locals, not for those who are doing the governing.
“There are various jobs, I think, that are better done in our system if they’re done well by the level of government that’s responsible for them rather than everybody trying to be responsible,” Blunt shared.
“I think it’s mistake for the federal government to get into the management of education business,” Blunt told KMZU’s Brian Lock.
The Waters of the United States rule was implemented by the Obama Administration as what they said was a necessary step to protect the environment. In Blunt’s view, the law was over-reaching and was not good for Missouri’s farmers and landowners.
“I’ve been one of the biggest critics of the so-called Waters of the United States rule,” Blunt articulated. “I think the EPA was way off-base and decided that their authority to regulate and hove some responsibility for amicable waters gave them some how the authority to really have responsibility and management of all the water in the country.”
The issue, according to Blunt, is that the Environmental Protection Agency is overstepping its bounds and making it more difficult for farmers to get the job done.
“The very misguided Waters of the U.S. rule would have put the EPA in a position that they couldn’t possibly do the job they were asking for. If you decide you’re going to potentially be involved in every building permit and whether the county commission can mow the roadside ditches and every roadside ditch become amicable water. That has unbelievable impact on our economy just like it would if the EPA decided under this rule, as they might, that if you’re going to resurface your driveway or what a farmer is going to put on their field has to have a sign off by the EPA before it can happen.”
The Republican Senator gave praise to President Trump, adding that the reverse from the previous administration could make changes easier for landowners to undertake in the future.
“Not only is the EPA not that big, you don’t want the EPA to be that big. I’m glad to see the President’s determination on this.”
Blunt visited Thomas Hill Energy Center near Moberly Thursday with EPA Chief Scott Pruitt. KMZU’s Brian Lock asked him if he was concerned about Pruitt’s history of suing the agency he now leads, but the Senator dodged the question and reiterated his belief that the EPA commonly overreaches, a policy he hopes to see reversed in the coming months and years.