Listen to the news conference with Senator Roy Blunt and a question by KMZU’s Kim Nuelle.

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In a recent news conference, US Senator Roy Blunt gave his view as to the salient points in the Senate version of the defense spending bill.  The Senate Commitee on Appropriations calls the appropriations portion of the bill bipartisan.  $576 billion is the amount available for consideration.  Blunt mentioned current threats by the President to veto the bill were contrary to what the president himself had suggested, namely, a $612 billion authorization.  Blunt was also concerned about the opinion of other senators that the bill need not be vigorously debated.  Blunt’s opinion of the bill regards the most important features as being the identification of $10 billion dollars in ‘excessive and unnecessary’ spending and re-allocates those funds to more immediate and relevant areas.  An item relative to Missouri within the bill is an expansion of facilities at Whiteman AFB.

One amendments currently under consideration involves mental and physical health screenings for pre-deployment providing potential future information for treatment of post-traumatic stress.

Blunt made mention of the President’s health care plan and cited ‘reports’ which noted that individual rates in Missouri are threatening to go up by around 34%.  Senator Blunt blamed that on national health care, saying that’s what happens when you ‘prescribe coverage people may not need.’

KMZU’s Kim Nuelle also asked a question of the Senator.  In light of the recent indictment of former Speaker Dennis Hastert, some are calling on certain Republicans to give back donations made by Hastert’s campaign committee.  When asked if he would return those donations, Blunt responded that he would ‘probably not.’  Blunt mentioned if he returned Hastert’s donation, he would have to look at the behavior of all donors.  That’s something, Blunt says, he does not have time for.