Our previous coverage of Congressman Roy Blunt (r) at Missouri Boys State on Saturday, June 13, 2009:
…Question: …Just as there are many different personalities and things here, uh, what type of personalities do you encounter, uh, in the House of Representatives and, uh, in the Senate?
Congressman Roy Blunt: Uh, the personalities, you know one of the great things about, I don’t know about the Senate, though I do work with the Senate a lot, I have worked there like I work in the House. You know I, I actually have had a, again, jobs in the House where I, I really had a chance to get to know the members, both our side and the other side, always thinking what Democrats can help us. I used to say my job in the House was the, as the Republican whip, was to know the Republicans in the, in Wa…, in the House of Representatives better than anybody else in the world knew them. Uh, and to know the Democrats better than any other Republican knew the Democrats. And, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s, it’s a diverse wonderful process, uh, sometimes the results aren’t all that wonderful, but democracy’s a wonderful thing. And in the House I, I, there, there, you’re gonna find some people in any group of four hundred and thirty-five people that are not well motivated, that do bad things. And, and hopefully that should and will be punished for that. Uh, but virtually everybody there is there I, I’m convinced, for a good purpose. Uh, it’s just, uh, that’s what the great debate about the future of the country is, is, you know is, are we for big government or are we for trusting people? I, I’m gonna be on the trusting people side. You know, every, uh, every day in, in this job you, you’re likely to cast one vote if not many votes that are about do you want more freedom and less government or more government and less freedom. And I try to always be on the side of more freedom and less government. But also on the side of what government should do, government needs to do very well, instead of just say we’re gonna do this, get all the applause you can for that and then walk away and announce what you’re gonna do next. Instead of really doing what you’re committed to do. Okay?…
…Question:…Abraham Lincoln once said that a house divided cannot stand. In your opinion why would the Republican Party decide to make actions in the House and the Senate, such as not voting for the Obama stimulus package, that would further this action of making the house not able to stand?
Congressman Blunt: Yeah, I think Abraham Lincoln, of course when he gave that, when he made that speech he made it, he, he repeated that theme often. In eighteen fifty-eight when he and Stephen Douglas ran for the Senate, he was talking about a, a much bigger issue than division on items before the Congress. Uh, yeah the reason every Republican voted against the stimulus package was it’s not gonna work. Uh, and, uh [laughter], I’m glad we did. [applause] [garbled][inaudible]…the issue, the level of freedom or, or slavery or the kinds of things Lincoln was talking about, that’s a much different, uh, discussion. Abraham Lincoln was a, was a, uh, a active partisan advocate of one side. And when you think the other side is wrong you should oppose the other side. And you should try to make your very best case as to why they’re wrong. That’s what democracy’s all about. You know, the, the idea that, bipartisanship is not just agreeing with the other side. Uh, and whether we’re in charge or the other side’s in charge, you know, the measure of, uh, of, of, of, of your, of your willingness to get along should not be that you’re willing to give in, it should be you’re willing to look for ways where you might be able to come together with something that, that people can agree with. I think, I definitely think that we can do that healthcare. And I’ve been advocating we do it on healthcare, but I don’t know that we’re gonna get it done because there are, there are two or three principles that I’m not willing to concede and, and you know, maybe those same principles are absolutely essential to a majority. If they’re not essential to a majority maybe we can figure out how to make those things work. Okay.
Question: …When considering a piece of legislation, uh, in your experience in the House and, uh, your, hopefully experience in the Senate, uh, is the first consideration whether or not the piece of legislation is a good idea, or is the first consideration whether, uh, enacting that legislation falls under a power specifically enumerated to the Congress by the Constitution?
Congressman Blunt: I actually think that the first consideration would be whether it’s the job of the government. Uh, this is actually a good question. And then, then decide if it’s the job of the government or it’s a good idea. If it’s not the job of government it, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a good idea or not. The four years I was a university president nobody ever came to me and asked me to do anything evil. But a lot of people came to me and asked me to do things, I had to say, “No, that’s not what we do.” Or, we, we can’t, that, that’s not what we can put our focus now. Uh, but none of it was bad necessarily, it just wasn’t our job. And I think that same principle in government is that, that, the question you asked the order would be, is, is it the job of the government first. And if it is, then you evaluate if it’s a good idea or not as opposed to saying, “This is really a good thing, somebody should do this, why not the government?” I, I think that’s a, that would not be the, the, what I’d want to do.
Question: …With the current economic crisis and, uh, the plethora, I guess, of problems today, um, it seems that, uh, alternative energy has kind of slid to the background. And so I was wondering how you do as a congressman, um, uh, work to keep these still relevant and important today.
Congressman Blunt: Yeah, you know…,as, as the gas prices go up this summer, uh, the, all these issues are gonna come back on energy. But, you know, for whatever reason, in energy, uh, as long as its prices are temporarily affordable it’s hard to keep our country focused on the future. Uh, and, uh, you see a little more of it every, every day now as gasoline prices, the one for posted price out there in the marketplace increases. But I am for more American energy. Uh, it’s crazy to buy things from people, to have to buy things from people who don’t like you. Uh, but it’s almost as crazy that, to buy things from economies outside your own if you can meet the need internally and create the jobs and opportunity here. So I’m for more American energy, but I’m also for, for, for, I’m for finding more, using less, and investing in the future. Uh, we need to find alternatives, we need to find, I’m for all of the above. I’m, I’m for, uh, for using the traditional fossil fuels and finding new ways to, to resource them as we develop alternatives. Uh, I’m for wind. I’m for solar, I’m for renewables, I, I’m for all the above, and I’m for more American energy. I’m for con… conservation. We could do a lot in our state. And our state is interesting in that we’re, we’re truly a border state in the energy field. We have sort of northern climate and southern building standards. You know, so a lot of our older houses don’t, didn’t have, uh, insulation and things that, a lot of houses in other places the country had even then. They’d say, “Well, you know, my cousin in Arkansas doesn’t have insulation, why should I ha
ve insulation?” Well we’re two hundred maybe, or two hundred miles further north. That’s why we should have insulation. We could save a lot of money. Uh, we could become much more energy efficient in our state, uh, by just conservation. By just doing smart things to use less energy. So, find more, useless, invest in the future. Okay.
Question: …I was curious how, as a congressman how you’re trying or working to, uh, decrease the national deficit?
Congressman Blunt: To decrease the national deficit?
Congressman Blunt: Well, I, I never voted for any of these, these spending proposals. Uh, and I’m hoping the country just begins to rise up. You know the budget that we voted on doesn’t actually spend any money it just sets a blueprint. And the blueprint is bad. The blueprint is, you know, doubling the deficit in five years, double it again in ten. Uh, and, and I hope people are really responding to that in an aggressive way and that we still have a chance here to, uh, snatch, uh, true economic hardship for the future, uh, away from what’s about to happen. And, uh, be sure that that doesn’t happen…
Question: …What was your biggest challenge and how do you, what motivated you to get to where you are.
Congressman Blunt: Um, what motivated me to, yeah, public service, I’ve always found it appealing. Uh, when I was growing up we, we, uh, my family was always interested and it was a topic of discussion around our house. So I was actually an elected official in Springfield in Greene County which then was the third largest county in the state, uh, when I was twenty-three. I was the Secretary of State when I was thirty-five. [garbled] Matt was already governor by the time he was thirty-five, so I’m way behind there. Uh, I, I like the idea of public service. I, I like, uh, the opportunity it provides, even when I wasn’t in elected office, uh, the option before me, the one that I found most appealing was to be a university president. And I was fortunate to do that four years and it was the, it had the same kind of satisfaction for me, uh, that, uh, being an elected official has had. Which is, is the opportunity to solve big problems, uh, and, and truly be a public servant. And I hope I meet that definition.
That it? [applause] Thank you…
Congressman Roy Blunt at Missouri Boys State on June 13, 2009.