“I think they’ve got a real problem. They’ve tried to do way too much.”

Blunt Critiques Democrats’ $1.75 Spending Bill to Expand the Welfare State

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) appeared yesterday before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society, delivering remarks in which he not only shared his thoughts on the effort by Democrats to pass a $1.75 trillion spending bill that would radically expand the welfare state, but looked back on his own service in Congress and how the political environment has changed over the past 25 years.

“I think they’ve got a real problem,” the Missouri lawmaker stated, referring to the struggle by Democrats to coalesce behind the huge spending plan.  “They’ve tried to do way too much. They tried to act like they had a mandate, when in fact House Democrats have the smallest margin Democrats have had in 170 years.  The Senate obviously couldn’t be closer than 50-50.  The idea that somehow you come out of that election with a mandate to make massive changes in how the country functions and what the government does is something I think they’re paying the price for.  And they’re going to pay a bigger price for it. 

“Democrats think that the lesson from the Obama Administration was that you may not have control for very long, so you should do everything you could possibly think of while you’ve got control. Which will of course ensure that you don’t have control for very long.  It’s the most self-fulfilling prophecy you could possibly make. And they clearly can’t help themselves.”

Blunt currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.  Elected to the Senate in 2010 after serving 14 years in the U.S. House, he announced earlier this year that this term would be his last and he would not be running for reelection in 2022.

In his remarks, he did touch on this year’s election, and more specifically, how the race for Governor of Virginia could impact the mid-terms next year.

“I think Glenn Youngkin has been a great candidate,” he said of the Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia.  “He’s been an extraordinary first-time candidate and put together a great campaign. If it’s close, about 40 House Democrats should be really concerned. If he wins, they will be really concerned. About 40 of them are going to have to make the decision — do you want to come back, or do you want to go along with what’s still out there to be done?”

Following his remarks, Blunt also took a number of questions, including one about the political environment on Capitol Hill and how it has changed since he was first elected to the House in 1996. 

“When I came to Congress 25 years ago, the House functioned,” he observed.  “Even through the George W. Bush Administration, I think that the Congress continued to function. We would spend our time doing what we expected to do, largely on how the country spent its money. That has not been the case for the last decade.  Part of it is diversity of media makes it really difficult to have the kind of discussion that you could have as late as 10 years ago with many, many people.  

“I remember John Dingell said this more than anybody else. ‘You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.’ Well, now everybody brings their own facts to the discussion and are generally persuaded that their facts are the real facts. And if your facts don’t agree with their facts, it’s because you’ve been co-opted by some greater force. Either you have become part of the Deep State, or you listened to too much MSNBC, or listen to too much Fox News. That’s probably the biggest thing.”

The Missouri Republican also expressed concern about a change that, at this point, is only being discussed — and that is a proposed change in Senate rules to do away with the super majority votes to proceed to a vote or proceed to debate. 

“Frankly, I’ve been willing for a long time to give up the one to proceed to the debate,” he said.  “I tried to convince Schumer when I was the chair of the Rules Committee and he was the top Democrat to make it a simple majority vote, in a bipartisan way, make that change, get on to the debate, and then we still have the protection to go to the final vote. My view always was if you actually start talking about something, you are more likely to get it done.  What it does is force Senators to find somebody else to work with on the other side. If you eliminate the filibuster, you eliminate that important character in the Senate.”

Returning to the current debate over the $1.75 trillion spending proposal, Blunt was also asked whether the Democrats’ focus on reconciliation was blocking progress on other priorities that need attention on Capitol Hill.  

“I think it is the issue until we move beyond it,” he said matter-of-factly. “Reconciliation and the infrastructure bill are taking so much oxygen out of the room that you can’t do anything else. We passed early on a really good China competition bill.  It put money on the table for microchip production and other things.  It was a really good bill that we passed in a bipartisan way. It went to the House and disappeared. I don’t think that’s because there’s significant opposition to it in the House.  There’s just not enough oxygen to do it … Until those two things get out of the way, I don’t think we can do much of anything.”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.