Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo, made a stop at the University to give a brief speech during the eighth annual Martin Luther King Jr. peace brunch Jan. 21.
In his speech, Blunt talked about some of the hardships King endured that still prevail today.
“Our nation is a big, vibrant democracy with a lot of diversity and dealing with that diversity has always been a challenge,” Blunt said. “We’re not as good as we would like to be, and this is a good time every year to really think about what it takes to be who we would like to be.”
Following his speech, Blunt spoke to the press about the partial government shutdown.
Blunt said it is going to take “putting more things on the table” to end the current partial shutdown and said his sense of solving this would be to deal with the short-term problems.
“People that are coming to work every day because they are essential employees I think should be paid right now,” Blunt said. “The Congress has made the decision to go ahead and pass a law in advance that said every federal employee is going to get paid whether they are allowed to work or not but at this point, that pay wouldn’t come until the government reopened.”
A driving force behind the government shutdown is President Donald Trump’s request for funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Blunt said he is in the support of the border wall.
“I think the border barriers make sense, walls make sense,” Blunt said. “There is a legitimate expectation of the federal government to secure its borders. There are places where the best way to do that is to build a barrier and that’s where I believe the President is now.”
Blunt and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., proposed the Bipartisan Budget and Appropriation Reform Act of 2019 to solve problems that have become an annual issue.
“We’re proposing only having one budget every two years, not going through this annual exercise that we don’t have to go through,” Blunt said. “We, frankly, propose having the President less involved in the budget process. That has nothing to do with the current president, it’s just that since 1974 the presidents are supposed to have to present a budget, but almost all the time since 1974, that budget never has much impact, doesn’t get many votes.”
Blunt said they would instead like the president to tell them how last year’s money was spent and then let Congress move forward in deciding how to prioritize spending money.