Roy Blunt

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This article is about the United States senator and former representative. For the writer and humorist, see Roy Blount, Jr.
Roy Blunt
Roy Blunt, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Missouri
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Serving with Claire McCaskill
Preceded by Kit Bond
Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Chuck Schumer
House Minority Whip
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Leader Dennis Hastert
Preceded by Steny Hoyer
Succeeded by Eric Cantor
House Majority Leader
Acting
In office
September 29, 2005 – February 2, 2006
Leader Dennis Hastert
Preceded by Tom DeLay
Succeeded by John Boehner
House Majority Whip
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Leader Dennis Hastert
Preceded by Tom DeLay
Succeeded by Jim Clyburn
House Republican Chief Deputy Whip
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2003
Leader Dennis Hastert
Preceded by Dennis Hastert
Succeeded by Eric Cantor
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Mel Hancock
Succeeded by Billy Long
33rd Secretary of State of Missouri
In office
January 8, 1985 – January 8, 1993
Governor John Ashcroft
Preceded by James Kirkpatrick
Succeeded by Judi Moriarty
Personal details
Born Roy Dean Blunt
(1950-01-10) January 10, 1950 (age 66)
Niangua, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Roseann Ray (Divorced)
Abigail Perlman
Children 4 (including Matt)
Alma mater Southwest Baptist University (BA)
Missouri State University, Springfield (MA)
Website Senate website

Roy Dean Blunt[1] (born January 10, 1950) is an American politician who currently serves as the junior United States Senator from Missouri, having been in office since 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party.

Blunt served as the United States Representative from Missouri's 7th congressional district from 1997 to 2011. The district contains most of Southwest Missouri, anchored in the city of Springfield, as well as the cities of Joplin, Carthage, and Neosho, and the popular tourist destination of Branson.

Blunt served as House Majority Whip from 2003 to 2007, and was acting House Majority Leader from September 2005 to February 2006. He was the House Minority Whip during the 110th Congress starting in 2007, but after the 2008 general elections, he announced that he would step down from the position.

Blunt successfully ran for United States Senate in 2010. The following year, he was elected vice-chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.[2]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Blunt was born in Niangua, Missouri, the son of Neva Dora (nėe Letterman) and Leroy Blunt, a politician.[3][4] He earned a B.A. degree in history in 1970 from Southwest Baptist University.[5]

During his time in college, he received three draft deferments from the Vietnam War.[6] Two years later, he earned a master's degree in history from Missouri State University (then Southwest Missouri State University).[7]

Blunt was a high school history teacher at Marshfield High School in 1972,[8] and later taught at Southwest Baptist University and as a member of the adjunct faculty at Drury University.[5]

He went on to serve as president of Southwest Baptist University, his alma mater, from 1993-96.[9]

Early political career (1972–97)[edit]

Greene County Clerk[edit]

Blunt entered politics in 1973, when he was appointed county clerk and chief election official of Greene County, Missouri. He was subsequently elected to the position three times and served a total of 12 years.[5]

1980 lieutenant gubernatorial election[edit]

Incumbent Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Phelps decided to run for Governor. Blunt, the Greene County Clerk, decided to run for the open seat and won the Republican primary, but lost the general election to State Representative Ken Rothman 56%–44%.[10]

Secretary of State[edit]

In 1984, after incumbent Democratic Missouri Secretary of State James C. Kirkpatrick decided to retire, Blunt ran for the position and won the Republican primary with 79% of the vote.[11] In the general election, he defeated Democratic State Representative Gary D. Sharpe 54%–46%.[12] He became the first Republican to hold the post in 50 years.[5]

In 1988, he won re-election against Democrat James Askew 61%–38%.[13]

1992 gubernatorial election[edit]

Since incumbent Republican Governor John Ashcroft was term-limited, Blunt ran for the governorship in 1992. Missouri Attorney General William Webster defeated him and Missouri Treasurer Wendell Bailey 44%–40%–15%.[14] Webster lost the general election to Mel Carnahan.

U.S. House of Representatives (1997–2011)[edit]

Roy Blunt in his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives

Elections[edit]

Blunt decided to run for the United States House of Representatives after incumbent U.S. Representative Mel Hancock honored his pledge to serve only four terms. Blunt ran in Missouri's 7th congressional district, the most conservative district in Missouri, located in the Ozark Mountains in the southwestern part of the state. Blunt's political action committee is the Rely on Your Beliefs Fund. On August 6, 1996, he won the Republican primary defeating Gary Nodler 56%–44%.[15] In the general election, he defeated Democrat Ruth Bamberger 65%–32%.[16] He won re-election in 1998 (73%), 2000 (74%), 2002 (75%), 2004 (70%), 2006 (67%), and 2008 (68%).[citation needed]

Tenure[edit]

Education

Blunt voted in favor of school prayer and supported the No Child Left Behind Act. He voted in favor of school vouchers within the District of Columbia but has voted against broader legislation allowing states to use federal money to issue vouchers for private or religious schools. He received a 17 percent rating from the National Education Association in 2003.[17]

Fiscal issues

Blunt received a 97 percent rating from the United States Chamber of Commerce indicating a pro-business voting record. He supported efforts to overhaul U.S. bankruptcy laws, requiring consumers who seek bankruptcy protection to repay more of their debts.[18]

Blunt is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker.[citation needed] In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.

Blunt opposes the federal cap and trade legislation and supports drilling for oil on the U.S. coastline. He does not believe in man-made global warming, stating: "There isn't any real science to say we are altering the climate or path of the Earth."[19]

Gun policy

Blunt voted to prohibit lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers if the guns they manufacture or sell are later used in a crime. He has also voted to reduce the waiting period for purchasing a gun from 72 hours to 24 hours. He has received an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association.[20]

Health policy

Blunt chaired the House Republican Health Care Solutions Group.[21]

In 2006, Blunt successfully advocated for legislation that placed restrictions on over-the-counter cold medicines that could be used in the production of methamphetamines. The legislation, called the Combat Meth Act, was opposed by retail and drug lobbyists.[22]

In August 2009, Blunt stated in two separate newspaper interviews that, because he was 59 years old, "In either Canada or Great Britain, if I broke my hip, I couldn't get it replaced." He stated he had heard the statement in Congressional testimony by "some people who are supposed to be experts on Canadian health care."[21] The PolitiFact service of the St. Petersburg Times reported that it could not find any such testimony.[23]

Minimum wage

Blunt voted against HR 2007-018, which raised the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour.[24]

Social issues

Although Missouri Right to Life endorsed Webster over Blunt in the 1992 Republican gubernatorial primary,[citation needed] Blunt has voted pro-life in the House and has a conservative record on most other social issues.[citation needed] He has voted to ban partial-birth abortions and to restrict or criminalize transporting minors across state lines for the purpose of getting an abortion. He opposes federal funding for elective abortions in accordance with the Hyde Amendment.[25] He also voted in favor of the unsuccessful Federal Marriage Amendment which sought to place a national ban on same-sex marriage, and has voted against gay adoption. He received 94 percent lifetime and 96 percent 2004 ratings from the conservative American Conservative Union, a 14 percent rating from the ACLU,[26] and a 92 percent rating from the conservative Christian Coalition.[27]

Social Security and Medicare

In 2005, Rep. Blunt supported President George W. Bush's proposal to partially privatize Social Security for those under the age of 55.[28]

In 2016 AARP said of Blunt, "He said in 2010 that he remained open to the idea of individual Social Security accounts. His position hasn't changed, but he has maintained for years that it's not a viable issue for anyone."[29]

Leadership[edit]

After only one term, Blunt was appointed as Chief Deputy Whip, the highest appointed position in the House Republican Caucus. In that capacity, he served as the Republicans' chief vote-counter. In 2002, when Dick Armey retired and fellow Texan Tom DeLay was elected to succeed him, Blunt was elected to succeed DeLay as House Majority Whip.[30]

Blunt served as Majority Leader on an acting basis starting in September 2005, after DeLay was indicted on felony charges involving campaign finance. On January 8, 2006, one day after DeLay announced that he would not seek to regain his position, Blunt announced he would run to permanently replace DeLay.[31]

On January 14, 2006, he issued a release claiming that the majority of the Republican caucus had endorsed him as DeLay's successor.[32] However, when the election was held by secret ballot on February 2, 2006, U.S. Representative John Boehner of Ohio won on the second ballot, with 122 votes to 109 for Blunt. In November 2006, Blunt was elected by House Republicans to their second-highest position during the 110th Congress, House Minority Whip. Blunt handily defeated U.S. Representative John Shadegg of Arizona for the position.[33] He announced that he would step down from the position in late 2008, following two successive election cycles where House Republicans had lost seats and to avoid a difficult battle with his deputy, Eric Cantor, who was urged by some to challenge Blunt for the position of Republican Whip.[34][35]

Committee assignments[edit]

Upon entering the U.S. House, Blunt served on the House International Relations Committee, the House Committee on Agriculture, and the House Transportation Committee. In 1999, he gave up seats on the latter two committees and joined the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce. In addition he became a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He has also served on the Republican Conference Steering Committee since his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, a committee that determines to which committees Republican members of the House are assigned and elevates members to positions of ranking member or chair.

U.S. Senate (2011–present)[edit]

2010 election[edit]

On February 19, 2009, Blunt announced he would seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate election for the seat being vacated by incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Kit Bond. He successfully ran against Democratic nominee Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Constitution Party nominee Jerry Beck, Libertarian nominee Jonathan Dine, and write-in candidates Mark S. Memoly, Frazier Miller, Jeff Wirick and Richie L. Wolfe.[36]

Tenure[edit]

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Blunt "has one of the Senate’s most conservative voting records, yet he generally avoids the confrontational, firebrand style" and during his tenure in the U.S. Senate "Blunt’s most significant legislative accomplishments all had Democrat co-sponsors."[37]

Senate assignments[edit]

The committee and subcommittee appointments of the seated senator, as of September 2016 are as follows.[38]

Political positions[edit]

Agriculture[edit]

In 2013, Blunt worked with Monsanto to author a rider called the Farmer Assurance Provision,[39][40] which was added into the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013. The rider's language originated in an agriculture spending bill in the U.S. House.[41] Since 2014, Blunt has been the largest recipient of campaign contributions from Monsanto,[42][43] which is headquartered in Missouri.[44] According to progressive news magazine The Nation, the rider "curtailed already weak oversight over the handful of agro-giants that control the GMO market by allowing crops that a judge ruled were not properly approved to continue to be planted."[40] According to Blunt, who did not add the rider to the bill but who supported it, "What it says is if you plant a crop that is legal to plant when you plant it, you get to harvest it." Blunt later led Senate Republicans in defeating an amendment by Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley to repeal the provision.[45] He said that all the amendment does "was repeat [sic] authority that the secretary in a hearing the other day, before the Agri[culture] Approp[riations] committee the other day, said he already had. And it didn't require the secretary to do anything that the secretary thought was the wrong thing to do. Which is one of the reasons I thought it was fine..."[46]

Economic policy[edit]

Blunt has been opposed to raising the federal minimum wage.[24][47][48]

On June 20, 2013, Blunt co-sponsored the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013. The bill was intended to permanently eliminate federal estate tax and it did not pass.[49][50]

On January 17, 2014, Blunt introduced a bill called the Partnership to Build America Act. If signed into law, the bill would create a special fund to pay for infrastructure projects across the United States, according to Ripon Advance.[51]

Energy and environment[edit]

According to The Guardian, Blunt has acknowledged that climate change exists, however he said that the human role in it is "unclear".[52]

In 2015, Blunt voted against a nonbinding Senate resolution stating that “climate change is real and caused by human activity and that Congress needs to take action to cut carbon pollution.”[53] According to The Springfield News-Leader, "Blunt has railed against the Obama administration’s proposed rules to combat global warming, which could deal a blow to Missouri’s coal-fired power plants."[53] In 2015, Blunt sponsored an unsuccessful amendment which "called on the Senate to nullify a climate change agreement in November between the United States and China in which both nations pledged to reduce their carbon emissions."[54] Blunt has worked to protect the coal industry and co-sponsored an amendment to urge President Obama to consult with the Senate before ratifying the Paris climate agreements.[55]

In 2016, Blunt worked to block a carbon tax on emissions.[56] He supports the expanded domestic exploration for coal and natural gas.[53] Citing his support for agriculture and energy production, Blunt "has aggressively pushed to block a rule that would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate some streams, wetlands and other waters."[53]

Foreign policy[edit]

In 2011, Blunt called for a no fly zone over Libya.[57]

Gun policy[edit]

In April 2013, Blunt was one of forty-six senators to vote against the passing of a bill which would have expanded background checks for all gun buyers. Blunt voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the bill.[58]

Health policy[edit]

The Wall Street Journal reported in February 2011 that "Blunt introduced an amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would allow an employer to deny health services if they conflict with their 'religious beliefs or moral convictions'."[59]

Blunt said of the amendment, "[W]as it an overreach when Mrs. Clinton put it in the Clinton health care plan in 1994? I don't think it's an overreach at all. It doesn't mention any specific procedure. It doesn’t even suggest the mandate should be eliminated."[60]

In 2012, he suggested the "Blunt Amendment" an addition to a highway appropriations bill to block part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that requires all insurance plans to cover the birth control pill. The proposed amendment would have allowed not only religious organizations, but any employer with a "moral objection" to opt out of birth control coverage. The amendment was ultimately defeated.[61]

In July 2013, Blunt indicated that he would not support efforts to tie raising the federal debt ceiling to defunding Obamacare. In an interview on MSNBC, he expressed his opinion that Obamacare is "destined to fail", but that raising the debt ceiling shouldn't be "held hostage" to "any specific thing".[62]

In 2016, Senators Blunt and Patty Murray (D-WA) co-sponsored a successful $2 billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health, the first such research increase in over a decade.[37]

Social Security and Medicare[edit]

Blunt has argued for the need to reduce fraud and waste in Medicare and Social Security.[28] He has spoken out for the need to reform entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.[57]

Trade[edit]

Blunt has been a supporter of free-trade agreements. The Springfield News-Leader wrote: "[Blunt] has supported a spate of free-trade agreements during his nearly 20 years in Congress, including a U.S-Singapore deal in 2003, the Central American Free Trade agreement in 2005 and the U.S-Korea agreement in 2011." After early enthusiasm, Blunt has been ambivalent about supporting the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).[53]

In 2015, he voted to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the TPP without amendments.[63]

2016 election[edit]

Blunt ran for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2016. He won the Republican primary with 73% of the vote[64] and faced Democrat Jason Kander in the November 2016 general election on November 8, 2016. Blunt won with 49.4% of the vote to Kander's 46.2%.[65]

Family and personal life[edit]

Blunt has been married twice. He married Roseann Ray in May 1967, and had three children with her: Matt (the former Governor of Missouri), Amy Blunt Mosby and Andrew Blunt.[66]

All three children are professional lobbyists.[67][68] Blunt and Ray divorced after 35 years of marriage.[citation needed]

Blunt married Abigail Perlman, a lobbyist for Kraft Foods,[68][69] in 2003.[22]

In April 2006, he and his second wife adopted an 18-month-old boy from Russia, whom they renamed Alexander Charles Blunt.[70][71]

The family lives in Washington D.C.. Blunt owns a condominium in Missouri, which is rented out when the family is not in town.[72] Roy Blunt has six grandchildren.[73]

Blunt is a practicing Southern Baptist.[74]

Additional tabular information[edit]

All information provided here is for elections for the State of Missouri and its congressional districts.

Electoral history[edit]

7th U.S. Congressional District election, 1996
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt 162,558 64.9%
Democratic Ruth Bamberger 79,306 31.6%
Libertarian Mike Harman 6,543 2.6%
Natural Law Sharalyn Harris 2,177 0.9%
7th U.S. Congressional District election, 1998
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt (incumbent) 129,746 72.6%
Democratic Marc Perkel 43,416 24.3%
Libertarian Mike Harman 5,639 3.2%
7th U.S. Congressional District,
Republican primary election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt (incumbent) 62,711 86.4%
Republican Mike Harman 9,856 13.6%
7th U.S. Congressional District election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt (incumbent) 202,305 73.9%
Democratic Charles Christrup 65,510 23.9%
Libertarian Doug Burlison 2,965 1.1%
Natural Law Sharalyn Harris 2,169 0.8%
Reform Ron Lapham 988 0.4%
7th U.S. Congressional District election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt (incumbent) 149,519 74.8%
Democratic Ron Lapham 45,964 23.0%
Libertarian Doug Burlison 4,378 2.2%
Write-in Steven Reed 2 0.0%
7th U.S. Congressional District election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt (incumbent) 210,080 70.4%
Democratic Jim Newberry 84,356 28.3%
Libertarian Kevin Craig 2,767 0.9%
Constitution Steve Alger 1,002 0.3%
7th U.S. Congressional District,
Republican primary election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt (incumbent) 47,758 79.9%
Republican Clendon Kinder 5,197 8.7%
Republican Midge Potts 4,294 7.2%
Republican Bernard Kennetz, Jr. 2,498 4.2%
7th U.S. Congressional District election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt (incumbent) 160,942 66.7%
Democratic Jack Truman 72,592 30.1%
Libertarian Kevin Craig 7,566 3.1%
Write-in Glenn Miller 23 0.0%
7th U.S. Congressional District election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt (incumbent) 219,016 67.8%
Democratic Richard Monroe 91,010 28.2%
Libertarian Kevin Craig 6,971 2.2%
Constitution Travis Maddox 6,166 1.9%
Write-in Midge Potts 49 0.0%
U.S. Senate Republican primary election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt 411,040 70.9%
Republican Chuck Purgason 75,663 13.1%
Republican Kristi Nichols 40,744 7.0%
Republican Deborah Solomon 15,099 2.6%
Republican Hector Maldonado 8,731 1.5%
Republican Davis Conway 8,525 1.5%
Republican R. L. Praprotnik 8,047 1.4%
Republican Tony Laszacs 6,309 1.1%
Republican Mike Vontz 5,190 0.9%
U.S. Senate election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt 1,054,160 54.2%
Democratic Robin Carnahan 789,736 40.6%
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 58,663 3.0%
Constitution Jerry Beck 41,309 2.1%
Write-in Dale Hoinoski 14 0.0%
Write-in Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr. 7 0.0%
Write-in Jeff Wirick 4 0.0%
Write-in Charlie Bailey 3 0.0%
Write-in Richie Wolfe 2 0.0%
Write-in Mark Memoly 1 0.0%
U.S. Senate election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Blunt (inc.) 1,370,240 49%
Democratic Jason Kander 1,283,222 46%
Libertarian Johnathan Dine 67,067 2%
Green Johnathan Macfarland 30,413 1%
Constitution Fred Ryman 25,194 1%


References[edit]

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  63. ^ he has supported a spate of free-trade agreements during his nearly 20 years in Congress, including a U.S-Singapore deal in 2003, the Central American Free Trade agreement in 2005 and the U.S-Korea agreement in 2011.
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External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
James Kirkpatrick
Secretary of State of Missouri
1985–1993
Succeeded by
Judi Moriarty
Academic offices
Preceded by
Wayne Gott
Acting
President of Southwest Baptist University
1993–1996
Succeeded by
Pat Taylor
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mel Hancock
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 7th congressional district

1997–2011
Succeeded by
Billy Long
Preceded by
Tom DeLay
House Majority Whip
2003–2007
Succeeded by
Jim Clyburn
House Majority Leader
Acting

2005–2006
Succeeded by
John Boehner
Preceded by
Steny Hoyer
House Minority Whip
2007–2009
Succeeded by
Eric Cantor
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dennis Hastert
House Republican Chief Deputy Whip
1999–2003
Succeeded by
Eric Cantor
Preceded by
Tom DeLay
House Republican Deputy Leader
Acting

2005–2006
Succeeded by
John Boehner
Preceded by
Kit Bond
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Missouri
(Class 3)

2010, 2016
Most recent
Preceded by
John Barrasso
Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference
2013–present
Incumbent
United States Senate
Preceded by
Kit Bond
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Missouri
2011–present
Served alongside: Claire McCaskill
Incumbent
Preceded by
Gregg Harper
Chair of the Joint Library Committee
2015–present
Preceded by
Chuck Schumer
Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
2015–present
Chair of the Joint Inaugural Ceremonies Committee
2016–present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Dan Coats
United States Senators by seniority
59th
Succeeded by
Jerry Moran