JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt says there were no winners in the dispute that led to the 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government.
Blunt was the lone Republican in Missouri's congressional delegation to vote Wednesday for compromise legislation that ended the shutdown and avoided a debt default.
But he said Thursday the dispute damaged the public's confidence in government. He also says the government continues to spend and borrow too much - issues he says must still be addressed.
All six Missouri Republicans in the House voted against the legislation. Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and the state's two House Democrats voted for it.
The measure funds the government through Jan. 15 and allows the government to borrow normally through Feb. 7.
Another group of Missouri veterans are back home after a successful day trip to visit Washington, DC. Tuesday's "Honor Flight" carried 25 veterans of World War II and the Korean War.
Those organizing the flights had again been concerned that the government shutdown might keep the vets from visiting the federal memorials, but again they were granted access. Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt welcomed the veterans in DC, along with Congresswoman Ann Wagner.
All federal monuments in Washington, DC are closed to the general public because of the federal shutdown, but the National Parks Service has stipulated that the vets will be allowed to visit the memorials despite the shutdown.
Area college students demonstrated outside Roy Blunt's office in Clayton today to voice their opposition to the recent interest rate hike on educational loans. Inaction by Congress led to a doubling of the rate from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on July 1. Leaders of Young Activists United anticipated a meeting with Senator Blunt, but Tatericka Holmes, who attends SIUE, says they left disappointed.
"It was basically his secretary who gave us this press release and told us that he was in D.C. and he could talk to us another time. But that's the second time we've heard that so when is he going to speak to us", says Holmes
Holmes says Senator Blunt expects to sponsor a bi-partisan bill capping the student loan interest rate at 8.25 percent, but protestors say that is still too high a price to pay.
Under sequestration, the law would change and meat inspectors would not have to show up, which Blunt says could threaten the jobs of thousands of food industry workers across the country.
Blunt says that "any furloughs or layoffs of USDA inspectors would threaten 500,000 private-sector jobs at the processing facilities. If all of the inspectors take the mandated 11 furlough days in place for many federal workers, he said the result would be a loss of $400 million on take-home pay for the workers at the processing plants.
Blunt met with the 130 employees at St. Louis' Volpi Meat Company on Monday about his push as co-chair of the Agricultre Appropriations committee to get essential workers to report to work.
Blunt and Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill expressed disappointment on Monday that the EPA and two other agencies missed a self-imposed March 15 deadline to establish a plan to move forward with the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project.
Construction to close a 1,500-foot gap in the levee was halted in 2007 due to technical problems with the project's Environmental Impact Statement.
Obama announced his choice of Gina McCarthy as EPA chief earlier this month. Blunt says he'll use a parliamentary procedure known as a hold to block the nomination until the levee issue is resolved.