Republican Sen. Roy Blunt on President Obama’s challenge Thursday with his speech on jobs:
“I think he really set a high bar for himself by choosing to give that speech before a joint session of Congress. The pressure on the president to really come with something in that speech is much greater than it should have been. There’s lots of venues. The House of Representatives before joint session of Congress establishes a high expectation.
“I’d be pleased if the president would meet that high expectation,” Blunt said in a conference call this morning with reporters.
But he said that from what he’s heard so far about the contents of the speech, it “doesn’t sound like there’s going to be much new there. I’m trying to reserve my judgment.”
Blunt praised the president’s decision last week to not push for more stringent ozone regulations, bowing to the demands from the business community and a long-standing criticism from Republicans that environmental rules stifle job growth.
In doing so, however, Obama angered the environmental community and liberals who have been frustrated with what they say has been his deferral on issues to his opponents. Blunt said that if he was advising the president about what to say Thursday night on jobs, it would be to call for an 18-month moratorium on new regulations.
Blunt serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee and was a member of its counterpart in the House. Asked about the state of the intelligence apparatus since 9-11, he called it “quite a bit better and much more coordinated.”
He said the efforts of former President George W. Bush and the continuing work of President Obama have been “keeping us safer than we otherwise would have been. I do think the response to 9-11 was bipartisan in way that shows we can come together. It wasn’t bipartisan for as long as it should have been.”
He said that Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, “is a great chairman. We don’t agree on everything, but we agree on 95 percent of everything. That’s spirit we need to bring to all the problems we face.”