[Congressional Record Volume 168, Number 189 (Tuesday, December 6, 2022)]
[Pages S6982-S6985]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          Tribute To Roy Blunt

  Mr. HAWLEY. Mr. President, if I could, just a brief word of thanks 
and commemoration for my friend, the senior Senator from Missouri, Roy 
Blunt. It has been an incredible privilege to get to serve with Senator 
Blunt these last 3\1/2\ years. In a sense, I don't know that I would be 
here in the U.S. Senate were it not for Senator Blunt.
  I think Senator Blunt was one of--maybe the first person to urge me 
to consider running for the U.S. Senate, and it has been a true 
privilege to get to serve alongside him.
  He and Abby have been so kind to me and Erin on a personal basis. 
They were with us throughout the campaign. He was through all of the 
ups and down, as anybody who has been through a campaign knows. Roy was 
there. They were there with us on the final days on the bus, with 
Charlie, as I recall, who, between my boys and Charlie--Charlie was the 
calming influence on my kid. So they were all the life of the party.

  But from that moment forward, Roy and Abby were such good friends and 
mentors to us. Roy gave me advice about what it is like to raise a 
family in politics--something that I was just starting out to do. He 
gave me advice on things large and small in the Senate: helping me 
understand how the floor worked, helping me choose my first committee 
assignments. I remember he made time to sit down and talk through that 
with me about this time, gosh, 4 years ago now. He has been there every 
time I have had a question, needed help, needed to understand 
  It has been a privilege to get to work together with him on 
substantive issues that we both care about. I think of veterans in our 
home State. I think just recently he and I were able together to lead a 
resolution honoring Jared Schmitz, who is one of the marines who lost 
their lives at Abbey Gate just over a year ago. I saw Jared's father 
just a few weeks ago, and he remains grateful for what Senator Blunt 
did in our continuing efforts to honor him.
  Roy and I have worked together for years now to try to get our 
Nation's laws changed to make sure that the tragedy we saw at Table 
Rock Lake in our home State involving the failure of duck boats, 
recreational vehicles, in that State would not happen again. I 
appreciate Roy's efforts on that. Maybe this is one of the things we 
will get over the line here in the next couple of weeks.
  I want to close--I know there are others who want to speak--I want to 
close with two stories about Senator Blunt that I have always loved and 
that I think really give you insight into Roy Blunt the man.
  The first is his background, his heritage, being raised on a dairy 
farm. He mentioned this. I think about this every time I drive home to 
Ozark, MO, and I drive by the exit near where Senator Blunt's family 
farm was. Every time, I usually point out to my boys that this is where 
Senator Blunt is from.
  Senator Blunt grew up on a dairy farm. He was the first in his family 
to go to college, I think.
  Is that right? Senator, have I got that right?
  He was the first in his family to go to college, and then--this is 
one of the stories I love--he taught at the same school where his 
grandfather had been a custodial worker years before. There is 
something wonderfully Missourian and wonderfully American about that.
  One of my other favorite stories is about how Senator Blunt got into 
politics. I am told--now, he can say whether or not this is apocryphal, 
but I am told that his first job in politics was when a certain 
Missourian known as John Ashcroft, who once held the Senate seat I now 
occupy, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1972.
  The story goes that Roy walked into his campaign office and said: I 
would like to work for you.
  John Ashcroft said: Well, how much gas do you have in your car?
  Roy said: Well, I have a full tank.
  John said: Good. You are hired.
  And Roy went to work.
  The thing about Roy Blunt, for anybody who has known him for any 
length of time and certainly for anybody who has served with him in 
this body, working on any project of any scale, is that Roy Blunt is a 
worker. He works day and night. When he says he is going to do 
something, he does it. When he commits to something, he sees it 
through. That certainly has been my happy experience with him. He 
leaves a great legacy of service and commitment and honor in the State 
of Missouri and here in the U.S. Senate.
  I want to say again, Roy, thank you for everything.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Stabenow). The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Madam President, I want to thank Roy. We have been 
through a lot together, and I am so proud to call him a friend, as well 
as Abby. I have such fond memories of our work together. I have really 
fun memories of when we once went to Canada--remember that?--with all 
the Canadian interparliamentarian groups; the work we did on adoption 
when no one thought we could get anything done, and we stood up for a 
number of really important bills; and the work we did on travel and 
tourism to make sure our country could compete with other countries 
around the world when it came to foreign tourists.
  One of my favorite ones was when Senator Duckworth was pregnant and 
wanted to have permission to bring her baby on the floor just for the 
first year or 6 months when there were late-night votes and the like. I 
thought that was

[[Page S6983]]

going to be really easy, and I told her we could get it done. Then, 
every single month, I looked at her, and she was getting more and more 
pregnant, and I realized I wasn't accomplishing my job. Roy and I 
worked on that together.

  One of my fond memories of that is Senator Hatch being surrounded by 
media and being asked about it, and he said: Well, that is OK if we 
have 1 baby on the floor, but what if we have 10 babies on the floor? I 
said: We already have 10 babies on the floor.
  In any case, we were able to get that done.
  As Roy mentioned, on a more serious topic, the sexual harassment 
rules--we instituted training, but we also updated the rules, which is 
a very difficult issue. We were working with Senator McConnell and 
working with Senator Schumer, as well as the House, to get that done.
  Our work on protecting election officials--Roy, having been a 
previous election official, understood that. We had a bipartisan 
hearing with the secretaries of state from red States and blue States. 
That was a major moment for me.
  But probably the thing I most remember was on January 6 when we had 
started the morning with this beautiful celebration and the ceremony of 
this walk with the young women with the mahogany boxes. Everyone here 
knows exactly what I am talking about. The insurrection went on, and 
Roy showed so much leadership that entire day in working with his 
colleagues, because while the police were on the frontlines, as we 
recognized today, Roy was doing a lot of work in working out how the 
process was going to work once we got through there. You know, he was 
the guy who made that work late into the night.
  Then, in the end, at about 3:30 in the morning, it was Vice President 
Pence and Roy and myself and those three pairs of pages with the 
mahogany boxes, walking through the corridors, where we knew that 
throughout the Capitol there was broken glass and spray-painted 
columns, and Roy just kept doing his job.
  Afterwards, when we got to the House, we knew that democracy had 
  We came back to the Senate--remember this?--and the Sun was coming 
up. It is like 4 in the morning at this point, and we decided to go 
down to the Parliamentarian's offices, which were destroyed. One of the 
beloved members of our Parliamentarian's staff's family picture was on 
the floor. The whole thing was a mess. We stood there and committed 
that we were going to not just clean up the Capitol and improve the 
security but make this all better. That kind of drove my work in the 
last year.
  But what I most remember about that particular moment at 4 in the 
morning is that we walked out of that room, which was ransacked, and 
Roy looked at me, and he looked at me with that typical Roy 
understatement, and he said: Well, see you tomorrow morning. And I go: 
OK, Roy.
  That is Roy. He did what he said he would do. We did a report 
immediately on security in the Capitol--we got it done in 6 months--
with Senator Peters and Senator Portman about what had to be done. We 
made a bunch of changes. We hired a new chief, and we went on from 
there, because, for Roy, it is always, I will see you in the morning.
  And we know, Roy, that we are going to see you in the morning, that 
you are not going to be a stranger, that you will stay a friend to so 
many of us. Thank you for your incredible service to the people of your 
State, to this Senate, and to the United States of America.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. WICKER. Madam President, just very briefly, I have served in 
three legislative bodies during my lifetime: the Mississippi State 
Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and then, since New Year's 
Eve of 2007, here in the United States Senate. I have never had a 
better friend in any legislative capacity than Roy Blunt. So this is a 
very profound moment for me and a very emotional moment for me.
  If there were ever anyone who was a born legislator, that person is 
Roy Blunt. He sprang to this Earth with the ability to understand a 
diverse group of individuals representing diverse parts of the country, 
both in the House and in the Senate, and to bring them together for a 
result. This country is so much better off because of the legislative 
skills and the legislative accomplishments of Roy Blunt. There are 
people who are well today who had been sick, and they are well because 
of the efforts of Roy Blunt. There are people alive today who would not 
have been had it not been for the legislative skill of Roy Blunt.
  This Republic will go on and this body will go on, of course, but 
there will be a void in this room, in this Chamber, in this Senate, 
because of the absence of Roy Blunt. I don't remember a finer mentor 
whom I have ever served with, and it is my great honor to count him as 
a close friend forever and to salute his service today.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, when Senator Roy Blunt announced that 
he would not seek reelection, he promised to finish strong. As has been 
the case throughout his public service, he has kept his word.
  Roy is not only an effective Senator and a persuasive advocate, but, 
as Senator Wicker just mentioned, he is also a good friend to so many 
of us.
  On the Appropriations Committee, we have worked together particularly 
closely when it has come to biomedical research aimed at preventing, 
treating, and curing Alzheimer's disease.
  The fiscal year 2022 funding bill included a historic $3.5 billion 
for Alzheimer's research, and that tremendous success would not have 
come about but for the leadership of Roy Blunt. It has been truly 
outstanding. He has extraordinary vision in understanding the need for 
biomedical research that produces the medical breakthroughs.
  The American people also saw Roy's effectiveness with the work he did 
with Senator Burr on Operation Warp Speed. That was responsible for the 
development of the COVID vaccines in record time. No one thought that 
the partnership between the Federal Government and the private sector 
would be able to produce a vaccine so quickly, but Roy swept away the 
bureaucratic obstacles, he provided the funding, and most of all, he 
provided the vision. As a result of Roy's work, we have a COVID vaccine 
that has saved the lives of so many people.
  Serving with Roy not only on the Appropriations Committee but also on 
the Intelligence Committee, I have seen firsthand the extraordinary 
number of contributions he has made to our country. He is an 
experienced and skillful legislator who has the vision to write policy 
that makes a real difference.
  Roy has mentioned the role that he has played as master of ceremonies 
for the inauguration of President Biden. At the time, he delivered 
brief remarks on the preamble to our Constitution, observing that it 
establishes the uniquely American principle that government derives its 
authority from ``we the people.'' Our ongoing mission to create a 
``more perfect Union'' is a continuing project, Roy noted, adding that 
``we are more than we have been and we are less than we hope to be.''
  Roy, you have played a key role in advancing that mission, and it has 
been such an honor to serve with you. I wish you, Abby, Charlie, and 
the rest of your family all the best in the years to come.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SHELBY. Madam President, on Roy Blunt, I first met him when he 
was a whip in the House. We had some kind of conference going, and I 
thought: My gosh, he can count votes. He is the whip. He can count 
votes in the conference, too, and so forth.
  And then, when he came and started running for the Senate, I was one 
of many over here who wanted to help him get here. And when he came in, 
as has been said here, he went right into the leadership because he is 
a leader.
  Roy, you have got it in you. You are a natural. It is in your bones, 
so to speak. And you have brought a lot to this Senate.
  I have worked with you on just about everything, but especially on 
the Appropriations Committee, and you have been stellar. You have a 
great family. You have a great wife. You have a son who is the former 
Governor of the State of Missouri. We would miss you,

[[Page S6984]]

but I won't be one of the ``we's.'' I will be gone too. But at the same 
time, they will miss you here. But they will miss you reaching out to 
the other side to make things happen. Reaching out to show that America 
is first; the country is first--and reaching out just over the aisle 
and to others with natural friendship, which means a lot up here and 
something we need to do more of.
  But we wish you well. You will do well in your next life, whatever 
that is, and maybe we will see you again after January sometime.
  I would like to start by thanking my good friend from Missouri, 
Senator Roy Blunt, for his decades of dedicated service.
  We have served together in the Senate for 12 years, and together in 
Congress for 26 years.
  I remember when Senator Blunt was first elected to the House of 
Representatives in 1996 and later to the Senate in 2010.
  Roy is a fifth generation Missourian who grew up on a dairy farm.
  Before coming to Washington, he was a high school history teacher and 
later a county official for 12 years.
  In 1984, Roy was elected to be the first Republican secretary of 
state in more than 50 years in the State of Missouri.
  He then served as the president of his alma mater, Southwest Baptist 
University, which undoubtedly prepared him for his many years of 
prioritizing education funding as the lead Republican Senator on the 
Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
  Senator Blunt has been a force in the Senate, sitting on the 
Appropriations Committee; the Commerce, Science and Transportation 
Committee; the Select Committee on Intelligence; and chairing the 
important Rules Committee.
  Notably, Senator Blunt was elected to the Senate leadership during 
his first year in the Senate.
  He is currently the chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, 
a vital arm within our Republican leadership.
  As I mentioned, he is the top Republican on the Appropriations 
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
  In this position, we have worked together to; grow NIH funding, which 
has increased 51 percent in the past 7 years; prioritize medical 
research, and improve access to quality education.
  Senator Blunt has also been instrumental in protecting the Hyde 
amendment and other long-standing pro-life provisions in this bill.
  As the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural 
Ceremonies, he planned and spoke during the 59th Presidential 
inauguration in 2021.
  This was an important moment for our Nation.
  While Senator Blunt's service in the Senate has been significant, I 
would be remiss if I didn't mention that he was also a powerful force 
in the House of Representatives, where he was elected seven times to 
represent Missouri's seventh district.
  In the House, Roy was elected the majority whip earlier in his career 
than any Member of Congress in eight decades.
  He also served as the acting House majority leader for a period of 
  Senator Blunt has a reputation for being a statesman and a 
longstanding record of working in a bipartisan manner to get things 
  His dedication to the betterment of our country has been invaluable.
  I want to thank Senator Blunt for his service, as well as his wife 
Abigail, along with his four children and six grandchildren.
  Annette and I have enjoyed their friendship over the years.
  I wish Senator Blunt the best in his next chapter.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Gillibrand). The Senator from North 
  Mr. BURR. Madam President, I rise today to remind my colleagues of 
what we have often heard: In Washington, if you want a friend, get a 
  Roy Blunt destroys that because Roy has been a true friend. Our 
relationship goes back to the House, though. The Senator wasn't whip 
when I was there. Clearly, he came in, and the math got better.
  But Abby is a strong woman. She has put up with a lot, as have all of 
our spouses. And, Abby, I hope you have a wonderful chapter in what is 
in store for him next.
  I want to speak from the standpoint of chair of the Intelligence 
Committee, and the fact that I work with 14 extraordinary people who 
understand upfront that they are going to learn a lot, they are going 
to be faced with some tough decisions, and they are not going to be 
able to talk to their colleagues, their friends, their family about 
anything that goes on.
  There can be some rather difficult days to go through, as we have 
seen over the 18 years I have been in the Senate and--16, 14?
  MR. BLUNT. Twelve.
  Mr. BURR. And the 12 that Roy has been in. But I have got to say that 
I never questioned whether Roy was going to be prepared, whether he was 
going to attend, whether he was going to absorb what he heard, and, 
more importantly, whether he was going to make a prudent decision about 
what we do.
  I can say that he mirrors the other 13--Susan, you being one of 
them--and I think that what Roy brings to this representation from 
Missouri is not only a man of character but a true leader.
  I expected to hear in your farewell address the words of Harry 
Truman, and I am paraphrasing when I say this because I can't remember 
the direct quote, but he was referencing all the things we think about 
that we do.
  But Truman boiled it down to this: The only things that matter are 
what happens in this room, in the U.S. Senate.
  And as we all three of us think of our departures, I don't think 
Missouri yet understands the loss that they have got by not having Roy 
Blunt here. But I do understand this: There are 99 other Members of the 
Senate who understand what the Senate will lose with Roy Blunt's 
decision to retire.
  So for all the good that you have done, Roy, I wish you many years of 
success from this point forward.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Madam President, it is an honor to join with my 
colleagues to speak about someone that is a dear friend. And I have 
often said to the Senator: You are not really leaving; I am putting you 
in a closet and locking the door, and we are not letting you leave.
  But then I know that Abby and Charlie and your whole family would not 
appreciate that.
  We first met back in the 1980s, when Senator Blunt was the secretary 
of state in Missouri and I was a State legislator. It was the first 
year that the national Jaycees went from 10 outstanding young men to 10 
outstanding young Americans, and I had the honor of being one of three 
women honored that year. But we met in Tulsa, OK, and Roy has often 
joked that we met in a hotel room, but then he quickly explains what 
that was to Abby. But we had the opportunity to be there together.
  And then it wasn't until the 1996 election. We were both elected to 
the U.S. House. We were standing on the steps of the U.S. House, 
outside, to take a picture of the freshman class, and 1996 it was, the 
end of the year. I turn around, and Roy Blunt is standing right next to 
me. And I said: I know you.
  We gathered together again and really struck up a friendship. Then we 
both were on the House Agriculture Committee, and the very first bill I 
think either of us ever introduced was this very exciting bill about 
wheat germ. So I often was asked what was the first bill I ever 
introduced, and it was a wheat disease bill. But Roy and I got it done 
and went on to really form a wonderful friendship ever since.
  I was very excited when he then joined us in the U.S. Senate. As many 
people know, in addition to our having led the bills on community 
health centers, we have partnered together on a new concept of 
community behavioral health clinics, actually, funding mental health 
and addiction services the same as physical health, and that started 10 
years ago.
  We stood on the floor of the Senate when we first introduced the bill 
and talked about how President John F. Kennedy had actually signed--the 
last law he ever signed, the last act he ever

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signed, in 1963, was an act to create community mental health centers. 
And the idea was to close, at that time, what they called asylums and 
give people community care; care close to home, families, support 
people; to be able to be in the community and be successful. Well, the 
hospitals got closed, but the rest of it never happened.
  So I am so honored to have partnered, and want to continue to 
partner, with Roy as he leaves here for other things, to move forward 
the rest of the story, which is effective community care for folks, not 
in a jail, not in an emergency department, but in the community, with 
their family, allowing them to be successful and work and living their 
lives because they are getting the care that they need. So I am very 
honored to have had the opportunity to work with Roy on that as well.
  Now, Senator Wicker was talking, and I thought he might have said 
something about the trip that we took together to Asia with Senator 
Blunt. Senator Blunt was wonderful at putting together bipartisan 
trips, and we had the opportunity to go to a number of places in 
Australia because part of everything else that he does is that he has 
been one of the leaders in an interparliamentary partnership with the 
United States of America and Australia. And I was pleased, I think last 
year, to see you receive a very significant honor here because of your 
  But we had an opportunity to travel together with Abby and for all of 
us to be together and really show a bipartisan front to other world 
  I will say as an aside that you never want to play cards with him 
because he is a very good card player, and I have often said that I 
think he counts cards because he is so good.
  On a serious note, I really am going to miss this gentleman from 
Missouri. I am proud to have him as a friend, as a partner, and someone 
who really exemplifies what it means to be a statesman, to be a public 
  And I just send you all my best and all my love for you and your 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. WICKER. I ask unanimous consent that Senator Collins, Senator 
Inhofe, and I be allowed to give our remarks before the next vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WICKER. Madam President, as we see, this is that difficult time 
of the year when we pause and say goodbye, farewell, and Godspeed to 
departing Members of this body.
  Senator Collins and I are prepared to act as a team at this moment to 
wish the very best and pay tribute to two individuals, Richard Shelby 
of Alabama and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.