Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri must work to fix a broken system

The stunning results of the election show that voters are demanding change. People across the country feel like Washington has rigged the system against them — and they are right. On issues ranging from health care to the tax code, government policies are harming working Americans while enriching special interests.

Missouri voters chose to send Sen. Roy Blunt back to Washington to tackle these issues. Now he must work to reform our broken system. Otherwise, he risks losing the support of the hardworking Missourians who entrusted him with this task.

Top on the list is reforming our broken health care system. The Affordable Care Act has been a disaster for Missouri: Premiums in the state are spiking an average of 23 percent next year. Meanwhile, Aetna and UnitedHealthcare are exiting the Missouri health care exchange, leaving the majority of counties with just one insurer offering Affordable Care Act plans in 2017.

Blunt should follow through on his promise to repeal “Obamacare” and enact reform that promotes choice and competition.

But it’s not just the failed health care law in need of reform; there are hundreds of corporate welfare programs that benefit the lucky few at the expense of others. From subsidies for favored industries, exemptions for special interests and government rules that prop up some industries while harming others, there are far too many places where the government chooses winners and losers.

In nearly every bill that comes to the floor, there are special giveaways tucked inside. Blunt can oppose any such favoritism. And he will have his first chance to do so very soon. Dozens of tax-giveaways to corporate interests are set to expire in December. Blunt should let them do so — and save taxpayers billions of dollars. Lobbyists will also line the halls asking to fully revive the Export-Import Bank. Blunt should reject any such effort to finance more foreign projects on the taxpayers’ dime.

Aside from saving taxpayers billions and leveling the playing field for all, ending carve-outs for special interests is a necessary step toward simplifying the tax code. The current tax code is nearly impossible to decipher, and its complexity results in billions of dollars in time and money spent to comply with it. Blunt should work with Congress to simplify the tax code, purge it of any special-interest loopholes and level the playing field.

Last but not least, Blunt must do everything in his power to rein in government spending and bring our national debt under control. This issue received scant discussion during the election, but simply ignoring our national debt — currently $19.8 trillion and growing — will not make it go away. Solving this problem will mean taking a hard look at entitlement programs, like Social Security, that are unsustainable and headed toward insolvency.

Blunt will have the opportunity to prove he’s serious about reforming spending in just a few months. The debt ceiling is set to expire in March, and he should ensure that any vote to raise the debt ceiling is offset by reductions in automatic spending.

Missourians have placed their confidence in Sen. Roy Blunt to help reform a political system that is geared toward boosting the wealthy and the well-connected, to the detriment of hardworking taxpayers. Now it’s up to him to prove that our confidence is well-placed.

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