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U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt on why Republicans are pushing for debt ceiling concessions

U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt records an episode of Politically Speaking at St. Louis Public Radio studios on May 18, 2023. Schmitt was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2022.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt records an episode of Politically Speaking at St. Louis Public Radio studios on Thursday. Schmitt was elected to the Senate in 2022.

The latest episode of Politically Speaking features U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt discussing his initial impressions of federal legislative service and the ongoing standoff over raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

After serving as a state senator, state treasurer and attorney general, Schmitt was elected to the U.S. Senate last year to succeed Roy Blunt. He currently serves on the Senate Armed Services and Commerce committees.

Here’s what Schmitt talked about during the show:

  • How he is one of several GOP senators who oppose raising the debt ceiling without major changes to federal spending policies. While that stance clashes with President Joe Biden and the Democratic majority in the Senate, Schmitt said he’s optimistic that a deal will be beneficial toward curbing spending.
  • His initial impressions of serving in the Senate. This marks the first time Schmitt has ever served in the political minority, limiting his ability to enact his policy goals. But since the Senate is closely divided, Schmitt says there are still opportunities to make an impact, including on presidential nominations.
  • His legislation aimed at reducing administrative rules that come out of federal agencies. The bill would require administrative agencies that issue a new regulation to repeal three existing regulations before the new one takes effect.
  • His bill that would remove what’s known as Section 230 protections for technology companies if they are found to be “colluding with the government to censor speech.” Section 230 provides general immunity to technology companies for third-party content generated by users.

Schmitt is an attorney who was first elected as a state senator in 2008. After reaching his term limit in 2016, he successfully ran for state treasurer and served in that post until Gov. Mike Parson appointed him attorney general in early 2019.

After winning a full term as attorney general, Schmitt entered a crowded primary to succeed Blunt. His main rivals were former Gov. Eric Greitens and then-Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler. Schmitt emerged victorious in the GOP primary and went on to soundly defeat Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine in the 2022 general election.

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.