Spring has officially arrived and I know, like you, I am more than ready for longer days, warmer weather, and having friends and family over to grill hamburgers, pork steaks and corn on the cob.
Everything I just listed seems like simple pleasures in life, however, when we are still under the Obama Administration we must not take anything for granted. Each day this administration issues more regulations on our nation’s small businesses and families but there is a new announcement out of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that truly takes the cake.
Recently, the EPA announced a grant to the University of California-Riverside to conduct research directed at developing technology to reduce particle emissions from residential barbecues by decreasing the amount of grease that comes into contact with open flames. It is very likely that this is just the first step toward finding a way to regulate the every barbecue, grill, or smoker.
This is no joke; the EPA is spending your tax dollars to find ways to make it more expensive to grill in your own backyard. And sadly, we’ve seen similar actions from the EPA in the past.
Something else many Missourians use are wood burning stoves in homes. The EPA wanted to require New Source Performance Standards for residential wood burning heaters which would severely impact our 3rd District residents and small businesses. I filed legislation and I remained vocal about the overreach of the EPA until the agency finally scaled back on the rule and took several of my suggestions. Even more troubling is the fact that EPA highlighted in these regulations that they were not going after fireplaces and grills, yet.
Instead of having Americans worry about being able to have a family barbecue in the backyard, the administration needs to focus its efforts in getting people back to work and keeping more money in your pockets. I will continue to push back until the administration stops issuing excessive regulations on Americans, our economy, and small businesses.
I will continue to oppose this blatant waste of taxpayer dollars and I believe that any action by the EPA to restrict residential barbecues would increase the cost of grills and pits and would place burdensome and expensive rules on the businesses that manufacture these items and the consumers who use them.Read More
The following is a statement from U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) after he supported repealing the federal estate tax, also known as the death tax:
“I am proud to cast my vote to permanently repeal the death tax today. Not only does this unfair tax break up family businesses and farms but this tax has cost the United States economy more than $1 trillion in lost economic activity. If Congress is serious about comprehensive tax reform, repealing the death tax is the first start to this process. Repealing the death tax moves America to a pro-growth tax code that helps, not hurts, American families. It is my hope the Senate will follow the House’s lead and brings this legislation to the floor soon.”
The legislation would repeal the estate tax and generation skipping transfer taxes. In addition, it would also set the top gift tax rate at 35 percent.Read More
A lot can be accomplished in 50 years.
This year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) turns 50. And after 50 years, it couldn’t be said even more plainly that HUD, and many of the programs that fall under HUD’s jurisdiction, including but far from limited to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), are broken.
As the chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, I hear firsthand from individuals who are getting ready to purchase a new home, those who lost equity in a home or were pushed into a purchase they couldn’t afford and are now facing foreclosure, and those desperate for temporary housing support so they can get back on their feet. While the depths of the latest economic crisis have passed, millions of Americans continue to face a housing crisis.
The story in Missouri is the story heard across the nation: housing authorities are full, wait lists are closed, and a lack of affordable housing is a crisis in and of itself. The status quo isn’t acceptable. We don’t seem to be much better off than we were 50 years ago. We continue to throw money at HUD in hopes that these issues will evaporate. Taxpayers have sent more than $550 billion dollars to HUD since Fiscal Year 2002, yet we find ourselves in the same or worse condition year after year. More must be done with less, innovation must be fostered and not rejected outright. We can and must do better.
It’s not just homeowners and those in need that have been impacted by stagnant housing policy: every U.S. taxpayer has had to foot the bill for failures at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA. Despite the warning cries, we are headed down a virtually identical path as the one traveled before the financial crisis. We continue to read that both Fannie and Freddie are in trouble; weak earnings reports and operations by Freddie at a near loss level demonstrate the need for an overhaul of the housing finance system. More failures are likely.
FHA seems to be gliding down a track of expansion with no regard for proper risk management. In previous years, the FHA’s mission evolved to serve targeted populations such as first-time homebuyers and communities with limited access to credit but were shut out of traditional mortgage markets. Today, in a display of unparalleled mission creep, the FHA has taken on a dramatically expanded role, deciding to grow its way out of its fiscal problems by lowering its premiums and claiming an even greater share of the mortgage-insurance market.
Our country needs sustainable housing programs and a mortgage finance system that allows for innovation and puts the U.S. housing market on a forward trajectory. However, the archaic policies at HUD combined with the reckless mismanagement of the FHA and government sponsored enterprises prohibit a stable housing system from emerging.
So, what will the future of housing look like? If the objective is to build a system that protects taxpayers and homeowners and one that allows for a smarter housing safety net, the answer is reform. To ensure efficiency, we need organizational reform at HUD and leadership at FHA and the Federal Housing Finance Agency that understands the importance of risk management. To protect taxpayers, FHA must return to its mission and allow for more private market participation. To create a stable housing economy, we need to continue to press for responsible housing finance reform that encourages a culture of sustainability among homeowners. To help those most in need, we must push for innovation at HUD, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other federal agencies that need to reduce regulatory burdens facing those who work tirelessly to serve their communities.
The House Financial Services Committee will continue to tackle some of the problems inherent in our government-backed housing system. In addition, we must maintain a balance between providing people with an opportunity for the American dream and forcing a fiscal nightmare onto taxpayers across the country.
To make the future brighter, Congress and the Obama Administration are going to have to work together and make tough decisions, because the simple truth of the matter is that the status quo serves no one. We cannot continue to head down the exact same broken path we’ve followed or double down on failed policies. It is time for real housing reform to be enacted in America.Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) sent a letter to Director Robert Cardillo of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) expressing support to keep the facility in Missouri.
The St. Louis region has had a 70 year long standing relationship with this agency and its precursors, and the NGA West facility continues to provide relevant and timely geospatial intelligence in support of national security.
“With roughly 2,100 NGA West employees who are Missouri residents, I believe there is a strong case for keeping the NGA West facility in the state,” Luetkemeyer said. “While I understand the need to move the current facility location, it is important to keep in mind the commute distance and travel time for these workers.”
The current NGA West facility located at 2nd Street in St. Louis has shown major concerns in recent years and as such the NGA has decided to search for another location. This search has been narrowed to four possible sites, three of which are located in Missouri and one in Illinois. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently conducting an Environmental Impact Survey on the remaining sites and is scheduled to release a draft report of their findings later this year.
The letter goes on to state, “The ties that bind NGA and Missouri have lasted for over 70 years; they run throughout St. Louis, throughout the surrounding communities and through generations of families. With that in mind I would ask that you choose one of the remaining three Missouri sites for the new NGA West facility.”Read More
The House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) that would save customers of banks and credit unions time and money by eliminating redundant mailings.
“This common-sense piece of legislation would eliminate confusing mailings that inundate American’s mailboxes and cost millions of dollars to produce and mail,” Luetkemeyer said. “This legislation would put an end to redundant mailings and it would also make it more likely for people to pay closer attention to mailings they receive from their financial institutions because they would be receiving fewer.”
Luetkemeyer’s Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act would eliminate the current requirement that banks have to mail to all customers annual privacy notices explaining information sharing practices even when a financial institution’s privacy policies have not changed. Luetkemeyer’s bill would require banks and credit unions to provide information only if privacy policies have changed at the financial institution.
This legislation was passed in the House of Representatives in the 112th and 113th Congress. The Senate has not considered the bill.Read More
Each and every day, my offices receive letters, emails, and phone calls with questions and comments about government policies and agencies.
Since we are now in the month of April, calls, emails, and letters about our current tax system have increased as Tax Day and the deadline for Americans to file our income taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) approaches. One 3rd District constituent in particular wrote to me to voice his concerns and frustration about the complicated and incredibly long federal tax code. At the end of his email, he asked me what I was doing about the mess of the tax code and what the House of Representatives can do to straighten this out.
The author of the email is right to be frustrated with the complexity, length, and overall burden of our tax code. So, let me answer the question of what I am doing to ease the tax burden on individuals, families, and small businesses in America. One of the first bills I cosponsored this year was the Tax Code Termination Act. This bill would end our broken tax code by abolishing the current Internal Revenue Code by December 31, 2019. In addition, it would call on Congress to approve a new, simpler, less burdensome federal tax system by July of the same year.
Also, in March, the House of Representatives, with my support, passed the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. The annual budget is a vision for the future, and I was very pleased that this year’s budget directs Congress to undertake comprehensive tax reform that would simplify the tax code and lower rates for individuals, families, and small businesses.
Beyond being supportive of reforming our current tax system, I have also championed other efforts related to taxes. In January, I became a cosponsor of a bill to permanently repeal the death tax. The death tax plays a large role in why family businesses and farms don’t survive from one generation to the next; many families are forced to liquidate the farms or businesses their relatives owned and operated in order to pay a tax that is levied on assets that have already been taxed extensively. It also influences planning decisions and is one reason that some businesses that can expand, choose not to do so. In addition, a small business survey found that more than 80 percent of small employers spend an average of 25,000 annually in attorney or consultant fees and life insurance premiums to avoid the death tax! While we have made progress in recent years, such as increasing the amount exempt from the death tax and raising this exemption annually for inflation, there is more work to be done. The last time the House of Representatives voted on a full repeal of the death tax was 2005, and it’s time to bring this legislation back to the floor.
Instead of our current system, Americans need a tax system that rewards hard-work, entrepreneurship, investment and innovation. As your voice in Washington, I will continue to work on reform of the tax code and keeping the needs of Americans and small businesses in mind. Please feel free to write or call my office with any questions you may have, my staff is here to assist you.Read More
Bunnies, dyed eggs, and family traditions are just a couple of images that come to mind when many think of Easter Sunday.
However, we all know that Easter means so much more than chocolate filled eggs. Following the reflection and penance of the Lenten season, Easter Sunday represents a celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and the many sacrifices he made for us. Easter commemorates our Savior’s triumph over sin, and we take joy in spending this day with our loved ones and reflecting on the many blessings we are given.
The House is in its district work period and it has been great getting in the car and traveling around the 3rd District to visit with many of you. One issue in particular that many have brought up is the sustainable growth rate. By way of background, for years, Medicare reimbursement rates have been tied to overall economic growth by a complicated formula known as the sustainable growth rate. Under this formula, payouts increase with inflation. The problem with this is the cost of delivering or administering health care tends to rise faster than inflation and, as a result, amounts to a pay cut that has forced doctors to make tough decisions for many years.
I am pleased to say the House of Representatives worked together to produce a bipartisan piece of legislation that will provide certainty for millions of Americans. The House passed with my support, and 396 of my colleagues, the repeal of the sustainable growth rate. Since 2002, Congress has been working on a solution to the sustainable growth rate and I am proud to say that permanent action has finally been taken. Congress has spent billions of dollars in short-term patches to avoid unsustainable cuts imposed by this flawed system and now stability and certainty will be returned to Medicare physician payments. Also included in this legislation, among other things, is the extension of Community Health Centers which play a critical role in the 3rd District and it extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
While the House has been in busy, it is always nice to take a step back and enjoy time with my family and grandchildren. This holiday is an opportunity for me to take my grandchildren to church and then watch the young children enjoy themselves as they search for filled eggs scattered around the lawn. And later we will all go home and look forward to the warmer weather and all the great things that springtime brings in central Missouri.
However not all of us are fortunate to be with loved ones on Easter Sunday. Let us also remember our brave men and women serving in uniform who are separated from their families. And let us pray for their safety and their strength and a quick return home.
I look forward to visiting with many more of you and heading back to Washington to continue to capitalize on our efforts prior to the district work period. On behalf of myself, my wife, and my staff, I want to send everyone greetings to those celebrating the joyful holiday of Easter.Read More
Think about this: every dollar paid in taxes and every dollar borrowed in Washington is a dollar that can’t be used by everyday Americans to buy a car, pay the rent, send a child to school, or expand a business.
Unfortunately, this is the world we live in and the federal government is spending far too many of the dollars that should be in your pockets. As I travel throughout eastern and central Missouri, the number one issue I hear about is reining in our nation’s out of control spending and debt. That’s because you know that getting our debt under control will create real, meaningful gains for our economy which will benefit each and every American.
Each year, the House of Representatives is tasked with producing a budget to set forth a framework for the upcoming fiscal year, and this week, I was proud to support the budget that passed the House of Representatives for Fiscal Year 2016. And, unlike the White House, House Republicans take our nation’s finances very seriously. For example, the House plan balances the budget in less than 10 years without raising taxes, while the president’s budget never balances.
Balancing the budget is not a newfound thought. Families and businesses in Missouri, and across the nation, wisely prioritize spending to make ends meet. Our country should do the same.
Not only does the House budget balance, but it repeals the president’s health-care law, boosts defense spending to make sure our nation is secure and our war fighters have the tools they need to be successful, eliminates “double dipping” of Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance and establishes a plan to strengthen the Social Security Trust Fund, and saves and strengthens Medicare for current and future retirees by ending the $700 billion Obamacare raid on Medicare.
The House of Representatives stepped up again by advancing a bold plan of action that will help life our nation’s crushing burden of debt and spur job creation and economic opportunity. This budget places the country on a path to pay off the debt by growing the economy and making government more efficient, effective, and accountable.
We must get back to a culture that promotes saving and smart investment. Hard-working families and small business owners across the country live by these tenets – why should the federal government be exempt from this?Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) and Missouri colleagues today sent a letter to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Attorney General (AG) Chris Koster calling on them to join the lawsuit brought by Texas and 25 other states against the president for his unconstitutional executive actions on immigration.
U.S. Reps. Ann Wagner, Vicky Hartzler, Billy Long, Jason Smith, and Sam Graves joined Luetkemeyer in sending a letter to Governor Nixon and AG Koster.
“As elected officials, we share responsibility to uphold the Constitution and a duty to represent law-abiding Missouri citizens,” Luetkemeyer said. “It is of the upmost importance that Governor Nixon and AG Koster join the 26 other states in condemning the president’s actions that were never authorized by law and will cause immense damage to our great state.”
In December, President Obama issued executive actions which would unilaterally rewrite our nation’s immigration laws. The letter goes on to state that “allowing those who came to this country illegally to jump the line is an insult to all of the immigrants in Missouri who have followed the law in seeking legal status or permanent residency. Moreover, the work authorization provided to undocumented immigrants could place a downward force on wages and reduce the provision of available jobs in a state that already has an unacceptably high unemployment rate of 5.5 percent.”Read More
A pastel painting on sandpaper titled “My Self” featuring a young girl’s portrait contrasted against a dark yellow background created by Abigail Preckel of Wentzville has been chosen as the winner from the 3rd District in the Congressional Art Competition.
The winning entries, along with three runners-up, were selected by Washington, Missouri artist, Gary Lucy. Lucy is known for his paintings of nature and his commissioned piece done for the 175th anniversary of Washington, Missouri.
“Seeing students’ artwork from around the country in the halls of the Capitol is very special to me,” U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) said. “Mr. Lucy’s choice was very difficult this year because of the number of exceptional entries. I am looking forward to displaying Abigail’s painting in the Capitol and featuring the runners-up paintings in my district offices. Each of these young artists told a story through art and I am honored to have these hanging in my offices. In addition, I want to thank each and every student who submitted artwork for the competition. We had an overwhelming amount of entries and it is very impressive to see the talent in the 3rd District.”
Abigail, a junior at Timberland High School, will have her work displayed along with other winners from congressional districts around the country in the Cannon Tunnel at the U.S. Capitol. Abigail, whose art teacher is
Crystal Wing, will have the opportunity to attend a ceremony in Washington, D.C. this summer where all winning artwork from across the nation will be displayed.
The first runner-up was Lainey Winge, from Jefferson City High School with her work “Steam Punk Ribs.” Emily Schmitz, from Fatima High School, was the second-runner up with the piece “Painted-on Beauty.” The third runner-up was Iberia High School student Bennett Zink with the piece titled “Neotropical.”
More than 40 works were submitted from across the 3rd Congressional District.Read More
2440 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
As the Congressman from the 3rd Congressional District of Missouri, Blaine is committed to representing the interests of the hard-working people by being a strong voice for them in Washington, D.C.
Blaine, 61, represents the 13 counties that make up the 3rd Congressional District of Missouri. Blaine, a native of St. Elizabeth, Mo., has lived in the district with his family for four generations and he operates a 160-acre farm there.
Along with his strong agriculture background, he was also a small businessman, having been in the banking and insurance business. Blaine has also served as a bank regulator for the state of Missouri earlier in his career. He was elected in November, 2008, succeeding fellow Republican Kenny Hulshof.
From 1999 to 2005, Blaine was a Missouri State Representative and served as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee and was elected by his colleagues to serve as the House Republican Caucus Chairman. After leaving office, Blaine was appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt to serve as the Director of the Missouri Division of Tourism.
Building on his experience as a bank examiner, small businessman and community banker, Blaine serves as vice chairman of the House Small Business Committee where he also serves on the House Small Business Subcommittees on Health and Technology and Agriculture, Energy and Trade. Blaine also serves on the House Financial Services Committee where he also serves on the panel’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Committee and is vice chairman of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee.
Blaine is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Eldon Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Rifle Association and a lifelong member of St. Lawrence Catholic Church. Blaine is a graduate of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., where he earned a degree with distinction in political science and a minor in business administration.
Blaine and his wife, Jackie, have three children, Trevor, Brandy and Nikki, and four grandchildren.
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The death tax hurts family businesses & farms - I'm very pleased to support the repeal of this tax. http://t.co/4DjluQ6JFU
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TUNE IN 9:15am ET “The Future of Housing in America: Increasing Private Sector Participation in Affordable Housing” http://t.co/dJB0HUjJpB
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It was an honor attending the Jefferson City Fire Department training exercise today. The exercise performed simulated structural damage due
Spring has officially arrived and I know, like you, I am more than ready for longer days, warmer weather, and having friends and family over
Today I cast my vote to permanently repeal the death tax. Not only does this unfair tax break up family businesses and farms but this tax has
A lot can be accomplished in 50 years. This year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development turns 50. And after 50 years, it couldn’t
With today being Tax Day, the House will be debating several pieces of legislation to hold the IRS accountable and ensure fairness for all Americans.