Whatever your political persuasion, I think most Americans would agree that it’s important to have a voice in our government and that is why voting is such an important part of being an American.
Our form of democratic government has served as a model for the world for more than two centuries. So many American lives have been lost protecting our freedoms, including the right to vote without fear or malice.
The American experience at the ballot box has developed over the centuries. It has become more inclusive and more accessible and continues to be the envy of the world. And as we prepare to vote in the general election, it is important to remember how we got to this point in the electoral process.
When the U.S. Constitution was ratified, only white male property owners age 21 and older were guaranteed the right to vote and by 1843, a series of acts expanded voting requirements so that all white men 21 and older could cast a ballot. In the aftermath of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed the right to vote to all men 21 or older regardless of race or ethnic background. Through the tireless efforts of the Suffrage Movement, the 19th Amendment to the U.S Constitution gave women age 21 and older the right to vote in the early 20th Century.
But there was certainly more to do when it came to American voting rights and some major changes occurred in the 1960s, when our country made monumental reforms to our election system that ensured fairness for all. The 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified in 1964 made it illegal for states to charge poll tax to voters, and one year later the Voting Rights Act authorized the federal government to take over registration of voters in areas where state officials had regularly prevented African Americans and other minorities from registering to vote or cast their ballots through usage of literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and intimidation tactics.
In 1971, the year I turned 19 years old, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution lowered the voting age across the nation to 18 and in 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act extended voting guarantees provided by the Voting Rights Act to include specific voting provisions for those Americans with disabilities, voters who were not able to read and write and citizens not fluent in English.
Our nation has grown tremendously over the years when it comes to voting and at the end of the day; our nation has an election system that encourages participation in the election process for all Americans. I know we all agree that having a voice in our government is important and it’s just one reason why it is so special to be an American.Read More
Continuing his efforts to combat Operation Choke Point, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) sent a letter to the Acting Inspector General at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to delve into this unprecedented program.
This letter, signed by 35 members of Congress, requests a meeting with Acting Inspector General Fred Gibson if there is not a response by Nov. 11. As written in the letter, there is a clear connection between the FDIC and Operation Choke Point. This summer, FDIC General Counsel Richard Osterman testified before the House Financial Services Committee and rejected the assertion the FDIC and DOJ were shutting down legitimate businesses. However, Congress received correspondence from an FDIC regional director which states the FDIC condemns relationships with specific industries.
“Through hearings on the House Financial Services Committee and research done by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, it has become clear there is a blatant misuse of power that is happening in the FDIC and the Department of Justice (DOJ), among others” Luetkemeyer said. “As a member of Congress, it is my job to conduct oversight to agencies and I have no doubt in my mind the FDIC has played a chilling role in the implementation of Operation Choke Point. This letter, signed by 35 of my colleagues, will hopefully result in a prompt response and serious consideration of our concerns.”
Operation Choke Point is an operation in which the FDIC and DOJ intimidate financial institutions from offering financial services to certain licensed, legally-operating industries the government doesn’t like in an attempt to choke off those industries from our country’s banking system. These include the non-depository lending industry, ammunition and firearms sales; fireworks sales; tobacco sales; coin dealers; debt collectors; and pharmaceutical sales.Read More
Many of us have a mother, sister, daughter, or another loved one who has been diagnosed, suffered, and fought breast cancer. And with Americans across the country observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to continue my ongoing effort to raise awareness about the critical need to prevent and cure this cancer.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and there are an estimated 4,610 new cases of breast cancer that will be diagnosed in Missouri this year.
One of the best ways to fight breast cancer is with early detection. There’s a straight-forward, three-step approach to breast cancer screening: getting an annual mammograms beginning at age 40; clinical breast exams at least every three years beginning at age 20, and annually from age 40; and monthly breast self-exam beginning at age 20.
A mammogram remains the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer. A mammogram can detect breast cancer early before the tumor has grown large enough to be felt or to result in other symptoms. Fortunately, significant improvements have been made in adherence to routine mammograms after reaching 40 years of age. The percentage of women receiving a mammogram increased from 29 percent in 1987 to 70 percent in 2000.
However, many do not have access to mammograms which is why I am proud to be the sponsor of the Mobile Mammography Promotion Act which would increase access to breast cancer screening by providing relief from the federal fuel excise tax for “mammovans,” vehicles designed exclusively to provide mobile mammography services that travel to underserved areas. Such relief already exists within the tax code for blood collection and this bill would simply add vehicles primarily providing mammography services to the list. My bill would make regular mammography screenings a reality for those many underserved individuals.
It is important that we remember the importance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and encourage our loved ones to take an active role in helping to protect their health through early detection and screening.Read More
After the President formally announced that he doubts a travel ban would do more to protect Americans from the Ebola virus, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement:
“Our nation’s leader and his administration cannot continue to sit back and hope the Ebola epidemic will simply go away. Unlike the President, I believe a temporary travel ban from those countries that face the Ebola epidemic will provide a critical barrier in containing this virus. The Administration needs a comprehensive plan moving forward and I am deeply disappointed that careless mistakes are still being made. I will continue to monitor the hearings that are being held throughout different committees in the House of Representatives and it is my hope the President will decide a travel ban is a critical move to protect Americans which should be his number one priority.”Read More
In an effort to keep pressure on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and to gain insight into Operation Choke Point, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) sent a letter to Michael Horowitz, DOJ Inspector General, and Robin Ashton, head of DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility, requesting an immediate investigation.
Operation Choke Point is an operation in which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and DOJ intimidate financial institutions from offering financial services to certain licensed, legally-operating industries the government doesn’t like it an attempt to choke off those industries from our country’s banking systems. These include the non-depository lending industry, ammunition and firearms sales; fireworks sales; tobacco sales; coin dealers; debt collectors; and pharmaceutical sales.
“This letter to the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility from more than 30 Members of Congress is an attempt to launch an investigation into Operation Choke Point and the individuals charged with creating and carrying out this unprecedented initiative,” Luetkemeyer said. “There is no doubt in my mind that DOJ officials have abused their authority to address consumer fraud issues while misleading business owners by claiming financial institutions have not suffered any actual losses.”
Earlier this year, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a report based on documentation provided by the DOJ that showed clear abuse of power, meriting formal investigations into the creation and governance of the special program. The powers granted to DOJ under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) were intended to address issues that pose substantial risk to financial institutions, not consumer fraud.
Last week, Luetkemeyer created a new platform for businesses those that want to share their story if they have been affected by Operation Choke Point. The email address is email@example.com and allows businesses to share their story with confidentiality. To date, businesses from across the nation have shared their stories.Read More
Last week, the manufacturing companies and employees across the nation celebrated National Manufacturing Day. With that date in mind, I set off in my car to visit a couple of leading manufacturers in the 3rd Congressional District.
My first stop was the General Motors plant in Wentzville. I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the launch of two new mid-size cars this plant will start building. The growth at the Wentzville GM has been increasing over the years and it was recently announced that there will be a new shift added which will only create more jobs. Next, I traveled to nearby St. Peters to visit another facility. SunEdison Semiconductor is a manufacturing plant that employs 536 people and has been in operation since 1959. It was remarkable to tour the sprawling facility and to talk to the workers who are clearly very proud of what they do on a day-to-day basis.
There are many more examples of manufacturers of all sizes here at home and when I travel throughout the district and talk to the employees and the owners, they tell me the effects of overregulation coming from Washington. Recently, the National Association of Manufacturers released a study that identified the costs of government regulation that are placed on our nation’s manufacturers. It showed that regulatory burdens have cost our economy over $2 trillion per year, amounting to 12 percent of the United States gross domestic product. Even more alarming, is that these regulations are costing those manufacturers with less than 50 employees a total of $34-671 per employee each year.
Those numbers are troublesome and the House has been active in passing commonsense pro-growth bills to reverse those trends. One bill in particular that comes to mind that was overwhelmingly passed is the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act, which I was a proud cosponsor. This bill is aimed to create a national network of regionally-based hubs to improve the competitiveness of American manufacturing and increase U.S. production. The hubs are all public-private partnerships among colleges and universities and manufacturers of all sizes designed to bridge the nation’s skills gap and bring research and development and commercialization back to American manufacturing.
In addition, I am a proud member of the House Manufacturing Caucus. The caucus was created to examine and promote policies to help American manufacturers find trained, educated workers, continue to lead the world in developing new industrial technologies, operate on a level playing field with their foreign competitors, and obtain the capital they need to thrive.
I have always been a champion in supporting manufacturing and just recently I was awarded the National Association of Manufacturing award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence. I am honored to be a recipient of the award and I will continue to support bills like the Northern Route Approval Act, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act which all promote a pro-growth, pro-manufacturing policy.Read More
In an effort to allow businesses who have been targeted by Operation Choke Point to come forward with their story, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) created a platform to share how they were affected.
Luetkemeyer created an email address for businesses to safely discuss their story. The email address is hosted through the U.S. House of Representatives servers. The information contained in the emails will not be shared with regulators or other parties without express written consent from the businesses. For those that want to share their story, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This platform was created so that if you own a business and have been affected by Operation Choke Point you can share your story so that I can continue to apply pressure to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies who are applying unnecessary pressure on you,” Luetkemeyer said. “In addition, I encourage staff within the Department of Justice, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other federal agencies to use this as an opportunity to come forward and share their stories of the abuse happening inside the Administration in a safe manner.”
Operation Choke Point is an operation in which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Department of Justice intimidate financial institutions from offering financial services to certain licensed, legally-operating industries to which the government is opposed in an attempt to choke off those industries from our country’s banking systems. This government operation was first aimed at non-depository lenders but it has expanded to: ammunition and firearms sales; fireworks sales; tobacco sales; coin dealers; debt collectors; and pharmaceutical sales.Read More
“Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” President Ronald Reagan asked that straight-forward question in 1980. While President Reagan challenged Americans to think about their changing economic circumstances over the course of the Carter Administration, we should be asking ourselves the same question today with respect to the last six years of the Obama presidency.
So, how are Americans doing today as compared to six years ago? Let’s run through some numbers together.
Since 2009, the average income for American families has dropped and more than two-thirds of Americans think the economy is headed in the wrong direction. More relevant to us is the opinion of the people of central and eastern Missouri. Now, when Congress is not voting, I am home in Missouri, oftentimes traveling the district to meet with you directly and listen to your concerns. I also regularly host tele-town hall meetings, attend civic events, tour businesses, and meet with local government officials, so I hear your feedback about what is important to you and your families, friends, and neighbors. From time to time, I also send out surveys, and here is the feedback about the economy that I received from the most recent one.
I asked if you believe the country is on the right track and 85.4 percent of you believe it is headed in the wrong direction. I also asked what your biggest concerns are and jobs and the economy received 12.9 percent of the vote – the second highest among the 11 categories.
And here are some more numbers for you. President Obama would have to create more than 620,000 American jobs per month to catch up to the job creating numbers that President Reagan had – and the President’s current average is 197,000. Even more astounding is in August, only 142,000 jobs were created.
After all of these dismal numbers, let me tell you how the House of Representatives has acted to get our economy healthy again.
The House has passed over 45 job creating bills to get you back to work. For example, in the 3rd Congressional District, I’ve met with several companies that utilize the research and development tax credit and could expand their business if this was made permanent. Earlier this year, the House passed the American Research and Competitiveness Act which would simplify and make permanent this job-creating tax credit to boost U.S. competitiveness.
And for our nation’s veterans, the House of Representatives passed the Hire More Heroes Act, which would make it easier for small businesses to hire more veterans by providing an exemption to the president’s health-care law’s employer mandate for veterans with existing health coverage.
Those are just two examples of common-sense, straight-forward pieces of legislation the House have passed this Congress and there are dozens more bills to get Americans back to work. It’s time for a change and Americans are ready for bottom-up growth. Maybe President Obama should ask the same question that President Reagan did so he can hear firsthand how you are not better off today than you were four years ago.Read More
Over the past few weeks, many of you have made it clear how concerned you are about national security, homeland security, and specifically, the conflict involving the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). I firmly believe providing for the common defense of our nation is a fundamental duty that our Constitution requires, and it is a responsibility that I take seriously.
As you know, the Sunni insurgent group known as ISIL has started to take control of a number of cities in Syria and Western Iraq by extreme force. This conflict has displaced thousands of families and cost too many lives. The group is also responsible for the kidnapping and brutal murder of two American journalists. In a relatively short amount of time, this terrorist organization has shown the extreme lengths it is willing to go in order to attain power, giving clear evidence that the war on terror is far from over.
The threat that ISIL poses to America must be defeated which is why Congress acted and passed legislation to allow the United States to act to degrade these terrorist groups.
The House of Representatives passed legislation which authorizes the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to train and equip appropriately-vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other highly-screened Syrian groups or individuals. This proposal strengthens Congressional oversight by requiring detailed progress reports on the overall plan and vetting process, and requires the President to report on how this authority would fit into a larger regional strategy.
However, this amendment does not authorize new funds, does not authorize the introduction of United States ground troops into combat situations, and does not supersede the obligation for the President to report to Congress under section 4 of the War Powers Resolution.
Moving forward, Congress must make sure President Obama is held accountable of his efforts and intents. It is vital that that Congress and the Administration have an ongoing dialogue about his authority and the steps he intends to take to defeat these extremist groups.
Around the world today, there is immense instability and insecurity. If a terrorist group poses a threat to our nation’s homeland or our allies, America must step up and lead, not sit on the sideline.
As our brave men and women continue to serve overseas, they deserve our full and unwavering support. The security we all enjoy is a direct result of their selfless sacrifice. Those men and women deserve to know that when an order is given, their country will stand with them in support of their service.Read More
For far too long, it’s been the same old song and dance in Washington. The House of Representatives has remained committed in passing targeted pieces of legislation that will grow the economy while Harry Reid’s Senate remains steadfast in its efforts to not bring anything to the floor for debate, let alone a vote. And with over 40 House-passed, straight-forward, job creating bills sitting in the Senate hopper, it is incredible that politics cannot be put aside for the betterment of our nation.
This week, the House sent the Senate two packages of bills that are designed to foster job creation and promote a common-sense energy plan to lower costs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Both packages contain over a dozen bills which have all passed the House in the 113th Congress. The purpose of this is to call on the Senate to remind them the House will not waiver in its commitment while they continue to sit idle.
Each week, whether I’m meeting with constituents in Washington or traveling the 3rd Congressional District, I have had many of you tell me how important the bills that are in this jobs package are to you. For example, the Save American Workers Act, which would repeal the 30-hour definition of full-time employment created by the president’s health-care law, is one bill that comes to mind. Far too many small business owners and employees have spoken to me about how this provision in the health-care law will cause hours to be cut and full time jobs to become part-time.
In keeping with the theme in the House’s efforts to reduce burdensome and costly federal regulations that cost jobs and stifle economic opportunity, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, would ensure that Congress votes on all new major rules before they can be enforced. Right now, the unelected bureaucrats of the Obama Administration are burying Americans in red-tape. These sweeping rules have a major impact on the livelihoods of countless Missourians, yet the representatives of the people cannot stop them. This must change if we are serious about growing our economy and creating jobs.
In addition, with the average price of a gallon of gas in Missouri hovering over $3.15, we must enact policies that keep more money in your pockets rather than leave it at the gas pump. That’s why in the energy package of bills, included was the Lowering Gas Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act. This bill would remove federal government barriers that block production of U.S. energy sources offshore and expands onshore American energy production by streamlining government red-tape and regulations.
Lastly, I have long been a proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline and now that the president has waited over 2,100 days to act on this, I am pleased the House is continuing to apply pressure by voting on the Northern Route Approval Act which would allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
We all know the phrase that it takes two to tango. The House of Representatives have been ready to move the country in the right direction for months yet, under Harry Reid’s leadership, the Senate will not move from the corner of the room. It is time to get our nation moving forward and Americans back to work and so that every American can get ahead, not just get by.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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Blaine’s Bulletin, by U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer http://t.co/55s8T7sFm8
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St. Charles is proud to be named one of the top 50 places to live! http://t.co/E3eroa37Km
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LAST CALL: Today is the last day to send pictures you've taken around the 3rd District! I've received quite a few pictures, but more are welcome.
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