Blaine Luetkemeyer

Blaine Luetkemeyer

MISSOURI's 3rd DISTRICT

Blaine's Bulletin: Importance of Farming

2014/07/18

There are no greater stewards of the land and animals than farmers. There is also no doubt that our farmers and ranchers are responsible for serving America as the breadbasket of the world. As a former small farmer who raised hogs and cattle to help pay my way through college and still enjoys working on my 160-acre farm, it is amazing that government today is intent on attacking what is considered a noble calling.

Each day, whether at home or in Washington, I have heard story after story from farm families from across the 13 counties that make up the 3rd District who feel under attack from regulators and bureaucrats who want to tell folks how to do their life’s work. These are the same bureaucrats and regulators, both federal and state, who wouldn’t know the difference between a heifer and a bull, even if you drew them a picture.

There is no doubt that agriculture is vital to thousands of hard-working folks in the 3rd District and Missourians as a whole. About 16 percent of Missouri jobs are tied to agriculture and this is something I keep in my mind during my days in Congress and also did during my time as a state lawmaker. And clearly, today’s state lawmakers on both side of the political aisle understand that agriculture is still very much part of our state’s lifeblood.

Many of us in Congress have seen the challenges and pressures facing agriculture and certainly see, hear and learn about them when traveling outside of Washington, D.C. There also is a general sense that attempts are underway in parts of the country to restrict agriculture. Whether it was the farm child labor rule or the new definitions of bodies of water under the Clean Water Act to attempts to restrict the burning of wood by the Environmental Protection Agency, the government clearly is intent on stacking the deck against farmers and ranchers on behalf of liberal interests. These interests represent the same folks that claim farmers and ranchers don’t care for the environment or their animals, a claim that is counter intuitive to what these salt of the earth folks are trying to accomplish in the first place.

I, and many of my colleagues in Congress, have been doing our best to interject common sense and look out for the interests of farmers, ranchers and consumers and it all starts with our farm families here at home and across the nation. In Missouri, it is a thrill to see so many Show Me State farmers, ranchers and non-farm folks standing together working to ensure that farming remains a vital and integral part of our economy. Agriculture is an under the radar industry and we must do all we can to let our voices be heard at every opportunity to protect it. 

CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter

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Luetkemeyer Supports Budget Bill Cutting IRS Funding, Restricting Agency’s Authority

2014/07/16

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) today voted in favor of an approprations bill that makes significant cuts in funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), provides no funding for the IRS to implement the president’s health-care law and implements a series of restrictions on IRS activities in response to the agency’s targeting of conservative groups and other questionable activities.

Luetkemeyer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, voted with the majority in favor of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2015 cuts IRS funding $1.48 billion below last year and nearly $3 billion below the request.  In total, the bill brings IRS funding below 2003 funding levels. The bill passed by the House provides $21.3 billion in discretionary funding $566 million or 3 percent less than the current level and $2.3 billion or 10 percent less than the president’s request. 

“It is abundantly clear to the American people that the power of the IRS has spiraled out of control under this administration and the best way to get this situation under control is to hit the agency where it hurts _-in its pocketbook,” Luetkemeyer said. “Federal agencies like the IRS must be held accountable and I believe the provisions contained in this legislation are the first step to doing just that.” 

Along with reducing the overall IRS budget and halting funding for the president’s health-care law, the bill also prohibits the IRS from implementing the law's individual mandate and the White House from preparing or implementing presidential executive orders that contravene existing law. 

The bill also prohibits the IRS from awarding any bonuses to its employees unless tax compliance and conduct are given consideration; prohibits any funding from being used by the IRS to create inappropriate videos and hold frivolous conferences; requires the IRS to institute and enforce policies that safeguard the confidentiality of taxpayer information and protect taxpayers from identity theft and requires the IRS to establish an employee training program that covers issues such as taxpayers’ rights, ethics, and applying tax law impartially.

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Luetkemeyer Calls Government Attempts to Shut Down Legal Businesses Indefensible, Irresponsible Regulation

2014/07/15

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3), a former bank examiner, today called Executive Branch attempts to shut down entire portions of the private sector based on what it deems to be morally unacceptable under the auspices of Operation Choke Point “an indefensible and irresponsible approach to regulation.”

Following is Luetkemeyer’s opening statement delivered during today’s hearing of the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in which witnesses from Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency testified on Operation Choke Point:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to participate today.

Operation Choke Point takes a new approach to banking supervision: if you don’t like a given industry, bend your authorities and force that industry out of the financial services space, making it impossible to survive.

How does it work? The DOJ staff the conceived of Operation Choke Point summed it up in a November 5, 2012, memo to Stuart Delery: ‘Banks are sensitive to the risk of civil/criminal liability and regulatory action.’ In other words, the DOJ can intimidate banks into doing what it wants by threatening them with subpoenas and colluding with their regulators.

Since last August I’ve met with some of our regulators and even one of the witnesses on today’s panel. In each of those meetings, the regulators agreed that casting a wide net and targeting legal industries is inappropriate. But, despite that sentiment, Operation Choke Point continues.

I’m troubled that requests I’ve made for cooperation over the past year have fallen on deaf ears. But through my End Operation Choke Point Act, financial institutions will be granted the safe harbor necessary to serve legally-operating customers. Equally important: the legislation will ensure that DOJ will not be able to act unilaterally in broadly attacking legal industries.

Mr. Chairman, I look forward to the discussion on what I find to be an indefensible and irresponsible approach to regulation."

Luetkemeyer has led the national charge against Operation Choke Point since learning the FDIC loaned examiners to the DOJ in a hostile attempt to take down non-depository lenders despite the fact that they are legally-operating, licensed businesses.  Luetkemeyer’s legislation also intends to ensure that financial institutions have the security and ability to return to the business of offering products and services to a variety of industries including ammunition sales, fireworks sales and pharmaceutical sales. Luetkemeyer also successfully passed an amendment in the House that would cut off funding for Operation Choke Point for a year.

 

 

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Luetkemeyer to Question Federal Officials at July 15 Hearing About Government Attempts to Shut Down Legal Businesses

2014/07/14

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) will question federal officials tomorrow about Operation Choke Point, Executive Branch attempts to shut down entire portions of the private sector based on what it deems to be morally unacceptable.

Luetkemeyer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, will participate in the 9 a.m. CST (10 a.m. EST) hearing of the Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on July 15 in Washington. The Congressman has led the national charge against Operation Choke Point since learning the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) loaned examiners to the Justice Department (DOJ) in a hostile attempt to take down non-depository lenders despite the fact that they are legally-operating, licensed businesses.  

Late last month, Luetkemeyer filed legislation to ensure that existing laws are interpreted as intended, and that overzealous and inappropriate use of regulatory and enforcement tools are curbed. The legislation also intends to ensure that financial institutions have the security and ability to return to the business of offering products and services to a variety of industries including ammunition sales, fireworks sales and pharmaceutical sales. Luetkemeyer also successfully passed an amendment in the House that would cut off funding for Operation Choke Point for a year.

Scheduled witnesses at tomorrow’s hearing are: Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice; Scott G. Alvarez, General Counsel, Federal Reserve Board; Richard J. Osterman, Acting General Counsel, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and Daniel P. Stipano, Deputy Chief Counsel, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

“The notion that legal businesses not viewed favorably by this administration should be choked-off from the financial services they need to survive strikes at the very core of our free market system, and these officials will have a lot of explaining to do to the American people,” Luetkemeyer said. “It is time for this type of government blackmail and intimidation to end.”

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Blaine's Bulletin-The Search for Jobs

2014/07/11

Last week I had the opportunity to go around the 3rd Congressional District and talk to many of you about what’s on your mind and the number one question I’ve been getting from folks is “Where are the jobs?” And the response I have is quite simple: House Republicans have passed over 40 different bills that seek to get government out of the way of the free market and create conditions for economic growth and job creation. All that we need now is for the Senate and president to join us.

Instead of joining us, however, the administration and its allies have been crowing about a lower unemployment rate. But there is more to it than that. Under this administration, the economy shrank by 2.9 percent and there are, in fact, more than 5 million Americans who have given up looking for a job because of lack of opportunities. If the labor force was back to pre-recession levels, including the workers that have stopped looking, the unemployment rate would actually be 11.1 percent, not 6.2 percent.

Looking back on the president’s State of the Union address at the beginning of the year where he heavily focused on creating jobs for Americans – it seems that he hasn’t listened to his own words nor kept any of his promises. June marked the 49th time in the last 50 months more people gave up looking for work than found jobs while 30 percent of job seekers had to settle for part-time work. Even more disturbing is that 40 percent of our unemployed are millennials which means there are 4.6 million folks age 18 to 29 out of work.

With that said, there was a bright spot last week when the House and Senate came to an agreement on the bipartisan, bicameral Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This bill will help develop a workforce system that is focused on getting folks the skills necessary for the jobs that are available right now. Americans need an updated and streamlined system to take advantage of the resources that are available and to ensure the workers are skilled for 21st century jobs. A recent survey of businesses indicated that 33 percent of them couldn’t find enough workers with the skills needed for the jobs available.

This incredibly important legislation is headed to the president’s desk where it is my hope he will immediately sign this into law so we can start to make serious headway into the nation’s unemployment numbers. It’s long past time to get this broken record of no growth and fewer jobs repaired. House Republicans have been on the forefront of passing dozens of pieces of legislation that have long been ignored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama.

The bottom line is that too many Americans are not seeing change or hope under President Obama’s economy. Too many are still struggling and too many are giving up. There are a lot of numbers that need fixing and Americans won’t be distracted by the pretty picture trying to be painted by this administration. It’s time to act and I will continue to do just that.

CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter.

 

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Luetkemeyer’s Cost Saving River Amendments Pass Unaminously in House

2014/07/10

In an effort to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used on duplicative and unnecessary studies of the Missouri River, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) led efforts to overwhelmingly pass two amendments prohibiting funding of the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan (MRERP) and the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS).

“MRERP and MRAPS are studies that put taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars at a time of growing deficits and out-of-control spending. The last thing we need to be doing is nickle and diming folks with unnecessary government spending like this,” Luetkemeyer said. “I am pleased that an overwhelming number of my House colleagues joined me in ending funding for these projects and hopefully this trend of cutting wasteful government spending continues.”

Luetkemeyer’s amendments passed as part of the Energy and Water Appropriatons Act Fiscal Year 2015 and received no House opposition. Similar measures backed by Luetkemeyer to successfully halt funding for MRERP and MRAPS were previously passed in the House for FY2012-2014.

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Luetkemeyer Statement on EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s Visit to Parts of Missouri

2014/07/09

Following is a statement from U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) on a visit today and Thursday by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to cities in Missouri to discuss proposed changes to the Clean Water Act:

“Despite this administration’s desperate and seemingly never ending attempts to fool the American people with snappy public relations tours, the fact of the matter is that the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed clean water rule would have a devastating impact on American businesses and family farms. This visit is more about a liberal political agenda tied to radical environmentalism than protecting our environment in a responsible way. As a lifelong family farmer and small businessman, it is clear that Washington bureaucrats know very little about what rules are best for the nation’s water resources. Nearly every farmer and small business person I meet with tells me how much uncertainty is being caused by onerous EPA regulations and that is why I will continue to support legislation that roll-back EPA’s attempts to further burden hard-working Americans.”

 

NOTE: This week the House will vote on the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations bill which would prohibit funding for the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule. 

 

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Blaine's Bulletin- Protecting Your Freedoms

2014/07/03

Freedom has a different meaning for everyone. For some it’s knowing they have the freedom to speak what’s on their mind. For others, it’s knowing they have the right to bear arms. With the Fourth of July just days behind us and with the recent ruling the Supreme Court made regarding religious freedom – freedom has certainly been on my mind lately.

Last week, the Supreme Court made its final ruling on the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores case. This case is one I have been following since it made its way to the high court because of religious freedom. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overturned a 2013 Department of Health and Human Services that was issued as part of the president’s health-care law, which would require employers to provide coverage for services to which they object on moral or religious grounds.

This landmark decision is a huge victory for religious freedom in our great country. The highest court in the land recognized that Americans families running closely-held family businesses will not lose their constitutional rights.

Since I’ve been in Congress, I have fought hard to maintain your freedoms. I am proud to have sponsored legislation on this very subject, the Religious Liberty Protection Act, which would reaffirm the same rights upheld by the Supreme Court. My legislation would block the Department of Health and Human Services from forcing employers and health insurers to provide coverage for services with which they have moral or religious objections.

During a time when regulations are raining down on small businesses and jobs are hard to come by, this certainty that Americans’ most basic rights – our rights of conscience and religious freedom will continue to be protected – is incredibly encouraging.

As a proud husband, father, grandfather and elected representative, I will continue to fight for your freedoms in Congress. Our Founding Fathers created a system of government in which we must sometimes compromise on issues, but never compromise on the values and principles of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. While the Supreme Court thankfully stepped in and put a check on the runaway rules and regulations of the executive branch in this instance, my efforts in Congress to hold this administration accountable will not tire.  

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Luetkemeyer Statement: Supreme Court Ruling on the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Case

2014/06/30

The following is a statement from Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) after the Supreme Court made its final ruling on the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case:

“Today is a landmark day for religious freedom in our country. The highest court in the land recognized that Americans will not lose their rights guaranteed by the Constitution if they run a closely-held family business. This decision is incredibly encouraging for America and I am pleased that Americans most basic rights – our rights of conscience and religious freedom will continue to be protected.”

In June, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services released their final rule regarding contraceptive coverage that proposed a definition of “religious employer” for purposes of the exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement. The Supreme Court ruling has reversed the rule and employers can opt out of providing contraception coverage under the president’s health-care law.

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Blaine's Bulletin-Honoring Our Flag and Our Country

2014/06/27

The Fourth of July, Independence Day, is always filled with the red, white and blue regalia that represent the three colors of our flag. As a wise man once reminded me many years ago: “A lot of people fought and died for that flag sonny, so treat it with respect.”

The Veterans of Foreign Wars is an organization that not only represents those who fought and died for our country but serves as an educational resource for our American traditions including flag etiquette, which combines accepted custom and law. And as we prepare to celebrate our nation’s birthday, I wanted to share with you a little about flag etiquette which I hope will be educational and useful.

First, please remember that our flag should never be used as drapery, never festooned, drawn back or up in folds. It should always be allowed to fall free and when bunting is used for decoration, it should be first blue, then white, and then red.

If you are planning to place a flag behind a special Independence Day speaker’s platform at an event in your community, if flat, should be above and behind the speaker. When placing a flag over a street, place the union so it faces north and east depending on the direction of the street and when Old Glory is projecting from a windowsill, balcony or building front, the union of the flag should always be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is half-staff. When a flag is placed on a wall either horizontally or vertically, the union should be the uppermost and to the flag’s own right or the viewer’s left. If placed in a window, the union should be to the flag’s right when viewed from the outside. 

Parades are always part of our Fourth of July celebrations and our flag is always the center of attention during these events. When carried in a parade front with other flags, Old Glory should always be to the marching right of any other flags, or to the front and center of the flag line. For those of you expecting to attend a Fourth of July Parade, please remember that when the flag is raised or is passing, everyone present, except military members, should face the flag and place his or her hand over their heart. Men should remove their hats while military personnel salute.

Of course, we also must also be conscious of caring for the flag, not only on busy holidays like the Fourth of July but all throughout the year. For example, if you have a soiled flag, it may be washed or dry cleaned and when torn or frayed it may be mended. However, a worn or faded flag should always be retired with the respect which can be accomplished by folding it properly and placing it on a fire and then the ashes buried.

I am hopeful these tips on etiquette will serve you well as you prepare for your Fourth of July celebrations.  Many have selfless and courageous individuals have fought and died for our flag so please treat it with the respect it deserves. Have a very happy Fourth of July and God Bless the United States of America.

CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter

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Contact Information

2440 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2956
Fax 202-225-5712
luetkemeyer.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Financial Services

Small Business

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.


Serving With

Ann Wagner

MISSOURI's 2nd DISTRICT

Vicky Hartzler

MISSOURI's 4th DISTRICT

Sam Graves

MISSOURI's 6th DISTRICT

Billy Long

MISSOURI's 7th DISTRICT

Jason Smith

MISSOURI's 8th DISTRICT

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