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
Following up on his commitment to investigate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in regards to the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) tax-exempt status, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) sent another letter to the agency after obtaining internal IRS communications that his requests were not taken seriously.
Earlier this year, Luetkemeyer received internal IRS communications between Lois Lerner and her staff that shows his initial requests was not taken seriously and was never referred for investigation.
“I will not allow the IRS to simply blow off my inquiries and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. Taxpayers across the nation deserve answers to their questions about the political motivations of the IRS and HSUS and it is my job as a member of Congress to follow-up on these requests,” Luetkemeyer said. “I will not allow this stonewalling to happen and I will continue to press these agencies for answers into an investigation that has now been going on for years.”
Over the past few years, Luetkemeyer has sent several letters to the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and last year TIGTA committed to review the IRS’s conduct with this matter. However, more than a year has passed and Luetkemeyer has yet to receive any report of the results from this review.
In 2010, constituents in Luetkemeyer’s district prompted him to request an IRS investigation into HSUS’s tax-exempt status based in large part of the organization’s involvement in political and lobbying activities. Since Luetkemeyer’s initial requests, no progress seems to have been made.Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) was honored by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) with the group’s ‘Guardian of Small Business’ award for his commitment to create jobs for hard-working Missourians by expanding opportunities for America’s small businesses.
“I am honored the NFIB has recognized my efforts in creating jobs and ensuring our nation’s small businesses are not stymied by burdensome regulations,” Luetkemeyer said. “As a former small businessman and as Vice Chair of the House Small Business Committee, I know firsthand that small businesses are the glue that keeps our economy together and I will continue to help give these folks all the help I can so they can succeed and grow.”
The NFIB is the leading small business association representing small and independent businesses. A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1943, NFIB represents the consensus views of its members in Washington and all 50 state capitals.
“In the 113th Congress, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer proved that he is a champion of small business,” NFIB State Director Brad Jones said. “The Guardian of Small Business Award is a legislative award given to U.S. Representatives and Senators who vote to promote and protect the right of small business owners to own, operate and grow their businesses.”Read More
Complicated, complex, and confusing are just a few words that come to mind when I think about the nation’s tax code. And during a time when words like bipartisanship and common-sense are not often heard in Washington, I am proud to have recently led an effort in the House that is both bipartisan and makes common-sense for the people of Missouri.
It all centers on whether or not folks should be able to use the cash method of accounting or be forced to use the accrual method of accounting when doing their books. The cash method has traditionally been popular with many folks, because, under it, one pays taxes on the money that comes in. Those who use the cash method of accounting include many of our nation’s job creators and professionals including accountants, architects, attorneys, dentists, engineers, famers, physicians, and financial service professionals.
As reforms to the tax code have been discussed, a few people in Washington have suggested forcing many more small businesses to use the accrual method instead of the cash method. I strongly support simplifying and fixing our broken tax code, but mandating a switch in accounting systems for small businesses is not the way to go.
In contrast to cash accounting, under the proposals that have been floated in Washington, these small businesses and small professional firms would have to switch to the accrual method of accounting. This method recognizes when a service is performed, regardless of when cash is collected. The cash method is preferred by so many because they often do not have the benefit of matching revenues to expenses, many of which are already fixed. Furthermore, the cash accounting method is the foundation which these businesses have built their business models around. With the accrual method, these businesses would be forced to pay taxes on income they have not yet received which would result being taxed at a higher tax bracket or even be subject to additional taxes. It is an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes businesses and professionals are not paid on time, in full, or at all for their goods and services, and the accrual method does take this fact into consideration. Job creators and professionals often don’t have the extra resources when it comes to maneuvering the complicated tax structure, and, ultimately, this proposal would hinder small businesses and professional firms from growing, and, even worse, it would require them to pay taxes up front on money that may never arrive.
As I investigated this issue, I was pleased to find that a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives agreed with me. Recently, I sent a letter to the leaders of the House with the backing of 233 of my colleagues urging them to consider the importance of the cash accounting for those that utilize this method of bookkeeping. It is clear when over half of the House of Representatives heard from constituents and small business owners in their districts; this is an issue that should not be ignored.
As tax reform discussions continue through the remainder of this year and in the next Congress, I believe the House of Representatives sent a strong message to House leaders to recognize the importance of the cash method of accounting. America is long overdue for a tax code that is based upon fairness and simplification, not complex and confusing, which is why I will continue to support the ability of small businesses, farms, and small professional service firms to use the cash method of accounting.Read More
U.S. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Brad Schneider (IL-10), Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Richard Hudson (NC-08) led a bipartisan letter with 229 colleagues to House Leadership urging them to preserve the simple and appropriate cash method of accounting for small businesses and service firms.
“America is long overdue for a tax code that is based upon fairness and simplification, not complex and confusing,” Luetkemeyer said. “I am pleased that more than half of the House of Representatives recognize the importance of preserving the cash method of accounting for our nation’s job creators which are small businesses and service firms. I will continue to support common-sense approaches to reforming our nation’s tax code. ”
“Modernizing and simplifying our tax code is critical to achieving long-term, sustainable economic growth,” Schneider said. “While it is imperative that we enact comprehensive tax reform, needlessly forcing small businesses and farms to switch accounting methods would have the unintended consequence of creating greater complexity and economic disincentives in our tax code—stifling growth at a time when we should be helping these businesses build and hire.”
“America’s federal tax code must be overhauled from top to bottom, but not with cumbersome and unnecessary reforms that restrict the success and competitiveness of our small businesses and service firms,” Quigley said. “Instead of forcing them to use a complex accounting system that limits flexibility, we should focus on simplifying our tax code and develop incentives that encourage small businesses growth and job creation.”
“Every day, America’s small businesses struggle as they are they are forced to comply with excessive rules and regulations coming out of Washington,” Hudson said. “Forcing small businesses to change accounting methods creates more confusion and complexity, making it difficult for them to grow and hire and hindering economic growth. We need to make common sense reforms to our current tax code to make it work for these job creators, not against them.”
In March 2014, the House Ways and Means Committee released a tax reform discussion draft, which included a number of proposals adjusting business accounting methods. While the proposal would expand the cash accounting method for C Corporations, it would also create new limits on pass-through entities, personal service companies, and farmers—forcing businesses to use the more complex accrual accounting method once they accumulate more than $10 million in gross receipts. This would stifle natural economic growth for small businesses as they approach the newly proposed cap.
In November 2013, Schneider, Luetkemeyer, Quigley, Hudson and 67 of their colleagues sent a bipartisan letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee urging them to consider the consequences of proposed tax reforms that would restrict accounting flexibility and force businesses to switch accounting methods.Read More
After a failed promise by the President telling Americans “if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor,” U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) voted for legislation that would allow Americans to keep their health plans.
“Millions of Americans were assured by the President that if they liked their current health-care coverage, they would be able to keep it. However, hard-working Americans who have not been able to keep their coverage, know that President Obama had no idea what he was talking about in his own health-care law,” Luetkemeyer said. “I’m proud to support legislation that would give Americans the peace of mind that they can keep their health-care plan and keep their doctor, if they choose to do so.”
The Employee Health Care Protection Act would help American workers keep their health plans and fulfill the President’s broken promise by giving Americans in the group insurance market the opportunity to keep their policies in 2014 through 2019. In addition, this bill would ensure that Americans enrolled in these health plans would not face a penalty under the individual mandate.
According to a Rasmussen Report, 56 percent of Americans view the President’s health-care law unfavorably and 39 percent view the law very unfavorably.
Continuing his efforts to halt the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Administration’s constant attempts at overregulating our nation’s farmers and landowners, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) voted in support of the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act.
“Today the House casted yet another important vote in an attempt to roll back another regulation from the Administration. The EPA wants to expand the scope of the Clean Water Act on small business and farmers by taking out the word “navigable” from “navigable waters” which would extend its authority to just about any body of water. This means that when a drop of rain touches a ditch, stream, or puddle, the EPA has every right to regulate it,” Luetkemeyer said. “A proposal like this, which would extend the EPA’s reach to waters never intended to be regulated, cannot be left to Washington bureaucrats working behind closed doors and I’m proud to support this bill to halt this federal land grab of our nation’s waters.”
Missouri Farm Bureau has also been in front of this issue and informing Missouri’s farmers and landowners of the potential negative effects of this proposed rule and applauds Congress for sending a clear message to the Administration.
“If EPA won’t heed calls to ditch its “Waters of the U.S.” rulemaking, Congress should,” said Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst. “We appreciate Congressman Luetkemeyer and other members of our U.S. House delegation carrying that message to Washington, D.C. and voting to stop the agency’s proposal.”
The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act would prohibit the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from implementing a rule that expands the federal government’s regulatory power by broadening the scope of the Clean Water Act. Luetkemeyer is a co-sponsor of the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act and has signed on to multiple letters to the EPA urging them to rescind this rule.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) today voted in support of legislation condemning the President for his actions in transferring the five Taliban officials.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires the President to notify Congress no later than 30 days before the transfer or release of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay. The President failed to meet this obligation when he transferred five Taliban terrorists on May 31, 2014.
“Our men and women in uniform should be a top priority,” Luetkemeyer said. “The President cannot continue to circumvent Congress with his thoughtless actions and this resolution is the House of Representatives condemning and holding him accountable for the lawless way in which he transferred five Taliban terrorists. The Administration had plenty of time to notify Congress of the transfer to remain in compliance with the law, however, the President made the decision not to consult Congress. We cannot stand by and allow this President to continue to skirt the law.”
On August 21, 2014, the Government Accountability Office released a report on the President’s compliance with statutory notification requirements. In that report, GAO stated that “In our view, the meaning of the law is clear and unambiguous.” The report reaffirms existing law by stating “Section 8111 [FY2014 NDAA] prohibits the use of ‘funds appropriated or otherwise made available’ in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014, to transfer any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay to the custody or control of a foreign entity’ except in accoradance with the FY2014 NDAA.”Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) today applauds the U.S. Department of Transportation’s recent decision to award a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant of $10 million for the new Route 47 Missouri River Bridge.
“Since coming to Congress, I have been an advocate for securing funding for the new Route 47 Missouri River Bridge which is now nearly 80 years old. Replacing the bridge is not just a safety issue but will also provide a major connecting link between Interstate 70 and Interstate 44 in eastern Missouri,” Luetkemeyer said. “I am extremely pleased that MoDOT has been awarded this TIGER grant for the new Route 47 Missouri River Bridge. This project is important because it will boost economic growth by connecting goods and services throughout the region and the state.”
For several years, Luetkemeyer has sent letters to the U.S. DOT in support for a TIGER grant.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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BREAKING: White House official says Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning.
Friends: I thought it would be fun if this October, there was a friendly Facebook competition. Every Facebook page has a cover photo and while
Check out my bulletin board to see some snapshots of a couple of places that I visited in the 3rd District last week.
This week's bulletin: The Threat that ISIL Poses to America Must Be Defeated
I have three words for the EPA: ditch the rule
I am pleased that Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation today. For the last few years, I have supported legislation of no