Weekly readers of this column know that sometimes it covers what is happening in Washington, D.C., while other times it focuses on things taking place in Missouri. This week, I’d like to highlight an issue important to Missourians as tax season gets underway, an opportunity for local students to have their artistic talents recognized, and an update on a project to give a small token of thanks to our veterans on Valentine’s Day.
Just a few days ago, several constituents brought to my attention that the Jefferson City Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office had been closed since last month. Of the eight local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers in Missouri, the Jefferson City office is the only one in mid-Missouri and the next nearest office is 120 miles away. I sent a letter to the IRS Commissioner to find out what was happening and I was not satisfied with the response I received. According to the Commissioner, the Jefferson City office is staffed with only one employee, who is new, so the office was closed for that employee to receive basic training. I think taxpayers deserve IRS offices that are open and staffed with trained employees year round, but particularly during tax season and especially after the IRS received additional funding for customer service for this fiscal year. In addition, the Commissioner suggested that mid-Missourians should use the IRS’ 1-800 number for assistance during the office’s closure. If you’ve ever tried to call the 1-800 number for assistance, it’s probably not a surprise that only 38 percent of callers get through to talk to representatives, and spend an average of 30 minutes on hold to do so. This situation raises more questions in my mind and I plan on following up with the Commissioner in the coming days to get to the bottom of it.
In addition, this week was the kick off of the Congressional Art Competition. This is an annual opportunity for high school students living in the 3rd District to display their artistic talents. The winner of the contest in the 3rd District will have his or her artwork displayed in the Cannon Tunnel of the United States Capitol for one year and receive free airfare to Washington, D.C. to attend a ceremony this summer for the unveiling of the artwork. Runners-up will have their works displayed in my offices in Jefferson City, Washington, Mo., and Wentzville. In the past, I have received hundreds of inspiring and unique pieces of artwork and I am looking forward to see what comes through the door for the 2016 competition.
Lastly, as America marked Valentine’s Day, I wanted to send an update about my office’s inaugural ‘Valentines for Veterans’ drive to give thanks to our nation’s heroes. I am incredibly proud to report that my district offices received over 9,000 valentines from across eastern and central Missouri that have been distributed to local veterans through the VA hospitals, veterans homes, and veterans service organizations. I am amazed by the kindness of everyone in the 3rd District and it is safe to say the first year of this program was a complete success!Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) has announced that his first “Valentines for Veterans” program received over 9,000 valentines to be distributed to veterans around the 3rd District.
“I am amazed by the community’s response to the “Valentines for Veterans” program. Thanks to the graciousness of individuals in the 3rd District, my office has received over 9,000 Valentine’s Day cards to distribute to area veterans organizations. I hope this small gesture will help brighten the day of many men and women who have served our nation.”
The cards came from schools, youth groups, churches, and individuals around the 3rd District. Luetkemeyer’s office has already begun distributing the cards to local VA hospitals, veterans homes, and veterans service organizations.Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement after Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen responded to last week’s inquiry regarding the temporary closing of the Jefferson City IRS office:
“After seven days of waiting for a response from the IRS Commissioner, I am not satisfied with the letter I received. The Commissioner stated the Jefferson City IRS office is staffed with one new employee who is currently in the middle of basic training. I am glad the employee will be knowledgeable on IRS issues but the training should have taken place weeks ago, before the midst of the tax season, and with the funds the IRS is allocated, I believe it is appropriate to add at least an additional employee. In the letter, the Commissioner suggested that taxpayers instead use the 1-800 number. However, he failed to mention that only 38 percent of callers ever get through to talk to a representative and they are usually on hold for an average of 30 minutes. That is totally unacceptable when Congress appropriated the IRS additional funds in the last fiscal year. Taxpayers in mid-Missouri deserve more than this. On-the-ground assistance is essential to seniors, low-income individuals, and rural residents in my district. I am going to follow up to the Commissioner’s letter with a response so we can get all the answers to my questions for those who utilize the Jefferson City IRS office.”Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) today announced the annual opportunity for high school artists living in the 3rd District to display their talents as part of the 2016 Congressional Art Competition.
“Each year I am blown away by the level of talent from the young artists that live in the 3rd District,” Luetkemeyer said. “I know that 2016 will prove to be an even harder year for the judge to choose the winning artwork.”
The 2016 Congressional Art Competition seeks artwork from high school students in the 3rd District and requires the work to be submitted to Luetkemeyer’s district offices for entry.
The winning entry from the district will be recognized in the local competition and it will also be displayed in Washington, D.C. for one year. The winning student will also receive free airfare to Washington, D.C. and have the opportunity to attend a ceremony this summer for the unveiling of the winning artwork. All runners-up will be displayed in Luetkemeyer’s congressional offices.
Entries and release forms must be submitted to any of Luetkemeyer’s district offices in Jefferson City, Wentzville, or Washington, Mo., by Friday, April 8. Entries may be submitted prior to the deadline. The winner and runners-up will be contacted once the judging has been completed.Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement following the release of President Obama’s final budget proposal:
“In the president’s final budget he showed, yet again, that he is not serious about getting our nation’s fiscal house in order or our economy back on track. Not only did the president give an unrealistic list of new spending programs, he blantly disregarded any real attempt to balance the budget and reduce the nation’s $19 trillion debt. The budget proposal the president has put forward raises prices at the pump, doubles down on his failed health-care law, and hurts our nation’s small businesses. In the next few weeks, House Republicans will issue their own budget proposal which will tackle the debt and help hard-working Americans get ahead by building a stronger, more competitive economy.”Read More
The House of Representatives was designed to be the chamber of government closest and most responsive to the American people. Work in the House of Representatives is fast paced. A typical day involves debating legislation on the House floor, listening to and questioning witnesses in committee hearings, and, mostly, meeting with the many constituents from Missouri who travel to Washington.
As your liaison from the 3rd District to Washington, one of my jobs is ensuring you always know what the House is working on and how it impacts you. In the last seven years, my colleagues and I have spent a lot of time fighting against the president’s agenda on behalf of our districts. While it may get a little less attention, we’ve also been working hard to pass our own bold, innovative, bottom-up agenda that contrasts greatly to the top-down approach that has so often been used.
This week was particularly busy week in the House. I had meaningful discussions with the many Missourians who visited my office, including members of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys who stopped by to discuss criminal justice issues. It was also a pleasure meeting with the young Missourians who traveled to DC as a part of the Council for Drug Free Youth group. The group shared stories of how drug abuse has affected their schools and classmates and they told me what they are doing to enhance education to prevent drug usage among their peers. I was also updated on the challenges that rural hospitals face from the employees of Lake Regional Health System.
In addition, the full House considered a number of bills, including two that I authored.
The first, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, is legislation that reforms housing policies in America for the first time in decades. It will streamline policies and eliminate duplicative programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service. I am proud to say this legislation was not only comprehensive in nature, but also bipartisan. It passed the House with a vote of 427-0 and, most importantly, the Congressional Budget office reported this bill would save the taxpayer $311 million over five years.
The second bill that I authored that was considered by the House this week is an issue that I have been working on for a couple of years now. The Financial Institution Customer Protection Act would prevent federal agencies from abusing executive power and blocking the access of legally-operating businesses to financial services. There is a need for my legislation to be codified into law so federal agencies can’t restrict access to needed services for businesses that they simply don’t like or ideologically don’t agree with. We’ve seen both the Department of Justice and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation engage in these very practices under the name Operation Choke Point, and, with passage of this legislation, we can halt this unconstitutional program.
The House also passed the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act, which would prohibit the president from lifting financial sanctions currently in place on key Iranian officials unless the White House certifies to Congress that these individuals were not involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program or terrorist activities. This key piece of legislation also ensures that Americans and Members of Congress are granted more oversight in the president’s dealing with key Iranian officials.
Now that this week is over, it is time to get back to work on other issues I have been working on – reining in the actions of the president in regards to gun control, ensuring the flood recovery in the 3rd District is going smoothly, and getting ready to pass out the thousands of valentines so many graciously sent to my offices to be delivered to Missouri veterans!Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement after President Obama announced his proposal to place a $10 tax on every barrel of oil:
“After seven years of the president’s failed economic policies, it’s disappointing, but not surprising that the president announced a 30 percent tax on American energy to pay for more failed “stimulus-style” spending on “green” boondoggles and urban transit. This proposal would not be welcome at any time throughout the year, but, it is especially irresponsible and harmful in the midst of winter, when many Americans are using propane and heating oil to warm their homes, both of which are derived from petroleum refining. Missourians are tired of picking up the tab for the president’s out-of-touch agenda.”
Experts predict that a $10 per barrel tax would translate to a 25 cent per gallon increase in consumer gas prices and a 136 percent increase in the federal gas tax.Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 766, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act:
“After years of remaining steadfast in bringing an end to Operation Choke Point, I am proud that the majority of my colleagues today joined me in casting their votes to ensure this program is brought to a halt and that greater transparency is achieved. Over the past couple of years I have introduced legislation, held meetings with and sent letters to Department of Justice (DOJ) and federal banking regulatory officials, and most of all, relentlessly strove to help those who have been negatively impacted by this illegal initiative. Together, the first step has been taken to ensure that federal banking agencies and DOJ can no longer intimidate financial institutions from offering financial services to licensed, legally-operating businesses that have been targeted not because of potential wrongdoing, but because of personal and political motivation.”
The Financial Institution Customer Protection Act would dictate that agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, among others, cannot request or order a financial institution to terminate a banking relationship unless the regulator has material reason. Any account termination requests or orders would be required to be made in writing and rely on information other than reputational risk. In addition, the legislation strikes the word “affecting” in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), replacing it with “by” or “against.” This is to ensure that the Department of Justice’s broad interpretation of the law is limited and the original intent of the statute is restored.Read More
After learning the Jefferson City Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office has been closed since last month, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) sent a letter to IRS Commissioner expressing deep concern and demand a plan to help mid-Missouri taxpayers.
Luetkemeyer sent a letter today to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about the IRS office closure. The IRS office in Jefferson City has been closed since Jan. 25, 2016 and will be closed until Feb. 12, 2016.
“With tax season in full swing, it is completely unacceptable the only IRS office in mid-Missouri is closed,” Luetkemeyer said. “Many individuals in the 3rd District have started the process of gathering documents needed to file their taxes but now is there is no way to get answers to any questions they may have regarding complying with the Affordable Care Act or any other information they may need. I expect a swift response from the IRS explaining to me why the Jefferson City office is temporarily closed and a plan to provide additional resources to mid-Missouri taxpayers to ensure they have the assistance they need to comply with the tax code.”
Earlier today, Luetkemeyer met with a representative from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (the independent organization within IRS that represents taxpayer interests) to elevate attention to this issue and discuss ways to deliver additional assistance to mid-Missouri taxpayers. Any individuals in the 3rd District who are experiencing difficulty with the IRS can contact Luetkemeyer’s offices for help in accessing the resources and information needed to properly file their tax returns.Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following release after voting to override the president’s veto of H.R. 3762, the Restoring American’s Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act.
This legislation, which was vetoed on January 8, eliminates federal funding for Planned Parenthood, repeals the individual and employer mandates, and repeals the medical device and “Cadillac” tax, among other provisions.
“I was proud to once again cast my vote for the unborn and against the president’s radical agenda. Even after both chambers of Congress acted on behalf of the will of the people, the president vetoed a bill that would reduce the deficit by $516 billion and end the ability of abortion providers to access taxpayer dollars. While I was disappointed in today’s outcome, it underscores why it is so important for us to have a president who will stand up for the best interests of the American people instead of a radical, leftwing political agenda. Earlier this month, a clear majority of the House of Representatives and Senate supported repealing the president’s health-care law and preventing Planned Parenthood from obtaining taxpayer funds yet the president turned a blind eye to Congress and the will of the American people.”
On January 6, 2016, the House passed H.R. 3762, as amended by the Senate. On January 8, 2016, the President vetoed the bill. A 2/3 majority in the House was necessary for the House to override the veto.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.
Retweeted by repblainepress
Curious about the future of housing in America? Watch the hearing that is happening live: https://t.co/1pzeuyXn0i
Retweeted by repblainepress
Retweeted by repblainepress
Retweeted by repblainepress
I am amazed by the community’s response to the “Valentines for Veterans” program. Thanks to the graciousness of individuals in the 3rd
Weekly readers of this column know that sometimes it covers what is happening in Washington, D.C., while other times it focuses on things taking
After seven days of waiting for a response from the IRS Commissioner, I am not satisfied with the letter I received. The Commissioner stated
In the president’s final budget he showed, yet again, that he is not serious about getting our nation’s fiscal house in order or our economy
The interns in my district offices work hard to help my staff better serve our local communities. I would like to thank Claire for her work these