Last week’s bulletin was the first in a six week series, called A Better Way, focusing on bold policy solutions to get our nation back on track. Following on last week’s discussion of poverty, this week’s focus is all about national security – a topic which is frequently brought up to me as I travel around the district. What I hear from you is the need to keep America strong in an ever-changing worldwide landscape that includes multiple adversaries around the globe.
I understand and I agree. We must create a better way and protect the American people by developing an overarching vision for national security. This blueprint should be designed for a stronger America – one that can confront the foreign and domestic threats of the 21st Century. In order to achieve this, we must focus on four policy goals: defeat the terrorists; protect the homeland; defend freedom and advance America’s interests abroad; and renew our national security tools.
After the terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, and Orlando, Americans are right to be worried about ISIS operatives plotting further attacks. We desperately need a strategy to defeat ISIS and we clearly need new, innovative approaches to confront and defeat the scourge of radical Islamic extremism. ISIS has proven to be particularly adept at using social media to promote its propaganda. One new approach that should be on the table is to harness the persuasive power of testimonials from former extremists. These former extremists have witnessed the cruelty perpetrated by terrorist groups first hand – and have rejected it. For example, a young man from the United States who defected from ISIS was picked up by Kurdish forces in Iraq and he said joining the terrorist group was a mistake, “I found it very, very hard to live here…ISIS fighters don’t represent the religion…I don’t see them as good Muslims.” Using such testimonials is a vital aspect of countering the hateful messaging that terrorist groups promulgate in order to convince American individuals to carry out their heinous acts.
Restoring America’s role as a global leader includes reassuring our friends and allies around the world that we will not prioritize deals with anti-American regimes like Iran that are detrimental to long-term allies, such as Isreal.
We also must take a hard look inside of our country and fix the problematic issues inside the border. We cannot afford to wait any longer to secure the border and enforce immigration laws by putting in place robust defenses to stop unlawful entry and developing the means to detain and remove criminal aliens within the United States.
Here in America, we must bring together the brightest minds from the technology sector, computer science, privacy, and law enforcement. With all of these sectors working together, we can explore the connection of technology and security and develop recommendations for protecting Americans’ privacy and public safety.
Finally, we must ensure that all of our men and women in uniform have the pay, benefits, resources and equipment they need to do their jobs and return home safely. And, once they return home, we need to make sure that the Department of Veterans Affairs is upholding our commitment to our heroes by providing high-quality care in a convenient and efficient manner.
This plan is to show the country that House Republicans have developed a better way to strengthen our economy and our military to show the world that freedom works. We need a strong America to protect our national interests at home and abroad, and a confident America to protect peace around the world.
If you would like any additional information about this installment of the Better Way series, please contact any of my offices for further information.Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement after the United States Supreme Court blocked President Obama’s immigration plan that sought to keep millions of individuals living in the United States illegally from deportation.
“Today is a major victory in our continued fight to protect our homeland, restore the separation of powers, and uphold Article 1 of our Constitution. The Supreme Court’s decision makes it clear that the president does not have the authority to change the law through executive order. The authority to alter United States law, including immigration law, is reserved for Congress.”Read More
Today, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) voted to override the President’s veto of H.J. Res. 88, which would overturn the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule.
“The Department of Labor’s misguided fiduciary rule will empower unelected bureaucrats to take control over Americans retirement decisions and choices,” Luetkemeyer said. “The House understands that, as a result of this rule, families and small businesses, particularly those in low-income and rural areas, will see higher costs and restricted access to financial advice. Today’s bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives is a strong signal that Congress is willing to stand up to this Administration’s continued overreach. I will continue to work with my colleagues to stop this dangerous rule and put forward solutions that allow Americans the opportunity to achieve and maintain financial independence.”Read More
This spring, House Republicans started putting together ideas to show Americans what our conference stands for, or, as it has been named - A Better Way. This initiative is a slate full of ideas to address challenges that face our nation.
The idea behind A Better Way is to get America back on track with bold policy solutions. Instead of top down mandates from Washington, these proposals have been developed with input from Americans across our nation.
Just recently the first plan was rolled out and the focus is on how we can tackle poverty in our nation in a meaningful way. $22 trillion, more than our enormous national debt, has been spent on federal poverty programs in the 50 years since the Johnson Administration’s “War on Poverty.” However, the needle has barely moved. About the same percentage of the population that was impoverished in the 1960s is impoverished today: around 15 percent. If we are going to help Americans in poverty lift themselves up and protect taxpayers, we must do things differently.
So how is this plan different? First, our key objectives are different. Instead of simply spending money so that people can make ends meet, we want to help people move from welfare to work; shift the culture of dependence into independence; reward work, and not add any burden to taxpayers. We also want to shift the federal government away from the frontlines and empower individuals and local communities to lead these efforts
This is a topic I’ve long been interested in, particularly as the Chairman of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee. In my subcommittee, we have had numerous discussions on how to address homelessness and how to find innovative housing solutions in both urban and rural areas. In fact, earlier this year, the House unanimously passed my comprehensive legislation that takes the first step in reforming programs and processes at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 50 years.
What else does A Better Way achieve? We recognize that a job is the quickest and best way out of poverty, so this plan rewards work and demands results. In order to get more people into the workforce, we must increase the knowledge and skills of job-seekers so they can compete in a changing economy. One idea is for employers to design their own curriculum for job training so workers will know exactly what skills they need to succeed.
I have long said that parents, teachers, and local officials know what is best for the youth and communities. We must put the power of education back into the hands of those individuals at home so that great schools are not a privilege only for the wealthy.
Change is hard. That is something we can all agree on. There has to be “a better way” and we must move away from the status quo. We need to look forward and help people the best way possible which is through education, work, community, and accountability. If we work together, and empower one another , we can make a real difference across the nation.
For the next several weeks, this bulletin is going to focus on other planks of the Better Way agenda. The focus will be on national security, health-care, and other issues of importance. I hope you read through the ideas and if you want any additional information, please feel free to contact any of my offices.Read More
Today, the House Financial Services Committee passed H.R. 5143, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s (MO-03) legislation which would increase transparency and strengthen Congress’s role in supervising foreign standards setting organizations.
“My colleagues and I have worked to develop a legislative framework that would allow a more formalized role for Congressional monitoring of agreements impacting U.S. policyholders and insurance markets,” Luetkemeyer said. “The bill would establish a series of reasonable requirements to be met before Treasury’s Federal Insurance Office, the Federal Reserve, or any other party to these international conversations could consent to the adoption of a final insurance standard. Yesterday’s markup and today’s vote demonstrate that concern over international insurance agreements is not a partisan issue; Members on both sides of the aisle see the need for more sunshine in this process. It’s imperative that the States, the Executive Branch and Congress work cooperatively to signal to the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), the Financial Stability Board and foreign governments, that we will only lend our name to standards and agreements that benefit U.S. consumers and allow us to maintain a robust insurance marketplace. H.R. 5143 helps to meet this objective.”
The Transparent Insurance Standards Act would establish a framework before United States representatives to the IAIS are permitted to consent to the adoption of any international insurance standard. In addition, the legislation would require the Federal Reserve and the Department of Treasury to publish a proposed standard in the Federal Register and allow for public comment, and afford Congress with a 90 day window in which to block a standard or agreement.
H.R. 5143 passed by a bipartisan vote of 34-25.Read More
Today, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) presented four individuals from the 3rd District the Congressional Award Gold Medal for their hard-work and commitment.
The individuals that received the award from the 3rd District were: Kaitlynn Allen from Union, Joel Moss from Lake Ozark, Edayla Talley from Union, and Kristin Walther from Washington, Mo.
“These talented and dedicated individuals have achieved such high recognition at such a young age,” Luetkemeyer said. “It was an honor to present the Congressional Gold Medal award to them and to celebrate the end to two years of incredibly hard work.”
In order to earn the Congressional Award Gold Medal, participants must spend two years or more completing at least 400 hours of community service, 200 hours of both personal development and physical fitness activities, and a four night expedition or exploration.Read More
“When we honor our flag we honor what we stand for as a Nation – freedom, equality, justice, and hope.” – President Ronald Reagan
The American flag is more than cloth and ink. It represents freedom and liberty and everyone on this planet recognizes this powerful symbol.
The first American flag was approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. Since then, each year on June 14, our country commemorates the adoption of the United States flag, or Flag Day.
Flag Day has existed over time because the American spirit exists. Our flag embodies a nation that was built by the people, not the government. As I drive around the 3rd District, it is uplifting to see so many American flags flying proudly on the fronts of homes, buildings, and schools.
A unique service that my office provides is the ability to purchase an American flag in different sizes and fabrics. Along with the flag, you can also include a dedication message and have the flag flown over the United States Capitol. This year my office has shipped flags to veterans and veterans organizations, Eagle and Girl Scouts, and to commemeorate anniversaries and graduations. Whether you want to display your flag in a case or display it outside of your home, it is up to you, but there is etiquette on how one cares for an American flag. A few tips are: never allow the flag to touch the ground; the flag should only be flown at night if properly illuminated; it should always be allowed to free fall; and do not fly the flag upside down except to signal an emergency. If you have any questions about the cost of flags or other general flag questions, please call any of my offices or visit my website for all of the information.
As we celebrate Flag Day, I encourage you to take a step back and reflect on what Old Glory means to you and to those who defended our country.Read More
Following reoccurring issues to fill Director positions at Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) introduced legislation that ensures high ranking officials at the VA are held accountable for failing to perform their jobs at the highest level.
This legislation, the Providing Leadership and Improving Veterans Care Act, prevents any bonuses to an individual at the VA who is a member of the Senior Executive Service and whose job involves the rating, ranking, or selection process for individuals to fill the position of Director at a VA Medical Facility. The prohibition on bonuses will continue until the Secretary of the VA confirms that no Medical Director vacancy has been open for more than 18 months.
“Across the country, and in our backyard in St. Louis, we have seen long-term vacancies in these important jobs which are harming the health and the care of our nation’s veterans,” Luetkemeyer said. “This legislation will help ensure that individuals involved in the selection process of a VA Medical Director are held accountable to do their job in a timely manner. In addition, this legislation will help prevent the 34 VA medical facilities around the country currently operating without a permanent Director from providing insufficient care to our veterans due to a lack of permanent direction and leadership.”Read More
Much of life is about being in the moment and making moments count.
As a parent of two girls and a boy, I had the gratifying experience of watching them graduate high school and subsequently college. I remember each of the moments well. Watching each of them walk across the stage, receive the diploma, and smile from ear to ear. None of them knew what life had in store but they all understood that the possibilities were endless.
I can only imagine what the parents and also the graduates of the class of 2016 are thinking. No matter if you want to pursue higher education, get involved in your family’s small business, or even work on a farm, this is your time to figure out what your path may be.
While you still may be figuring out what is next for you, give it time. You will find your dream or, maybe, it will find you.
This is an exciting time for these young individuals. It is also important to note that a responsibility is also placed over you. I know that we can all agree that having a voice in government is important and it is just as important to stay involved and be informed.
My children are all grown and now I’ve added the title of grandparent to the list. One of the very most rewarding gifts of my life has been watching their journeys unfold and their families grow. I remember the moments we have had together as a family well and now with families of their own, we have even more memories to add.
So, to the class of 2016, you have an entire world ahead of you and I encourage everyone to take advantage of your youth and the endless possibilities that will come your way. Tomorrow brings a new chapter in your lives. Capture the moment and remember that life is about the big and small things. Enjoy your day and I wish all of the 2016 graduates the very best of luck in the future.Read More
After months of working to ensure the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) would remain in Missouri, the final decision was announced today that the location would remain in the State.
U.S. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), Ann Wagner (MO-02), and Jason Smith (MO-08) issued statements following the announcement.
“Today’s final decision means that over 3,000 national security jobs will remain right here in Missouri,” said Congressman Luetkemeyer. “I am incredibly pleased that the NGA will continue to be an important asset to our country’s national defense and intelligence community. The North St. Louis site will provide this critical agency with a secure, first class intelligence facility and it is my hope it will continue the mutually beneficial relationship between Missouri and the NGA for another 70 years.”
"I am hopeful that today's announcement will put an end to the regional debate of the new NGA West Headquarters. More importantly, I am pleased that the more than 2,000 employees who currently live in Missouri will remain in close proximity to the new headquarters," said Congresswoman Wagner. "St. Louis has the best technological, academic, and professional environment for the agency, and I am thrilled the NGA will continue to perform its critical role in our national security within a community that understands its needs and strongly supports its mission."
“The work that the NGA does is critical for our nation’s intelligence and national defense priorities,” said Congressman Smith. “I am very pleased with NGA’s decisions to move forward with the North St. Louis site keeping good paying jobs here in Missouri and ensuring that our technology community is at the forefront of innovation. I look forward to Missouri’s continued partnership with the NGA as we work together to meet our nation’s defense and intelligence needs.”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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Missouri Congressman: economic impact unknown after SCOTUS ruling on Obama immigration order https://t.co/gwQxeuzIef
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The authority to alter United States law, including immigration law, is reserved for Congress. https://t.co/UOBqQTSbXr
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I'm excited to welcome Congressional Art Competition #MO03 winner, Molly Schulte, to DC today!
Last week’s bulletin was the first in a six week series, called A Better Way, focusing on bold policy solutions to get our nation back on track.
Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court blocked President Obama's immigration plan that sought to keep millions of individuals living
What is happening on the House floor right now is a publicity stunt, a publicity stunt with the aim of forcing a vote on legislation that would
This spring, House Republicans started putting together ideas to show Americans what our conference stands for, or, as it has been named - A
This week, I presented four individuals from the 3rd District the Congressional Award Gold Medal for their hard-work and commitment. The individuals