Blaine Luetkemeyer

Blaine Luetkemeyer

MISSOURI's 3rd DISTRICT

Blaine's Bulletin: Protecting an Open Internet

2015/02/27

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has pushed full steam ahead with a plan to take control of the Internet.

The FCC did this in the name of “net neutrality,” the concept that would require all legal content found on the Internet to be treated equally. That means that streaming video services can’t pay more to secure more bandwidth and faster speeds for their customers, and it also means that Internet service providers can’t slow down the service of customers using lots of bandwidth to watch movies or play video games in favor of customers who check their email and browse the Internet.  This is an idea worth serious thought and debate, but what the FCC did goes far beyond equal treatment of content. 

In 2011, the FCC issued an Open Internet Order which prohibited broadband service providers from blocking any legal content on their networks, and prohibited fixed broadband providers from prioritizing, through pricing or the awarding of bandwidth, among legal content providers.

Then, just a little over a year ago, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia invalidated parts of the Open Internet Order. Basically, the court struck down the rules prohibiting blocking and discrimination, but allowed the rules requiring disclosures of Internet traffic management policies to stand.

In efforts to side step the Court of Appeals, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a 332-page measure to undermine the court’s decision and reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service. Even more troubling, the FCC will not offer full disclosure of the documents until after the commission votes on it – which took place on Feb. 26, 2015. What we do know is that this measure would turn Internet service providers into public utilities, rather than information services.  By extension, that means the government would be able to regulate and tax the Internet like it does water, electricity, or television services. 

I have several concerns about the direction that the FCC has taken. First, I am very concerned with Chairman Wheeler’s refusal to release the documents to the public and the overall lack of transparency involved in the agency’s rule-making. Even more alarming, the possibility of restrictions on an open Internet  have the potential to hit  60 million rural Americans the hardest, including those living in the 3rd District of Missouri. It will also stifle innovation and could lead to high taxes on a service essential for economic activity.

The recent vote of the FCC is not the end of this fight; rather, it is only the beginning. The FCC’s unprecedented action will likely spark years of lawsuits and cause years of uncertainty for many Americans who depend on reliable Internet service each and every day.  In the coming weeks, I’ll be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a solution that protects an open Internet, its users, and encourages innovation and investment.

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Luetkemeyer Announces Dates for Constituent Service Days

2015/02/27

With the start of a new Congress, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) and his staff have officially announced Constituent Service Days information to better serve the constituents of the 3rd District.

“Our country is at an interesting time right now. There are lots of questions floating around about tax exemptions in the president’s health-care law, veterans have questions about access to care, and small businesses have concerns about the constant regulations they are forced to comply with,” Luetkemeyer said. “I encourage residents of the 3rd District who have questions and concerns to take advantage of these meetings with my staff so they can hopefully be resolved.”

Tuesday, March 17th

Osage County
10:30 A.M.-11:30 A.M.
Osage County Administrative Building
205 E Main Street, Linn
Hosts: Jeremy Ketterer, District Office Director and Keri Stuart, Director of Constituent Affairs

Franklin County
12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.
District Office of Congressman Luetkemeyer
516 Jefferson Street, Washington
Hosts: Jim Mc Nichols District Office Director and Mary Tinsley, Field Representative

Cole County
1:00 P.M.-2:00 P.M.
District Office of Congressman Luetkemeyer
2117 Missouri Blvd, Jefferson City
Hosts: Jeremy Ketterer, District Office Director and Keri Stuart, Director of Constituent Affairs

Callaway County
2:30 P.M.-3:30 P.M.
Fulton City Hall
18 E 4th Street, Fulton
Hosts: Jeremy Ketterer, District Office Director and Keri Stuart, Director of Constituent Affairs

Wednesday, March 18th

Maries County
9:30 A.M.-10:30 A.M.
Belle City Hall
104 E 3rd Street, Belle
Hosts: Keri Stuart, Director of Constituent Affairs and Lori Boyken, Congressional Liaison

Montgomery County
10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.
Montgomery City Hall
723 N. Sturgeon, Montgomery City
Host: Tanner Smith, District Office Director

Jefferson County
10:30 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.
Festus City Hall
711 West Main Street, Festus
Hosts: Jim Mc Nichols District Office Director and Mary Tinsley, Field Representative

Miller County
11:30 A.M.-12:30 P.M.
Iberia City Hall
803 Hwy 42, Iberia
Hosts: Keri Stuart, Director of Constituent Affairs and Lori Boyken, Congressional Liaison

Camden County
2:30 P.M.-3:00 P.M.
Camdenton City Hall
437 W US Hwy 54, Camdenton
Hosts: Keri Stuart, Director of Constituent Affairs and Lori Boyken, Congressional Liaison

Thursday, March 19th

St. Charles County
9:00 A.M.-10:00 A.M.
District office of Congressman Luetkemeyer
113 East Peace Boulevard, Wentzville
Hosts: Tanner Smith, District Office Director and Keri Stuart, Director of Constituent Services

Gasconade County
10:30 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.
Owensville City Hall
107 Sears Avenue, Owensville
Hosts: Jim Mc Nichols, District Office Director and Mary Tinsley, Field Representative

Lincoln County
11:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.
Hawk Point City Hall
121 West Lincoln, Hawk Point
Hosts: Tanner Smith, District Office Director and Keri Stuart, Director of Constituent Services

Warren County
1:30 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.
Marthasville City Hall
402 E Main Street, Marthasville
Hosts: Tanner Smith, District Office Director and Keri Stuart, Director of Constituent Services

 

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Luetkemeyer Statement on the Passing of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich

2015/02/26

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement in response to the news about the passing of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich:

“Today, Missouri lost a man who was a true public servant through and through. Tom Schweich, a fifth-generation Missourian, is someone who would fight day and night to better our great state. Tom will always be remembered as a true conservative and a loving and devoted father and husband. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues, and friends, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”

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Blaine's Bulletin: The Impact of Small Businesses

2015/02/20

1,109,463 is the number of workers employed by small businesses in Missouri.

With such an astounding number like that, you can see why I take my position on the House Small Business Committee very seriously. With more than half of the state’s non-farm, private workforce employed by our nearly 505,000 small businesses in Missouri, I am proud to be your voice when it comes to regulations, compliance, and being a listening post to helping the small business you work for succeed.

Small businesses are where ideas and innovations are not only brought to life but are nurtured into success stories that create jobs and opportunities. As the Vice Chair of the House Small Business Committee for the 114th Congress, I remain concerned and committed that in order to preserve the economic building blocks produced by small businesses, we must ensure we do not build walls to block prosperity.

One piece of legislation the House passed and I am proud to support is the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act. Small business owners and employees are on the frontlines of our economy and they deserve to have a voice in the regulatory process. This legislation allows small businesses to be a part of the solution and provide input during the rulemaking process that takes place. In addition, this legislation closes loopholes by requiring more detailed analyses of proposed regulations, providing greater opportunity for small business input, and ensuring agencies review regulations that are already in place.

Another piece of legislation I am proud to support is the America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act. This legislation would make section 179 expensing permanent. In short, taxpayers would be able to expense up to $500,000 of investments in new equipment and property per year. This legislation would provide stability for employers which would lead to growth and expansion. It is my hope the Senate takes both of these pieces of legislation to the floor soon and opens them up for debate on behalf of our nation’s small businesses and those who depend on them for their livelihoods. 

The work that we do on the Small Business Committee is important to every single community in the nation. With my history in small business, I remain committed to preserving the health of America’s small businesses. I look forward to the many hearings and roundtables I will be able to participate in this year and I will continue to report back to you.

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Luetkemeyer, Colleagues Call on Senator McCaskill to Stop Playing Politics and Consider DHS Funding Bill

2015/02/17

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) and Missouri colleagues today sent a letter to U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill calling on her to reconsider her position of blocking open debate on legislation to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Reps. Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Ann Wagner, and Jason Smith joined Luetkemeyer in sending a letter to Senator McCaskill regarding H.R. 240, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

“Today’s letter to Missouri’s senior senator is respectfully reminding her that DHS funding expires in 11 days and it is the job of the House of Representatives and the Senate to come to an agreement on how to fund this agency,” Luetkemeyer said. “The House completed its job by passing legislation and it is crucial that the Senate begin the debate process instead of blocking it. You recently said ‘our immigration system is broken, and I support a comprehensive plan to fix it, but executive orders aren’t the way to do it.’ I call on you to live up to that statement and vote to move forward with consideration of this important legislation.”

In December, President Obama issued executive actions which would unilaterally rewrite our nation’s immigration laws. In response to his actions, the House approved the DHS Appropriations bill in January to fund the agency while prohibiting funding for the president’s unconstitutional executive actions. The Senate now has 11 more days to bring legislation to the floor and debate and vote on it before funding expires.

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Blaine's Bulletin: Operation Choke Point

2015/02/13

The following is the first paragraph of a letter I received back in December: “I am an employee of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). I was proud of my job and the FDIC’s mission before Operation Choke Point. During the past two years, however, we have been told to examine banks much more harshly, if they deal with a class of customers prohibited by Choke Point.”

The letter was obviously from a whistleblower within the FDIC and reaffirmed that Operation Choke Point is still happening despite the fact that many inside the agency recognize the dangers and inappropriate nature of this reckless program.

Operation Choke Point is an organized attempt by the administration, the FDIC, and the Department of Justice to bully and 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. The program has been in effect for a few years now, but it has gone into overdrive within the past year.

Over the past year I have introduced legislation, held meetings with FDIC officials, sent letters to the FDIC, including the agency’s Inspector General and the Department of Justice in an effort to gain information and ultimately put an end to this unprecedented program. And I am not the only one working to stop this activity. Members of Congress from across the country and political spectrum have been working together to end Operation Choke Point, and we have been joined in our efforts by a diverse array of organizations dedicated to protecting consumers and businesses that serve them. While our work is not yet complete, strides have been made over the past few months.

In December, I met with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Martin Gruenberg and asked him to act swiftly to bring Operation Choke Point to a final close and to actively work to change the culture at FDIC. Chairman Gruenberg, accompanied by FDIC Vice Chairman Tom Hoenig, came back to my office last week to provide a status update. After an hour-long discussion, not only did the Chairman and Vice Chairman acknowledge wrongdoing within the FDIC, but they accepted many of the policies contained in my legislation, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act.

Not only are they implementing pieces of my legislation but the Chairman and Vice Chairman have joined me in calling on the FDIC Inspector General to conduct a formal investigation of the program and any staff who played or may have played a role in the Operation Choke Point.

The administrative actions taken by FDIC are undoubtedly steps in the right direction, but more work must and will be done. We must ensure that FDIC and other federal banking and credit union examiners and supervisory staff understand not only the importance of the changes implemented by the FDIC leadership, but also that the federal government does not have the right to dictate what legal businesses survive and which are forced out of business.

The future is unknown, and consumers and small businesses need to remain vigilant, which is why I reintroduced my legislation and will continue to work with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle that see the dangers of this program and want it stopped.

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Luetkemeyer Statement Following Testimony of HUD Secretary Julian Castro

2015/02/12

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) released the following statement after Secretary Castro’s testimony at today’s Financial Services Committee hearing entitled “The Future of Housing in America: Oversight of the Federal Housing Administration”:

“Today’s testimony from Secretary Castro was disconcerting to say the least. The Secretary’s answers were as inconsistent and alarming as FHA’s policies. It is clear to me that this agency suffers from not only misguided policy but also mismanagement. FHA continues to try to grow its way out of a problem, and it is putting the American taxpayers at risk. FHA today holds less than one quarter of the capital it is statutorily required to hold in the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. When you remove the 2013 taxpayer bailout of $1.7 billion and billions of dollars more in Justice Department settlements, the capitalization of the fund falls to .08 percent. If a private company operated the way FHA operates, it would be shut down. In spite of all this, the agency has decided to deplete its only legitimate income stream by lowering mortgage insurance premiums. I fear we are headed down the same dangerous path we traveled leading up to the financial crisis and the 2013 bailout of FHA. Secretary Castro should take the time to learn about the risks associated with FHA’s book of business, develop a plan to get FHA out of trouble and back to its intended mission, and help begin to put our nation’s housing finance market on a path toward sustainability.”

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Luetkemeyer Named Vice Chairman of House Small Business Committee

2015/02/09

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement after being named vice chairman of the House Small Business Committee for the 114th Congress:

“I am honored to be named vice chairman and to work alongside my friend, Chairman Steve Chabot from Ohio. The work that we do on the Small Business Committee is important to every single community in the nation. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to represent the small business folks who create jobs in our nation and expand opportunities for all Americans.”

“Blaine’s intimate knowledge of small business issues comes from years of real world experience,” Chairman Chabot said. “His background is invaluable to this committee, and his leadership and experience will continue to serve the small business community well as we craft policy to help small businesses access the resources they need to grow and succeed.”

The House Small Business Committee will announce subcommittee assignments at a later date. In addition, Luetkemeyer is a member of the House Financial Services Committee. He is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance and will serve on the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

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Blaine's Bulletin: The EPA's Final Rule that Leaves Rural Americans, Small Businesses in the Cold

2015/02/06

Winter is a long, lingering season in Missouri. While the rolling hills and frozen lakes are beautiful in the middle of winter, looking at a picturesque scene will not keep you or your family warm. For over a year now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been trying to make it more expensive for you to purchase a wood burning stove even though it is the most common, flexible, and inexpensive space heating option.

You may ask yourself, why would the government want to do this? And then you remember this is stemming from the same Obama Administration that is also issuing hundreds of regulations all the time and trying to create a land grab of our nation’s waters.

The Census Bureau estimates that 2.4 million households, 12 percent of all homes, burn wood as their primary heating fuel. So it is befuddling when approximately one year ago, the EPA issued a proposed rule which would require New Source Performance Standards for residential wood burning heaters. Not only would the proposed regulations have severe impacts on many of the rural 3rd District residents, and the 2.4 million households in America, but it would also hurt small businesses.

When the EPA issued the proposed rule, I responded and introduced the Wood Stove Regulatory Relief Act. My legislation is simple: it would prevent the EPA from instituting costly proposed new standards for wood burning stoves and heating systems that would effectively prohibit the manufacture and sale of 85 percent of wood burning heaters currently on the market.

So, when the EPA issued its final rule on February 3, 2015 and I saw they had scaled back the severity of the rule and took many recommendations that I included in the Wood Stove Regulatory Relief Act, I was pleasantly surprised. While I am pleased the EPA listened and implemented my recommendations, it was, and still is, my ultimate goal to have all the harmful aspects of this rule dropped.

In the next couple of weeks, as a response to the EPA’s final rule, I intend to introduce another piece of legislation to ensure that our rural households and small businesses are not feeling the entirety of the impact of this unnecessary standard.

During a time of record unemployment, I have no idea why the EPA would spend time implementing more rules that would hurt our nation’s small businesses, the economic driver in getting our nation back to work.

With nearly 90 percent of wood stove manufacturers that are small businesses and employ hard-working Americans, I will continue to push back against this rule until it has been reversed. Please know I will keep you updated with legislation coming out of my office and it is my hope that this time next winter this will all have been a bad dream.

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Luetkemeyer Reintroduces Legislation to Protect More Americans from Operation Choke Point

2015/02/05

Following steps by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to implement components of legislation he introduced last Congress, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) reintroduced the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act to ensure the changes are codified into law and applied to all federal banking regulators.  

Last week, Luetkemeyer met with FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg and Vice Chairman Tom Hoenig and the senior officials told Luetkemeyer they accepted many of the policies contained in his legislation and agreed to implement them.

“While steps have been made in the case against Operation Choke Point, there is still a need for my legislation to be reintroduced this Congress,” Luetkemeyer said. “While I am pleased the FDIC is implementing parts of my legislation, it is not enough. I am reintroducing the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act because this legislation needs to be codified into law so that other agencies don’t ever fall into this illegal and abusive practice. Now that the FDIC has made it clear the agency has been involved in Operation Choke Point, I hope members on both sides of the aisle see the importance of my legislation because all of my colleagues have constituents at home who could be impacted by this program.”

The Financial Institution Customer Protection Act would dictate that agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve cannot request or order a financial institution to terminate a banking relationship unless the regulator has material reason. In addition, the legislation would require the federal banking agencies to issue a rule defining the term “reputation risk” and 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.

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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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