On Saturday, April 29, waters began rising in southeast and south central Missouri. As quickly as the waters rose, first responders and volunteers sprang into action.
Ozark County was in one of the hardest hit areas. Their Emergency Management Director told me they realized how bad it was getting Saturday night around midnight. About this time, the James Bridge over the White River disappeared. With the bridge washed out, the Tecumseh Volunteer Fire Department had to split their territory in half and deploy two teams of firefighters. Even as some of their own homes filled with water, between Saturday night and Sunday morning, the teams conducted ten swift water rescues. When it was time for search and rescue, volunteer fire departments from across Ozark County pitched in to check house by house for people who may be stranded or hurt and help man the emergency operations center.
In Thomasville, one man had to rescue his elderly relatives by boat. Before the rain started, he moved his relatives to a house where he thought they would be safe. After all, the ground floor of the home was six feet higher than the 100-year flood stage. But as the night wore on, water was rising quickly in the home. The man’s family was trapped in the second floor of the house. So, he tried to reach the house by tractor, but the water was too deep. Then he tried to reach the house by road grader, but the water was still too deep. Finally, the man’s nephew arrived with his bass boat and they pulled their family to safety just in the nick of time.
For every story of heroism and selflessness over the past few weeks, there have been a hundred more just like it. Everyone I’ve talked with has told me that the way the water came up was simply unbelievable. What’s more unbelievable is how even with homes destroyed, businesses flooded, farms that lost fence lines, fields that were washed out and livestock scattered everywhere, first responders and volunteers took care of their communities before they took care of themselves. Two firefighters from Ozark County lost their houses, but they were still out on the frontlines of the flood, helping everyone else.
In Reynolds County, Town & Country is the only grocery store. The flood put the store under three feet of water. When local members of the community heard that the Town & Country manager could use help clearing mud off the shelves and emptying the store of water-soaked food, they got right to work. With their help, the store would be up and running again sooner rather than later. Today, I got the good news that their hard work paid off. As of this morning, Town & Country has re-opened!
These are just some of the many stories I’ve heard in the aftermath of flooding I hope we will never see the likes of again in our lifetimes. Whether it was the nurses from the VA hospital in Poplar Bluff who helped out at their local shelter or the students from Malden Beta Club collecting donations for folks down in Doniphan, I am grateful to every Missourian who helped their neighbors. As I’ve said, we are Missouri Strong and we will work together to come back from this disaster even stronger than we were before.
25,800 of our neighbors in southeast and south central Missouri are in danger of losing healthcare coverage through no fault of their own. The individual healthcare exchanges set up in Missouri under President Obama’s signature healthcare law are on the verge of collapse. In 26 of the 30 counties in our Congressional District, there is only one healthcare provider still participating in the Obamacare exchanges and even the New York Times is reporting that the one provider may soon decide to leave. As expected, President Obama’s government run healthcare experiment has failed. Prices are soaring, services are being cut and people are losing coverage.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, the first step in repealing and replacing the mess in the healthcare markets created by President Obama’s signature healthcare law. It will dismantle government run healthcare, repeal the presence of a bureaucrat between you and your doctor and relieve Missourians of taxes on things like ultrasounds, insulin pumps and the individual and employer penalties. In addition, we repealed Obamacare tax provisions which had been used to subsidize abortions, representing the most significant and expansive pro-life policy advanced since the ban on partial birth abortions.
Last year, the Obama Administration told people on the exchanges to expect their premium costs to double in 2017, and they did. There are only two insurance companies participating in the Obamacare exchanges in Connecticut and both have requested to raise premiums as high as 52%. In addition to skyrocketing premiums, people are losing options for healthcare coverage. In Iowa, their last statewide insurer is leaving the marketplace, which means that people in 94 of Iowa’s 99 counties will have zero choices.
In the last few months I hosted half a dozen public healthcare roundtables throughout south central and southeast Missouri where I solicited feedback about what you liked about the current healthcare system in this country and also what you wanted to see changed. Many brought forward various ideas such as allowing small businesses to band together to purchase coverage for their employees or breaking up health insurance company monopolies. In the first several months this year, we have passed policies in the U.S. House of Representatives to accomplish both those things. In addition, folks shared that they wanted to be able to keep children on their parents’ coverage until they were 26 and also wanted to make sure things like pre-existing conditions were still covered for those not getting their health insurance through their employers. The legislation advanced last week accomplishes both those things while stabilizing the overall healthcare market which should lower everyone’s costs. We advanced a solution which repeals President Obama’s failed healthcare experiment, will cut healthcare premiums by double digits and continues coverage for those with preexisting conditions.
The House of Representatives’ vote to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law was the first step to ending unfair penalties on families who are being forced to buy something they don’t want. But more work remains to be done. We will continue in our steps to rip the Obamacare law out by the roots while providing real healthcare solutions for families, including bringing back things I am fighting for like true price transparency. I look forward to the U.S. House and Senate coming together to put an Obamacare repeal on President Trump’s desk for his signature. I look forward to working with Secretary Tom Price at Health & Human Services to remove thousands of pages of Obamacare regulations driving up healthcare prices for everyone and I look forward to continuing to advance legislation which will provide additional relief from skyrocketing out of pocket healthcare costs for American families.
Last week when the weather reports started to come in, we all feared for the worst…and then the worst happened. Heavy rains, flash floods and rivers cresting at record levels devastated homes, farms and small businesses in southeast and south central Missouri.
In the aftermath of the storms, I met with local mayors, police chiefs, fire departments, emergency management directors and first responders to hear about the flooding in their communities. These folks showed me some of the hardest hit areas and we discussed the assistance they needed. We talked about their ongoing disaster response, harrowing swift water rescues, and the work they are doing to get relief to Missouri families.
As I met with people affected by the flooding, I saw downtown main streets and community centers under water and more farms, homes and small businesses destroyed than I can count, but I also saw hope. With each and every conversation, I heard countless stories of Missourians working together to help their communities recover from this incredible storm.
When I got to West Plains, they were still reeling from a massive flash flood that roared through their town, destroying dozens of homes and businesses. They had a record 14.5 inches of rain in under 36 hours that led to emergency crews rescuing nearly 100 people. But the next day, West Plains residents put on their boots and gloves, and got to work. Even with school cancelled, a huge group of high school students came out to show their pride and clean up the damage to their school and football field. I was proud to see the next generation rising up and caring for their town.
In Van Buren, the Current River was more than eight feet over its previous record high. It was devastating to see more than half of the town under water. Over 100 homes and 30 businesses were destroyed, but the spirit of the community was not. Everyone I spoke with was strong and optimistic, and I am confident they will come back from this disaster even stronger than before.
I met with emergency management and elected officials in Poplar Bluff and learned that they were in for a long week of flood fighting. On Monday, Clearwater Lake was completely full and utilizing its emergency spillway. The Missouri Army National Guard along with many local volunteers filled thousands of sandbags to shore up the levees and make sure critical spots held up through the flood. As first responders, volunteers and the National Guardsmen worked to fight flooding, local restaurants and members of the community donated food and supplies to serve more than 2,500 meals.
I know what you’re going through feels overwhelming and unreal right now, but Missourians are strong and we will get through this disaster together. Whether you're in Thomasville, Eminence, Ellington, Gainesville, Doniphan, Steelville, Houston, Cape Girardeau, Ste. Genevieve, Greenville or any other area that has been severely impacted by this flood, I am here for you. We have a long road ahead of us, but Missourians are resilient. Together we will work to recover and rebuild our communities.
I have spoken with both our Governor and FEMA. Both pledged state and federal assistance to our area. I am in constant communication with folks on the ground and am visiting many affected areas. As I get updates from our first responders, I will pass along the information. Follow me on Facebook for updates.
I know many of you have been severely affected by this storm already, but the danger is not over. Please stay off the roads and in a safe location. Do not try to cross roadways that have water over them.
I have heard countless stories of Missourians' kindness and selflessness in the aftermath of these storms. Continue to pray for our families, loved ones, our neighbors and those throughout the region undoubtedly impacted. Together we will work to recover.
Our tax code is a mess, and that’s putting it lightly. Multiple brackets. High rates. Special interest breaks everywhere. Rules and regulations that are too complicated to understand. It costs more and more each year just to do your taxes, let alone pay them.
All of this drags people down and leaves them buried in paperwork and compliance problems. Instead of bringing jobs to America, our tax code is pushing jobs overseas. Even worse, the agency charged with overseeing all of this—the IRS—has repeatedly violated the trust of the American taxpayer.
This week, President Trump laid out his plan to seriously overhaul our tax code and make the IRS as we know it today cease to exist. Like me, he knows that it is time to get Washington out of people’s paychecks and savings and fix our broken tax code.
First, we must create a tax system that brings jobs to America. Hard-working Americans deserve a tax system that creates jobs here at home, not drives them overseas.
Second, we are going to make taxes simple! Since 2001, the U.S. tax code has been changed nearly 6,000 times. That’s more than once a day. Right now, it costs Americans over four hundred and nine BILLION dollars to comply with our tax laws. It is ridiculous to have a tax code so complicated that people must PAY to find out how much they owe the federal government.
We are going to cut out loopholes that increase confusion and keep rates artificially high. This will make the tax code dramatically simpler and fairer while also taking less money from families and job creators. On top of this, we will make it easier and more rewarding for families to save, invest, and plan for the future. Bottom line, the government should be taking the least amount of money from people as possible.
Third, we are going to bust up the IRS. The IRS is an overgrown bureaucratic mess. I sent President Trump a letter asking him to fire the untrustworthy IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen. Koskinen refuses to be held accountable. He has lied to Congress, destroyed evidence we requested and worst of all, has completely ignored customer service. Less than half of all taxpayers who call the IRS for help are able to reach a live person and the wait time if you can reach someone is over 30 minutes. It’s unacceptable. We must give the IRS a single mission – taxpayer service. People who are employed by the IRS need to understand who they work for and that is you, the hard-working taxpayer.
I know taxes have been a major burden in your life, and we must change that. Missourians work too hard every day for taxes to keep them from getting ahead and providing for their families. I am fighting for a simpler, fairer and flatter tax code that will bring jobs back to America and keep more money in your pocket!
It is an honor to serve the thirty counties which make up the 8th Congressional District in southeast and south central Missouri. The best part of my job is getting to spend time with the hard-working families, farmers and business owners who make our district the greatest place to live in the world. Over the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to visit over twenty counties in our area and meet with the people who provide power, work on manufacturing lines, serve our country, care for our veterans, farm our land, teach our students and bring jobs to our area.
In New Madrid, I visited the power plant and talked to the folks there about the challenges they face as they work to provide power to Missourians. The New Madrid Power Plant was dealing with a major regulatory burden under the previous administration and are quickly seeing relief under President Trump - allowing them to continue their work to provide clean, affordable power to farmers, small businesses and families in Missouri.
During a stop in Caruthersville I visited Trinity Industries. Their facility in Caruthersville provides hundreds of jobs and can build 12 barges a week! But like me, they’re concerned about countries who cheat on trade and make it harder for American manufacturers to compete. SLP Lighting in Sullivan was another great opportunity for me to learn about how government burdens have been keeping our small businesses from reaching their potential. SLP Lighting is proud to be made in America, but like Trinity Industries, they are fighting an unfair trade system. The folks at Trinity Industries and SLP Lighting are why I wrote and passed the ENFORCE Act. This trade bill was signed into law and helps end unfair practices by allowing places like Trinity Industries to take real and meaningful action when foreign countries violate trade agreements.
I also dropped by several public Listening Posts throughout our area, including stops in Rolla, Farmington, Jackson, Poplar Bluff and West Plains, and heard from people who were concerned about healthcare, government regulations, the EPA and the federal tax code. At my Listening Post in Jackson and during my visit to the American Legion and VFW Post #99 in Salem, I heard from several veterans who needed help with their Veteran’s Benefits. Making sure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves our veterans is one of my biggest priorities. Last year, I worked with the American Legion and VFW Post #99 to extend the VA clinic hours in Salem. If you or someone you know needs help from places like the VA – please reach out and let us know!
I was also able to visit several schools including Dexter High School, Jefferson High School in Festus, and Central High School in Park Hills. It is a tremendous honor to be able to nominate talented and brave young men and women to our prestigious United States military academies. During these school visits, I had the privilege of presenting several students at these schools with their hard-earned appointments to a military academy.
Thank you to everyone who made time to talk with me over the past few weeks. Whether it's a public listening post or visiting with farmers, families and small business owners in places like Dexter, Poplar Bluff and Sullivan, conversations like these help me better represent southeast and south central Missouri.
Across southeast and south central Missouri, I have met some of the hardest working people found anywhere in America. Whether they are farmers, manufacturers or small business owners, they all have one thing in common – they want to do their jobs free of government overreach and interference, and provide their products, services and goods to others in Missouri and around the world.
American made goods are the best and highest quality found anywhere in the world, but in order for our farmers and businesses to survive and grow, other countries and businesses they are competing against must follow the rules. For too long we have simply sat back and accepted allowing other countries to subsidize their businesses, illegally flood our borders with their products or use various measures to circumvent U.S. trade laws. It’s time we finally say – play by the rules or there will be consequences.
Last week in the Oval Office, President Trump took major steps to stop countries from cheating on trade. He signed documents demanding that we fully collect all duties and tariffs imposed on foreign importers that cheat and second, that we conduct the first comprehensive review of all violations of trade rules that harm U.S. manufacturers. Trump’s action builds on my legislative work of authoring and passing the ENFORCE Act in 2015 which helps end unfair practices by allowing companies in Missouri to take real and meaningful action when foreign companies violate trade agreements.
Missouri manufacturers work too hard to compete against an unfair system abroad and a tax and regulatory environment which punishes them here at home. In December of 2016, I met with and sent a letter to the incoming Trump administration asking them to eliminate 14 federal rules and regulations, many of which would impact Missouri manufacturers. In his first 85 days, President Trump has halted or repealed more than half of the regulations outlined in my letter. Two of the biggest regulatory wins for Missourians included stopping a regulation which would have tripled some residents’ utility rates in Missouri and ending Obama’s plan to try and regulate every pond, bucket of water or raindrop on a farmer’s private land. Ending these regulations is a major victory and will keep money in the pockets of Missouri families, farmers and small businesses.
There is huge potential for Missouri farmers, small businesses and manufacturers to sell their American grown or made products around the world, but we must create an environment that is competitive and makes their efforts worthwhile. The ENFORCE Act along with having a President in the Oval Office who is willing to hold countries engaged in illegal trade practices accountable is a huge first step to putting American manufacturers, farmers and workers first, but more work remains to be done. We must enact policies and create an environment where those businesses can bring their products to market with greater ease and lower costs – that means reducing the highest tax burden in the industrialized world, repealing onerous regulations driving up the costs of everything from energy to transportation of goods, and rewarding investments made here in the United States to grow one’s business or farm, not punishing it. Along with the Trump Administration, I am committed to restoring confidence in the American economy and standing by American farmers, workers and employers.
Caruthersville, MO – On Friday, Congressman Jason Smith was honored with an award for supporting policies that create jobs, innovation and growth within the manufacturing sector. The National Association of Manufacturers awarded Smith with the Manufacturing Legislative Excellence award. This award recognizes Smith’s work to repeal harmful regulations and his fight to free the manufacturing industry from unnecessary burdens that inhibit production.
“American ingenuity can compete with anyone in the world, but we work too hard to fight against an unfair system,” said Congressman Smith. “Regulations and taxes are two of the biggest drags on manufacturing and production. First you have the government telling you how to produce your product, and then they want to tell you how much you can make off that product.”
Congressman Smith has worked consistently to create an environment that is friendly to manufactures. In 2015, Smith authored and passed the ENFORCE Act, a trade bill that was signed into law and helps end unfair practices by allowing companies in Missouri to take real and meaningful action when foreign companies violate trade agreements. Then, in December of 2016, Rep. Smith met with and sent a letter to the incoming administration asking them to eliminate 14 federal rules and regulations, many of which would impact Missouri manufacturers. In his first 82 days, President Trump has halted or repealed more than half of the regulations outlined in Smith’s letter.
“I have been fighting against burdensome regulations since my time in the Missouri State House of Representatives,” said Congressman Smith. “In Congress, I am continuing this fight every day. I am working to repeal harmful regulations and free the manufacturing industry from unnecessary burdens that prevent them from making and selling their products. Along with the Trump Administration, I am committed to restoring confidence in the American economy and standing by American workers and manufacturers.”
Trinity Industries employees presented Smith with the award. Trinity Industries provides products and services to businesses that work in the energy, chemical, agricultural, transportation and construction markets. The facility in Caruthersville employs 400 people and can build 12 barges per week.
MARSTON, MO – On Friday, Congressman Jason Smith was in Marston to tour the New Madrid Power Plant and discuss his work to relieve the regulatory burden on energy providers in Missouri.
Before touring the New Madrid Power Plant, Congressman Smith sat down with the hard-working people who keep the plant running and talked about recent actions by President Trump to eliminate Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan.” This was a major regulatory issue that would have increased production costs for the plant.
“The so called ‘Clean Power Plan’ is just the latest in a long list of regulations that show how unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats do not understand southeast and south central Missouri,” said Congressman Smith. “After President Trump was elected, his team asked me to help identify regulations hurting rural America, and I immediately thought of the folks back home who told me that their utility bills were going to triple in cost after the Obama Administration and the EPA rolled out this ridiculous rule.”
Recently, major components of the Clean Power Plan, a high-cost regulation U.S. Rep. Smith asked the Trump Administration to take quick action on, were suspended and rescinded. In December of 2016, Rep. Smith met with and sent a letter to the incoming administration asking them to eliminate 14 federal rules and regulations, one of which was the Clean Power Plan. Smith’s work with the Administration will save jobs and money for Missourians.
If implemented, this rule would have increased the cost of electricity and made it unaffordable for many residents in the state. Rescinding the Clean Power Plan stops the Obama Administration’s costly rules for energy production, helps prevent skyrocketing utility rates, ensures coal plants stay open and keeps jobs in Missouri.
“Missouri residents get 83% of their energy from coal-fired power plants,” said Congressman Smith. “Eliminating Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ means folks at the New Madrid plant can continue their work without the burden of government regulations and provide clean, affordable power to farmers, small businesses and families in Missouri.”
Missouri coal is some of the cleanest in the world. Before Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” existed, operations like New Madrid invested billions of dollars to keep their coal-fired power plants clean. The New Madrid Power Plant is part of Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. and employs 180 people. You can read more about the plant here.
On Friday, with the confirmation of our newest Supreme Court member, Justice Neil Gorsuch, the American people were finally able to claim victory over liberal obstructionists in the United States Senate. With Gorsuch behind the bench, we have a Justice who respects personal freedom and liberty. He knows our Constitution is a document that defers power from the federal government to the states, and puts the rights of individuals ahead of the interests of bureaucrats in Washington.
Throughout his career, Judge Gorsuch has consistently stood on the side of religious freedom and the right to life of the unborn. One of his most notable decisions came in the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, in which Gorsuch upheld that the federal government could not force businesses to offer coverage for abortion services.
Judge Gorsuch echoes the qualities of Justice Scalia, making him the perfect replacement to restore conservatism and balance back to the Supreme Court. Justice Scalia’s seat on the court does not belong to any president or any political party, but to the American people.
But if you’ve watched the news over the past week, you already know that liberals in the Senate have treated Justice Scalia’s vacant seat as an opportunity to put politics ahead of what the American people rightfully asked and voted for in November when they elected President Trump.
The Senate’s work on everything from Trump’s Cabinet to filling Justice Scalia’s seat has been halted by the actions of liberal obstructionists. And you know who loses in that situation? The American people.
Unfortunately, obstructionism is a pattern of behavior from the left. Instead of investing in an agenda that’s best for the American people, liberals in the Senate have given us the longest Cabinet nomination and confirmation process in the history of an administration. President Trump still does not have an Agriculture or Labor Secretary and it’s because the left is continuing to obstruct the process. Right now, President Trump only has 22 of his nominees confirmed. At the same time in the last administration, Obama had a whopping 54 nominees confirmed – more than TWICE the amount President Trump has.
Political tactics from the far left were meant to prevent one of the most qualified judges of all time from being confirmed to the Supreme Court. For purely partisan purposes, they tried to stop the guy who in 2006 had zero opposition from the Senate and the support of senators like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Gorsuch’s nomination should come as no surprise to the left, but they seem to forget that during the campaign, Trump shared a list of people he would nominate to the Supreme Court if he won. The American people took this into consideration, and voted for Trump’s plan when they elected him in November.
The left threw up roadblocks at every turn throughout Gorsuch’s confirmation process. Before this week, there had never been a successful partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in American history. But the liberals tried this anyway, using a filibuster to prevent a vote. I applaud conservatives in the Senate for showing leadership and changing the rules to go around the liberal’s filibuster and bring Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation up for a simple majority vote.
It is time for liberals to move on from obstructing the government and work to advance the agenda Americans voted for in November. With the election of President Trump, Americans proclaimed their desire for a smaller government and less intrusion. They want a healthcare system that actually works, not one with premiums that are higher than their mortgage. They want the IRS scaled back and their tax returns to fit on a single postcard. Most importantly, they want the government out of their business and out of their pocketbook. We must deliver on what the American people have asked.
1118 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Jason Smith is a seventh-generation Missourian, a citizen-legislator, and a champion for the rights and values of rural Missourians.
Jason was raised in Salem, Missouri, where he still owns the same family farm that was started by his great grandfather. He attended Salem High School, where he was an active member of FFA. At the University of Missouri-Columbia, Jason earned degrees in Agricultural Economics and Business Administration. After receiving degrees from both programs in three years, he attended law school at Oklahoma City University before returning home to serve his community. Back home in Missouri Jason began running the family farm and practicing law. It was during this time that he recognized the harm that the overbearing government was inflicting on Missourians and our economy. This inspired Jason to run for office himself so he could begin to undo the damage.
Jason was elected to the Missouri General Assembly in a special election in 2005.
In the General Assembly, Jason fought to shrink the size of state government, eliminate burdensome rules and regulations, increase government transparency, protect property rights, require drug testing for welfare recipients, and defend Missouri agriculture. Thanks to his efforts, Jason’s colleagues selected him to serve in leadership: first as the Majority Whip and then as Speaker Pro Tem—one of the youngest in state history.
During a special election in June of 2013, Jason was elected to represent Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. He was re-elected in November 2014.
As a member of the 114th Congress, Jason serves on the Ways and Means Committee. In Washington Jason has made a name for himself as a strong defender of rural Missouri and all of rural America. Jason is committed to fighting intrusive government regulations, increasing markets for farmers and ranchers, and protecting his constituents’ rural way of life.
Jason has earned 100% ratings from the American Conservative Union and the Chamber of Commerce; he is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, pro-life and supports traditional values.
Jason attends Grace Community Church in Salem.
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Town&Country-only grocery store in Reynolds County-has reopened! Amazing to see how far they've come in just a few… https://t.co/IkyMed0tLg
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Congrats to our Congressional Art Competition winner, Makayla Cahill! "Reflections of Youth" had great detail & cap… https://t.co/rJvTq5RMoH
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Horrified to read news out of #Manchester praying for all involved.
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The Frontlines of a Flood - thankful for all of the brave Missourians who didn't hesitate to help their neighbors… https://t.co/rW5shl0RTy