As the son of a preacher, faith has always been at the center of my life. This week, along with numerous of my U.S. House & Senate colleagues, I attended the National Prayer Breakfast. A tradition dating back over 60 years, the National Prayer Breakfast serves as an opportunity for elected officials and religious leaders to come together and talk about the role faith, religion, and God has in all of our lives.
Several of the messages this year focused on perseverance, overcoming the difficult obstacles life puts in front of you, and the still obtainable dream which makes America unique – starting from the bottom, working hard, and rising to the top.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan focused on the power that prayer can have in all of our lives, whether praying or being prayed for. Specifically speaking about those difficult times, Speaker Ryan noted how powerful prayer can be:
“How am I going to get through this? Why is this happening to me? God, why have you forsaken me?...there is nothing more comforting or more humbling, really, than to hear someone say, ‘I’m praying for you.’ Because when you hear that, you realize you’re not alone. God is there and hundreds, if not thousands, if not millions, of people are all speaking to him on your behalf…they’re praying for you, the person”.
I think about my life, the challenges my parents faced raising a family when resources were scarce, and the nights they and I spent in prayer. I think about the thousands of families just like that in south central and southeast Missouri, and I pray for them. I think about the millions of Christians facing religious persecution around the world for simply practicing their faith, those facing exile, torture or worse for worshiping the same God as many of us - I pray for them.
Two of the guest speakers, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, producers of the miniseries “The Bible”, focused on how their faith, their prayer helped them overcome a difficult start to their lives in America. From serving as a nanny for $125 a week to checking coats at a restaurant to make ends meet, both talked about how God guided them to not focus on the negativity in their life, but on their ultimate goal of producing entertainment that brings families together. When we think about all the struggles in our lives that at times can consume us, Downey commented, “…it is far more effective to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. That remark can remind us all of the powerful tools of prayer, faith and love in a world that can at times seem dark.
Burnett, now the president of MGM Television talked about how his top floor office in Beverly Hills now overlooks the very same house, where as a 20 year old, ex-military solider, he served as that nanny making $125 a week. For Burnett, without prayer, faith, and the presence of God, the journey would have never been possible.
Between the farm, work, school, family, friends and bills, there is more than enough to fill a full day. However, without the focus of faith the days we spend focusing on our own needs turn into weeks, the weeks into months, and months into years. Faith is what allows us to stop the cycle of selfishness and put God and others at the center. Pray for your family and friends, pray for your neighbors, pray for our country, and pray for those facing challenges in their lives all over the world. I will continue to pray for you.Read More
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, Congressman Jason Smith (MO-8) welcomed Bishop Ron Webb to Washington D.C. for the 64th Annual National Prayer Breakfast. Bishop Webb currently serves as the pastor of Mt. Calvary Powerhouse Church in Poplar Bluff, MO.
“Bishop Webb is an instrument of faith in southeast Missouri. For over 30 years, Bishop Webb has been a true leader for many Christians in Poplar Bluff and across the country,” said Congressman Smith. “It was an honor to have him as my guest to the National Prayer Breakfast, where thousands gathered to pray for our nation.”
The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual gathering of political and faith leaders from across the country and around the world. The National Prayer Breakfast serves as an opportunity for elected officials and religious leaders to come together and talk about the role of faith in all our citizens’ lives. This year featured speakers were Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, producers of the acclaimed television series The Bible. Other speakers included Speaker Paul Ryan and President Barack Obama.
STE. GENEVIEVE, MO--Congressman Jason Smith visited Valle Catholic School in Ste. Genevieve today to speak with middle school and high school students. Congressman Smith took questions from students on several different topics ranging from the presidential race, new laws he is working on in Washington and worldwide current events.
“Often times I hear from students that what happens in our nation’s capital doesn't affect them,” said Smith. “These visits are important because it is a chance for me to highlight how decisions being made today in Washington will affect their futures in a meaningful and impactful way.”
As one of the youngest members of the House of Representatives, Congressman Smith frequently visits with students and classrooms throughout southeast and southcentral Missouri.
Smith concluded, “I have been very fortunate to have strong role models to look up to and how they conducted themselves had a real positive impact on my life. Now it is my turn to pay it forward and I firmly believe so much is possible through hard work and perseverance, that is really what I want to get across in these school visits.”
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Today Congressman Jason Smith (MO-08) testified in front of the Missouri House of Representatives Committee on Conservation and Natural Resources about Governor Nixon’s and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) disputed acquisition of land in Oregon County. As a result of few details, no clear plan, and a lack of transparency from the State for the land purchased in Oregon County, Representative Smith was there to express his support for legislation authored by Representative Robert Ross (142) and Representative Jay Barnes (060) which would require the Department of Natural Resources to sell off the recent land acquisition.
The Oregon County land acquisition was done as part of the Strategic Restoration Implementation Plan in which the State received damages from mining metal contamination to restore natural resources in impacted areas. One major problem is that the purchase of over 4,000 acres for a proposed state park in Oregon County is over 100 miles from the impacted area – the counties effected in the lawsuit in which the State was awarded the funds to purchase the land are nowhere near Oregon County.
Postings about the proposed land purchase were buried in the 500,000 plus page federal register or on the DNR website, Smith is concerned that very few of those in the impacted areas actually use either of those sources to get information about their community. During his testimony, Representative Smith expressed concern with the overall lack of openness and transparency in which the DNR selected the restoration site, made that information public and solicited public feedback. Afterwards, Smith continued to express frustration, “To not even hold a public hearing in the area where thousands of acres of land was purchased simply flies in the face of trying to claim this process was open and transparent. I’m used to being disappointed with federal bureaucrats in Washington failing to disclose appropriate information to the American public, but in this instance it was the state government that flat out failed in its obligation to the taxpayers of Missouri to go above and beyond in its efforts to be honest with this land purchase.”
According to the DNR, 10 primitive camp sites are planned on the new park, but Congressman Smith sounded the alarm with those specific plans for this piece of land, “I went to see the property last week, its thousands of acres of rolling farm land with cattle grazing on it, so it begs to question how this will ever be a national forest area or a place with primitive campsites on it. I would also have to question why the State would plan to spend millions of dollars creating a forest where there isn’t one.” Smith continued, “Where is the plan, where is the transparency the citizens of Missouri and residents of Oregon County are entitled? With the information I have now, I can tell you that the State purchased the wrong piece of land. This land was purchased by a bunch of executive and state level bureaucrats. There was no input from the state senators, state representatives, town members or taxpayers.”
On numerous occasions Congressman Smith has asked Governor Nixon’s administration for additional details on the transfer of these private lands. Smith has previously called the transfer “a clear misuse of funds”. Stating that “Misusing these funds is a violation of the settlement agreement and the public trust”. In October the Congressman sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, and Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director Sara Parker Pauley, outlining his numerous concerns.
This week marked the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in our country. Since the court’s ruling, nearly 58 million innocent lives have tragically been taken. To put that into perspective, there are roughly 58 million people living in the states of New York and California—combined.
To share these startling numbers and advance pro-life policies, thousands of grassroots advocates from across the country, including Missouri’s 8thDistrict, are in Washington, D.C. this week for the Annual March for Life. For the last 43 years, the March for Life has been a rallying cry for all those who believe, as I do, that life begins at conception and that all life is valued. I admire the courage of their conviction to march for life despite long journeys and a blizzard warning here in our Nation’s Capital.
For this march, I am reminded of 1987, when Nellie Gray, the late President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, joined with others to battle a fierce storm but continued to march. Nellie said at the time, “our continuing to march that day was not stubbornness to defy the elements, but willingness to cope as best we could in our determined efforts to defend the unalienable and paramount right to life of our born and preborn brothers and sisters.” The resolve of each person who trekked to Washington, while the city was under a blizzard warning and state of emergency, to march for life inspires me and renews my faith that together we can protect the sanctity of life.
This week serves as an important reminder to every elected official, doctor, father and mother that ALL life is precious. We are reminded that at the center of our Pro-Life struggle is the protection of all human life. We cannot live in a society where some life is valued and other life is not.
I stand united with the March for Life delegation and Pro-Life advocates across the country in the belief that all life is precious. All life has value and the casual taking of life is wrong. Across our great nation, millions of Americans are coming together today to demand that the federal government stop assisting in this great assault on innocent life. The federal government should not spend one single dime on Planned Parenthood or any associated groups. Taxpayer dollars should never be used to take the life of the unborn.
As work continues to overturn Roe v. Wade, we must also lay the foundation for a society that does not accept abortion as a form of birth control. Pro-Life advocates like myself have taken up this cause, but work still remains. Open hearts and open minds can heal our nation and change abortions into adoptions. We must join together to pray for the protection of the unborn. The intersection of prayer and action can produce amazing results. I know we can accomplish our goals, and innocent human lives can be saved.
Congressman Jason Smith Visits With Ozark County Commissioners
GAINESVILLE, MO – On Thursday, Congressman Jason Smith (MO-08) visited with the Ozark County Commissioners to discuss issues facing the Ozark County region, including flood damage that occurred last month. Large amounts of rainfall throughout Missouri in late-December caused record high-water events throughout the 8th district, including in Ozark County, which caused many county roads to be washed out and closed for extended periods of time.
“The amount of rainfall we received in December and the rapid rate at which it came was very hard on our county roads as flooded creeks and rivers rushed over them," said Congressman Smith. "I know the Ozark County Commissioners have been hard at work to restore their roads and ensure the safety of the people."
Ozark County received up to nine inches of rain in some parts of the area during the December storms and the commission estimates it caused $500,000 in damages to roads and bridges. On January 15, Governor Jay Nixon included Ozark County in his disaster declaration to seek federal assistance for flooding in Missouri.
“I am hopeful that FEMA and SEMA will provide Ozark County with the assistance they need to revive the roads and bridges that were severely damaged during the historic flooding," said Congressman Smith.
This week I sat in the U.S. House Chamber and listened to the last State of the Union from President Barack Obama. What Americans needed to hear was a plan to turn our economy around, tackle an ever mounting federal debt, details of how to increase families take home pay, and a clear strategy on how we will finally defeat the threats posed by ISIS, the Taliban and other organizations of terror in order to keep Americans safe.
Unfortunately, we heard none of that.
Walking out of the House Chamber, my biggest frustration was the lack of attention to the national security issues perilously facing our country. The primary job of the U.S. Government is to keep Americans safe and secure. The State of the Union was the president’s chance to show he understands the challenges and threats facing our country, yet there was no mention of how we will defeat ISIS. Perhaps, more appalling was that he did not even acknowledge the 10 U.S. Navy sailors who were being detained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard at the time of his speech, nor the fact that North Korea was claiming it had tested a weapon of catastrophic proportions earlier in the week or even the acts of terror which recently occurred in places like Paris and California. We heard nothing about these incidents that could have a direct impact on our national security, no details, no explanation, and no plan to keep American families safe, sound, and secure. Simply put, the president continues to lead from behind on our nation’s national security.
The State of the Union was the president’s chance, his moment, to use his most public forum to reassure Americans that our government will meet a hostile and changing world with the same security and leadership we have known for generations. It was the president’s opening, during a prime time delivery, to provide strong reassurance to Americans that we will defeat ISIS, prevent a nuclear Iran, and won’t back down to aggressors such as North Korea, China and Russia. It was hard for me to take a State of the Union serious which failed to address the issues at the forefront for millions of American families - national security and safety of their loved ones.
Worst yet, the president actually congratulated himself for spending billions of taxpayer dollars to prop up solar energy while vilifying as “dirty energy” the very sources of energy like coal which keep the lights on in Missouri. Regulations put out by this president like his new ‘power plan’, coal ash restrictions, ambient air standards, costly new permitting requirements, and a rejection of the job creating keystone pipeline are killing the sources of inexpensive energy which millions of American families and businesses have relied upon for years to warm their homes while keeping their utility bills low. Obama’s new ‘power plan’ alone is projected to triple the cost of the average utility bill for a family in Missouri. Businesses in the 8th district are being forced to shed their workforce, cut back, and lay off hard working Missourians because new government regulations like these are suffocating either their lines of business directly or those they work with - higher rent, higher energy bills, escalating utility rates, increasing material costs, expensive environmentally compliant land acquisitions, costly construction permitting and the list goes on.
The State of the Union was the president’s opportunity to show he understands the issues American families are facing and highlight a path for moving forward. Unfortunately, we heard another speech filled with the type of rhetoric that shows how truly adamant this president is about cementing his legacy as the most liberal and unconstitutional president in American history. The truth is, and it's unfortunate to say, this State of the Union may actually end up being my favorite because it was this president’s last.Read More
Congressman Jason Smith Capitol Report: SCRUBing Away the D.C. Regulatory Machine
175,268. That is the number of pages in the Code of Federal Regulations. Across south central and southeast Missouri that number weighs heavy on the backs of small businesses, farmers and families. It also represents a serious problem in Washington: a president circumventing Congress to try and force his rejected policy ideas on the American people.
In 2009, the president failed to get his signature “Cap & Trade” legislation through a Democrat controlled Congress – a policy which would increase the cost of heating homes across the nation. Faced with that failure, the president and the EPA rolled out “Clean Power Plan” regulations in August aimed at bypassing the rejection of Congress to implement Cap & Trade through Executive order. Folks across the 8th Congressional District have told me this regulation alone would make their utility bills triple in cost.
Just this week we saw once again a president intent on going around Congress and against the will of American’s people by pushing forward new ‘Executive Actions’ to try and further restrict 2nd amendment rights.
Outdated and often times conflicting federal regulations, never approved by Congress, are now estimated to impose a nearly $1.86 trillion burden annually on Americans. That’s a cost of roughly $15,000 for every household – higher than the weight of all individual income taxes paid each year to the government. Under the Obama Administration over 24,000 new Federal Rules & Regulations have been finalized, unfortunately the president is now threatening to aggressively grow that list during his final year in office.
This system of burdensome regulations needs to stop. Whether it is in my own business, the state capitol or the halls of Washington, DC, I have been fighting the regulatory machine. This week the House of Representatives took a serious step in regulation reform by passing a bill I authored known as the SCRUB Act – legislation aimed at ‘scrubbing’ the maze of federal regulations of outdated, unnecessary, costly and duplicative rules which conflict with those at the State or Local level, returning power back to the states.
For example Department of Labor should not be telling FFA students in Missouri they can’t do work on the family farm. The National Park Service should not be introducing new regulations restricting the decades old practice of river baptisms on the Current River. The EPA doesn’t need to regulate every drainage ditch, farm, wood stove or even the beautiful clean air of the Mark Twain National Forest. Manufacturers in our district shouldn’t have to close, shed 500 jobs, and move south of the border to Mexico because the cost of complying with over-regulation just becomes too high here in America.
The insanity of the Washington Regulatory Machine needs to stop. This is why my SCRUB Act is so important. It will give the American people the tools to get Washington bureaucrats who have never owned a business or been on a farm off their backs. America’s future with SCRUB in place is one where the regulators have to answer to you, where we finally clean out the cluttered garage of federal red tape and let job creators and producers return focus back to what they know best – growing our economy.Read More
Washington, DC – Today, legislation authored by Congressman Jason Smith (MO-08) passed the U.S. House on a bipartisan vote of 245-174. The Smith bill, known as H.R. 1155, the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act would eliminate and remove outdated federal regulations now estimated to impose nearly a $1.86 trillion burden on Americans.
Upon passage, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan commented, “A thorough review of federal regulations holding back opportunity in this country is long overdue. I congratulate Representative Smith on passage of this bill and for serving as a leader on regulatory reform. His work to bring greater accountability to government is of great service to the business owners, farmers and families who are facing a maze of costly and complex Washington regulations. This legislation provides an important check on a lame duck White House intent on pushing through more rules, regulations and executive orders inconsistent with the will of the American people.”
After the vote, Representative Smith said the following, “175,268 pages of federal regulations are stifling economic growth and opportunity in this country. The SCRUB Act sets up a process to finally review and get off the books and out of the way many of these outdated, burdensome, duplicative and unnecessary regulations.” Smith continued, “The American people have had enough of this White House circumventing Congress to try to push through its failed policy attempts with new regulatory and rule making. A bureaucrat in Washington should not be telling a farmer in the bootheel of Missouri or a small business owner in Poplar Bluff how to run their operation. With the SCRUB Act we place that power back into the hands of the people who are actually affected on a daily basis by the regulations coming out of Washington.”
Committee on Oversight & Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz said, “Today’s House passage of the SCRUB Act is an important step toward reducing unnecessary regulation. Regulations can be necessary to ensure health and safety. But excessive and outdated regulations only serve to divert limited resources to efforts that waste time and money. This bill provides the opportunity for tremendous savings for government agencies and the public at large. I applaud the good work of Congressman Smith in drafting this legislation.”
H.R. 1155, the SCRUB Act establishes a commission set by the President, U.S. Senate & U.S. House Leaders to review, remove and eliminate regulations that are unnecessary, outdated or conflict with state or local regulations. According to a recent estimate, the federal regulatory burden adds up to a cost of approximately $15,000 annually per U.S. household. Specifically, the legislation ensures a system of checks and balances in the review process and prioritizes review of regulations that are major rules, are more than 15 years old, impose paperwork burdens that can be reduced substantially without significantly diminishing effectiveness, or impose disproportionately high costs on small businesses. Additionally, the Commission will prioritize removing federal regulations that are either duplicative or conflict with State regulations or can be strengthened while reducing costs.
Key Federal Regulatory Highlights:
Congressman Smith has been leading the charge to keep expensive and unnecessary rules from bankrupting families, farms, and businesses since he was in the Missouri State House.
"In the time I have known Jason as a public servant he has always demanded more accountability and transparency from government, he did it in Jefferson City and I am not surprised to see him leading the same type of effort now in Washington, DC," said Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson. Adding, "I am proud of the work Congressman Smith has taken up and his leadership on the SCRUB Act to curtail the overbearing reach that so many small business owners, farmers, families, and taxpayers are feeling here in Southeast Missouri and the rest of our state."
H.R. 1155 was supported by the National Association of Manufacturers, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, National Taxpayers Unions, Americans for Tax Reform and others.Read More
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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