Congressman Jason Smith Initiates Congressional Delegation calling on Attorney General Chris Koster to Join Multistate lawsuit against Obama’s transgender bathroom guidance
Washington, D.C.- Today, Congressman Smith led the Missouri Congressional Delegation in calling on Attorney General Chris Koster to join the 11-state federal lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s transgender bathroom guidance in order to protect students in Missouri. The Obama administration and Departments of Education and Justice recently issued a guidance that directs public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. If a state fails to comply with this bathroom directive, it will risk losing federal education funding.
Upon sending the letter, Rep Smith stated, “The Obama Administration’s attempt to intimidate Missouri public schools by threatening to pull funding if they don’t comply with this ridiculous and unsafe new executive action is unconstitutional and outrageous. Something must be done to protect children of our public schools across Missouri.”
Smith continued, “It is imperative that Attorney General Koster join in filing the 11- state federal lawsuit, he has already stated that the President was “wrong to dictate a national policy so quickly and unilaterally”, now is the time to act.”
The lawsuit brought by officials from 11 states asks the court to block the federal government from “implementing, applying or enforcing the new rules, regulations and guidance interpretations.” This is the first suit filed against the Obama administration in response to its controversial transgender bathroom directive. States in the suit include Texas, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia.
‘Words have meaning’ and ‘actions have consequences,’ those are two sayings or quips that many of us have heard before. However, I can tell you when it comes to the U.S. Constitution and the expected conduct of elected Representatives. I believe these two phrases are absolutely essential to characterizing our form of democracy. Unfortunately, I am ashamed of the events in our nation’s capital this week, when liberal Democrats orchestrated a sit-in on the House floor meant as a publicity stunt to promote their anti-gun agenda and raise money for their party.
With the pain of a massacre by a radical Islamic terrorist in Orlando still fresh, these elected officials took to the floor to blame guns, not a terrorist for the horrible events. Their actions are shameful because they disrespect the law-abiding citizens of this country, those who follow the rules, trust in the protections of due process under our constitution, and believe we are ‘one nation under God.’ They believe it is the law-abiding citizens that need to be monitored and fail to acknowledge it is terrorists and specifically, radical Islamic terrorists, that we should focus on stopping.
While Democrats orchestrate their political theater on the Floor of the House of Representatives, they are failing to work on any constructive solutions, but I can tell you firsthand their actions have only increased my resolve and utter confidence that the federal bureaucracy under this administration’s leadership is absolutely out of control. So, while liberal Democrats spent the week seeking out cameras and reporters I was working on legislation that would continue to strip spending authority from rogue government agencies.
I introduced two bills this week that take power away from the EPA by restricting their ability to impose fines and penalties on hard working farmers, small businesses and families, something we owe to the American taxpayer and something which takes the power of the purse out of the hands of un-elected bureaucrats. Big federal agencies like the IRS and EPA have proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted to spend taxpayer dollars in a way that actually benefits Americans, which is why I have made it a top priority of mine to reestablish the U.S. Constitution’s Article I legislative powers that are clearly granted to Congress, not federal agencies.
In fact, my top focus has been to rein-in big government. It started this year with U.S. House passage of my SCRUB Act, a bill that came out of an idea when I learned the Code of Federal Regulations contained an astonishing 175,000 pages and was holding back investment and job creation in this country. My SCRUB Act fights ineffective and intrusive federal regulations that are holding back private sector job creation, hurting farmers and putting the brakes on economic growth in this country.
Next, my IRS Owes act passed with bipartisan support in April and would hold the IRS more accountable to taxpayers. I introduced this legislation after I uncovered that the IRS has been abusing their power by secretly increasing fines and penalties on American taxpayers and then using upwards of $500 million in taxpayer generated funds to secretly implement portions of Obamacare against the will of the American public. It is clear that out of control federal government agencies like the IRS cannot be trusted to do what is best for the country, but I only found these atrocities by rolling up my sleeves and digging in, not sitting around.
Article I clearly states that all legislative powers are vested in Congress. The founders of our country clearly printed those words because words have meaning and they wanted to prevent the very actions and consequences the Obama Administration is continuing to implement. Luckily, President Obama’s days in office are numbered, 215 to be exact. I will continue to fight against the Obama administration to ensure that the Article I authority is adhered to. The Constitution is not merely a suggestion on how our government is to be operated, rather it is full of words that have meaning and hopefully after the next 215 days we can repair the consequences of the abusive actions of this Administration towards law-abiding Americans.Read More
Washington, DC – Congressman Jason Smith (MO-8) issued the following statement today after the Supreme Court blocked President Obama’s plan to issue executive amnesty to five million illegal aliens in the United States v. Texas case.
“Today’s decision is a victory for the American people and the Constitution. In March 2016 I helped file a court brief in support of the state of Texas in their suit against the president's illegal mass amnesty. The president has continually used regulations and executive orders to go around Congress in order to fulfill his own agenda against the will of the American people. Article I of the Constitution clearly states that only Congress has the power to write legislation, not the president. Obama’s use of executive orders to grant amnesty to illegal aliens is a clear violation of Article I of the Constitution. The Supreme Court decision today reaffirms the power to legislate back to its rightful place in Congress. I will continue to use the powers granted to me by Article I of the Constitution to protect the people I represent from unchecked executive abuses.”Read More
Disbelief, horror, devastation, sorrow. As we saw the images and news unfold from Orlando, Florida this week it was hard not to feel some of these emotions. For me, I wanted answers, but I understand we don’t always have the answers, and the answers given by those in Washington, DC often trying to rally partisans are hard to accept. However, it is hard to find a reasonable answer when someone so consumed by hate believes the murder of defenseless party goers, those out to dinner, or people taking in a sporting event is a way to make a societal or religious statement. The behavior defies reason and is rooted in evil.
In the coming weeks and months we will learn more about who shooter Omar Mateen was, who he had communications with, who may have helped him and where he traveled and why - but what is clear already is that those who inspired him have a deep loathing for our country, our democracy, and our freedoms and liberties. We do know that Mateen was an American citizen, the son of an Afghan immigrant, born in New York City. However, there are thousands more like Mateen currently residing outside the U.S., many in the Middle East, wanting to do equal harm to those who live in the big cities, small towns and rural communities which make up our great nation.
That is what we know, but to me these are still incomplete answers because if we cannot feel safe here at home, other basic functions of our society and economy cease to matter or exist. Admittedly, my own judgement is fueled by events of just the past year - the release of Guantanamo detainees back to the front lines to kill American soldiers, a dangerous nuclear deal with Iran, a spectacle of our own sailors forced to their knees, the failure to permanently dismantle and remove the threat ISIS poses, and a refusal to call the terror attacks from this week the actions of Radical Islamists. It is clear to me that the actions or ‘inactions’, of this President has made us less safe here at home and I firmly believe that. However, a rush to assign blame does not provide the strength that the families and community of Orlando need to move forward and that is what I believe we need most.
Our country is a great one, we believe in equal treatment under the law, in undeniable freedoms such as speech and religious liberty, we don’t appoint our leaders we elect them, and while we may disagree with one another, we can do so without violence. Because of this there are people out there who wish to cause American’s harm.
Those who inflict such terror direct their actions so that we see ourselves as they want us to be seen - weak, scared, inferior, and ultimately intimidated. Our partisan fighting only leads to the divide and allows the intimidation to continue, but standing strong in the face of tragedy, standing together as Americans, and supporting one another in communities across the country defies the terrorists of the intimidation they seek. Obviously it will not replace the pain, anguish, anger, or anxiety but it is an important reminder that we sometimes forget – we are all Americans and we have much to be proud of and a great deal worth fighting for, particular each other.
We need not let the acts of cowards like Omar Mateen intimidate us or change our day to day lives. But we are naive to think that this threat is simply going to go away without action on our behalf and without leadership prepared to do what is necessary to wipe those who inspire these actions from the face of the earth. America is home to many great things, but it doesn’t need to be home to radicalized Islamic terrorists inspired by those who freely spew hatred for our country, cut of the heads of their enemies and target innocents for murder. We are the greatest nation on earth, founded on the grandest principles, and we should not be intimidated by those who want us to see ourselves as anything less.
We all have those moments that stick with us, maybe it was an achievement, a tragedy, overcoming a fear, or coming to a realization. I had one of those moments 36 months ago when a big number was staring me in the face. It was 285, and it was the one looking back at me from the bathroom scale. Month after month of traveling hundreds of miles every day all across Missouri’s 8th Congressional district while running in the Special Election, I was the opposite of a picture of health. The floor of my car was covered with wrappers from Casey’s, Mobile or Rhodes 101 and unfortunately represented recent “meals”.
My struggles with my weight are something I openly talk about because while humbling it makes me acknowledge it and proactively think about my eating choices. However, what struck me that day was a simple question, how could I pledge to take the fight to defend rural America all the way to Congress if I couldn’t even walk up the steps of the U.S. Capitol without becoming out of breath? Since winning that election 36 months ago to represent the people of southeast and south central Missouri before the U.S. Congress, I am proud to say I have lost over 75 pounds. Well in actuality, over 250 pounds - that last 10 just seems to keep falling off and getting added back each week when I step on the scale! It’s a fight each and every day. We all have our vices – mine just comes in the form of feel good comfort food made to perfection in this part of the country that gives me an excuse to sit with family and friends or cope with stress.
June represents Men’s health month. It is a month dedicated to recognizing that us guys need to put our pride aside and get the necessary screenings, checkups and education to ensure we are taking the most proactive steps possible to be in control of our own health and our own lives. We owe it to more than just ourselves though, our families and loved ones deserve that dedication from us as well. This is especially true because medical journal after medical journal has published results that show being overweight can lead to so many other health problems. Most notably, being overweight greatly increases your chances of heart disease, which is the number one killer in America, or things like diabetes, stroke, and even some forms of cancer. Further, we know early detection and education are the best ways to put an end to so many preventable chronic diseases which are driving up the overall costs of healthcare in this country.
For me, the wakeup to turn things around was that day when I recognized if I was going to ask people to expect the best from me, I had to be in a position to give the best to them. The catalyst however, was a New Year’s resolution at the start of 2014. Those closest to me, those who cared about me, challenged me to reverse the health course I was on. They also knew the best way to get me focused and committed was to tell me they doubted I had it in me to get serious. That was all I needed because like so many things, telling me something isn’t possible is exactly what drives me to make it happen. Now, I find myself in group exercise classes every morning, which not only help keep my waistline down, but help clear my head, and meet new colleagues. Even though I am a young conservative member from rural Missouri, it is amazing the respect people have shown me because they know my dedication to fight for an issue starts with a dedication to face my own personal challenges.
There are so many things we are working towards as a nation – things to turn our economy around, rolling back the federal government’s encroachment into all of our lives and advancing a common sense conservative agenda that puts the people, not Washington, in control of their lives. I want to be around to see the impact of these changes and I want to help lead that charge, but I’m never going to be able to do that for our district if I can’t march up those stairs.Read More
Nobody likes a bully. We ask our public schools not to tolerate bullying and we teach our children to stand up for what is right in the face of intimidation. Yet President Obama is acting like a bully when it comes to the recent directive to public schools across this country regarding sexual identity. Much like a bully, President Obama threatened the use of force and intimidation over federal support dollars for public schools if his way, his ideology, is not followed, adhered to, and implemented.
However, aside from his intimidation tactics the President’s actions are flagrantly unconstitutional. First, he chose to issue a directive which has no force of law and was also completely dismissive of our separation of powers and the legislative branch. To be clear, no discussion was had, no effort to work out our differences through a public debate was made, nor opportunity to sit down, discuss the issue and work towards a solution with the legislative branch occurred, none at all.
Further, his directive attempts to undermine the 10th amendment of the constitution over non-compliance with federal education law under Title IX that prohibits sexual discrimination in school programs under that section. His goal in this effort was to empower federal bureaucracies, in this case the Departments of Justice and Education to enforce this edict so they could completely redefine “sex” to mean “gender identity”.
Further, the President’s threat to withhold public education funding flies in the face of so many speeches, press conferences, and campaign rallies where he emphasized the importance of education to prepare our children to become the tolerant economic leaders of the 21st Century. And, on several occasions, the President stressed education as the bridge between social and economic differences within our country.
Often the only way to respond to a bully is to stand tall and firm on your ground. As such, I have helped co-author new legislation that blocks the Department of Education and Department of Justice from tying federal funding of local schools to compliance with this directive. Additionally, we have also co-drafted a complete defunding of this new order from the President, blocking any federal taxpayer dollars from being used to enforce it.
I have heard from a number of people about their outrage over this issue and understandably so, the public schools in our communities should not be bullied into abiding by policies that the majority of people do not agree with, especially when there are no constitutional grounds for them, zero.
The parents, teachers, and administrators that have reached out to me with their frustration is exactly what I would have expected, because they know you have to stand up to a bully if things are ever going to change. However, maybe that bullying would be better received if it was actually used on nations which house our terrorist enemies or declare they are going to bring war on the United States, and not here at home in our schools.
With 230 days left in office, it is clear that President Obama is using every second he has left to enact his liberal agenda against the will of the American people and despite our constitutional framework. I intend to do everything in my power to stop the President from threatening the safety and decency of the overwhelming majority of children in public schools across Southeast and south central Missouri and our nation.
We are right to stand up to bullies, arguably it is an inherent American trait, but the only assurance we have to deal with in standing together now is that we all know in very short time this bully can easily be ignored.
Washington, DC – Congressman Jason Smith (MO-8) issued the following statement today after the Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co.:
“The unanimous decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., is yet another defeat of the Obama Administration’s illegal executive overreach and a big win for Americans. Clean Water Act regulations represent a major threat to rural America and have the potential to be devastating to farmers, ranchers and the agriculture industry in southeast and south central Missouri. Allowing Americans to challenge wetlands determinations in court is the right thing to do and I applaud the court’s decision. This decision will make the EPA think twice before trying to regulate every pond, stream or puddle on a farmers land. This decision continues the track record of more than twenty unanimous defeats President Obama has received regarding his policy initiatives, a stunning embarrassment to the Administration.”Read More
Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer. The temperatures are rising, school is winding down for many and the smell of backyard barbecues as the sun goes down is starting to fill the air. Memorial Day is also one of my favorite times to drive around our district and see so many American flags placed on houses, businesses, and in yards. In a united display of patriotism it is a symbol of how much we love our country. Many of us look at this long weekend as a chance to slow down, get together with family and friends, and sit outside to enjoy what we hope is beautiful Missouri weather. However, it is also important we honor and remember the real purpose for this holiday and pay tribute to the men and women who paid the ultimate price fighting for the freedoms and way of life we often take for granted.
We were reminded of this sacrifice recently when World War II soldier Herbert John Hoard of DeSoto, Missouri was finally given a proper burial some 74 years after he lost his life during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Mr. Hoard’s was a moving story of a young man, a member of our greatest generation, who answered the call to serve his country, but never returned home.
Like Mr. Hoard, our community is home to more than 60,000 veterans and assisting those veterans navigate an often times confusing and unresponsive VA network accounts for roughly half of all the casework assistance my office provides each year. This year, we also held the first ever Veterans Summits here in southeast and south central Missouri which provided an opportunity for our veteran neighbors to come and receive information on the services available to them from multiple departments and agencies all in one place. This event was so rewarding because it allowed me to talk with veterans and hear first-hand the issues they are facing and learn how our office can better serve them. I am proud and humbled that this year alone my office helped a veteran in Perryville receive over $100,000 in owed back pay and that we were able to honor another southeast Missourian veteran with multiple commendation medals he rightfully earned.
Of course all of this also comes at a time when the VA Secretary compared wait times at VA hospitals to wait times for rides at Disney theme parks. While his comments were shameful and disrespectful, it also highlighted the frustration so many of us have in a system that is simply not doing everything it can for those who gave us everything in return. Hopefully very soon we will see better performance to address management problems and health care shortages, and to increase the speed, efficiency and effectiveness as well as utilize technology to better serve our veterans.
You can continue to count on me to support our nation’s heroes not only heading into Memorial Day weekend, but every day looking forward because the fabric of our country and constitution is defended by the heroes in our hometowns. I am proud of our community for recognizing these heroes and openly displaying our patriotism, especially when freedom is threatened throughout the world every day. May God bless you and your families this Memorial Day weekend.
This week thousands of law enforcement officers from around the country came to Washington, DC to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. As part of the memorial ceremonies, 252 names will be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Wall and among them three officers from Missouri killed in the line of duty last year.
Tragic events are something that stick with many of us, they mark our lives, and recall memories that we struggle with. Yet, often our law enforcement officers and first responders are individuals who put themselves in those positions to protect us and keep us safe. One of the most profound memories I have was from December of 2002, when Chief Deputy Joann Barnes of the Dent County Sheriff’s Department was fatally shot as she approached the scene of a double murder investigation. Joann’s murder rocked my hometown community. A lot of people knew Joann, we also knew she wasn’t someone that needed the job, but she was proud of her community and committed to service and her absence was going to be profound.
More recently, our community was witness to another heart-wrenching event, that also highlighted the heroism of our men and women in blue. Police Lieutenant Brad Smith and Corporal Cary Dunavan were called to the scene of a car accident in Cape Girardeau where a couple, including a pregnant woman, were ejected from their vehicle. Without hesitation, both officers raced to the scene of the accident to try and save the victim’s lives. Tragically, the pregnant mother did not survive the crash, but thanks to the actions of these officers who performed CPR until the paramedics arrived doctors were later able to save the life of the unborn child. Time and again, in the eyes of danger and disaster our law enforcement officials wade right in to harm’s way to keep us safe and bring stability to crisis. They do this with their own families often waiting anxiously at home.
We also know that for a police officer “off-duty” does not really exist because their training and commitment is always ready to be called to service. That is one of the reasons we passed legislation last week to make it easier for off-duty officers to carry their firearms. It is of utmost importance that those who protect our communities are also protected so that they can do their jobs, even if we never need or call upon them.
This week is not only a tribute to those in law enforcement who go to work every day to protect our communities, but also a time to remember those who never returned home. It is a time to remember the people like Joann Barnes or be grateful for the service of Lieutenant Smith and Corporal Dunavan. We never know when tragedy or crisis may hit, but we are fortunate that we have people who are ready to answer our call in a moment’s notice. Please take the time this week to thank a law enforcement officer in your community for putting their lives on the line, reminding us to do the right thing, or protecting and keeping us safe even when we aren’t expecting it.
Congressman Jason Smith Capitol Report
Prescription Pain: Killers
May 13, 2016
America is facing an epidemic of opioid addiction that is sadly killing 78 people every day. Statistically, the chances are greater that you know someone who has been affected by opioid abuse than not. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans have a family member who’s suffered from addiction to prescription painkillers.
The harsh reality is that the epidemic has reached every single state and region of our country. The faces of opioid abusers are familiar to us all, they are the high school quarterback, the straight A college student or the mother of 3 next-door. As a result, this week the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to combat America’s prescription painkiller crisis by targeting programs to improve addiction recovery and substance abuse programs for at risk high schoolers and college students, improve treatment for families, veterans, women, and even pregnant mothers who can pass addiction on to newborns.
When most people think of drug addiction they think of those who abuse drugs found on the street such as crack cocaine or heroin, but the problem today is much greater and much more complex than the class of drugs we have all heard of before. Opioids include prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone. The reality is that it is this class of drugs; the kind which can be found at home in your medicine cabinet, that is most commonly abused and killing thousands of people. Of the 21.5 million Americans age 12 or older that had a substance abuse disorder in 2014, 1.9 million had a disorder involving prescription opiate-based painkillers. Deaths from drug overdoses even outpace deaths from motor vehicle accidents; in 2013, 10,000 more people died as a result of drug overdose than a motor vehicle accident. The epidemic is real, and it is here.
Missouri has been impacted drastically by the growing opioid abuse crisis. Sadly, Missouri has the highest rate of opioid use in the Midwest. It is estimated 235,000 Missourians misuse prescription drugs annually. What’s even more alarming is that between 2007 and 2012, Missouri had a 124 percent increase in treatment admissions related to prescription drugs and without action, this number will only increase. Opioid abuse does not discriminate in Missouri and does not discriminate in the towns and close knit communities it impacts across the nation. The epidemic is killing Missourians of all backgrounds, ages and colors.
This week, I along with my colleagues in the House, put politics aside and focused on addressing the country’s opioid abuse epidemic to save lives across the country. This set of proposed laws includes measures instructing the Attorney General to dedicate more resources to states trying to combat opioid addiction and improving early intervention and treatment for children born with opioids in their system. In addition, we passed bills dedicating further resources for development of drugs to counteract a prescription drug overdose, establishing addiction mitigation programs specifically for veterans, women and teens and supporting law enforcement’s efforts to combat drug trafficking.
These efforts mark an important step in the direction of combatting the opioid epidemic that is claiming thousands of lives across this country. It is time that we help victims of this epidemic reclaim and rebuild their lives to ensure that they get a chance to have a bright future and find their own American dream.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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Saddened to hear of the passing of Cadet Surdyke.He died a true hero saving the life of another. Pray for his family https://t.co/vPoSMIEsXW
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Very disappointing SCOTUS decision today leaves abortion providers unchecked. Next Prez high court appointee absolutely critical #ProLife