The district work period has come to an end and Easter is now behind us. I hope everyone had a safe and blessed holiday. Our family attended Easter Mass and then we were able to spend some quality time together. The grandchildren always get a kick out of the Easter eggs and candy, and this year was no different.
Besides celebrating Easter with my family, I used the two week district work period to travel across central and eastern Missouri. I had a number of productive meetings with constituents and attended a wide variety of events. Here are a few of the highlights.
A student at Eugene Elementary School in Cole County, Nicklaus Doerhoff, contacted me earlier this year for help with a project that he was working on about Washington, D.C. Little did I know that I would have the honor of attending Nicklaus’ presentation of his project in person, which is exactly what happened. After Nicklaus gave a presentation to his classmates about Washington, D.C. and all of the historic sites and attractions it has to offer, I had the opportunity to address the class and talk about the role of the United States government. Then, I participated in a question and answer session with the class. Thank you to the teachers and staff at Eugene Elementary for inviting me – it was a great morning.
I also spent part of last week in St. Charles County meeting with constituents. One meeting was with representatives from area non-profits that serve the community, including BCI, the Child Center, and Youth in Need. We discussed an array of topics that ranged from federal grants, to the budget, to tax reform. From there, I went to hear the latest from the Chief of Wentzville Police Department, Kurt Frisz. I want to thank Chief Frisz and all of the law enforcement officers who serve in the 3rd District every day for keeping us safe. Later that day, I headed to Lincoln County for a special ceremony, at which the county was recognized as an Agri-Ready County. The Agri-Ready designation recognizes counties that actively support Missouri agriculture, so this means that Lincoln County is a great place for agricultural enterprises to develop and grow. It was an honor to speak to the group and to also present a letter of recognition to signify what Lincoln County has achieved. Hopefully, this designation will lead to further investment in the county, as well as jobs and economic growth that will come along with it.
Lastly, I spent time in Owensville and Linn. In Owensville, I stopped by Owensville High School to take a tour and spend time talking to students and staff. From there, I went to Linn and met with Dr. Shawn Strong, the president of State Technical College of Missouri. I was incredibly impressed with the school and its students. State Tech is the only publicly supported higher education institution in Missouri with a mission that is devoted to technical education at the associate degree level. The school does a great job preparing its students with needed skills to enter the workforce in Missouri.
Now it is back to Washington where the work continues on such key issues as the budget, health care reform, fixing our broken tax code, and replacing Dodd-Frank. We have a busy legislative calendar on the horizon and I will keep you up-to-date with what my colleagues and I are working on in Congress. Have a great week!Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) released the following statement after President Trump signed two Presidential Memoranda calling for the Treasury Secretary to conduct reviews of the Orderly Liquidation Authority (OLA) and Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) within 180 days.
“The reviews of the Orderly Liquidation Authority and the Financial Stability Oversight Council announced today are victories for American taxpayers and consumers and I applaud President Trump for his leadership on these critical matters,” Luetkemeyer said. “As a former bank examiner, community banker, and Chairman of the Financial Institutions Subcommittee, I have long advocated for eliminating the OLA, because it puts taxpayers on the hook for bailouts, instead of putting private companies on the hook for bankruptcy. For years, I have also introduced legislation to change FSOC’s arbitrary designation processes, which lead to higher costs, fewer services, and less available credit for American consumers. The American people deserve financial independence and I look forward to working with President Trump and my colleagues to help them achieve it.”
Luetkemeyer is a senior member on the House Financial Services Committee and he is the Chairman of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee.Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) joined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt in Clifton Hill, Mo., to discuss ways to keep energy rates affordable, protect the environment, and better partner with state and local stakeholders.
“During the Obama Administration, EPA bureaucrats in Washington often took actions that threatened Missouri families, farms, small businesses, and communities. Administrator Pruitt’s visit today to listen to us about our concerns is a stark contrast to the previous eight years. Affordable energy, good paying jobs, and property rights are top priorities for many Missourians, and after listening to Administrator Pruitt today, I am confident that we can work with him on the issues that are important to our state,” Luetkemeyer said. “I appreciate the administration’s efforts thus far to stop the Waters of the United States rule and to get the federal government’s regulatory footprint out of our local communities.”
“My frustration with loan access today is that my 20-year-old daughter, who has a full-time, decent paying job, cannot get a loan to buy her first vehicle. It’s a catch 22 – you need credit to get credit, but no one will give you the credit to begin with. I would like to see our young adults be able to build the credit they need so they can have a decent future.” – Michele from Fulton
Michele is just one of many Missourians that have contacted my office expressing their frustrations with what has been happening in the financial services space. My colleagues and I hear stories like Michele’s on a daily basis.
Since passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), financial institutions have been subjected to an onslaught of regulation. Some of it is necessary; there were serious problems in our financial system that contributed to the 2008 crisis that needed to be addressed. But the regulatory pendulum has swung too far; today, it is the federal financial regulators that decide what types of services people like Michele and her daughter can access, even though she and her local financial institution did not contribute to the crisis. Washington bureaucrats, rather than local community banks, credit unions, and installment lenders are now making decisions about who should get credit and on what terms. That’s because the bureaucrats are determining what risks are acceptable for local lenders to take, and threatening them with retribution if they don’t tow Washington’s line. As a former bank examiner and community banker, I can tell you with certainty that the current regulatory set-up is completely contrary to the model of what lending should be all about. It’s made it more challenging for many Americans to meet their everyday financial needs, is holding back real economic growth and opportunity, and is taking decision-making authority away from our local communities.
Unfortunately, availability of credit is just one negative side effect from Dodd-Frank. Faced with rising compliance costs, financial institutions are charging more for products. Before 2010, 75 percent of banks offered free checking to their customers. By 2015, that number had fallen to just 37 percent. Also, in 2015 in Missouri, there were 44 banks with less than $50 million in assets. Of those 44 institutions, 26 of them lost money. Many of these are the only financial institutions serving their respective communities. If they continue down the current path, they will be forced to shutter their doors, or merge with or be acquired by a larger institution from out of town. Those are just a couple of examples of what is happening on the ground as a result of Dodd-Frank.
In the coming weeks, my colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee and I will be unveiling the Financial CHOICE Act for the 115th Congress. The premise of the CHOICE Act is simple: change the current regulatory paradigm in order to offer a new model that benefits taxpayers, consumers, and our local communities.
This alternative to Dodd-Frank strives to provide every American with the opportunity to not only achieve financial independence, but to also ensure consumers are protected from fraud and deception. The CHOICE Act brings to an end taxpayer bailouts and the era of “too big to fail.” Don’t think that this legislation lets bad actors off the hook: the CHOICE Act increases penalties for fraud committed by financial institutions promotes consumer protection, and enhances transparency and accountability.
The Financial Services Committee has been working hard to reform and replace Dodd-Frank, and you can play a part, too. If you have been negatively impacted by rules and regulations that have stemmed from Dodd-Frank, please share your story with me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stories like Michele’s go a long way in raising awareness about why it is so critical to reform Dodd-Frank. House Republicans want to restore the access to credit that has evaporated over the last few years, so that young Americans, like Michele’s daughter, are not put at a disadvantage.Read More
With support from members of the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging the committee to include language to maintain the integrity of our nation’s medical research and provide protections for the unborn.
As revealed by the Select Panel on Infant Lives investigation, Planned Parenthood officials have admittedly changed abortion procedures to procure intact fetal baby parts for sale. These aborted baby parts are then purchased by tissue procurement business and sold “on demand” to researchers, some of which are federally funded. This disturbing business model has allowed abortion providers to profit from federally funded research.
Specifically, the letter, which requested that no funding be provided for research on fetal tissue obtained from an induced abortion, was sent to the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies which has jurisdiction over the issue.
As stated in the letter, Luetkemeyer said, “Since your Subcommittee maintains jurisdiction over appropriations for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we believe this year’s appropriations process offers opportunity to directly address the inhumane practice of trafficking infant baby parts. Currently, the NIH provides a portion of its annual appropriations to fund basic biology research using human fetal tissue. According to the NIH’s most recent funding report, $80 million of taxpayer dollars was directed towards this research in Fiscal Year 2015… That being said, we must ensure that we hold taxpayers’ dollars with highest regard and direct our limited resources to projects that not only better our country, but reflect the will of the people. The trafficking of aborted baby parts certainly does not accomplish either goal.”
Last week, Luetkemeyer introduced the Protecting Life and Integrity in Research Act, which would allow the NIH to conduct research on donated stillbirth and miscarriage fetal tissue, but target the unethical practices of abortion providers by prohibiting authorization of research on fetal tissue obtained from an induced abortion.Read More
Spring is a particularly popular time of year for many Americans to visit our nation’s capital. If you travel to Washington in early April, chances are you will have an opportunity to see the famous cherry blossoms in bloom. The most famous place to view them is around the Tidal Basin near Thomas Jefferson’s Memorial.
While the cherry blossoms themselves are quite famous, they have an interesting history that is less known, which is intertwined with the history of the relationship between the United States and Japan. This relationship is one of our most important commercial and strategic partnerships. The relationship goes back to the 1850s, when President Millard Fillmore dispatched Commodore Matthew Perry to open Japanese ports to American trade. Prior to that, Japan, ruled by the military government of the Tokugawa Shogun, had maintained a policy of national seclusion.
The cherry blossoms entered the story in 1912, when Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gifted 3,000 cherry trees to Washington. This gift was meant to symbolize the friendship between the United States and Japan. The first batch of trees arrived in Washington in 1910, only to be disease ridden. However, neither Japanese nor American officials gave up on ensuring that the cherry trees would reach our shores. Four individuals were instrumental in the process: Dr. Jokichi Takamine; Dr. David Fairchild; Eliza Scidmore; and First Lady Helen Herron Taft all coordinated the arrival of the next batch of over 3,000 trees to Washington. After this successful shipment arrived in 1912, First Lady Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador planted the first two trees on the north bank of the Tidal Basin. The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates this event.
Since the inaugural arrival of the cherry trees, many gifts have been exchanged between our two countries in order to further promote educational and cultural ties between the American and Japanese peoples. In particular, in 1915, the United States gifted the people of Japan several flowering dogwood trees which are also distinguished by their bright blossoms and distinctive bark.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, which drew the United States into World War II, necessarily fractured the relationship between our two countries. Four of the cherry trees were cut down in what many believe was a response to the Pearl Harbor attack. The war ended on September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri, when Imperial Japan formally signed the instrument of surrender.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival itself was suspended due to the outbreak of the war until 1947. From then on, our friendship with Japan and her people has remained robust. Missouri has a strong economic relationship with Japan, as more than $500 million in goods from our state were exported there in 2015. Japan is also a critical security ally in the Pacific, as recognized by the fact that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was one of the first foreign leaders to visit President Trump. The relationship between these two leaders is particularly important today given the regular and increasingly provocative threats from North Korea’s regime.
This year, the cherry blossoms reached their peak bloom in early April and I was pleased to learn that lots of Missourians had decided to spend their spring breaks and vacation days visiting all of the sights that Washington has to offer. If you, your family, your neighbors, or your co-workers plan to visit Washington, please contact my office. We are more than happy to assist you in planning your visit, and would be pleased to give you a special tour of the United State Capitol. If you are in Washington this springtime or summer, please remember to tag me in your pictures on Facebook or Instagram so I can see all of the historic places you are visiting while in the city!Read More
Today, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) introduced the Protecting Life and Integrity in Research Act which will target the horrific practice of trafficking infant body parts for profit and ensure taxpayers never have to foot the bill for the endangerment of human life.
On March 29, 2017, yet another disturbing video was released of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the harvesting of babies’ organs for sale. Despite the organization’s claims that it did not profit from the sale of fetal tissue, accounting documents provided during the Select Panel on Infant Lives investigation exposed that Planned Parenthood did in fact generate revenue trafficking infant body parts.
Currently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides a portion of its annual appropriations to fund basic biology research using human fetal tissue. The Protecting Life and Integrity in Research Act will allow the NIH to conduct research on donated stillbirth and miscarriage fetal tissue, but prohibits authorization of research on fetal tissue obtained from an induced abortion.
“The fact that an industry has been created around the sale of aborted baby parts is deeply disturbing and that was the motivating factor to introduce this important legislation,” Luetkemeyer said. “Congress must ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are held in the highest regard when it comes to federally funded research involving fetal tissue.”
Pro-Life groups supporting the legislation are the Susan B. Anthony List and Family Research Council.Read More
Many informative constituent meetings made up the bulk of my week. Sprinkle in committee work and legislation on the House floor and you get a great sense of how the Spring unfolds in our nation’s capital.
The fine folks from Kingdom Telephone were in my office to discuss the importance of broadband access and ensuring our rural areas have the same opportunities as urban areas. Rural broadband is an issue that is of critical importance to many parts of the 3rd District. Not only is it important for students and families but it is a resource that is needed for small business owners and employees, including farmers and ranchers. Farmers and ranchers need access to reliable Internet so they can be engaged with and competitive in the agriculture markets. In addition to access to reliable Internet, another issue that has been brought to my attention is in regards to rural telephone calls not going through. This lack of call completion disproportionately impacts rural areas and is a risk to the safety and well-being of many Americans that live in rural communities. Earlier this year, the House passed a bill that takes the first step in fixing this issue so consumers can expect a higher quality level of call quality and reliability.
I also met with individuals who were here on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association. Many families have been personally impacted by loved ones who have Alzheimer’s and who know how devastating it is. I have, and will continue to be, a staunch supporter of National Institute of Health (NIH) funding. With ground-breaking research facilities on the east, west, and central parts of Missouri – NIH dollars are spread extra far in our great state and can lead to tremendous breakthroughs in curing diseases.
The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association came by to update me about what they are working on in the state. A common theme in many meetings is rolling back regulations that have stemmed from the actions of Washington bureaucrats. I greatly appreciate the hard-work these men and women put in each day and I want to thank them for taking the time to come to Washington to share their stories. Regulatory relief is critical and I’m pleased that the new administration is already working with Congress to get the bureaucracy under control.
In regards to my work on the House Financial Services Committee, the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, which I chair, held its second hearing of the 115th Congress and the topic was focused on the state of bank lending in America. My colleagues and I examined the state of our economy that we are in today and what we can do to get Washington out of the way so that entrepreneurs, small business employees, consumers, and our local communities have the opportunity to grow and prosper. This was another productive week in D.C. Make sure to check out my Facebook and Instagram pages to see a picture of me with one of the main stars from the television sitcom Cheers! We had a great discussion about bringing manufacturing back to our country. Plus, as a preview for next week’s bulletin: I am going to veer off to a different topic and discuss the background of the U.S. relationship with Japan and the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which is part of the story. Have a great week.Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement after the Trump Administration announced the executive order to roll back the Obama’s Administration energy regulations.
“Today, President Trump followed through on another campaign promise – he is ushering in a new era for the American energy industry,” Luetkemeyer said. “Over the last several years, I have heard from countless Missourians who are worried about their rising electricity bills. Today starts the process of making energy more affordable but it also means our economy will create more good paying jobs and will become more energy independent by eliminating harmful executive orders and regulations. Above all, this move will ensure that our energy policy benefits Americans families and workers.”Read More
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following release upon conclusion of the Financial Institution and Consumer Credit Subcommittee hearing entitled “The State of Bank Lending in America.”
“Recently, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen painted a rosy picture of economic recovery and widespread credit availability across America,” Luetkemeyer said. “Her picture doesn’t reflect the reality for millions of American consumers and small businesses. She failed to mention that, while some small businesses and consumers are optimistic about the future, they are still sitting on the credit sidelines. The purpose of today’s hearing was to scratch beneath the surface to examine what is really happening to our economy and how it’s impacting American consumers and small businesses as a result of consumers losing access to the financial services they need. We learned today that the driving factors behind this and the slow growth of small businesses are, in many cases, federal regulations that are the legacy of Dodd-Frank and the Obama Administration. Today’s hearing is the first of many to come. We must continue to examine the impact that federal regulations have on Main Street and steps we can take to help spur small business growth and economic freedom for American consumers.”Read More
2440 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
As the Congressman from the 3rd Congressional District of Missouri, Blaine is committed to representing the interests of the hard-working people by being a strong voice for them in Washington, D.C.
Blaine, 61, represents the 13 counties that make up the 3rd Congressional District of Missouri. Blaine, a native of St. Elizabeth, Mo., has lived in the district with his family for four generations and he operates a 160-acre farm there.
Along with his strong agriculture background, he was also a small businessman, having been in the banking and insurance business. Blaine has also served as a bank regulator for the state of Missouri earlier in his career. He was elected in November, 2008, succeeding fellow Republican Kenny Hulshof.
From 1999 to 2005, Blaine was a Missouri State Representative and served as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee and was elected by his colleagues to serve as the House Republican Caucus Chairman. After leaving office, Blaine was appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt to serve as the Director of the Missouri Division of Tourism.
Building on his experience as a bank examiner, small businessman and community banker, Blaine serves as vice chairman of the House Small Business Committee where he also serves on the House Small Business Subcommittees on Health and Technology and Agriculture, Energy and Trade. Blaine also serves on the House Financial Services Committee where he also serves on the panel’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Committee and is vice chairman of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee.
Blaine is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Eldon Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Rifle Association and a lifelong member of St. Lawrence Catholic Church. Blaine is a graduate of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., where he earned a degree with distinction in political science and a minor in business administration.
Blaine and his wife, Jackie, have three children, Trevor, Brandy and Nikki, and four grandchildren.