This week, the American Farm Bureau celebrated its 100th birthday. For a century, this organization has carried out a mission of ensuring farmers and ranchers around the country have a voice both in their home states and on a national level. This week is an opportunity to recognize farmers here in Missouri and across the country for the important work they do. Farming is a little bit of an “under the radar” industry in the sense that it is not always front-page news. But this doesn’t detract from the fact that the agriculture industry is a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure and economy. We rely on agriculture to fulfill a variety of needs from food, to energy, to economic and national security.
Agriculture is part of our lifeblood here in Missouri. With two-thirds of our state covered in farm land and almost 100,000 farms, our state’s longstanding agricultural tradition is alive and well. Like countless Missourians, I helped pay my way through college raising hogs and cattle, and my wife and I still operate a 160-acre farm in St. Elizabeth. Missouri ranks number two in the country in number of farms, third for cattle, and fourth for rice. Our $88 billion agriculture industry makes us a critical producer not just for the nation, but for the entire world. Due to our significant impact on agriculture, the USDA just opened two permanent offices in Missouri, calling us the “hub for agriculture in America’s heartland.”
The USMCA was signed by both Canadian and Mexican leaders and President Trump almost a year ago. This trade deal is extremely important for farmers and ranchers as it would give our ag producers better access to our most important trade partners. In an industry where uncertainty is the only thing certain, the USMCA will help ensure some security for our nation’s farmers. Here in Missouri, we know firsthand that unpredictable weather conditions can potentially decimate our crops. We saw catastrophic flooding earlier this year that had devastating effects on our farm and ranching industry. The USMCA will provide a safety net for these American farmers and ranchers, many of whom have spent their lives providing for their country. By maintaining America’s status as the world’s agriculture leader, we are also holding potential opponents at bay, ensuring strong national security. With the trade deal finalized, Republicans in Congress are more than ready to pass it.The United Nations is projecting a major increase in population in the next 30 years which could cause the need for food to increase by up to 95%. It is more important than ever to protect the nearly 400,000 Missourians employed by our state’s agriculture industry. I’m a proud member of the Missouri Farm Bureau – the oldest Farm Bureau in the country. I’m also honored to be the recipient of their 2019 “Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award.” As a farmer myself, I am so appreciative of this often challenging, but extremely rewarding industry. American farmers and ranchers are, and continue to be, an integral part of our national identity, and I will continue to be a strong voice for the agriculture industry here in Congress. Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) introduced legislation that would better aid the recovery of endangered species in our country and put an end to the misuse of the endangered species list. The Endangered Species Accountability Reform Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to reevaluate and display a need for a species to remain on the endangered species list every five years after its initial listing.
“We have long seen gross misuse of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). While it is easy to have a species added to the endangered or threatened species list, once it has recovered, it is nearly impossible to delist,” said Congressman Luetkemeyer. “There is very little accountability for listing a species within the current process. By removing recovered species, this bill ensures newly threatened or endangered species can receive the recovery aid necessary.”Read More
Every November, Veterans Day is an opportunity for the entire country to honor the brave Americans who have so selflessly put themselves in harm’s way for the greater good of our nation, and remember those who gave their lives for all of us. Missouri is home to over 438,000 veterans who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries across the globe. We can never fully repay these men and women for the sacrifices they have made, but it is incredibly important to show them our gratitude whenever possible.
While I am fortunate enough work in our nation’s capital many weeks out of the year, some of our bravest and most selfless veterans have never had the opportunity to visit. Fortunately, the Honor Flight Network has done great work to change that. This non-profit organization transports veterans to Washington, D.C. so they’re able to visit the memorials that have been built to honor their service to our nation. Veterans are able to explore the memorials and pay tribute to a comrade, friend, or brother whose name is carved into the wall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and did not make it home. They can experience the lifelike tribute to our fallen soldiers at the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and they can find the column honoring Missouri veterans at the beautiful World War II Memorial. I’m looking forward to welcoming the 61st Central Missouri Honor Flight next week. It is extremely humbling to meet the Missourians who come to Washington, D.C., and I always feel fortunate to play a small part in thanking them for their service.
“Valentines for Veterans” is an annual initiative in my office where we ask constituents to create valentines for our veterans. These are notes of thanks are important reminders to our service men and women that we are thinking of them. I was extremely thankful last year that people throughout our district sent over 12,000 valentines to my office, brightening the day of these brave men and women who spent their lives serving our nation. These small gestures of gratitude go a long way with our veterans, and I am looking forward to another successful “Valentines for Veterans” event this coming year.Missouri is also home to several “Purple Heart Counties.” These are designated by the Military Order of the Purple Heart in acknowledgement of a county that places a great deal of importance on serving and honoring veterans who have been wounded in combat. This initiative provides an opportunity for these decorated heroes to come together to discuss legislative initiatives, serve other veterans and their families, and share a sense of community among peers with whom they can relate. Our state is also home to two “Purple Heart Trails” – two highways that are part of a national network of roadways and monuments designed to pay tribute to Purple Heart Veterans. The Purple Heart Trails are one more reminder to honor and thank those right here in Missouri who have received this sacred military decoration.
Veterans Day is a great occasion to thank a veteran for their service, but it is important to remember the spirit of Veterans Day all year long. There is never a bad time to let an American hero know we appreciate what they’ve sacrificed for our families and this country. Whether you stop to honor soldiers in the airport who are coming home from deployment, volunteer to make care packages for troops abroad, or simply shake a hand and thank a veteran -- no gesture of gratitude is too small. These heroes have risked their lives for our freedom, and we are grateful each and every day.Read More
More than five weeks ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi unilaterally announced the beginning of House Democrats’ so-called “impeachment investigation.” Since then, numerous hearings have been held with dozens of witnesses being interviewed. Yet the American people and vast majority of Representatives have been left in the dark. Because public hearings in the Judiciary Committee continually disprove the Left’s narrative, Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff decided to hold secret hearings at the Intelligence Committee where they can withhold the truth from the public.
As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, I sit on one of the six Committees of jurisdiction in this investigation. In that capacity, I went to the House Intelligence Committee in an effort to read the transcripts of interviews and depositions that have been conducted as part of this inquiry. Despite the fact that these documents should be available, I was denied access – turned away by Democrat staff who refuse to unlock the door for Republicans. I later wrote letters to the heads of each House committee, invoking my right as a Member of Congress to view the documents. That too was ignored. The few Republicans who have been given access can only do so under the supervision of unelected, Democrat-appointed staff. By covering this investigation in red tape, Democrats are giving themselves the ability to control the flow of information to Representatives and our constituents and have done so through carefully selected leaks through the media.
This investigation continually violates the law and Constitution by refusing the President due process, and ignores the precedent set during the previous three impeachment proceedings in our history by refusing all rights of the minority party in the House. All Congressional investigations are required by law to grant due process. Yet Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff are openly denying this right to the President, just as they are denying the American people and their Representatives access to non-classified documents. There is absolutely no way around the fact that this tainted investigation is unconstitutional, and it should not be allowed to continue in this manner.
Up until this week, Nancy Pelosi has refused to hold a vote on impeachment for fear of political backlash. Finally, over a month after this sham of an investigation began, Democrats offered a half-hearted impeachment resolution. While this initially seemed like progress, the contents of the resolution prove otherwise. It gives Adam Schiff – a man who has mislead the American people on multiple occasions – even more authority in this investigation. It continues to deny the President due process and gives Republicans no rights in the proceedings. To make matters worse, before this resolution, 110 Representatives were allowed to participate in this investigation. Now, only 22. I was proud to vote “no” on this ridiculously partisan resolution yesterday.
Democrats are relentlessly pursuing the impeachment of a President they have been trying to undermine since his first day in office. Yesterday’s vote and the entire investigation are nothing more than political stunts from the far Left who are still aching from the 2016 election. Impeachment has become an all-consuming obsession for Democrats and has rendered them completely unable to do the job we were all elected to do. I stand ready to get to work for Missouri and the American people. It’s past time for the House to get back down to business, do what our constituents sent us here to do, and legislate.Read More
Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) released the following statement regarding a resolution from House Democrats that would allow their unconstitutional impeachment investigation to continue:
“The vote held today by House Democrats confirmed that they will continue their investigation totally behind closed doors and give Adam Schiff complete control over subpoenas and questioning of witnesses. It continues to violate the law and Constitution by refusing the President due process and ignores the precedent set during the previous three impeachment proceedings in our history by refusing all rights of the minority party in the House.
“Instead of open, public hearings in the Judiciary Committee where impeachment proceedings belong, Chairman Schiff continues to operate in the shadows of the House Intelligence Committee, behind closed doors where they can keep all information from the American people. Even as a member of one of the Committees of jurisdiction, I have been repeatedly denied access to the transcripts and testimonies of the secret hearings. This investigation is an absolute sham and completely unconstitutional.”
Today, Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee defeated an amendment that would force the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to appear in front of the Committee to discuss the nation’s accounting standards. Despite repeated calls by Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) and a bipartisan group of Committee members for increased transparency and accountability at FASB, the Committee has taken no action in the 116th Congress.
“Less than 2 weeks ago, multiple witnesses at a Subcommittee hearing with Minority Depository Institutions discussed the harmful effects FASB’s CECL accounting standard will have on low-to-moderate income consumers, particularly in minority communities” said Luetkemeyer. “Unfortunately, yet again Chairwoman Waters has blocked any attempt to address this potentially disastrous standard.”
Background: Earlier this month, Congressman Luetkemeyer led a bipartisan letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging FSOC to require OFR to conduct a study on the CECL accounting standard. Last month, he also introduced the Responsible Accounting Standards Act, legislation that would increase accountability at FASB by requiring it to follow the Administrative Procedure Act. Luetkemeyer also joined a bipartisan group of colleagues earlier this year on legislation that would stop and study the potential impacts of CECL.Read More
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The First Amendment is a critical piece of our country’s framework and one of our defining qualities as a nation. There is a reason our forefathers chose to make this the first amendment to the Constitution. After living under an oppressive system that maintained its power by controlling what the people see, read, say, and even how they pray, the Founders knew the freedom of thought and expression was fundamental to a “government of the people, for the people.”
In today’s world full of safe spaces, trigger words, and faux offense taken to nearly every word uttered in public, some people, including some of my colleagues, have seemingly begun to find the First Amendment more of an imposition than a Constitutional necessity. Apparently, some believe a person is only free to speak his or her mind as long as that person is agreeing with their beliefs.
This week, House Democrats forced through the House a bill called the SHIELD Act. While they touted their bill as an effort to enhance election security, the only thing the bill would actually accomplish is giving the government control over free speech and the media. The SHIELD Act would actually give the Federal government the authority to determine what qualifies as legitimate news and censor the content viewed by the public. It is a scary thought – having our news cycle controlled by a government agency.
This bill would also give the Federal Election Commission (FEC) even more authority to monitor citizens’ political speech on the internet. It even allows the FEC to decide what qualifies as “political” speech in an effort to limit and control it. An agency charged with guaranteeing free and open elections has no business monitoring and deciding what we choose to read and watch. Again, these restraints are alarmingly rigid and do not reflect our American values.
For a bill about election security, there are also some major elements missing. This Soviet-style takeover of our media, ironically contains no provisions to prevent Russians from tampering with our elections. In fact, when Republicans tried to attach an amendment offered by Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois that strengthens our ability target foreign actors that meddle in our elections, only three democrats voted in favor.
Fortunately, this bill has no chance of passing the Senate and the White House has already publicly stated it would be vetoed if it made it to the President’s desk. However, its passage in the House illustrates just how far Democrats are willing to go to control public opinion. Their war on President Trump is already preventing us from meaningful achievements like the passage of the USMCA, and now it is threatening the fundamental rights of all Americans. I was proud to vote “no” on this bill and will continue to be a strong defender of the First Amendment.Read More
Today, in the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions hearing, Ranking Member Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) delivered the following opening statement at a hearing entitled “An Examination of the Decline of Minority Depository Institutions and the Impact on Underserved Communities.” In the hearing, Congressman Luetkemeyer highlighted the risk of the Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) accounting standard to minority communities, and called on Chairwoman Maxine Waters and the full Committee to take action.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), like all financial institutions have struggled under the weight of the regulatory burden of Dodd-Frank. According to a Harvard University Study, Dodd-Frank has “created an uneven regulatory playing field.” This playing field resulted in an additional legal and compliance costs for small institutions, preventing them from serving their customers, particularly the businesses and consumers within their community.
MDI’s play a unique role in serving their community. According to the FDIC and the Fed, MDIs serve consumers in low- to-moderate income communities at higher rates than non-MDIs. This committee should be focused on alleviating the burden on these institutions so they can serve their community, specifically minority and LMI communities.
One such burden that will have a devastating effect on small depository institutions and particularly Minority Depository Institutions is the proposed CECL accounting standard. Now as many on this panel know, I could spend the length of this hearing discussing the pitfalls of this ill-conceived proposal. Instead I will simply read an excerpt from a letter to this Committee regarding CECL from the National Bankers Association, which identifies itself as the voice of minority banking in the United States.
“To the extent that CECL increases the costs of lending to borrowers that are perceived by regulators as being ‘riskier’ or of lower credit quality – such as low- and moderate-income consumers and small businesses located in low and moderate-income communities – the economics of our lending decisions could be altered dramatically. This would further restrict access to credit for consumers and businesses that already experience limited credit options.”
In addition, I would like to read a statement from Center for Responsible Lending President Mike Calhoun on CECL in which he said, “As proposed, CECL creates a significant disincentive for lenders to originate loans to low- and moderate-income families and communities of color.”
I would like to ask unanimous consent that the full statements from both of these organizations be entered into the record.
The statements I just read are not unique. The truth is numerous consumer and industry groups have voiced concerns over CECL. Despite the warning signs these groups have raised, this Committee has not taken any formal action to better understand the affects CECL will have on low to moderate income consumers and minorities. No full Committee hearings, no Subcommittee hearings, no markups, nothing.
This inaction flies in the face of LMI borrowers and minority communities across the country who will be adversely impacted by this accounting standard. For all of the rhetoric from the other side of the aisle about how consumers and minorities can struggle in the financial services industry, the Democratic Leadership on this Committee remains woefully silent on an issue that has a direct impact on Minority Depository Institutions and the consumers they serve.
I specifically mentioned that the Democratic Leadership of this Committee has been inactive, because CECL is a bipartisan issue that has support from members on both sides of the aisle. Fifty-two bipartisan Members signed onto a bill to delay the implementation of CECL until a study is completed that examines access to credit for consumers.In addition, roughly thirty members of this Committee just last week signed onto a bipartisan letter I sent to FSOC urging the Office of Financial Research to study the impacts of CECL. Despite this bipartisan support, the Chairwoman of this Committee has done nothing to address an issue that could devastate low to moderate income lending and lending to minority communities.
In front of this Committee today are witnesses representing three separate organizations that have voiced serious concern over the effects CECL could have on their member institutions as well as the consumers they serve. And yet, this Committee has shown no interest in bringing this issue up, and in fact seems completely content to let CECL go into place despite the warning signs related to minority and low-income borrowers.
This Committee is tasked with ensuring a healthy financial services industry and promoting economic freedom for everyday Americans. That responsibility includes ensuring financial institutions are not driven out of the marketplace by onerous requirements and protecting the ability of consumers to gain access to credit.
With that said, I urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to call for a Committee hearing on CECL. And better yet, have FASB come before this Committee and defend this standard.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On October 18, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to require the Office of Financial Research (OFR) to conduct a study on the Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) accounting standard.
“FSOC was established to protect the financial system of the United States and OFR conducts the essential analyses and research necessary for FSOC to accomplish its statutory goal. Numerous industries and organizations have voiced concern over the impact CECL will have, not only on businesses, but on the individuals and families they serve,” the members said in the letter. “These wide-ranging effects have certainly reached a point where more information is needed to understand any potential negative impact CECL could have.”
The full text of the letter can be read here.Read More
Unfortunately, most of us have a loved one or friend who’s been affected by breast cancer. Every year, hundreds of thousands of women in the U.S. are diagnosed with this terrible disease. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, by the end of 2019, there will have been an estimated 268,600 people diagnosed in this year alone. Statistics say one in eight women will get breast cancer in their lives and in Missouri, breast cancer is the third most diagnosed type of cancer. With a threat this large, we must be very aggressive in spreading awareness about ways to prevent and defeat breast cancer.
Since 1985, October has been recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an international, annual campaign to spread awareness and emphasize the importance of early detection. This month is the perfect time for Americans to reflect on the importance of early detection and screening. Statistics show that more than 90% of women will survive breast cancer that has been detected in the early stages. For women with an average risk of breast cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends women aged 45 to 54 get mammograms every year, with the option to start screening every year beginning at age 40. That is why I continue to push for legislation in support mobile mammography units, often called “mammovans.”
This important legislation would reduce the operating costs of mammovans and allow them to purchase fuel without the federal excise tax. This is particularly important for rural parts of Missouri where long driving distances can be cost prohibitive. Mammovans are able to travel to rural and underserved communities to provide mammograms and other helpful services to women who may not have otherwise had access to this potentially life-saving exam. From St. Charles to St. Elizabeth, Rosebud to Elsberry women around Missouri’s Third District deserve to be able to access these life-saving services, and this bill can help us accomplish that.
Every thirteen minutes, a woman dies of breast cancer. Mammograms are our best chance at early detection and drastically reducing those numbers. Today, on National Mammography Day please take this opportunity to remind your loved ones of the importance of early detection services – it could save their lives.Read More
2230 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.
Representing the 13 counties that make up the 3rd Congressional District of Missouri, Blaine is a native of St. Elizabeth, Mo. He 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, Blaine was also a small businessman, having been in the banking and insurance business. He has also served as a bank regulator for the state of Missouri earlier in his career.
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, he was appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt to serve as the Director of the Missouri Division of Tourism.
Blaine was first elected to Congress in November 2008, and was re-elected in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016.
In the 115th Congress, Blaine serves as a member of the House Financial Services Committee and as Chairman of Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee. In addition, Blaine serves as vice chairman of the House Small Business Committee.
In the 113th Congress, Blaine was ranked Missouri’s most effective lawmaker. The Legislative Effectiveness Project, run by professors at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, measures how successful a given representative is at getting things done. The average score for any given member in the 113th Congress was 1.0. Blaine received a 2.344.
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. He 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 and six grandchildren.
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