When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and it became apparent that our country was about to face a seriously difficult economic time, Congress acted quickly to establish a safety net for American small businesses who were projected to take an enormous hit. Many Missourians were asked to work remotely, schools closed, and the news was telling us that in order to slow the spread of the virus, most of us needed to stay home. Seeing that this could be devastating for families and businesses in our state and across the country, Congress passed the CARES Act which, among other things, established the Paycheck Protection Program.
In the months since its passage, we’ve seen the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) help tens of millions of Americans. Nationwide, this program is supporting more than 80% of small business employees and over 51 million jobs. And while the media has only focused on the miniscule number of loans that went to larger businesses, that money was returned and the average loan size for the program is $100,000, meaning the money is going to the small businesses who were meant to receive it. Here in Missouri, over $9.1 billion in loans has been given to our state’s businesses helping them keep their doors open and employees on payroll. Our favorite local businesses are once again open allowing us to do the things we may have taken for granted prior to coronavirus like getting a haircut, going to our neighborhood restaurant for dinner with our families or going for coffee with a friend.
Missouri’s small businesses are the heart and soul of this state and a major source of jobs for Missourians. Thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program and the help of local lenders across Missouri who worked around the clock to help our businesses get these loans as quickly as possible, many of these business owners have been able to weather this economic interruption and are getting back on their feet and paychecks to their employees. And fortunately, the Paycheck Protection Program application deadline was just extended to allow even more businesses to get the help they need. Our nation’s economy is healing even faster than projected with job availability exceeding expectations allowing America to get back to work. While it will not happen overnight, Missourians are working together to get our economy back to where it was by supporting local businesses and each other in the process.Read More
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The Declaration of Independence said it best: in this country, we are all created equal and have the right to freedoms that are exclusively American. That document laid the foundation for what quickly became the envy of every freedom-loving nation on earth, and each year on July 4th, Americans come together to celebrate the liberties afforded to us as citizens of this country.
Independence Day is also the perfect opportunity to thank those who have made it possible for us to live in freedom: our troops and veterans. When John Hancock and the rest of our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration, they knew the nation they were creating would come at an incredible cost of human life. It is estimated that as many as 70,000 Americans were killed in combat, by disease, and as prisoners of war during the Revolution. Those American heroes, and every soldier since, put their lives on the line not only to protect their fellow Americans, but also to ensure a future with endless opportunity for generations to come. Our defenders of freedom include the law enforcement officers who protect us here at home, keeping our neighborhoods and communities safe. We are extremely fortunate to have these brave men and women stationed from around the world to just down the street looking after us, and this holiday is the perfect occasion to let them know we appreciate their sacrifice.
One of the most fundamental rights our Founding Fathers fought for was the ability to freely express ourselves and challenge the system. It has been part of the American way ever since. The freedom of self-expression is alive and well, but there’s a clear difference between free speech and violent rioting. Instead of destroying monuments dedicated to our founders and resorting to crime, we should utilize the freedoms they gave us to voice our opinions and engage in public policy. 244 years ago, Americans had to die so we could live with those rights and that’s what Independence Day is all about.
After months of staying home, most Fourth of July celebrations in the Third District will continue as planned, giving us an opportunity to catch up with family, friends and neighbors we haven’t seen for a while. Whether it's Fulton’s annual Independence Day Parade, Eldon’s Firecracker 5k Race, the fireworks displays taking place throughout Missouri, or next to your grill in the backyard, the Third District is a great place to celebrate our nation’s independence with loved ones. On behalf of my family, I wish you all a safe and happy Fourth of July!
CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter and Instagram.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today in a hearing entitled “The Administration’s Efforts to Procure, Stockpile, and Distribute Critical Supplies” in the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) asked Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about states reporting inflated COVID-19 fatality numbers, which Admiral Giroir confirmed. Their exchange can be found below.
Click HERE to watch.
Rep. Luetkemeyer: “There are reports -- and I have been talking to medical professionals -- that there’s been misreporting of deaths for people who may have been involved in for instance, an auto accident but had COVID in their system, and that death’s then being reported as a COVID death because there apparently is perverse incentive to do that. The hospitals get paid more for a COVID death than they do for an auto accident.”
Adm. Giroir: “The CDC that gathers the statistics is completely dependent on the reports of the local coroners... Yes, there appear to be some misincentives to over-code.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court case, Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in which the Court ruled today that the current director’s position is unconstitutional and should be removeable at the will of the president.
“Today the Supreme Court confirmed what many of us have been saying for years: the unchecked power of the CFPB director is unconstitutional. While the ruling is a step in the right direction, it does not change the fact that consumer protection regulation is controlled by a sole director, giving one person an enormous amount of power over the American economy. It also subjects the Bureau to partisan policy shifts with each new Administration. My bill, the Consumer Financial Protection Commission Act would put a bipartisan commission in place to ensure consumer protection rules and regulations will not change with the political tide. It gives our economy the certainty we need to continue creating jobs and grants consumers protections they can count on. Now is the time for us to work together and pass this bill.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today in a hearing entitled “Accountability in Crisis: GAO’s Recommendations to Improve the Federal Coronavirus Response” in the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) delivered the following remarks to the committee and witnesses.
Click HERE to watch.
“The media is only telling you that the cases are increasing. What it doesn’t tell you is that deaths continue to go down, and hospitalizations continue to go down, [and] most hospitals still have the capacity to take care of that.”Read More
How often do you wake up to a strange noise in the middle of the night? Maybe it’s the air conditioning kicking on, one of the kids going to the bathroom, or one of the countless sounds that old houses, like mine, make every day. For most of us, this is common. Usually calmness prevails and we realize before picking up the phone and dialing 9-1-1 it is nothing to worry about. But what if the sound that wakes you is that of broken glass?
When Missourians answer the call to become law enforcement officers, they commit to a life where their own personal safety comes second to everyone around them. They put their lives on the line every single day and run directly into harm’s way when the rest of us are trying to get out of it. Just last week, we saw a Missouri state trooper pulling someone out of a burning car, risking his own life to save the driver who was trapped. Flames – just like bullets, bats, and any other weapons – are not deterrents for officers but rather an indication that they’re needed most, and they are there for us at those desperate times. While headlines and news coverage focus only on the bad, it is important to remember that 99.9% of law enforcement officers serve with dignity and the utmost respect for the citizens they’re charged with protecting.
Regardless of the profession, no group is exempt from bad actors; even one angel turned into the devil. Law enforcement also faces that reality, and we saw the worst of it through the video of George Floyd’s death. That video showed us that there are policing policies that must be improved. Unfortunately, instead of striving toward those improvements, there have been numerous efforts and calls to defund law enforcement. That is the absolute worst solution possible. Police departments and sheriff’s offices are already largely underfunded. That lack of funding reduces the availability of enhanced training and often leaves officers in dangerous situations without a partner or backup in sight. Our neighborhoods are exponentially less safe without a steady, dependable police presence. We only need to look at Seattle’s so-called “CHOP zone,” where three people were recently shot, to see the chaos and danger created by lawlessness and mob rule.
On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi called a vote in the House on a bill she titled, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Instead of focusing on efforts to improve community engagement and create safer police practices, this bill was designed to diminish and punish law enforcement across the country. It diverts badly needed resources away from police departments and limits law enforcement’s ability to access safety equipment, that they cannot otherwise afford to buy, from military surpluses. I could not support that bill because diminishing our police departments threatens the safety of all of us and puts dedicated, selfless officers at even greater risk. We lost 89 law enforcement officers in the line of duty in 2019. Even the smallest amount of additional risk is absolutely unacceptable.
Recognizing that improvements can and should be made to our justice system, my republican colleagues and I have worked with the White House to develop the JUSTICE Act. This bill is designed to make positive changes to the law enforcement system and a difference in communities across the nation. These reforms would allow for more training, transparency, and accountability, and will enable officers and the communities they serve to better work together moving forward. Instead of attacking law enforcement, we have worked with them to establish achievable goals that will actually increase safety and improve police/community relations. The JUSTICE Act is supported by a multitude of law enforcement organizations like the Major County Sheriffs of America, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
We’re dealing with a very sensitive and complex situation that literally has life and death implications. Tempers have flared, accusations are flying, and the talking heads are having a hay day. What’s lost in the noise is the critical role law enforcement officers play in our lives every day. I’ve never met an officer who took the job for notoriety or fame. They and their families represent the bravest among us, and they deserve our deepest gratitude.Read More
After months of restrictions, Missouri is finally open for business once again. The last few months have brought nationwide unemployment to Great Depression-era levels which has obviously hurt our economy, but more importantly has endangered American lives. Studies consistently show that unemployment directly leads to things like mental health issues, suicide, substance abuse, domestic abuse, and violent crimes. On top of that, the blanket shutdowns of hospitals and other medical facilities has led to tens of thousands of patients missing cancer treatments and other critical procedures. In many parts of the country, including much of Missouri, unemployment has been just as big of a threat, if not bigger, to society than the coronavirus itself.
While the virus remains a concern, Missouri has exceeded recovery expectations by ramping up testing capabilities, PPE supplies and hospital readiness, and we are now prepared to responsibly resume normal life. Early in the reopening, things are already looking up for the economy. Missouri’s Department of Labor said this week that our state’s unemployment has declined from over 100,000 claims in March to just 20,000 in the first week of June. These numbers are extremely encouraging and show that Missourians are ready and willing to get back to work to support their families and pay the bills. It also shows that we continue to support local businesses and do our best help the rest of our community get back on its feet. Many of us have spent the last couple months at home missing things we might have taken for granted before like going out for an ice cream cone, getting a haircut or going to dinner with our families. We are now able to do these things again, and I know the businesses in our community are looking forward to having our support.
Even with our support, reopening doesn’t immediately eliminate the need for assistance. A three-month shutdown has lasting effects. Fortunately, the Governor’s state of emergency declaration will continue until December 30th to allow Missouri to continue using emergency funding from the Congress-passed CARES Act. This will give businesses in our state that have taken a huge hit the time and flexibility they need to recover. The Governor’s recovery plan also includes testing resources for Missourians and businesses that want to continue testing employees or put safeguards in place to protect customers. These and more helpful reopening resources, including up-to-date CDC guidelines can be found at showmestrong.mo.gov/testing-resources.
As we’re excited to get back to normal, it is important to remember that some people will be more comfortable doing this than others. And some people in our community need to continue practicing extreme caution. We can protect those who are at-risk without having our entire state shut down and threatening the rest of the population. Missourians have the right to make their own decisions, and Governor Parson is absolutely right to reopen our state. Let’s continue to take care of each other and work together to rebuild what just six months ago was the strongest economy in our history.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today in a briefing entitled “The Unemployment Pandemic: Addressing America’s Jobs Crisis” in the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) delivered the following remarks to the committee and witnesses.
Click HERE to watch.
“[S]tudies… have found that for every $17 million Americans lose in collective income, we lose an American life. That translates to 65,000 American lives lost each month due to the economic shutdown. Roughly, that’s 50% more lives lost than due to the coronavirus. It’s important we look at the whole health care picture and how many Americans have also been impacted by the forced shutdown of businesses across the country.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) released the following statement in response to letters sent by Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis Democrats scrutinizing the Paycheck Protection Program.
“When America’s small businesses needed emergency funding to survive the massive economic interruption caused by COVID-19, Congress – including all seven Democrats on the Select Committee – came together to pass the CARES Act, which developed the Paycheck Protection Program, to get businesses relief as quickly as possible. Our nation’s financial institutions, both large and small, have done an outstanding job over the past few months getting over $500 billion in loans out the door for small businesses who would have otherwise been forced to close, leaving employees and their families with no source of income.
“Now, Select Committee Democrats are feigning concern over the loan process they themselves helped design and urged banks and businesses to use. Their demand for the personal and financial information of millions of Americans is another attempt to shame small business owners and financial institutions and attack the Administration.
“There is still money in the PPP for struggling American businesses, and there are certainly still small businesses in need of help. Unfortunately, this latest effort to demonize users of the program only discourages business owners from accessing the assistance their employees so badly need.”Read More
Immediately following Memorial Day festivities at Lake of the Ozarks, we saw daunting national headlines like “Crowds pack venues in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, ignoring social distancing” and “Americans defy Covid-19 social distancing rules to celebrate Memorial Day holiday.” After reading these headlines, one would think this weekend of lake-goers visiting their favorite establishments and businesses that responsibly opened up in an effort to stay afloat was going to lead to the end of the world. But here we are, nearly three weeks later and the southern part of the Third District hasn’t seen anything close to the spike in COVID-19 cases the national media was predicting. Instead, Memorial Day weekend can now be seen as an example of people’s willingness to safely get back to work, support their favorite local businesses, and find a sense of normalcy after the last couple of months.
Many parts of the country have begun reopening, and we’re seeing positive results. Last week, the United States Labor Department released the jobs numbers for May. While unemployment numbers were, unfortunately, expected to rise surpassing those of the Great Depression, they surprised economists and government officials alike by dropping, showing our economy is healing faster than anybody had realized. Our economy gained 2.5 million new jobs in May, the most historic rise in employment since the Department of Labor started keeping track of this data. While that was only a fraction of what was lost due coronavirus shutdown, this is outstanding news for American workers, businesses and families. It also shows how eager we are to get back to work and back out in our community.
For the last two weeks I’ve talked about the non-COVID related risks facing our country. Studies have shown that unemployment can lead directly to a multitude of health risks. Suicide, mental health issues, domestic violence and substance abuse have all been proven to increase during economic downturns. People have also been forced to forgo heart surgeries and cancer treatments because even hospital services were partially shut down due to the virus. Hospitals across the country are reporting that they have more than enough capacity for COVID patients and others who are in need. It’s time that we let people get back to making a living and allowing those who need medical care to get it.
Next week, Phase 1 coronavirus restrictions are set to expire. Because Missouri is surpassing expectations in its recovery, workers and businesses should receive more flexibility and greater ability to provide for their families. Phase 1 included restricted openings for businesses, more testing and more PPE equipment, and as people have started to cautiously get back to normal life, we are learning to live with the virus. Of course, there are parts of this country that are more susceptible to spreading the virus. They, just like all of us, need to exercise caution and look after our at-risk population, but we cannot allow blanket shutdowns when the health risks associated with unemployment are in many cases, just as life-threatening as the virus.
While opening the economy is absolutely critical, it will not eliminate the health risk for those who are vulnerable or susceptible to getting coronavirus. Information on how to keep yourself healthy and keep from getting others sick can be found at health.mo.gov and CDC.gov/coronavirus or by calling Missouri’s 24-hour coronavirus hotline at 877-435-8411. As we reopen, we should remain vigilant and conscious of the fact that the threat of the virus still exists and is frightening for some. That said, we can continue to take care of the at-risk population without threatening Missouri’s society as a whole and get back to normal life. It’s time we start doing it.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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Whether it's Fulton’s annual Independence Day Parade, Eldon’s Firecracker 5k Race, the fireworks displays happening… https://t.co/t5stY2SEwN
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The Declaration of Independence laid the foundation for what became the envy of every freedom-loving nation on eart… https://t.co/LWwMxCB4aM