In the early morning hours of June 14 – in the middle of a picturesque American backdrop – a gunman targeted Members of Congress and opened fire on a baseball field in Virginia where they were practicing for their annual charity baseball game.
The shooting in Virginia was the second time in less than a decade that a member of the U.S. House of Representatives was shot. In this case, it was Congressman Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, who remains in critical condition. Congressman Scalise, Members of the House and Senate and their staffers were partaking in America’s pastime and two brave Capitol Police Officers were doing their job when they were attacked. In 2011, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was simply doing her job as well, holding a meet and greet outside of an Arizona supermarket, when she was shot in the head.
It has been nearly 20 years since Majority Whip Tom DeLay came face to face with a gunman in the United States Capitol when the attacker proceeded to enter his office. Like my friend Steve, Tom had Capitol Police Officers nearby who acted with complete disregard for their own safety and bravely protected everyone there. Tragically, Officers Jacob Chestnut and John Michael Gibson were shot and killed that day.
I want to reiterate Speaker Ryan’s statement, an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. In the midst of partisan tension, harsh language and political criticism, the violence we experienced made us stop, slow down, and remember that no matter what side of the aisle we are on or what policies we agree or disagree with, we are all Americans working every day to serve those we call friends and neighbors back home. Like President Trump said, "We may have our differences but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because above all they love our country. We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans."
I also want to express my deep gratitude for the heroic actions of the Capitol Police Officers. Had they not been there, the fate of dozens of my colleagues could have been much worse. Once again, the thin blue line held in the face of unspeakable violence.
I ask you to join me in praying for everyone who was involved in the attack to recover quickly and completely. Pray for their families as well who are holding vigil at hospital bedsides. And finally, pray for our nation to heal. As we move forward from this horrific event, we must not forget that what makes America great is that we are all different. We cannot allow those differences to bring anger and violence to our doorstep and threaten our democracy.Read More
Would you leave your home unlocked or your car doors wide open? Probably not. But right now, America’s borders are about as secure as an open fence line with a herd of cattle. That’s why this week I voted to give Customs and Border Protection more resources to secure our border by making it easier for them to hire our brave military veterans and law enforcement officers.
Securing our border is one of mine and President Trump’s top priorities, and this bill is one of many actions I have taken to protect Americans from the dangers of a weak border. Previously, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, I voted for legislation that will provide a strong enforcement strategy and strengthen the security of our country. The Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act, also known as the SAFE Act, grants state and local law enforcement officials the authority to enforce federal immigration laws. It also strengthens national security, protects American communities from dangerous criminal aliens, improves visa security, aids U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in doing their jobs, and strengthens border security.
I have also introduced legislation to defund sanctuary cities. It is completely unacceptable for more than 300 cities and counties in America to prevent the Department of Homeland Security from protecting our citizens and effectively enforcing our immigration laws. We are a nation of law and order, and cities that actively work against the law of the land should face consequences. That’s why I introduced the No Transportation Funds for Sanctuary Cities Act to cut off the spigot of federal funds to cities and counties that fail to work with us to make America safe. The bottom line is that Missourians federal tax dollars should not be going to fund sanctuary cities like San Francisco.
It is the number one responsibility of the federal government to keep American citizens safe. President Trump has already asked the Secretary of Homeland Security to “take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border.” As I work with the Trump Administration to secure our borders, I will continue to fight to make sure keeping you and your family out of harm’s way remains Congress’ top priority.Read More
Small Businesses. They are the driving force behind our economy and there is truly nothing small about them. 97.5% of all businesses in Missouri are “small” and there are nearly 20,000 small businesses in southeast and south central Missouri. Across America, small businesses employ over half of the workforce and create 7 out of every 10 new jobs. I have spent the last week meeting with small business owners and hosting public roundtables all across southeast and south central Missouri – hearing directly from these folks and talking about what can be done to get Washington out of their way.
Over the last eight years, small businesses have been stifled by outrageous taxes and out of control government regulations. I met with one business owner in Cape Girardeau this week who told me about how federal regulations have made it harder for him to do business. He shared that when seeking a bank loan to grow his business, federal regulations made this process more difficult and more expensive, adding to the cost of doing business and slowing down their ability to grow.
Another small business owner from Salem told me that as her small business grew and her bottom line improved, she was taxed at such a high rate, that her business would have been more profitable if she wasn’t as successful. With a system that punishes small businesses for growing, how can we expect this vital part of our economy to thrive and hire?
Hearing directly from people who are struggling to get their businesses off the ground or keep them running really hits home. I want nothing more than to see small business owners in our district succeed, which is why I’m fighting for policies in Congress that will enable their success. Last Congress, I stopped a 2000% tax increase from devastating owners who were buying equipment for their small businesses. This year, I’m rewriting the tax code to reduce the burden for small businesses and am continuing to push for a tax system that is simpler, flatter and fairer.
One of the things I love most about small businesses is how much opportunity they provide, it’s one of the best ways to live the American Dream. At my Small Business Roundtable in Hillsboro, one of the attendees, Tom told me that he started his welding business after he was laid off from another job. Since he started his own welding business, there hasn’t been a day where Tom didn’t have something to work on.
But Tom also told me about the dramatic impact Obamacare has had on his business. When Tom started his welding shop, there was a small business group where you could buy affordable insurance, but that went away with Obamacare. Not having that option added a lot of costs to Tom’s small business. He was extremely grateful to hear that last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation which would allow small businesses to band together to buy insurance plans again! I hope my colleagues in the Senate understand how important this is to folks back home, and will vote to send this legislation to President Trump’s desk.
Spending time with folks back home is the best way for me to see firsthand what these hardworking small business owners are facing. Our conversations this week will allow me to share their stories with my colleagues in Congress and take action to make Missourians lives easier!
Time at the lake or on the river, barbeques and kicking off summer with family and friends – Memorial Day is a time where we celebrate our freedom, but we must stop to remember the cost. It is a day for us to remember those who died fighting for our country and protecting our way of life. Before you set off to enjoy summer, I ask that you pause to remember and honor Memorial Day with me.
I visited the local VFW in Cape Girardeau recently which is named for three Missouri heroes. Lloyd Dale Clippard, Richard Gene Wilson and Robert Lee Taylor, Jr. Clippard was a member of the U.S. Navy and just 19 years old when he became Cape Girardeau’s first WWII casualty. He had been on duty for three short months when he and his fellow sailors were attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. His remains were never recovered and are entombed in the hull of the USS Utah. Wilson was a combat medic for the U.S. Army in the Korean War. He died trying to rescue a wounded soldier at the Battle of Yongju. Taylor was an Army Infantryman in Vietnam. He died in combat in the Dinh Tuong Province, fighting against the threat of Communism, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
This week, I heard stories from Forest O’Neill of Rolla who recalled many of his fellow Marines that were lost in battle against North Korea. It was December of 1950, Forest and his fellow Marines were fighting their way out of the Chosin Reservoir in temperatures that were 20 and 30 degrees below zero. Sadly, not everyone made it out alive, but Forest and his fellow Marines made sure everyone, dead or alive, made it home.
During the Vietnam War, Missouri lost 1,422 brave soldiers. Earl Wayne Ellis, Dennis Edward Isgrig, Charles Wayne Buntion, Warren Paul Seawel, Frederick John Shuh and Larry Lee Thomure along with too many others are honored on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in D.C. If you aren’t able to pay tribute in person, I encourage you to visit VirtualWall.org and learn more about those from Missouri who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Today we fight a new war, the Global War on Terror. This war has presented new challenges but the bravery, heroism and sacrifice of Missourians has remained unchanged. Army Sergeant Robert Gene Davis from Jackson, Missouri gave his life for freedom in Afghanistan. As Davis’ convoy charged forward, an improvised explosive device detonated underneath his Humvee. Army Specialist James R. Burnett, Jr. from Stoddard County was killed in action by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan as well. Staff Sergeant Bradley Joe Skelton of Gordonville volunteered to come out of retirement and go on another tour of duty with the Missouri National Guard. It was during this second tour when he was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.
As we pause to remember those we’ve lost, I am inspired by Korean War Veteran Forest O’Neill who said “Don’t give up. Never quit.” It’s difficult to put my depth of gratitude into words. Thank you feels insufficient compared to what these families have endured. From World War II, The Korean War and Vietnam to the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Missourians have fought bravely and died valiantly. Their families have sacrificed dearly, but as we celebrate our freedoms this weekend, we know their sacrifices are not in vain.
On Saturday, April 29, waters began rising in southeast and south central Missouri. As quickly as the waters rose, first responders and volunteers sprang into action.
Ozark County was in one of the hardest hit areas. Their Emergency Management Director told me they realized how bad it was getting Saturday night around midnight. About this time, the James Bridge over the White River disappeared. With the bridge washed out, the Tecumseh Volunteer Fire Department had to split their territory in half and deploy two teams of firefighters. Even as some of their own homes filled with water, between Saturday night and Sunday morning, the teams conducted ten swift water rescues. When it was time for search and rescue, volunteer fire departments from across Ozark County pitched in to check house by house for people who may be stranded or hurt and help man the emergency operations center.
In Thomasville, one man had to rescue his elderly relatives by boat. Before the rain started, he moved his relatives to a house where he thought they would be safe. After all, the ground floor of the home was six feet higher than the 100-year flood stage. But as the night wore on, water was rising quickly in the home. The man’s family was trapped in the second floor of the house. So, he tried to reach the house by tractor, but the water was too deep. Then he tried to reach the house by road grader, but the water was still too deep. Finally, the man’s nephew arrived with his bass boat and they pulled their family to safety just in the nick of time.
For every story of heroism and selflessness over the past few weeks, there have been a hundred more just like it. Everyone I’ve talked with has told me that the way the water came up was simply unbelievable. What’s more unbelievable is how even with homes destroyed, businesses flooded, farms that lost fence lines, fields that were washed out and livestock scattered everywhere, first responders and volunteers took care of their communities before they took care of themselves. Two firefighters from Ozark County lost their houses, but they were still out on the frontlines of the flood, helping everyone else.
In Reynolds County, Town & Country is the only grocery store. The flood put the store under three feet of water. When local members of the community heard that the Town & Country manager could use help clearing mud off the shelves and emptying the store of water-soaked food, they got right to work. With their help, the store would be up and running again sooner rather than later. Today, I got the good news that their hard work paid off. As of this morning, Town & Country has re-opened!
These are just some of the many stories I’ve heard in the aftermath of flooding I hope we will never see the likes of again in our lifetimes. Whether it was the nurses from the VA hospital in Poplar Bluff who helped out at their local shelter or the students from Malden Beta Club collecting donations for folks down in Doniphan, I am grateful to every Missourian who helped their neighbors. As I’ve said, we are Missouri Strong and we will work together to come back from this disaster even stronger than we were before.
25,800 of our neighbors in southeast and south central Missouri are in danger of losing healthcare coverage through no fault of their own. The individual healthcare exchanges set up in Missouri under President Obama’s signature healthcare law are on the verge of collapse. In 26 of the 30 counties in our Congressional District, there is only one healthcare provider still participating in the Obamacare exchanges and even the New York Times is reporting that the one provider may soon decide to leave. As expected, President Obama’s government run healthcare experiment has failed. Prices are soaring, services are being cut and people are losing coverage.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, the first step in repealing and replacing the mess in the healthcare markets created by President Obama’s signature healthcare law. It will dismantle government run healthcare, repeal the presence of a bureaucrat between you and your doctor and relieve Missourians of taxes on things like ultrasounds, insulin pumps and the individual and employer penalties. In addition, we repealed Obamacare tax provisions which had been used to subsidize abortions, representing the most significant and expansive pro-life policy advanced since the ban on partial birth abortions.
Last year, the Obama Administration told people on the exchanges to expect their premium costs to double in 2017, and they did. There are only two insurance companies participating in the Obamacare exchanges in Connecticut and both have requested to raise premiums as high as 52%. In addition to skyrocketing premiums, people are losing options for healthcare coverage. In Iowa, their last statewide insurer is leaving the marketplace, which means that people in 94 of Iowa’s 99 counties will have zero choices.
In the last few months I hosted half a dozen public healthcare roundtables throughout south central and southeast Missouri where I solicited feedback about what you liked about the current healthcare system in this country and also what you wanted to see changed. Many brought forward various ideas such as allowing small businesses to band together to purchase coverage for their employees or breaking up health insurance company monopolies. In the first several months this year, we have passed policies in the U.S. House of Representatives to accomplish both those things. In addition, folks shared that they wanted to be able to keep children on their parents’ coverage until they were 26 and also wanted to make sure things like pre-existing conditions were still covered for those not getting their health insurance through their employers. The legislation advanced last week accomplishes both those things while stabilizing the overall healthcare market which should lower everyone’s costs. We advanced a solution which repeals President Obama’s failed healthcare experiment, will cut healthcare premiums by double digits and continues coverage for those with preexisting conditions.
The House of Representatives’ vote to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law was the first step to ending unfair penalties on families who are being forced to buy something they don’t want. But more work remains to be done. We will continue in our steps to rip the Obamacare law out by the roots while providing real healthcare solutions for families, including bringing back things I am fighting for like true price transparency. I look forward to the U.S. House and Senate coming together to put an Obamacare repeal on President Trump’s desk for his signature. I look forward to working with Secretary Tom Price at Health & Human Services to remove thousands of pages of Obamacare regulations driving up healthcare prices for everyone and I look forward to continuing to advance legislation which will provide additional relief from skyrocketing out of pocket healthcare costs for American families.
Last week when the weather reports started to come in, we all feared for the worst…and then the worst happened. Heavy rains, flash floods and rivers cresting at record levels devastated homes, farms and small businesses in southeast and south central Missouri.
In the aftermath of the storms, I met with local mayors, police chiefs, fire departments, emergency management directors and first responders to hear about the flooding in their communities. These folks showed me some of the hardest hit areas and we discussed the assistance they needed. We talked about their ongoing disaster response, harrowing swift water rescues, and the work they are doing to get relief to Missouri families.
As I met with people affected by the flooding, I saw downtown main streets and community centers under water and more farms, homes and small businesses destroyed than I can count, but I also saw hope. With each and every conversation, I heard countless stories of Missourians working together to help their communities recover from this incredible storm.
When I got to West Plains, they were still reeling from a massive flash flood that roared through their town, destroying dozens of homes and businesses. They had a record 14.5 inches of rain in under 36 hours that led to emergency crews rescuing nearly 100 people. But the next day, West Plains residents put on their boots and gloves, and got to work. Even with school cancelled, a huge group of high school students came out to show their pride and clean up the damage to their school and football field. I was proud to see the next generation rising up and caring for their town.
In Van Buren, the Current River was more than eight feet over its previous record high. It was devastating to see more than half of the town under water. Over 100 homes and 30 businesses were destroyed, but the spirit of the community was not. Everyone I spoke with was strong and optimistic, and I am confident they will come back from this disaster even stronger than before.
I met with emergency management and elected officials in Poplar Bluff and learned that they were in for a long week of flood fighting. On Monday, Clearwater Lake was completely full and utilizing its emergency spillway. The Missouri Army National Guard along with many local volunteers filled thousands of sandbags to shore up the levees and make sure critical spots held up through the flood. As first responders, volunteers and the National Guardsmen worked to fight flooding, local restaurants and members of the community donated food and supplies to serve more than 2,500 meals.
I know what you’re going through feels overwhelming and unreal right now, but Missourians are strong and we will get through this disaster together. Whether you're in Thomasville, Eminence, Ellington, Gainesville, Doniphan, Steelville, Houston, Cape Girardeau, Ste. Genevieve, Greenville or any other area that has been severely impacted by this flood, I am here for you. We have a long road ahead of us, but Missourians are resilient. Together we will work to recover and rebuild our communities.
I have spoken with both our Governor and FEMA. Both pledged state and federal assistance to our area. I am in constant communication with folks on the ground and am visiting many affected areas. As I get updates from our first responders, I will pass along the information. Follow me on Facebook for updates.
I know many of you have been severely affected by this storm already, but the danger is not over. Please stay off the roads and in a safe location. Do not try to cross roadways that have water over them.
I have heard countless stories of Missourians' kindness and selflessness in the aftermath of these storms. Continue to pray for our families, loved ones, our neighbors and those throughout the region undoubtedly impacted. Together we will work to recover.
Our tax code is a mess, and that’s putting it lightly. Multiple brackets. High rates. Special interest breaks everywhere. Rules and regulations that are too complicated to understand. It costs more and more each year just to do your taxes, let alone pay them.
All of this drags people down and leaves them buried in paperwork and compliance problems. Instead of bringing jobs to America, our tax code is pushing jobs overseas. Even worse, the agency charged with overseeing all of this—the IRS—has repeatedly violated the trust of the American taxpayer.
This week, President Trump laid out his plan to seriously overhaul our tax code and make the IRS as we know it today cease to exist. Like me, he knows that it is time to get Washington out of people’s paychecks and savings and fix our broken tax code.
First, we must create a tax system that brings jobs to America. Hard-working Americans deserve a tax system that creates jobs here at home, not drives them overseas.
Second, we are going to make taxes simple! Since 2001, the U.S. tax code has been changed nearly 6,000 times. That’s more than once a day. Right now, it costs Americans over four hundred and nine BILLION dollars to comply with our tax laws. It is ridiculous to have a tax code so complicated that people must PAY to find out how much they owe the federal government.
We are going to cut out loopholes that increase confusion and keep rates artificially high. This will make the tax code dramatically simpler and fairer while also taking less money from families and job creators. On top of this, we will make it easier and more rewarding for families to save, invest, and plan for the future. Bottom line, the government should be taking the least amount of money from people as possible.
Third, we are going to bust up the IRS. The IRS is an overgrown bureaucratic mess. I sent President Trump a letter asking him to fire the untrustworthy IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen. Koskinen refuses to be held accountable. He has lied to Congress, destroyed evidence we requested and worst of all, has completely ignored customer service. Less than half of all taxpayers who call the IRS for help are able to reach a live person and the wait time if you can reach someone is over 30 minutes. It’s unacceptable. We must give the IRS a single mission – taxpayer service. People who are employed by the IRS need to understand who they work for and that is you, the hard-working taxpayer.
I know taxes have been a major burden in your life, and we must change that. Missourians work too hard every day for taxes to keep them from getting ahead and providing for their families. I am fighting for a simpler, fairer and flatter tax code that will bring jobs back to America and keep more money in your pocket!
It is an honor to serve the thirty counties which make up the 8th Congressional District in southeast and south central Missouri. The best part of my job is getting to spend time with the hard-working families, farmers and business owners who make our district the greatest place to live in the world. Over the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to visit over twenty counties in our area and meet with the people who provide power, work on manufacturing lines, serve our country, care for our veterans, farm our land, teach our students and bring jobs to our area.
In New Madrid, I visited the power plant and talked to the folks there about the challenges they face as they work to provide power to Missourians. The New Madrid Power Plant was dealing with a major regulatory burden under the previous administration and are quickly seeing relief under President Trump - allowing them to continue their work to provide clean, affordable power to farmers, small businesses and families in Missouri.
During a stop in Caruthersville I visited Trinity Industries. Their facility in Caruthersville provides hundreds of jobs and can build 12 barges a week! But like me, they’re concerned about countries who cheat on trade and make it harder for American manufacturers to compete. SLP Lighting in Sullivan was another great opportunity for me to learn about how government burdens have been keeping our small businesses from reaching their potential. SLP Lighting is proud to be made in America, but like Trinity Industries, they are fighting an unfair trade system. The folks at Trinity Industries and SLP Lighting are why I wrote and passed the ENFORCE Act. This trade bill was signed into law and helps end unfair practices by allowing places like Trinity Industries to take real and meaningful action when foreign countries violate trade agreements.
I also dropped by several public Listening Posts throughout our area, including stops in Rolla, Farmington, Jackson, Poplar Bluff and West Plains, and heard from people who were concerned about healthcare, government regulations, the EPA and the federal tax code. At my Listening Post in Jackson and during my visit to the American Legion and VFW Post #99 in Salem, I heard from several veterans who needed help with their Veteran’s Benefits. Making sure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves our veterans is one of my biggest priorities. Last year, I worked with the American Legion and VFW Post #99 to extend the VA clinic hours in Salem. If you or someone you know needs help from places like the VA – please reach out and let us know!
I was also able to visit several schools including Dexter High School, Jefferson High School in Festus, and Central High School in Park Hills. It is a tremendous honor to be able to nominate talented and brave young men and women to our prestigious United States military academies. During these school visits, I had the privilege of presenting several students at these schools with their hard-earned appointments to a military academy.
Thank you to everyone who made time to talk with me over the past few weeks. Whether it's a public listening post or visiting with farmers, families and small business owners in places like Dexter, Poplar Bluff and Sullivan, conversations like these help me better represent southeast and south central Missouri.
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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No more detours for drivers in Butler & Wayne Co. 👏🏻 Hwy T @ Wappapello Lake has reopened ahead of schedule! Thank… https://t.co/NTMzPC0tcG
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