Growing up in rural Missouri, I knew if I didn’t feed our animals by 6am, I was going to be in trouble. Starting the day with this chore was essential to the rest of the day on the farm going smoothly. I approach my job as your Congressman the same way I approached my jobs on the farm – if things like tending to the animals or repealing Obamacare don’t get done on time and in the right way, you can’t accomplish bigger things like putting food on grocery store shelves or restoring healthcare choice and lowering insurance costs for Americans.
Traditionally, August is a time when Members of Congress get to spend time back home without having to fly back and forth to D.C. for votes and committee hearings. I always appreciate this time of year because I get to spend time with fellow Missourians and make stops in all 30 counties in our district to visit family farms and small businesses. I also get a break from sleeping on the couch in my office! But my job is to defend Missourians’ way of life, and I don’t want to see my colleagues take a break from work in D.C. until we make some real progress.
We have a failing healthcare law that leaves folks at home with little to no healthcare choices, a massive and burdensome tax code that takes Missouri families’ time and money and complicated and expensive regulations that need to be rolled back. Spending a few nights of August on the couch in my office would be well worth the tradeoff of getting some real work done, but first, we are going to need the Senate to take some action.
We have passed 269 bills out of the House of Representatives in just a few short months, but Senate Liberals have been doing their best to slow down our work ever since President Trump was elected. Of the 269 bills we have passed, 226 have stalled out and gone nowhere in the United States Senate. Unfortunately, Senate Liberals don’t understand working quickly and consecutively to accomplish goals – they only understand how to put up roadblocks in President Trump’s way. They are trying to obstruct the legislative process and stop us from delivering on the policies and the agenda Americans voted for in November.
The Senate is also behind on confirming President Trump’s nominees to his administration. At the same time during the Obama Administration, more than 90% of President Obama’s nominees were confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote. But Senate Liberals have only allowed 10% of President Trump’s confirmations to happen by voice vote. Furthermore, only two of President Trump’s 23 judicial nominations have actually been confirmed by the Senate. Once again, Senate Liberals are intentionally holding up the process for the Trump Administration.
Because of Senate Liberals’ inaction, there’s no time for a break. We have to work longer and harder than ever before to overcome Senate Liberals’ obstruction of President Trump’s legislative agenda.
In June, with the support of President Trump, we acted to give US 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. Last week, we continued the work to enhance security by advancing Kate’s Law which will keep Missouri and all Americans safe from the danger of crimes committed by illegal immigrants. At the same time the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act was passed which increases penalties for Sanctuary Cities and disqualifies them from receiving some federal funds. These bills build on the work I have already started by authoring legislation to stop even more federal funds from going to dangerous Sanctuary Cities like San Francisco.
Juan Lopez-Sanchez had seven felony convictions and had been deported five times before he shot and killed Kate Steinle on a pier in San Francisco in 2015. I’m saddened it took losing a great American like Kate for people to realize that we cannot allow Sanctuary Cities to ignore federal laws, but I’m glad we are finally led by a President prepared to take this issue as seriously as I am.
Named for Steinle, Kate’s Law establishes new maximum sentences for illegal immigrants who try to reenter the United States after being convicted of a felony. My vote for Kate’s Law last week was another step to keep our families, friends and neighbors safe. Over 300 cities and counties like San Francisco have policies to stonewall the federal government and prevent the Department of Homeland Security from effectively enforcing our immigration laws. But we are a nation of law and order, and cities that actively work against the law of the land should face consequences.
In addition to Kate’s Law, I voted for the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act last week because it is a step in the right direction by making Sanctuary Cities ineligible for certain federal support. I will continue to fight for my legislation which goes even further by fully disqualifying any Sanctuary City from federal transportation dollars. I know the only way we will see real change from Sanctuary Cities is if we force them to operate without federal funds. Only then will they realize their need to comply with federal immigration laws. The bottom line is, cities and counties that fail to work with us to make America safe cannot be trusted with federal funds.
Sanctuary Cities that harbor criminals like Juan Lopez-Sanchez and protect them from the full reach of federal law must be completely cut off from federal funding until they are ready to comply with federal immigration laws. It is the number one responsibility of your federal government to provide for the defense and security of this great nation. Fourth of July served as a great reminder to us all of how fortunate we are to live in a free and open country - it is important we take the steps needed to fully keep safe the American families and children who call her home.
Being an American makes me feel proud, fortunate and humbled all at the same time. Proud that our Founding Father’s vision became a reality. Fortunate because I was lucky enough to be born in this incredible, free nation and humbled by the blessing of serving our country in Congress.
We are a nation of humble beginnings. Colonies of England, bound to serve the King. But our Founding Fathers saw potential for more. The Continental Congress voted in favor of our independence from England on July 2, 1776. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies that sparked the great American experiment adopted the Declaration of Independence.
Every year, we celebrate our independence, and rightfully so as it was hard fought and won. Oh say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave – we cannot forget that there was a moment amid the clashing bayonets, exploding cannons, gun powder and smoke when we were not sure America would prevail. But we have never doubted our ability, strength and resilience as a nation since.
Even in some of our lowest, most difficult moments, America has stood together and stood strong. September 11, 2001 stands out to me as one of those moments. When I got the news, I was shocked and saddened, thinking to myself who would want to hurt a country as incredible as ours? Like many of you, I called to check in with friends and family that I had not spoken to in a while to make sure everyone was ok, and I hugged them all a little tighter the next time I saw them.
The attacks on September 11th broke many, many things – lives, homes, hopes and dreams for futures together – but it could not break our American spirit. In fact, it made us even more resolute in our beliefs. We banned together and came back even stronger and prouder of our country – ready to fight to defend our freedoms and our way of life. American flags were hung outside of nearly every home and we rebuilt the World Trade Center even taller than before.
But there are smaller, different battles we wage every day as well. It’s a fight for Missourians’ way of life. Whether that’s making sure the government doesn’t try to regulate every drop of water on your land, or how you heat your homes in the winter or how you spend your paycheck, it’s a fight for what our Founding Fathers believed America could be. The land of the free.
We enjoy freedoms every day. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the freedom to bear arms. All because we prevailed in our fight for independence and have a military who continues to heroically defend our nation’s sovereignty.
We have proved to be the home of the brave many times over in our nation’s short, 241-year history. From the Vietnam War to rallying in the face of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, defending humanity and defeating the Nazis, to the War on Terror that is still being valiantly fought today, Americans have faced adversity bravely and boldly. I am thankful for our freedom and the brilliance of our Founding Fathers who had a dream of what this piece of land that was colonized by England could become. On July 4th and every other day, I am so very proud to be an American.
We are barely halfway into the year, and Senate Liberals are ignoring the will of the American people and obstructing the democratic process yet again. First it was subjecting President Trump to the longest Cabinet confirmation process in modern history, then they tried to stop Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was previously confirmed 99-0 by some of the same Senators, from joining the Supreme Court, and now they are threatening to miss committee hearings, bill markups and votes, halting business in the Senate because they disagree with President Trump.
After saying they wanted no part in the process of fixing healthcare, Senate Liberals were outraged when their colleagues came together to work on their own solution. Some Senators even tried to make it sound like the people who were working together were doing so in secret. But the truth is, their plan is not secret at all. Like me, they want to lower the cost of healthcare for millions of Americans. But there are some Obamacare-Loyalist-Senators who are refusing to come to hearings, purposely holding up normal legislative business in the Senate and obstructing our country’s democratic process. Their actions are a waste of the hard-earned money you pay in federal taxes each month.
These liberal Obamacare-loyalists are still in complete denial about what the American people want, even though the people spoke loud and clear in the last election. Some folks in the Senate won’t even do their job and meet us at the table to discuss how to repair the damage Obamacare has done to healthcare in America. Even after the President of the United States asked for their input and ideas, Senate Liberals chose to politicize the process and act out in a way they think will get them reelected.
But why are some of these Senators insisting on standing by a failing law? Within the last week alone, we have heard even more Obamacare failures. For example, Aetna announced even more states where they will no longer be providing plans. In New Mexico, there has been a proposed premium hike of 80% and in Iowa, insurers have asked for a 43% premium increase. In Missouri, 26 of the 30 counties I represent have been left with only one provider. The bottom line is Obama’s healthcare law is failing – the prices are sky high and the choices are slim to none. The American people cannot afford to foot the bill for this failing policy that Obamacare-loyalists are attached to solely because of the people who enacted the law – Barack Obama and his cohorts Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
Instead of investing in an agenda that reflects what Americans voted for in November, liberal Senate extremists have done nothing but stomp their feet and try to stop their colleagues from moving forward with real solutions for hardworking Americans. Their political grandstanding is out of control. It’s time for these Senators to stop playing games and do their jobs.
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.
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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