While a lot of you have been focused for good reason on the ongoing budget debates in Congress, as well as discussions about the future of Obamacare, there have been many other issues that Congress has been working on, several of which I have been personally involved in that deserve some attention because of their impact on all Americans.
The House Financial Services Committee has for some time been gathering very troubling facts about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) created by the Dodd-Frank Act that was billed as a way to protect consumers and address some of the causes of the financial crisis, but instead has done little to nothing of the sort.
I have co-sponsored legislation which would create an Inspector General at the CFPB. It is critical that federal agencies have checks and balances within their organization to ensure that, among other things, taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently and correctly. An inspector general also works to ensure that policy comes before politics, an important lesson that we learned during revelations this past summer about the political targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service.
The House has also taken important steps toward enacting a farm bill and ensuring that there remains in place a safety net for American farmers and ranchers and our nation's most vulnerable. Last week the House passed legislation to advance the farm bill to conference and to ensure that conference includes important reforms to both agriculture programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan, or SNAP. The program has seen record growth in recent years with food stamp rolls growing by 77 percent between 2007 and 2012 and total spending on the program growing by 145 percent over the same time. The House is pushing a policy that reforms SNAP, closing loopholes and saving taxpayer dollars while still ensuring continued support for children's nutrition and those Americans who truly need government assistance.
While concerns about domestic issues are critical, I also have been involved in issues of a more global nature. I recently co-signed a letter that was sent to President Obama expressing disapproval of the United Nations (UN) Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and urging him to notify the UN treaty depository that the United States does not intend to ratify the ATT and therefore is not bound by its obligations. This treaty would establish the UN as the authority in regulating arms trade and require sovereign governments to regulate the sale and transfer of all weapons, arms, munitions and equipment used in military and domestic security activities, ranging from armored vehicles, missiles and aircraft to small arms and ammunition. I will continue to oppose the UN ATT and attempts to undermine your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
While issues like government spending and the servicing of our debt continue to dominate the national discussion, I will continue to work on many other critical issues that deserve my attention on your behalf. The work of government must continue because that's what the people demand of your elected representatives and to do otherwise is simply not acceptable.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., represents the state's 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 573-635-7232.