Facing a new year, a new Congress and changing realities in the United States House of Representatives, I headed back to Washington, D.C., this week to be sworn in for the 116th Congress. It is truly an honor to represent the people of Missouri’s 3rd District for another term, and I’m excited for the new opportunities and challenges 2019 will bring.
Despite the changes in Congress, my priorities remain steadfast. Protecting Missourians and Americans across the nation will continue to be my number one priority. Last year, I worked hard to uphold this promise to the people of Missouri’s 3rd District by supporting additional funding to secure our border and keep our citizens safe. This includes providing our military with the resources they need as they bravely serve our nation here and around the world and supporting our first responders as they work day in and day to keep our neighborhoods safe. National security and protecting the homeland should not be a partisan issue. I’m proud of President Donald Trump for standing his ground and I will continue supporting efforts to strengthen our national security and protect our borders.
Over the last two years, we have made unbelievable economic progress, continually hitting record high growth and record low unemployment, with comprehensive tax reform driving our economy and letting Americans keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. Congress will soon face tough decisions that will shape our economy in the coming years, but we must continue to support a robust U.S. economy by protecting tax cuts and supporting a pro-growth economic agenda. Together, we can work to make the coming years even more prosperous for families, workers, and the businesses upon which they rely to build and maintain successful communities
Another top priority of mine remains to be ensuring American consumers across the nation are protected by a strong national data security standard. Just recently, Marriott’s Starwood Hotels suffered a breach that potentially exposed information such as passport numbers and payment information of more than 500 million customers — more than the entire population of the U.S. While some states have robust data security safeguards and requirements in place, many others have protections that are simply insufficient — creating a regulatory labyrinth that causes compliance nightmares while leaving uncertainty where certainty is needed the most. I will soon reintroduce legislation to provide a strong national data security standard.
I have also reintroduced bipartisan legislation to end Operation Choke Point, an unconscionable initiative which crusaded against legal businesses by starving them of access to financial services, and in many cases, putting them out of business. My bill passed the House in the 115th Congress by a vote of 395-2, but was not considered by the Senate. Bureaucrats playing partisan politics with the livelihoods of American citizens is an appalling abuse of power, no matter your ideological leanings. I hope the Senate will support my legislation to ensure regulation is never again born of personal biases.
Politicians often talk about working across aisle and finding bipartisan compromise yet fall short when it comes time to act. This is our chance to walk the walk and work together in the best interest of Americans across the nation. Working alongside my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I will continue fighting for legislation that supports my constituents and our district, while ensuring 2019 is our nation’s most prosperous year yet.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., shares his perspective each week on national issues, including ones that affect Missouri. He represents the 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His office can be reached at 635-7232.