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U.S. Rep. Smith Announces Congressional Art Competition Winner
May 03rd 2018 by Dee Loflin
U.S. Rep. Smith Announces Congressional Art Competition Winner
U.S. Rep. Smith Announces Congressional Art Competition Winner
Smith congratulates finalists and announces winner, Avery Coffman with “St. Jude Chapel Montauk, MO”

Cape Girardeau, Missouri -  Congressman Jason Smith congratulated Congressional Art Competition finalists and announced the winner during a reception at the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus on Monday evening. Avery Coffman, a Senior from Salem R-80 won the 8th Congressional District Competition with a work of the St. Jude Chapel in Montauk, MO. The piece was completed by burning a drawing of the church into a piece of wood.
“Avery’s piece really stood out to me. I have never seen anything like it and was really amazed by what she was able to do,” said Congressman Smith. Her work will look great in the hallways of the United States Capitol and I look forward to educating my colleagues on what her piece represents and how she completed it. Millions of visitors to our Nation’s Capital will now be able to view her work”
The work of the St. Jude Chapel will be displayed in the United States Capitol for a full year and Avery will receive two round trip tickets to Washington, D.C. to attend the Congressional Art Competition reception with other art competition winners from across the country.
There were six finalists in total from across southern Missouri. They were:
Alexis VanHoosier, 12th Grade, Farmington R-7
Emilia Torres, 11th Grade, Farmington R-7
Avery Coffman, 12th Grade, Salem R-80
Marlene Schuh, 11th Grade, Salem R-80
Rylie Nicole Coats, 9th Grade, West Plains High School
Sophie Bollinger, 12th Grade, Perryville High School
The evening started with Congressman Smith receiving a painting from 3rd grader Layla Burgfeld of Blanchard Elementary titled “Neon Puppy” (*attached photo*) and will be displayed in the Congressional office located in Cape Girardeau.
Smith also spent time speaking with finalists Sophie Bollinger of Perryville High School and Emilia Torres of Farmington. Bollinger intends to pursue art after graduation while Emilia plans to compete again in the Congressional Art Competition next year.
“All of these kids are so talented and I am honored that they are willing to display those talents through this friendly competition,” said Congressman Smith. “They are all going places and have big plans, but I know they will continue to be inspired by and hold close their roots here in southern Missouri.” 
The Congressional Art Competition is an annual event for high school students held each spring.

Last Updated on May 03rd 2018 by Dee Loflin

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Blunt Opens Application Process for Missourians Seeking to Attend Service Academies
May 02nd 2018 by Dee Loflin
Blunt Opens Application Process for Missourians Seeking to Attend Service Academies
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) this week announced that he is accepting applications to service academies from interested Missourians. Nominations to the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy, and U.S. Naval Academy are available for qualified applicants.

“Service academies play a critical role in educating and inspiring the next generation of servicemen and women,” said Blunt. “These institutions improve leadership skills, build character, and offer invaluable opportunities for young Missourians who decide to pursue a career in our nation’s military.”

Applicants must be between 17 and 23 years of age, U. S. citizens, and legal residents of Missouri. A committee of Missouri residents will review applicants’ files and present their recommendations to Senator Blunt for a formal nomination in January. Nominees will be evaluated using the “equal and competitive” method for selection and on the basis of personal merit including, evidence of character, leadership, scholarship, and motivation.

Interested applicants can apply via a secure website, which will allow them to continually check the status of their application. The link to the application can be found on the Academy Application Process page of www.blunt.senate.gov. All application materials must be received on or before October 4, 2018.

The academy nomination process requires that students first open an application directly with the academies of their choice and then begin the nomination process with their congressional offices. For more information please contact Senator Blunt’s office at academy_nominations@blunt.senate.gov.

Last Updated on May 02nd 2018 by Dee Loflin

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Congressman Jason Smith's Capitol Report - Error: Filing Currently Unavailable
April 23rd 2018 by Dee Loflin
Congressman Jason Smith's Capitol Report - Error: Filing Currently Unavailable
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Error: Filing Currently Unavailable
April 20, 2018
Millions of American’s frustration with an outdated, broken and unfair tax code was met symbolically on Tuesday with news that their attempts to file their taxes online was currently ‘unavailable’ and that they should ‘come back on Dec. 31, 9999.” That’s right, the old, clunky and broken tax code – broke the IRS website. Frustrated Missourians who had spent hours trying to do what’s right, trying to comply with their tax obligations before the stated deadline, couldn’t even do so because once again, government had failed them. 
The good news is that it’s finally over. This marks the last year you will have to file under the old and outdated tax system – as a result of President Trump signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law late last year, the new tax code he and I both authored will be in full effect when filing day returns one year from now. With it will come an easier process, one which is simpler, can be done on a single post card sized sheet of paper, and most important takes less money from you, your farm, your family or your business.
One of my biggest frustrations while serving as your voice in Congress has been watching unelected Washington bureaucrats, accountable to no one, spend spend spend taxpayer money with no consequences. Hand in hand with reducing the size and scope of your government, is reducing your tax burdens to allow you to keep more of what you make each year than send to Washington. It is my fundamental belief that you are the best steward of your valuable resources, that you know best how to save, invest and help grow your family and this economy – not someone who sits behind a desk in a federal agency all day and has never stepped foot in Missouri. In that same regard, I also don’t think some politician whose latest idea to spend billions in taxpayer dollars to ‘turn the economy around’ will actually help our economy more than folks keeping more of their money and using their judgment to best benefit our economy. Simply put, you are best to make that decision, not your government.
Missourians are already benefiting from the new tax code, and getting rid of our antiquated filing process was the last step. Every single Missourian is operating under new tax withholding tables which are allowing them to keep more of each paycheck. In addition, wage increases, bonuses, increased benefits and retirement plus ups have been delivered to more than 4 million workers across the U.S. I visited some of those very workers at the AT&T Call Center in Cape Girardeau, at the Tyson Plant in Dexter, at the Home Depot in Poplar Bluff, at the CVS in Sikeston and at Missouri Hardwoods Flooring in Birch Tree to hear directly from them about plans for additional investments in their company or new wage increases and benefits as a result of the tax cuts bill.
Next year’s filing will be a simple process – lower and simpler taxes mean you keep more and you file less. With the Standard Deduction doubling to $24,000 per married couple, over 30 million less filers will be burdened with itemizing out every deduction. According to the Tax Foundation – under the old tax system, people spent 2.6 billion hours in complying with their returns, that’s a whole lot of lost time with your family, on your farm, or running your business – just to figure out how much you owed your government.
Making your government smaller, spending less and taxing less is a fight I will continue to wage. Saying goodbye to filing taxes under our old code was a major step, and one which ironically was met with even more government failure this week with the crashing of the tax filing system. But as we look forward to a new system which encourages businesses to hire and grow here in the U.S. and rewards folks for investing more in their family and free time than their government, I will continue the fight to make that same government work for you, and not the other way around.

Last Updated on April 23rd 2018 by Dee Loflin

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April 16th 2018 by Dee Loflin
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April 13, 2018


Your farm cannot survive by spending more than you make, neither can your business nor your household - the truth is, neither can your government, but politicians seem disinterested in fixing that problem regardless of what the repercussions may be. Over $21 trillion in debt and counting, that's what the current debt clock of the U.S. Government reads. Those are a heck of a lot of IOUs to the owners of American debt - your retirement accounts, the American taxpayer, businesses large and small, and foreign governments, especially the Chinese.


This is why when I first became your Member of Congress I introduced a bill that would require your federal government to operate with a balanced budget each and every year.


This week, The House of Representatives voted on that same proposal. Unfortunately, the vote failed as too many swamp creatures and politicians don't seem concerned with each and every U.S. taxpayer being strapped with $174,000 in debt. They seem more concerned about throwing more taxpayer money at whatever special interest program or government boondoggle they think will help secure them more votes in the next election. They think giving more of your tax dollars, $535 million to be exact, to defunct renewable energy companies like Solyndra is more important than reigning in out of control spending, or that spending $5 million of your tax dollars in 2016 for the National Institute of Health to study if fraternities or sororities ‘party more’ (spoiler alter – the answer is fraternities, and I’ve never looked at the study) was more vital than our countries financial future.


With a balanced budget constitutional requirement, we would have ensured that Congress not spend any more than it takes in – something hard-working families in Missouri manage to do every day. We are living off credit right now, and it’s not sustainable. In the words of Admiral Mike Mullen, “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt.”


Before Easter, I cast one of the few NO votes on the $1.3 trillion government spending bill. It spent too much without substantial cuts or reforms and was full of liberal spending priorities in order to secure more votes. That's not how your government should operate. Even President Trump lamented that we “had to waste money on Dem giveaways” to keep the government funded.


What’s crazy to me is there are so many opportunities for our country to cut spending and save money. Want to save $732 billion? Then give states more flexibility on Medicaid through block grants. Allow states to set the requirements best suited to fit the needs of their citizens, not a federal government one size fits all approach. To save $21.7 billion, we should require a valid social security number for just one member of a household receiving tax breaks like the Earned Income Tax Credit. Another $18 billion could be saved by cutting redundant and duplicative government programs.


One of the most effective ways to control wasteful government spending is through work requirements on welfare benefits. While unemployment rates under President Trump are at a record low, welfare enrollment among able-bodied adults is at a record high. We need to change our government welfare programs so that folks are rewarded for getting off the sidelines and back to work, not making more by passing on job openings or raises in order to continue to collect a government support check.


Your government should be just as serious and particular about how it spends your valuable taxpayer resources as you are in how you save and budget for your farm, your small business and your family. I fear the direction we are headed of massive, trillion-dollar government spending bills only further enabling trillion-dollar deficits. With a growing economy and unemployment falling, we have a great opportunity to slow the spicket of government spending, and I hope politicians will think about that the next time they decide to put special interest spending ahead of the needed action of balancing our nation’s books.

Last Updated on April 16th 2018 by Dee Loflin

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Blunt Talks Rural Broadband with Missouri Electric Cooperatives
April 12th 2018 by Dee Loflin
Blunt Talks Rural Broadband with Missouri Electric Cooperatives
Washington D.C. - This week, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, spoke to Missouri Electric Cooperatives during their trip to Washington. Blunt released the following statement after the meeting:
“Access to broadband is an issue that impacts virtually every Missourian. It’s critical for students to do their homework, businesses to grow, hospitals to treat patients, and farmers to meet growing world food demand. In 2018, it’s unacceptable that more than 50 percent of rural Missourians currently lack access to broadband. I’m committed to working to end the digital divide and help every area of our state, particularly our rural communities, compete and succeed.”
The government spending bill, which was signed into law last month, provides $600 million for a new rural broadband pilot grant and loan program. This program will target areas that do not have access to broadband, and includes provisions to prevent overbuilding.
As a member of the Commerce Committee, Blunt has pressed the need to expand rural broadband, noting that an increasing number of farmers are utilizing wireless infrastructure, GPS, data centers, autonomous systems, and fiber optics for precision agriculture and high-speed commodity trading.
Last year, Blunt urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to act on $2 billion in funds available for rural broadband, and to open this money up to auction so new entrants in this field, like electrical cooperatives, could competitively bid. Following Blunt’s letter, the FCC did so, and the Commission subsequently considered a notice to initiate the pre-auction process for this money to deploy fiber optics in rural parts of Missouri.

Last Updated on April 12th 2018 by Dee Loflin

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