Congressman Smith Capitol Report: What Your Ideas Mean
Protecting our Missouri way of life, fighting for our values - these are two motivators which drive me every day in Congress. I am constantly looking at ways our government can work better for the people it serves. Where has our government overreached, encroached on our freedoms, made life more difficult for families, or lost its way? Where has it become wasteful, bloated, or gone beyond the vision of limited governance our founders had?
In that regard, I am constantly talking with the folks of southern Missouri to hear their ideas about how their government can do better for them, and how I can better serve them. I strongly believe the only way to do that is to hear firsthand the challenges and struggles you are facing. That is why during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have never stopped visiting with folks throughout Missouri. The exchange of ideas that takes place when I meet with fellow Missourians always highlights new things I can be fighting for on your behalf.
While visiting with farmers and small business owners this summer, I met with a number of employers and families just doing their best to get through this tough time. In addition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), many also talked to me about utilizing different U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs. When looking into how our SBA can do even more for our small businesses, I unfortunately found out that not all of the taxpayer funds utilized to support the programs of the SBA actually went to U.S. small businesses. In reality, it turned out that a number of businesses either headquartered in China or with largely Chinese based shareholders were also receiving SBA funded assistance. Chinese companies taking advantage of our system at the expense of American small businesses is unacceptable and makes no sense. So, I teamed up with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and introduced the Preventing SBA Assistance from Going to China Act. This legislation will prevent businesses owned by citizens of the People’s Republic of China or headquartered in China from receiving any taxpayer funded assistance offered by the SBA. Missouri’s small businesses should never be competing for aid with companies whose profits go back to support Communist China.
It's one thing to be frustrated when a foreign government is taking advantage of programs aimed at helping U.S. citizens and businesses, it's another to listen to politicians openly advocating for taking more of your hard-earned money. I have met with countless families across southern Missouri who talk to me about the struggles they face day in and day out, every week, every month, to provide for their children - to just get by. As the lead author of a proposal to make permanent President Trump's tax cuts for families, you can understand my disbelief when I hear Joe Biden or Kamala Harris talking about raising taxes on all American families. Do they not get that families need help? That they don't want the government taking more of their money? But it got me thinking, what more can we do with the tax cuts and credits for families to help Missourians even more. Preparing for a new baby is expensive, from stocking up on diapers, to bottles and formula, to putting together a nursery. Soon-to-be parents want to begin preparing as soon as possible. President Trump's tax cuts bill provided new tax cuts for every child a family has, but what if we also made those credits and cuts available to expecting parents? That would put more money back into the pockets of hardworking Americans and provide flexibility to families preparing to welcome their newborn child home. That is why I am authoring a proposal to do just that and to expand upon President Trump’s family tax cuts to also allow expecting families to qualify for them.
We all know the economy in southern Missouri relies on a healthy and robust agriculture industry, and we know that cattle production is an integral part of that. I have been candid that Congress needs to do more to give our producers the tools they need to level the playing field and compete for fair prices. The need to do something was on full display during the COVID-19 pandemic when Americans were being asked to pay some of the highest prices ever recorded at the checkout counter for their meat, but our cattlemen were receiving rock bottom prices for their cattle. Something didn't add up. While I have called on the Department of Justice to fully investigate the large meat processing facilities for this price disparity, I knew more had to be done. After speaking with a number of cattlemen, we are in the final push to advance a proposal that would allow for the development of cattle co-ops so that small producers can work together and establish their own packing facilities to compete for better prices in the marketplace. Family-owned farms are the bedrock of our rural communities, and I intend to keep it that way by continuing to prioritize the products and producers here in southern Missouri.
All of these are ideas from our home. And each one of them, along with the need to fight to see them through, are why I am so honored to be your Representative. These aren't ideas you get from a lobbyist in Washington or someone who has never visited our great state, but come from the very people who you and I see every day. So, when you feel like your government is getting in the way or has lost its way all together, reach out, let me know how I can help. Hearing your stories, your challenges, and your suggestions for how to make our government smaller, less intrusive and a body which protects your constitutional rights, not infringes upon them, is what gets me motivated every day for you.