Our nation thrives when we take power away from Washington bureaucrats and give it back to the people. That was an important theme this week as I began my annual summer visits to southern Missouri farming operations. I made stops in 12 of the 30 counties I have the honor of representing in Congress and appreciated all the farmers, business owners and their families that took time to share their personal stories and concerns about the federal government with me.
The Obama Administration weaponized federal agencies through broken policies and a regulatory process that hurt farmers across the country, but especially here in southern Missouri. Removing these intrusive federal regulations is something I have worked with President Trump on since the beginning. In the last two years, incredible deregulation has taken place. In fact, President Trump’s deregulation efforts have saved the American economy more than $23 billion in regulatory costs.
Missourians know that intrusive federal regulations have no place on private lands. Whether you are raising sheep for wool in Crawford County, or a dairy producer in Perry County, more regulations means less time on the farm and lost money. The Althoff Family I met this week in Jefferson County has to travel over 300 miles round trip to get their poultry certified at the nearest USDA processing facility just so they can sell at local farmers’ markets. Think about that: driving six hours to meet with federal regulators just to be able to sell your poultry at a local market down the road.
In Phelps County, I spoke with Eric Meusch at his family farm in Rolla, where he shared the trouble his family faced with rising health care premiums. Though Eric fortunately found a full-time job as an Agricultural Educator, he remains deeply concerned about other independent farmers being able to pay for their coverage. I share your concern, Eric. Missourians deserve a health care system that promotes freedom and transparency. Fostering competition between plans is one of the best ways to help bring down the cost of care. That is why I have been engaging the Trump Administration on ways that we can improve access and choice in our health care system. One solution we have worked on is expanding Association Health Plans, or AHPs, which allow the self-employed to band together to purchase health insurance coverage, resulting in more choice and more competition.
In Madison and New Madrid Counties, I had the pleasure of welcoming Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to hear from our farmers about their appreciation for onerous federal regulations that have been repealed. Our local Missouri famers also provided feedback about where further relief is needed. No single agency has removed more meddling regulations on farmers than the EPA, removing some of the most costly and intrusive of the almost 4,000 rules and regulations added by the EPA under President Obama.
During our roundtable discussion, the EPA Administrator talked about the Administration’s efforts repealing and reworking perhaps President Obama’s most Intrusive rule: WOTUS. This rule granted the federal government broad regulatory control over many of our farmers lands based solely on a crazy definition for what Washington considers “navigable waterways.”
I am forever thankful we have a President in the White House who is committed to hardworking Missourians. Not only has President Trump visited our district, but he continues to send top officials to hear how he can help us more. It is a sharp departure from the Obama Administration who just wrote burdensome rules and regulations from their cubicles in Washington without any interest to engage with the people those decisions were hurting. I know that there is more that needs to be done to help our farmers and producers compete. I look forward to continuing my visits with farmers, producers, and small business that are the lifeblood of our local communities.