Blaine's Bulletin: Happy Father's Day

Washington, June 14, 2019

Throughout my life I’ve held many titles from student, to farmer, to small businessman, to banker, to Congressman. However, none of these titles will ever mean as much or sound as great as being called “dad” and “grandpa.” My wife Jackie and I raised three amazing children who are now grown with families of their own, and they have blessed us with six grandchildren.

Heading home to celebrate Father’s Day with my family this weekend, my mind has consistently been with the hundreds of families across Missouri who have been forced from their homes due to the recent tornadoes and flooding. For them the idea of a barbecue in the backyard after church seems like a world away. Instead of looking forward to a day with family, many are looking for a place for their family to sleep.

Fortunately, our communities have shown an unbelievable willingness to help our neighbors and friends. Successful coordination between city, county, state and federal government was largely responsible for ensuring more lives were not lost in our communities as tornadoes cut across Missouri. Private entities like the Red Cross and United Way have delivered badly needed resources, thousands of volunteers have joined first responders from around the Midwest in cleanup efforts, and we’ve shown the nation that the power of mother nature can be overcome by compassion and human kindness.

While tornadoes reminded us how quickly our homes and businesses can be literally turned upside down, we’re also facing the consequences of historic flooding.  Representing a district that touches the Mississippi River, the Missouri River, and the Lake of the Ozarks, flood insurance is a critical lifeline for many Missourians. Since March 1st more than 600 claims have been filed in our state for flood losses and more than $9 million has been paid to property owners in Missouri. As we face continued threats of flooding we expect that figure to rise significantly.  

This week, I was proud to support legislation in the House Financial Services Committee that will provide long-term reauthorization and badly needed reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The continued mismanagement of the program has threatened the availability of coverage and cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars in bailouts. Fortunately, this bill, which should receive a vote on the House floor in the coming weeks, begins to put the program back on level footing.  Among other important reforms, the bill allows homeowners to choose between private insurance plans and NFIP coverage, giving them the power to choose a policy that best meets their needs. It also requires the NFIP to consider reinsurance, just like every other insurance company, in order to transfer risk from taxpayers to the private markets and prevent future bailouts. The bill also works to ensure Missouri homeowners are no longer subsidizing the rebuilding of expensive homes on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico by directing the NFIP to consider actual replacement costs in their calculations. This program is simply too important to be on such uneven footing, but I’m hopeful that this bipartisan legislation will soon become law.

Although it may not be an ideal Father’s Day in many parts of Missouri, no matter where we are or what we are doing, our families are the best reminder of how lucky we are.  On behalf on my family, we wish everyone in Missouri’s Third District has a very happy and safe Father’s Day!