Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Mar 30 2020
Here’s a round-up of some of my public comments about the new coronavirus (COVID-19), including how my colleagues in the Senate and I are responding to this crisis:
- COLUMN: Help is on the Way (3-30-2020)
We also have to create a path to economic recovery while helping individuals and families through this crisis. Americans can’t go to work. Businesses are unable to operate. Individuals are not getting paychecks. Not only do we have to help our fellow Americans through these challenging times, but we also have to make sure that they have jobs when we begin to return some normalcy to our lives.
That is the aim of the CARES Act. The magnitude of this crisis requires us to think big and act big. The CARES Act puts big ideas into action. We will get through this. We have to look after each other every step of the way until then.
- STORY: “Easter deadline called unlikely; it’s more a hope than reality, state’s D.C. lawmakers say” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 3/29/20]
- INTERVIEW: Boozman Joins Tom Nichols on KVRE Radio to Discuss CARES Act Effects for Arkansas and Nationally (3-27-2020)
- INTERVIEW: U.S. Senator Boozman discusses impact of COVID-19 (3-27-2020)
- STORY: Coronavirus Relief Package on KNWA (3-26-2020)
“Hardworking Arkansans need confidence they are going to make it through these challenging financial times. The CARES Act delivers immediate assistance to workers and families, and support for small businesses.”
U.S. Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas expressed optimism Thursday that the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act—historic legislation to help stabilize the economy and provide relief to Americans struggling in the wake of economic challenges due to the coronavirus outbreak—will give Arkansans “confidence they are going to make it through these challenging financial times.”
“Across the country we’ve seen mass layoffs and record numbers of Americans file for unemployment as people have been asked to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Hardworking Arkansans need confidence they are going to make it through these challenging financial times. The CARES Act delivers immediate assistance to workers and families, and support for small businesses. I urge members of the House of Representatives to swiftly pass this legislation,” Boozman said in a news release.
Boozman has talked with Arkansans from across the state who represent industries and hardworking individuals affected by the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus. He brought those concerns to his colleagues as members finalized the Phase 3 relief package. As Chairman of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, Boozman provided increased flexibility to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funding to allow the department to react appropriately to the evolving health crisis. He also advocated and supported additional funding for the Army and Air Force National Guard to ensure Arkansas Guardsmen have all the resources necessary to best support the state’s needs during this difficult time. In addition, he fought for rural communities by pushing for provisions to protect agricultural producers and airports in rural America that were included in the CARES Act.
- INTERVIEW: Boozman talks stimulus package details on Inside Fort Smith (3-26-2020)
We tried to address a number of different things. The primary thing that is on all of our minds is defeating the virus. And as a result, we’ve placed a lot more emphasis, a lot more money on hospitals – giving them the resources. They’re become the front line in treating the virus. We’ve also put a number of resources toward finding a vaccine, and then also finding a treatment that’s effective. Telehealth. All of these different things. Really trying to think outside of the box so we can get people seen and treated in an efficient way.
We’re trying to provide relief for families. Part of that program is checks: $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for families, $500 for children. What this is designed to do is give immediate relief. This isn’t designed to stimulate or whatever. This is making it such that families that have lost their jobs or furloughed or whatever – simply don’t have the money to pay the rent, pay their car payments, all those kind of things. So this is trying to provide some immediate help in that regard. We’ve increased unemployment insurance significantly. Again, trying to get people by during this very, very tough time if they find themselves without a job. We delayed student loan interest for six months.
The other aspect of the bill was about our job creators, our businesses. Once we defeat the virus, we want to have a job to go back to. This helps prop up those businesses, support them during this difficult time. Small business loans can use these for payroll, rent, utilities. If they use them for those, these will actually be forgivable.
U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., urged members of both parties Tuesday to put their differences aside and focus on the needs of their constituents, warning that additional delays in passing a coronavirus relief package could further undermine public confidence and injure the economy.
In a Senate speech, he emphasized the importance of bipartisanship in the face of a national coronavirus crisis…stressed the importance of a swift response. "We simply cannot afford to wait," the lawmaker from Rogers warned his colleagues.
Boozman, who won in a special election to become a state U.S. representative in November 2001, noted that he arrived in Washington shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "It was a very anxious time in the Capitol," he recalled. With a common threat looming, elected officials joined forces, he said. "Every one of my colleagues sought to find ways to work together to move major pieces of legislation that helped to return a sense of normalcy that Americans so desperately sought in the wake of the attacks," Boozman said. "Given all that is at stake right now, for the life of me, I've not been able to understand why we've been struggling to do the same now."
Boozman made his comments as Senate leaders were working to craft a compromise coronavirus package. In his speech, Boozman acknowledged the latest developments. "Thankfully, the partisanship that has dominated these past few days has subsided," he said. "It appears that we can now move forward after this unnecessarily delay." Arkansans, Boozman said, are suffering.
"Many small businesses in Arkansas, large cities and small towns alike, are being forced to close during this crisis, both to protect public health, to protect their families, and because of a shrinking customer base as customers are urged to stay home to reduce the spread of the disease," he said. "The unexpected closure for small-business owners, through no fault of their own, may prevent many of them from reopening by the time that this is behind us."
Rather than kick-starting the economy, the aid would simply provide a lifeline, Boozman suggested. "This is not a stimulus plan. It's an existence plan. We have to pass this bill," he said. "Americans have lost faith in many of their institutions. This is a defining moment. We have a chance to restore some of the confidence that has been lost by putting the needs of the nation over the wishes of the political class," he said.
"Americans are looking forward to Washington for leadership right now. This is a true test," he said. "Let's pass this bill and show that we can rise up to the massive challenge before our nation."
INTERVIEW: Senator John Boozman in The Zone on 103.7 The Buzz (3-23-2020)
- COLUMN: Promoting Health Together Amid a Pandemic (3-20-2020)
- RELEASE: Boozman Supports Second Coronavirus Response Package (3-18-2020)
- INTERVIEW: Senator John Boozman Discusses COVID-19 Response, Economic Relief on KASU Radio (3-18-2020)
- COLUMN: Confronting the Coronavirus (3-9-2020)
- RELEASE: Boozman Applauds Passage of Emergency Coronavirus Funding (3-5-2020)