Dr. Boozman's Check-up

I’ve introduced a bill – the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act – which aims to achieve global gender parity in economic activity by expanding access to U.S. backed enterprise development programs for micro, small, and medium sized businesses and integrating gender analysis and equality into the strategies and projects undertaken by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

ICYMI: Tele-Town Hall

Aug 01 2018

Thank you to the Arkansans who participated in my most recent telephone town hall that we conducted on Monday, July 30. I appreciated hearing the concerns and answering questions about a wide range of issues important to them including veterans benefits. If you missed the event you can listen to the conversation here. 

Join our next tele-town hall by signing up here.

Veterans are used to being part of something bigger than themselves. I enjoyed getting to see that in action with Sheep Dog Impact Assistance in Gravette. Bringing together veterans and first responders to build camaraderie is a good approach to combatting the challenges facing many of our heroes.
The Senate started this week off by passing The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This vital national security bill authorizes $716 billion for our nation’s defense to ensure our military is prepared to address the wide-range of threats the U.S. and our allies face in the world today. I’m hopeful that my amendment will be included in the conference report that comes before the House and Senate, and eventually makes it to the president’s desk to become law. The feedback I’ve received from our military leaders tells me that we have to be strategic and clear-eyed about the situation developing in Eastern Europe and my amendment is just one piece within a larger blueprint to help the Pentagon toward this end.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it is conducting a review of cases evaluated by a former pathologist at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center who was found to be impaired while at work. This physician has since been terminated. A preliminary investigation by the VA’s Office of the Inspector General found this physician misdiagnosed patients. The VA is now conducting a thorough review of all cases read by this pathologist and investigating the extent of misdiagnoses.

This misconduct is incredibly disturbing. Understandably, veterans and their families who receive care at the Fayetteville VA are frustrated and concerned about whether these misdiagnoses impact them. I am committed to getting answers for impacted veterans and their families and making sure the VA holds accountable those individuals responsible for this misconduct.

Unfortunately, at this time, we don’t know the extent of this pathologist’s errors. The VA is in the process of notifying patients whose cases were evaluated by this pathologist and will additionally contact these individuals after their case review is completed.

Patients who have questions or concerns can call 866-388-5428 or 479-582-7995. This call center is staffed by VA nurses specifically to answer questions and address patient concerns about this review process. 

The VA announced a town hall meeting to be held on Monday, July 9 at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville in the auditorium of building 3 to discuss updates about its pathology reviews. 

My office is ready and willing to help veterans and their families affected by this alleged negligence. For assistance, please call any of my Arkansas offices and let us know you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran who receives care at the Fayetteville VA. I am committed to ensuring that our veterans receive the health care they earned in service to our country and overseeing that the VA is providing the quality care they expect and deserve. 

A WIN-WIN for Arkansas, and for our nation.

That is how Carol Williams, the executive director of Land Trust Arkansas, describes the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act—a bill I introduced with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to modernize our approach to funding water infrastructure. 

Carol’s piece in today’s edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is behind a paywall, but I’d like to highlight what she wrote about the SRF WIN Act. 

She writes

As chair of the Environment and Public Works' Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife, Senator Boozman has introduced a bill which secures funding for the preservation and improvement of the processes which protect our natural surface and ground water, while assuring the proper re-entry of wastewater into our system of water resources.

This Senate bill is bipartisan and has become bicameral, with similar legislation introduced in the House. It provides leveraged funding of $50 billion over five years in secured loans to benefit communities both large and small. It is named the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN).

Its passage will be a WIN-WIN for Arkansas, and for our nation. 

Her praise for the SRF WIN Act comes on the heels of an Environment and Public Works (EPW) hearing where experts offered their support of the bill. 

During the hearing, Arkansas Rural Water Association Dennis Sternberg said it “would offer a new and efficient tool to leverage limited federal resources and stimulate additional investment in our nation’s infrastructure” and Kristina Swallow, the President of the American Society of Civil Engineers, called it “one more tool in our tool box that will help our local communities fund the infrastructure that they need to serve their community’s needs.”

My staff and I put together a video to show Arkansans what one of my typical days working for them in Washington, D.C. looks like. We wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on during an average day: meetings with Arkansans & stakeholders, attending committee hearings, giving a speech on the Senate floor and helping to celebrate worthy causes are just a few of the highlights. Watch the video to see for yourself how the day unfolds.

It's an honor to represent you. I'm working hard to use the power of this office for good, help make your life better and ensure that future generations will enjoy the many benefits our state and country have to offer.

Last week, Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04) and I toured Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District in an effort to highlight small businesses. On the tour, we which called the #TalkSmallYall Small Business Tour, we listened to business owners, managers, employees and other key figures about what they are seeing and experiencing in today’s economy and we asked for input on how to make it easier for small businesses to grow and thrive.

More than 90 percent of Natural State businesses are small businesses. They employ nearly half of Arkansas employees. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, so Congressman Westerman and I wanted to hear directly from the people who are on the frontlines of economic activity. We’ll be taking their concerns and feedback to Washington, D.C. in order to help enact pro-growth policies that provide the predictability small-business owners need.

Here are some highlights from the #TalkSmallYall Small Business Tour as covered by media outlets in Arkansas:
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created an initiative aimed at helping to encourage investment in low-income, economically disadvantaged areas. The plan, which allows governors to nominate tracts of land as "Opportunity Zones" for approval by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is based on Senator Tim Scott’s Investing in Opportunity Act. It was included in the recent tax reform law that is already helping Arkansans keep more of their own money and choose how best to use their resources.

Now, through these Opportunity Zones, tax reform is seeking to bring even more benefits to average, working people and the communities they live in.