Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Jun 26 2015
It was a busy week in Washington that included decisions by the Supreme Court, a hearing on the cyberattack at OPM and honoring an Arkansas war hero. Read more in this Week in Review.
- SCOTUS Rulings- The Supreme Court ruled President Obama’s health care law allows premium subsidies for people buying health insurance through exchanges established by the federal government. Justice Scalia pointedly noted in the dissent that the Court went to great interpretive lengths to protect the law. I will continue to work with my colleagues to repeal and replace this failed program and give the American people real reform that puts them back in charge of their healthcare decisions. The Supreme Court also legalized same-sex marriage in a ruling today. I respectfully disagree with this ruling. This doesn’t change the fact that I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am a cosponsor of the State Marriage Defense Act of 2015, legislation which respects the definition of marriage held by the people of each state and protects states from the federal government's efforts to force any other definition upon them. I’m disappointed this issue was not allowed to be decided by the states.
- OPM Data Breach –As Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), I am conducting oversight of the growing problem of cybersecurity attacks of government agencies. The head of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) testified before the FSGG subcommittee about the recent data breach. As I told Neil Cavuto following the hearing, the government is doing a “sloppy, shoddy job” of protecting data.
- Creating Opportunities for American Jobs and Economic Growth: The Senate passed, with my support, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). This legislation ensures that we can negotiate a fair trade deal while increasing transparency and maintaining Congress’s important role in the process. This requires text of any trade deal be made public 60 days before Congress votes, requires the administration to consult with Congress during negotiations of a trade deal and sets clear negotiation objectives for the administration. International trade supports more than 340,000 Arkansas jobs. Opening new markets for Arkansas’s agriculture producers, small businesses and globally-engaged workforce will drive that number up.
- Perryville Post Office – Congressman French Hill and I introduced companion legislation to name the Perryville Post Office in honor of Sergeant Harold George Bennett, a Perryville native. Sgt. Bennett spent 179 days as a POW during the Vietnam War and his captors executed him on June 25, 1965. Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of his death.
- Disaster Declaration – The President issued a disaster declaration for Arkansas because of severe storms and flooding in the state. I was proud to join members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation to support Governor Hutchinson’s request for federal disaster assistance for 33 Arkansas counties. We wrote a letter requesting assistance from the President.
- Improving Rural Drinking Water – I joined Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) to introduce the Water Supply Cost Savings Act, legislation that would provide cost-effective solutions to improve access to high quality drinking water in rural communities.
- Honoring Arkansas Electric Cooperative Volunteers – I honored Arkansas Electric Cooperative volunteers who helped provide electric service to remote villages of Guatemala in the Congressional Record. Read my statement here.
- Arkansas Airports Receive FAA Grants - The FAA awarded nearly $2 million to five Arkansas airports for improvements to runways, taxiways and aprons. These infrastructure upgrades will help accommodate future growth and development throughout the state.
- KASU Interview: I joined Jonesboro’s KASU radio earlier this week to discuss the busy week in Washington. We talked about trade issues and why I support Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), water regulations and the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and efforts in the Senate to comply with the World Trade Organization (WTO).