Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Senator John Boozman (R-AR) submitted the following remarks into the Congressional Record, the official proceedings of Congress, recognizing Bentonville residents Dave and Jenny Marrs and their advocacy of adoption:
I rise today to recognize Dave and Jenny Marrs of Bentonville, Arkansas, on being named National Angels in Adoption honorees by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI).
The CCAI is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and I was honored to nominate Dave and Jenny for their work to support and promote adoption and other critical services for children in Arkansas and around the world.
Since 2001, the CCAI has played a vital role in eliminating barriers standing between orphaned and foster children becoming part of a loving family. As the CCAI’s signature public awareness program, Angels in Adoption annually recognizes outstanding individuals, families and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to adoption and child welfare.
Dave and Jenny are the parents of five children, including Sylvie whom they adopted from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They had always known they wanted to adopt and, in 2012, began the process to make Sylvie part of their family. It only took a few months for Sylvie to legally became their child, but the couple had no idea how difficult it would be to bring her home to Arkansas when international challenges brought the process to a halt. Shortly after their visit to the Congo, the Congolese government shut down adoptions. Dave and Jenny were devasted, but the hardships only strengthened their resolve to rescue their daughter. It was during that process that my office first met the Marrs family and I am pleased we were able to advocate for them with the U.S. State Department and Embassy officials. After more than 600 days, their Sylvie finally arrived home.
Inspired by their newest addition to the family, Dave and Jenny developed a passion for orphan care, family preservation and adoption. The family started a nonprofit blueberry farm in Northwest Arkansas as a way to help fund a program to educate orphaned and at-risk teenage boys in Marondera, Zimbabwe. They also advocate for children in need, including working closely with the philanthropic organization Help One Now to empower families in developing nations through capable local leaders.
The Marrs family has traveled the world to see firsthand the extreme poverty and truly dark circumstances facing parentless children around the globe. While visiting the Congo, the couple witnessed extreme starvation in the orphanage where their daughter Sylvie was living. This shocked Dave and Jenny, launching them into action. They organized an online raffle to raise money to feed the kids and their program was so successful it was able to feed three orphanages for an entire month. The Marrses have also used their platform on their hit HGTV show “Fixer to Fabulous” to help spread awareness about adoption and share their journey with viewers.
It was a privilege to nominate Dave and Jenny for their exemplary work that led to this well-deserved national honor, and I believe I speak for all Arkansans when I say they have made our state incredibly proud. They join influential and deserving members of this community, including Mohammed Ali and First Lady Laura Bush, as recipients of this important recognition. I am grateful for the life-changing efforts Dave and Jenny Marrs – as well as their wonderful children Nathan, Ben, Sylvie, Charlotte and Luke – have contributed to shine a light on this truly worthy and necessary cause.
TO: Arkansas’s Second Amendment Supporters
FROM: Senator John Boozman
RE: Opposition to David Chipman’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Date: July 28, 2021
President Joe Biden has nominated David Chipman to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). I believe he is unfit to lead the bureau and will vote against his confirmation.
Chipman has not proven that he supports the Second Amendment, and in fact his record exhibits the opposite. Given the ongoing efforts around the country to implement unfair and unconstitutional gun control laws, I believe the head of the ATF should have a solid understanding and be a strong advocate for the Second Amendment.
Chipman has a deeply flawed interpretation of our individual right to keep and bear arms. He worked for the ATF for almost 25 years. After serving in supervisory roles in Michigan and Washington, D.C. he retired in 2012. He has since become a senior policy advisor at Giffords, a gun control group that advocates for stricter firearms laws. Chipman’s nomination is another clear signal from the president that gun control measures remain a key priority on the administration’s agenda.
Chipman has even shown his contempt and disdain for legal gun buyers, equating the rise in the purchase of guns during the pandemic to preparing for a zombie attack, “…the people who hoarded guns might decide six months from now—once they see no zombies around but they’ve run out of tuna and beef jerky—that they need the money to buy food.” Openly mocking lawful gun owners for exercising their constitutional right is troubling for anyone, but coming from the person nominated to lead the ATF it is downright disturbing and unacceptable.
I am a proud supporter of the Second Amendment and believe the Director of the ATF should not have a predisposed hostility to it. I have serious concerns with Chipman's track record of vocal support for extensive gun control measures and his mistaken understanding of the Second Amendment. That’s why I feel it is more important than ever to continue my strong and vocal support for our Second Amendment right and forcefully oppose his nomination.
I’ve long been a champion of this fundamental right. As a member of the Second Amendment Task Force, I have been a constant advocate of efforts to protect and enhance the ability of law-abiding citizens to own firearms. I’ve fought to protect this founding principle by pushing back on the Biden administration’s policies and nominees that threaten to erode it, as well as by supporting legislation to defend it. Here are some of the highlights from this Congress:
- Opposing the nomination of Merrick Garland to serve as U.S. Attorney General because of his stance on guns and his previous rulings as federal judge that threatened the right to keep and bear arms.
- Urging the administration to withdraw overreaching rules including the ATF’s proposed rule banning the use of stabilizing braces on firearms.
- Cosponsoring the Federal Firearm Licensee Protection Act of 2021, the Hearing Protection Act, the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2021 and the Protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act.
Arkansans and Americans across our country understand the need to uphold and protect the Second Amendment. They are right, and I will continue that fight in the Senate.
Jun 15 2021
***UPDATE: The U.S. Department of State is now advising Americans who plan to travel abroad to apply for a passport at least six months before their trip.
A new alert on passport operations warns that routine passport applications may take up to 18 weeks. Expedited requests (with additional fees) may take up to 12 weeks.
Some passport facilities across the country are offering extremely limited appointments for Americans traveling within three days. To schedule an appointment use the agency’s Online Appointment System. Arkansans who cannot get an appointment at the facility in Hot Springs are encouraged to look for appointments at nearby facilities in Dallas and New Orleans.***
As I travel around Arkansas it is exciting to see all of the things that are returning to normal this summer. However, if you plan to go outside the continental United States or have a family member who wants to visit from another country, you may find that many of those processes are still anything but normal.
There are many factors causing delays and making certain types of travel difficult. Travelers need to plan ahead further in advance, be prepared to jump through new hoops and understand that some trips still aren’t possible.
First, it is important to know that passport services are still delayed. Due to COVID-19, the lack of passport processing last year created a backlog and increased demands on the U.S. Passport Service. Travelers should plan for a routine application to take 10 to 12 weeks and an expedited passport to take four to six weeks.
For the last month, my office has been inundated with calls from Arkansans with passport problems. Unfortunately, officials cannot guarantee processing of last-minute requests for tourist and business travel. It has been very difficult to get an appointment with passport officials less than two weeks from a trip. If you plan to travel this fall, now is the time to check the expiration date on your passport or apply for a new one. The latest information can be found at travel.state.gov/passports.
The second challenge involves visitors from other parts of the world who need a visitor visa to see friends and family in the U.S. Many of our embassies around the world are still operating at very limited capacity and not processing routine visas. Most are prioritizing life and death emergencies, critical workers and students registered in academic programs which means they are not issuing visas for typical tourism or business travel to the U.S. The best place to check on the status of each embassy is on the State Department’s website.
My staff and I are always happy to inquire with the appropriate agencies to find out what is possible. However, we have had to manage our expectations and let many people know that the visit they hoped for this summer cannot happen until our embassies return to normal.
The third challenge we are seeing is with pre-travel testing for COVID-19, particularly for islands within the United States and its territories. These small, isolated locations are appropriately vigilant about the spread of COVID-19 and often have very specific rules. It is critical that travelers to places like Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands carefully review the requirements before boarding a plane. Unfortunately, Arkansans have tested negative for COVID-19 and been forced to either leave or quarantine because they did not get their test at a preapproved location.
The bottom line is that we all need to plan ahead and have patience this summer. Employees at these agencies are working hard to help as many Americans as they can, as quickly as possible. Hopefully we will begin to see rapid improvement in these processes and continue our march toward normalcy. As always, if you have any problems involving a federal government agency, please feel free to reach out to my office.
May 11 2021
Feb 03 2021
Jan 29 2021
Arkansans have a lot of questions about the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) that Congress approved at the end of 2020. The media often refers to these payments as ‘stimulus checks.'
The IRS has been issuing these payments. The best place to start in finding the status of a payment is the Get My Payment button on the IRS website. This will show if and when the payment was processed. It is important to note that it is taking approximately three to four weeks from that processing date to receive the payment. Arkansans with a January 6 date on the IRS website have told me they just received their check in the mail this week.
If the IRS website indicates the payment status is “unavailable” you may still be able to get one. The IRS added a line to this year’s tax forms so you can claim an unreceived EIP from both 2020 and 2021. You will have to file a tax return to see if there is any money through the Recovery Rebate Credit.
I understand this impacts many Arkansans who don’t normally file a tax return. If you need help with this to pursue your EIP, check out the file for free resources from the IRS or find the closest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site.