Dr. Boozman's Check-up

Here’s rundown of the bills I have signed on to support recently:

HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act: I signed on as a cosponsor to S. 857, the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act of 2015, which seeks to provide patients and their families with information about the disease and possible treatment options, including creating a care-management planning session for newly diagnosed patients.

The Veterans Choice Improvement Act of 2016: I joined with Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) on a bill to make the Veterans Choice Program a permanent program with advanced funding. This legislation also seeks to address the bureaucratic delays, hassles and confusion that veterans continue to experience while attempting to have their healthcare needs met.

Detaining ISIL Fighters in Guantanamo: I co-sponsored S. RES. 396 which calling for fighters involved with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to be detained at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) if they are captured by the United States. I’ve also opposed President Obama’s proposal to close Gitmo and transfer detainees to facilities on US soil.

Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act: I co-sponsored S. 689, a bill by Sen. John Thune that would allow sports medicine professionals to be covered by their medical malpractice insurance even when treating athletes outside the state where they are licensed. This bill would allow sports medicine providers to engage in treatment of injured athletes without taking on great professional and financial risk.

You can find a full list of the bills I am cosponsoring in the 114th Congress here and the legislation I have authored here.

Reports surfaced earlier this week hinting that the Obama Administration is considering easing financial restrictions that prohibit U.S. dollars from being used in transactions with Iran.

When the Obama Administration negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the President and Secretary of State John Kerry essentially gave the Iranians everything on their wish list. One of the only points that the Administration claimed to hold steady on was preventing Iran from gaining access to the U.S. financial system.

It is easy to see why allowing Iranian access to our financial system is a terrible idea.

Iran’s inability to trade in U.S. dollars prevents the regime in Tehran from fully opening its economy and protects the U.S. financial system from being used to launder terrorist funds. These two principles are the reason we had sanctions in place long before the JCPOA was ever signed. Those sanctions must remain in place.

Iran’s recent aggressions—such as testing ballistic missiles with “death to Israel” inscribed on them—are reminders of how much the Administration gave up when it signed the JCPOA and how Congress must exercise stringent oversight through this implementation process.  

And while some Administration officials were back-peddling on this idea during hearings on Capitol Hill this week, we cannot forget that the Obama Administration has a history of telling Congress one thing, and doing the exact opposite.

Congress is committed to restricting Iranian access to the dollar and will strenuously work to ensure the Obama Administration does not make a terrible deal worse.  

Need more evidence of how badly President Obama’s Iran strategy has failed?

The Associated Press reports that earlier this week, while Vice President Joe Biden was in Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Iranian regime test fired two ballistic missiles reportedly capable of reaching Israel.

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division, told Iran’s state-run media that the test was aimed at showing that the range of Iran’s missiles could reach Israel and said America’s strongest ally in the region “will not last long in a war.”

As an added insult, the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” was said to have been written in Hebrew on the missiles.

This was the second straight day the Iranian regime conducted this type of weapons testing. The State Department labeled the previous missile test as a possible violation of U.N. Security Council’s resolution 2231.

These displays are clearly meant to intimidate the Israelis and send a message to the world that the Iranians intend to quickly rebuild its weapon arsenal now that it is free of nuclear-related sanctions.

Iran’s ability to develop and acquire these types of weapons is just one of the many disastrous results of the Obama Administration’s poorly negotiated Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Now that the regime in Tehran is flush with resources, it acts as if it is virtually untouchable. Even before implementation of the JCPOA, Iran shamelessly violated UN Security Council mandates by conducting prohibited ballistic missile tests.

Combine a rebuilt arsenal with continuous agitation in the region through its terror allies and you have a recipe for disaster. The State Department has already acknowledged that Iran will send its newly found funds and resources to terror groups, including Hezbollah.

Those Iranian proxies, and even some of the nation’s own military units, are fighting for Bashir Assad in Syria right now. Working with Russian warplanes, Iran’s special forces and Hezbollah fighters have helped Assad regain control of large swaths of Syrian territory including districts around Aleppo where some of the bloodiest battles of the conflict have been waged.

This is the world that the misguided Obama foreign policy doctrine has created. If Iran is allowed to continue to provoke and intimidate Israel, it is clear that the already unstable region will spiral further out of control. This situation calls for strong U.S. leadership. The Obama Administration needs to come off the sidelines and ensure that the Iranian regime understands that these provocations will not be tolerated.    

The availability of prescription painkillers is a leading factor in the increase of opioid abuse.

Since 1999, opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled nationwide. Unfortunately, Arkansas is not immune to this problem. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that it’s one of 12 states with more painkiller prescriptions than people. Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane has seen the impact in his community and across the state.

This is a nationwide problem. That's why the Senate is considering the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. This bill can help provide communities the ability to combat the growing opioid epidemic in Arkansas and across the country by expanding prevention efforts, supporting law enforcement, combating overdoses and expanding access to treatment.

The Library of Congress proudly announced that its Veterans History Project (VHP) has archived its 100,000th oral history submission from an American war veteran.

This is no small feat and all who have helped along the way deserve our gratitude because preserving the firsthand accounts of the men and women who served in these conflicts adds so much to the permanent record from which future generations will learn.

My office has conducted several workshops to teach volunteers how to capture the memories of our veterans and my staff has interviewed several veterans for the VHP. Learn more about the program and how you can participate here.

I was honored to recognize the service and sacrifice of Vietnam Veteran Joe Joslin during a recent service medal presentation in Sherwood. Joslin earned the Bronze Star for his heroism while part of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. KTHV was there to capture this special event. Joslin also worked for many years as a Veterans’ Service Officer in Searcy County and currently serves as a District Commander for the American Legion. 

The U.S. Senate experienced a system-wide email outage Tuesday, December 22nd from approximately 6am - 10am (CST). If you made a request via my website during that time please re-send the information. This includes requests for tours and flags, help with government agencies, and the email option to share your opinion on federal issues.

Your views and requests are very important to me. If you have any questions don't hesitate to call my office.