Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Feb 06 2015
The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act passes the Senate, Democrats filibuster Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding, the President proposes an out-of-touch budget and more in this “Week in Review.”
- Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act: The Senate unanimously passed this bill that will improve mental health care and suicide prevention resources for veterans by increasing access to mental health programs, providing incentives to recruit and retain psychiatrists to treat veterans and enhancing resources for members of the military transitioning to civilian life. If you missed my floor speech during the debate, you can watch it here.
- DHS Funding and the President’s Executive Overreach: In case you missed it, I spoke with the Washington Examiner about why I think defunding Obama’s executive actions on immigration is a “must have” in any new legislation to fund DHS.
- The President’s Out-of-Touch Budget Proposal: President Obama announced his FY 2016 Budget proposal. If implemented, the President’s proposal would create $2.1 trillion in new taxes, increase spending by 65 percent and add $8.5 trillion to the debt over the next ten years. It would fully fund Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with no restrictions on the President’s executive order declaring amnesty. Read why this is out-of-touch with the needs and concerns of the American people.
- What I'm Co-Sponsoring Week: Repealing Obamacare Act, Balanced Budget Amendment & More: I added my support to several bills this week, including efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, a Constitutional amendment that would require Washington to balance its budget and a bill to hold Iran accountable if the regime refuses to negotiate a deal regarding Tehran's nuclear program by June 30th. Read about these bills and more in this blog post.
- #ServingAR: My staff is taking the office on the road and hosting seven mobile offices around the state next week as part of my commitment to make it more convenient to get you the help you deserve. I will also be holding a “Facebook Q&A” and a telephone town hall on Monday. You can find out how to participate in both here.
- From the Mailbag: Last week I helped introduce a bipartisan bill to lift the travel ban to Cuba. In this edition of “From the Mailbag” I answer a question from James in Russellville about the US and Cuba moving toward normalized relations.
- UA Mentoring Program for Veteran and Minority Farmers Receives Federal Funding: I joined with U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and U.S. Representative Steve Womack (AR-3) to announce that the University of Arkansas (UA) has been awarded funding to develop an online and in-person training and mentoring program for military veterans and minority farmers.
Feb 06 2015
I’ve lent my support to a number of important bills that were introduced this week.
The Repeal Obamacare Act: Repealing Obamacare is at the top of the list of actions Arkansans want this Congress to take. This bill, introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), fully repeals Obamacare effective 180 days after its enactment, and provides Congress and the states the intervening six months to develop and vote on patient-oriented replacements that will fix the damage Obamacare has done to our health care system and economy.
Balanced Budget Amendment: On the heels of the release of President Obama’s misguided budget proposal, Senate Republicans have joined together to support Senator Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) Balanced Budget Amendment. I have supported this effort in the past and have signed on to cosponsor once again because if Arkansas can balance its budget, so can Washington.
Dollar-for-Dollar Deficit Reduction Act: Like the Balanced Budget Amendment, this is another effort to rein in spending so that we can make Washington more efficient, effective and accountable to the American people. I’ve joined with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to help introduce this commonsense bill that will promote spending reform by preventing Congress from raising the debt limit unless that legislation also cuts commensurate spending over the next decade.
Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015: This bill, introduced by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), would impose new sanctions on Iran if international negotiators fail to reach a deal by June 30 on Tehran's nuclear program.
Keep Our Communities Safe Act: Authored by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), this bill would close the legal loophole that requires immigration authorities to release back into the United States any immigrant that has not been accepted for deportation to other countries after being detained for six months. This practice is commonly referred to as “catch and release.”
The TALENT Act: This legislation makes certain the needs of high ability students are included in federal education policy. Instead of creating a new one-size-fits-all mandate to address the problem, we propose empowering teachers with options that will help them recognize and respond to the needs of high ability students.
The Work Colleges Relief Act: I joined a bipartisan group of senators to introduce this bill to clarify and make permanent a tax exemption for Work College scholarships that would help schools and their students avoid unnecessary legal and accounting costs.
Stay on top of all the bills I am cosponsoring in the 114th Congress by bookmarking this page where I will keep a running list.
Feb 04 2015
My staff is taking the office on the road and hosting seven mobile offices around the state as part of my commitment to make it more convenient to get you the help you deserve.
We have several opportunities available for you to reach our staff. These are great opportunities for Arkansas to get help and to speak one-on-one with my staff about questions pertaining to the federal government. Staff members will be eagerly waiting your arrival to assist in resolving any issues you may be having with federal agencies.
Come and meet with staff members at the following locations:
Monday, February 9Phillips County Mobile Office
PCCUA Helena Campus, Bonner Center
1000 Campus Drive, Helena
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 11
Boone County Mobile Office
Boone County Senior Activity and Wellness Center
1510 Rock Springs Road, Harrison
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Lawrence County Mobile Office
Lawrence County Courthouse, Foyer
315 West Main Street, Walnut Ridge
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Siloam Springs Mobile Office
First Bank Community Room
200 North Progress, Suite 100, Siloam Springs
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Van Buren Mobile Office
Fairfield Bay Conference Center
110 Lost Creek Parkway, Fairfield Bay
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Thursday, February 12Alma Mobile Office
Alma Senior Center
248 Collum Lane East, Alma
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Friday, February 13Magnolia Mobile Office
Magnolia Chamber of Commerce
211 West Main Street, Magnolia
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
If you aren’t able to attend an event near you, please call one of my seven offices in the state and we can help you. You can find the phone numbers and the authorization form we need in order to being looking into your problem at www.boozman.senate.gov in the section called “Help with an Agency.”
Feb 02 2015
Last week Senator Boozman helped introduce a bipartisan bill to lift the travel ban to Cuba. In this edition of 'From the Mailbag' Senator Boozman answers a question from James in Russellville about the US and Cuba moving toward normalized relations.
Good governance requires strong oversight. The Framers of the Constitution understood that. Unfortunately, under Harry Reid’s watch, the Senate has provided little of that in recent years.
This lack of accountability has allowed the President to circumvent Congress to push an agenda that runs counter to the needs and wants of the American people through his abuse of executive order authority.
Small-business owners across Arkansas routinely tell me the biggest problem they face in today’s economy is compliance with countless, confusing regulations put forth unilaterally by the Obama Administration on a regular basis.
This Administration, like no other in recent years, has abused the regulatory process. It has proposed thousands of new rules that add up to a combined price tag in the trillions. Compliance costs of these regulations are the equivalent of a wet blanket on the economy, taking resources from employers that should be devoted toward job creation.
The REINS Act, Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) bill, which I am cosponsoring, would serve as a check for the Administration’s regulatory binge. It will require Congressional approval, by joint resolution, of any federal rule that would cost the economy $100 million or more. Once major rules are drafted, they must be approved by both chambers of Congress and then signed by the President, satisfying the Constitutional requirements that currently are being subverted.
By passing the REINS Act, the American people will have a voice on these massive regulatory proposals through their elected officials. They will have the final say on whether or not these rules are the right course for the future.
I’m cosponsoring another bill authored by Senator Paul that seeks to achieve the same end goal, but takes-on a different area of government in desperate need of oversight—the Federal Reserve.
There is a shocking lack of transparency when it comes to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy deliberations. The Fed is essentially the nation’s central bank, yet somehow its practices are exempt from Government Accountability Office audits.
Just as the American people have a right to weigh in the President’s rules, they have a right to know how their nation’s monetary policy is being managed—or manipulated. The Audit the Fed bill would lift the veil of secrecy from the Federal Reserve, exposing monetary policy discussions and decisions to a Congressional audit.
With new leadership in the Senate, Congress finally has a chance to exercise much needed oversight and bring Washington’s actions out of the shadows.
Jan 30 2015
The Senate approves constructing the Keystone pipeline, connecting with students on skype and cosponsoring legislation to audit the Federal Reserve are some of the highlights of the week. Read about these and more in this “Week in Review.”
- Lifting Ban on Travel to Cuba: I joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce legislation that would end restrictions on travel to Cuba unfairly imposed on American citizens and legal residents. I believe that the way you change the world is through personal relationships. If we are serious about bringing real change to Cuba, we need to expose the Cuban people to our democratic ideals.
- Senate Approves Keystone Pipeline: After more than three weeks of debate and votes on several amendments, the Senate passed, with my support, the Keystone pipeline. I encourage the President to join with Congress to get this project moving, instead of being the one to hold it back.
- Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman: I’m proud to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management for the 114th Congress. This subcommittee’s work is important to the wellbeing of our agricultural economy and protecting producers.
- Skype with Schools: During National School Choice Week I had the opportunity to skype with students at Haas Hall Academy in Fayetteville and LISA Academy in central Arkansas. Students at these public charter schools said having educational options was important to them because it allows them to be better prepared for their interests beyond high school graduation. Watch the KNWA story about my skype session with Haas Hall students.
- Loan Extension for Farmers Impacted by Turner Grain: The loan repayment extension for farmers impacted by the collapse of Turner Grain expires next week. The Arkansas Congressional delegation sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking to defer loan repayments until the bankruptcy proceedings are completed.
- Protecting Religious Minorities: I joined my colleagues on a letter urging Secretary of State John Kerry to do more to protect Assyrian Christians and other minorities in the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq from the attacks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
- Recognizing the Retirement of a Veterans Advocate: Lt. Col (ret.) Steve Gray’s passionate advocacy has resulted in better service offerings at veterans’ facilities across Arkansas. His work is reflected in the lives that he helped make better by solving an individual’s problem with the Department of Veterans Affairs. I recognized his service in a speech on the Senate floor.
- Audit the Fed: I cosponsored legislation introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to make the Federal Reserve’s policies more transparent. The legislation would allow for an audit of the Federal Reserve and make it subject to Congressional oversight.
Jan 28 2015
Assyrian Christians and other minorities of the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq are under attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These jihadists are persecuting religious minorities based solely on their beliefs. Our country is committed to religious freedom and we must take necessary action to protect the people facing this unjust persecution. In a letter signed by 16 of my colleagues to Secretary of State John Kerry, we urged him to do more to protect these innocent victims. We have the resources to help and Congress approved funds to assist Iraqi Christians.
“The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (P.L. 113-235) included language directing the State Department to support programs designed to assist vulnerable Iraqi ethnic and religious minorities in the Nineveh Plains region, as well as the larger Iraqi Christian community,” we wrote in the letter.
Read the letter in its entirety below.
We have an obligation to promote religious tolerance worldwide. As an advocate of religious freedom, I will continue to monitor progress and push for assistance we can provide to these Iraqi Christians.
Jan 27 2015
Today is the tenth International Holocaust Remembrance Day and it falls on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a place that came to symbolize Nazi crimes against humanity.
On this day of remembrance, we honor the lives of the millions of people executed by the Nazi regime, including the six million ordered to their death for merely being followers of the Jewish faith. As we honor the victims, let their memories—and the stories from those who survived the Nazi’s atrocities—inspire us to ensure this never happens again.
We must remain committed to educating future generations about the atrocities that occurred at Auschwitz and other Nazi-run concentration camps. While doing so, we must ensure our voices are louder than those who deny or trivialize the Holocaust. This dangerous attempt to rewrite history is an effort by some to promote their anti-Semitic agenda. It must not stand.
If you plan to visit our nation’s capital, I encourage you to include the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on your itinerary. Admission to the museum is free and, with the exception of Yom Kippur and Christmas, it is open year-round. It is a somber, but truly powerful place to visit.
If a trip to Washington, DC is not an option, the museum’s website itself has a wealth of information and resources for educators, academics and individuals alike.
The Holocaust Memorial Museum seeks to inspire citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. These are the lessons that must be remembered to make certain that this horrific chapter in history is never again repeated.