Dr. Boozman's Check-up

In case you missed our interview with Jonesboro’s KASU radio, you can listen to the interview here. We covered a wide range of issues including the current debate in the Senate on the Keystone pipeline, relations with Cuba, the upcoming State of the Union address and more.  

The 114th Congress is underway. I want to share some of the bills I cosponsored and congratulate two Arkansas high school students for being selected as delegates to the U.S. Senate Youth Program. Read more in this “Week in Review.” 

  • Arkansas Delegates to U.S. Senate Youth Program: Congratulations to Katherine Sanders of Cave City and Ashton Yarbrough of Bentonville on being selected as delegates for the 53rd annual United States Senate Youth Program. While in Washington from March 7-14, Sanders and Yarbrough will join 102 other delegates in meetings with Senators, Congressional staff, the President, a Justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an Ambassador to the United States and senior members of the national media. I’m excited to welcome them to our nation’s capital. 
  • Keystone Pipeline: I cosponsored legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project. The Senate will begin debate on this legislation Monday. I recently toured Welspun Tubular, the Little Rock based company hired to produce hundreds of miles of pipe for the project. Company leaders estimate that 150 jobs will be created just to load pipe onto rail cars for shipment when the project gets the green light. The House passed this legislation today and I’m hopeful the Senate will follow its lead. 
  • Supporting School Choice: I cosponsored a resolution supporting National School Choice Week and designating the week of January 25 through January 31, 2015, as "National School Choice Week.’’ As a former school board member I understand that state and local governments are best equipped to make education decisions for their communities – not Washington. I’m proud to support this resolution and the outstanding educational choices that Arkansas offers. 
  • Hire More Heroes Act: I joined efforts to promote employment for our veterans while providing relief from the burdensome Obamacare employer mandate by cosponsoring the Hire More Heroes Act. Similar legislation passed the House this week. I cosponsored the same legislation last Congress
  • Forty Hours is Full Time Act: Obamacare’s employer mandate has caused some employee hours to be reduced and pay cut because the law defines a ‘full-time employee’ as someone who works on average 30 hours per week. With the costs of health care skyrocketing, businesses that may want to hire more employees will instead spend more money meeting the requirements of Obamacare. This is why I am a cosponsor of the Forty Hours is Full Time Act. This legislation would change the Obamacare definition of full-time to someone who works an average of 40 hours per week. 
  • Protecting the Separation of Powers in the Constitution – I cosponsored S.11legislation that will rein in the executive overreach and restore the separation of powers by eliminating procedural hurdles to legal challenges when the president fails to faithfully execute the laws. Learn why this is necessary.

The Associated Press reports that  agriculture “stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries” in a Cuba trade policy announced by the administration earlier this week. Arkansas’s agriculture industry groups say this opens the doors for increased trade. I intend to work with my Senate colleagues to build on these policy changes to create new opportunities for Arkansas agriculture producers. Learn more about the impact to the agriculture industry in these Arkansas news stories.

Democrat Gazette
In state, growers see trade potential
Talk Business
Ag Community Upbeat On Cuba Normalization, Political Opinions Vary
Arkansas News Bureau
Arkansas may benefit from Obama’s Cuba policy
Updated Cuba policy could spell out big money for Ark. rice growers
Arkansas Business
Delta Caucus Happy with Cuba Move
Arkansas Rice Industry Expects Big Boom
U.S. Senate Republicans announced their committee assignments for the 114th Congress. I'm excited to once again be serving on the Agriculture Committee; Appropriations Committee; Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW); and Veterans Affairs Committee. I will also sit on the Rules Committee for this coming session of Congress. I am eager to begin working toward a more efficient and effective government when we take control of the Senate in January. 

I was honored to recognize the military service of Arkansas Veterans during recent medal presentations in Manila and Harrison. 

Jerry McCain of Manila was awarded medals for his service in the Army during the Vietnam War – one of which was the Purple Heart Medal.

Jack Massengale of Harrison, was awarded the Purple Heart Medal along with other medals at a ceremony held at the Boone County Courthouse. Massengale served in the Army during the Vietnam War. 

Military and Veterans Liaison, Lt. Col. Steve Gray (ret.), works with the Department of Defense to get medals for Veterans who earned them but never received them. Steve presents these medals to veterans or posthumously to their family members at ceremonies across the state. 

Read the story printed in the Town Crier about McCain’s presentation and about Massengale’s award ceremony in the Harrison Daily Times

I joined host David Goins yesterday to discuss the President's immigration executive order, lame duck session of Congress and what to expect from a Republican-led Senate in the coming year on KARK's "Capitol View" program.

Part 1:

Part 2: 

If you visited the President’s website, you might think that Washington’s spending problem is under control.

Lines that suggest President Obama has “led the way on structuring the government to live within its means” and “the Administration has moved to eliminate wasteful spending, streamline what works, and modernize how government operates to save money and improve performance” would give you the impression that everything is rosy and going according to plan.

So, how then, does the White House reconcile that rhetoric with the fact that our national debt has now passed the $18 trillion mark? It appears by ignoring this alarming trend all together, and not commenting on it despite once saying it was “unpatriotic” to add $4 trillion to the debt.

Come January, Republicans will control both chambers of Congress, allowing us to put our commitment to cut Washington’s wasteful spending into action. I believe we can find a mechanism, like a Balanced Budget Amendment, that will stop the government from spending beyond its means. If Arkansas can be required to balance our state’s budget, there is no reason that we shouldn’t be able to require Washington to do the same.

The national debt is a threat to our sovereignty. Foreign holdings account for almost half of these obligations, and much of that is owed to countries that do not always share our values—such as China and Saudi Arabia. We must end the excessive spending and put our nation back on a fiscally responsible path. The road we are on right now certainly isn’t fair to future generations. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road. In fact, it has been kicked so far down the road it is out of view.

In this edition of "From the Mailbag", Senator Boozman answers a question on free trade with foreign nations submitted by Peyton, a student in Ms. Tina Geske’s World History Class at Washington Junior High in Bentonville.

As we prepare our grocery lists for Thanksgiving we are reminded of the things for which we are thankful. This year I am grateful for a Razorback SEC football win, my health and my family. However, there are many children who don’t have the opportunity to be thankful for a family. These are our nation’s children in foster care. 

In Arkansas there are more than 3,000 children in our foster care system. Many of these children and youth are waiting for adoption and dreaming to be part of a loving family. 

To raise awareness, I cosponsored the Senate- passed resolution recognizing November as National Adoption Month and Saturday, November 22nd as National Adoption Day.  This campaign strives to share the many positive adoption stories, clear up the misconceptions of adoption and to bring attention to the children who are awaiting permanent families. I am proud to support the bipartisan resolution in hopes of encouraging families in Arkansas, and across the country, to open their hearts and homes and give the blessing of a bright future. 

Arkansas has excellent adoption advocacy groups and forever families. Due to their dedication to children, over the past several years these crusaders have been distinguished for their efforts by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, which coordinates the Angels in Adoption program. We are blessed to have so many Arkansans willing to share their love and their homes. 

Every child deserves the love and support of a family. We must work diligently to make that a reality. Families across Arkansas are committed to sharing their love with children who need parents. As a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I’m committed to creating an environment that encourages adoption and ensure that parents receive guidance, support, and an efficient and secure adoption process.