Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Apr 29 2014
Since January 1, 2014, 129 people in the U.S. have been infected with measles, a significant increase according to data released last week by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These numbers reflect the biggest outbreak since 1996.
While a vaccine has been available to protect against the measles since 1963, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there were 122,000 measles deaths globally in 2012, about 14 deaths every hour.
Fortunately, we have the capability to prevent death from measles and other deadly diseases thanks to vaccines. According to WHO, up to three million lives could be saved each year if childhood vaccines reached all children who need them. The U.S. is leading this effort at home and abroad.
In 1994, the CDC launched the Vaccines for Children program (VFC) to help vaccinate children whose parents might not be able to afford vaccines. USAID, the federal agency tasked with improving lives in developing countries uses campaigns like vaccination programs and expanded health initiatives to save lives. The U.S. is also a contributor to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI). Established in 2000, this public-private partnership has helped immunize more than 440 million children, saving 6 million lives. Our help has made a difference but there is still more work to do.
As we recognize World Immunization Week we need to reaffirm our commitment to protecting children from vaccine-preventable deaths. Vaccinations are cost-effective, efficient and help save lives. We have a responsibility to help children in need, no matter where they live. As individuals we also have an obligation to make sure we are up-to-date with our own vaccinations. Through efforts like these, we are making great strides to help children worldwide fight preventable diseases.
Apr 25 2014
The world recognizes April 25th of each year as World Malaria Day. As a member of the
Senate Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases and founder and former co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, I support providing the tools and resources necessary to people around the globe in order to combat this infectious disease.
Despite its eradication in the U.S. more than 50 years ago, malaria remains a leading cause of death worldwide. We’ve seen great progress in the effort to eliminate the disease across the globe thanks to the efforts of public and private organizations. World Health Organization (WHO) data shows mortality rates have fallen by 42 percent globally since 2000 and by 49 percent in the WHO African Region.
WHO estimates that in 2012, malaria resulted in 627,000 deaths, mostly among African children. Having had the opportunity to travel to Africa, I have seen firsthand the devastation malaria causes the young and the poor. The good news is that this disease is preventable, treatable and curable, but it will take the combined efforts of the U.S., the international community, NGO’s, and the private sector to put an end to this tragedy, and I’m committed to continuing to work to make that happen.
We need to sustain the successful efforts that are helping save lives. Spraying homes with insecticides in targeted areas and providing families insecticide-treated bed nets to sleep under are methods to prevent the spread of malaria. There are also medicines that treat malaria and work continues on a malaria vaccine.
The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is actively working to rid the world of malaria. The group released its Eighth Annual Report to Congress and it shows significant progress has been made thanks to the investments made by our country. The U.S. can and should be very proud of our efforts to end malaria deaths.
Reining in EPA
Apr 21 2014
I’ve heard from many Arkansans about their concerns with the EPA’s recent announcement that the agency will try to claim jurisdiction over almost all waters across our country – including ditches and other waters never before regulated by DC bureaucrats. We’re working to stop this overreach. As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, that has oversight over our nation’s water policies, Congress made it clear that under the Clean Water Act some waters are protected by the federal government, while other waters are protected by state and local governments or through private, voluntary action.
Apr 17 2014
We talked with KFFB about a variety of topics and policies that are important to our economy and issues that we hear a lot about from Arkansans. If you missed the segments airing this week you can listen to the interview on the following topics: Obamacare, jobs and the Keystone Pipeline, energy and efforts to rein in the executive branch.
Apr 16 2014
The House recently passed legislation repealing the 30-hour work week rule, and I support efforts in the Senate to do that same. That’s why I cosponsored the Forty Hours is Full Time Act.
This legislation would change the Obamacare definition of full-time to 40 hours per week.
Obamacare threatens job creation. The healthcare law forces companies to comply with the employer mandate that requires all businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance to their staff or pay a penalty. 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.
We need to create policies that incentivize employers to hire and expand their business. Instead, Obamacare discourages job creation and gives businesses a reason to cut employee hours. Under the law, a full-time employee is defined as an individual working a minimum of 30 hours a week. The employer mandate has caused some businesses to stop hiring if they are close to that 50 full-time employees threshold and cut workers’ hours to less than 30.
According to a Hoover Institution study 2.6 million Americans making under $30,000 are at risk of having their hours and wages cut as a result of Obamacare’s definition of full-time. The rule disproportionately impacts young, low-wage workers.
- 60 percent are between the ages of 19 and 34
- 90 percent do not have a college degree.
- 63 percent are women.
- More than 600,000 workers in the retail trade, 225,000 workers in the education industry, and 589,000 workers in restaurants, are at risk of having their hours and wages cut.
Apr 15 2014
Today is the tax filing deadline. I want Arkansans to understand my commitment to creating an easy tax code that Americans can understand. I also want to update you on our efforts to push for accountability and transparency at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in light of the recent scandal. The IRS oversees our tax policy and has a responsibility to treat all taxpayers fairly under the law. Unfortunately that doesn't always happen. That's why I joined efforts to hold the agency accountable and to make it more transparent by cosponsoring The Stop IRS Overreach Act (S.2043) and The Taxpayer Accountability Act (S.2044).
Apr 11 2014
Week in Review: April 7-11
Secretary Sebelius announces resignation, two Arkansas Chambers of Commerce visit DC, a 70th Anniversary of D-Day Resolution is introduced and more in this “Week in Review.”
- Sebelius Resigns: Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation this week. That’s not likely to make the frustration felt by millions change. Until we get rid of Obamacare, and replace it with common-sense, market-based reforms, costs will continue to rise and the American people will continue to suffer as a result.
- Chambers Visit DC: Both the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce and the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce were in DC to discuss economic development issues.
- 70th Anniversary of D-Day Resolution: I joined my U.S. Senate French Caucus co-chair Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to introduce a resolution this week to mark the upcoming 70th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion and honor the U.S. Armed Forces who helped bring an end to World War II.
- Merchant Marine Academy Bill Moves Forward: The Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved my bill to enhance the oversight board that supervises the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), a federal service academy that serves the entire nation by producing trained merchant mariners/military officers to meet critical national sealift needs.
- Save the Children award: West Helena sisters Ariel and Dominique House presented me with Save the Children's Congressional Champion for Children award for our efforts on issues affecting children. I will continue to promote anti-hunger initiatives and investments in our children in Congress because every child deserves the opportunity to succeed.
Apr 04 2014
Honored for defending our nation’s founding principles, encouraging hiring veterans, the Boozman Bulletin and more from Washington this week.
- Hire Veterans: Unemployment among veterans is at 6.6 percent. However, veterans who have served since 9/11 are facing a much higher unemployment rate of 9 percent. We’re working to address this issue with the Hire More Heroes Act. This legislation incentivizes small businesses to hire veterans by exempting veterans who already receive health insurance through the Department of Veterans Affairs or reservists covered under TRICARE from being counted towards the number of employees required by the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act.
- Fighting for Arkansas ideals: I was honored to be recognized for supporting legislation to get our economy moving, rein in the expansive federal government and stop Washington’s wasteful spending. The American Conservative Union, the nation's oldest and largest grassroots conservative lobbying organization named me an “ACU Conservative” for defending our nation’s founding principles.
- Senate Committee Approves Boozman Bill: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved legislation I introduced to restore partnership agreements that allow the reinvestment of recreation fees at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds, parks, and other sites. This is good news for Corps sites in Arkansas.
- Protecting Rural Consumers: We joined with the other GOP members of the congressional delegation to send a letter to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler, expressing our concerns over a potential rate increase to rural telecom users.
- Supporting Small Aircraft Pilots: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Wednesday that it's beginning a rulemaking process that could expand the light sport aircraft medical exemption to cover additional small aircraft pilots. This comes weeks after we introduced legislation urging the FAA to revise its policy. This announcement by FAA is a good first step.
- Boozman Bulletin: The latest issue of the Boozman Bulletin was sent to Arkansans this week. If you want to get our e-newsletter sent to you sign up here.
- Telephone Town Hall: I hosted a telephone town hall on Monday and was joined on the phone by many Arkansans who have questions about a variety of issues being debated in Washington. If you want to join our next call, sign up here.
Mar 28 2014
Telephone townhall announced, Senate-passage of Ukraine assistance package, IRS free file and much more in this edition of the “Week in Review.”
- Telephone Townhall Announced: Our next telephone town hall is this coming Monday, March 31st. Sign-up here.
- Senate Approves Ukraine Assistance: While President Obama signed an executive order that authorizes limited sanctions against those responsible, we must continue to seek ways to assist the Ukrainians and our allies in the region, including the additional sanctions outlined in this bill.
- Supporting the Three Rivers Study: The Arkansas and Oklahoma Congressional delegations sent a joint letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works in support of a study that would "help ensure the continued viability of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System."
- Turning up the Heat on Joseph Kony: President Obama has ordered the deployment of additional aircraft and U.S. military personnel to assist African forces in the efforts to hunt down warlord Joseph Kony. This is an effort we should support.
- Take Advantage of IRS Free File: Tax day is drawing near and there’s easy, convenient and free way to file federal tax returns that doesn’t involve spending countless hours with a pencil, calculator and eraser.
- Red Cross Month: If there is anything that can be learned for our circumstances this winter, it is the need to be prepared. Now that spring is upon us, we have a different form of extreme weather to deal with—tornadoes. It’s the perfect reminder to be prepared.
Mar 27 2014
Tax day is drawing near and there’s easy, convenient and free way to file federal tax returns that doesn’t involve spending countless hours with a pencil, calculator and eraser.
The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Free File program offers taxpayers with a 2013 Adjusted Gross Income of $58,000 the opportunity to prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns at no cost. Free File also offers basic federal e-filing services regardless of income.
Free File takes the taxing out of taxes and provides eligible taxpayers with free online individual income tax preparation and electronic filing services. This is an easy and convenient way to file a tax return or submit an extension.
Since 2003, 40 million taxpayers have taken advantage of the Free File program, saving about $1.2 billion a year.
“Free File makes tax time simple, fast and free for 70 percent of Americans,” Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance said. “Since 2003, the Free File Alliance has partnered with the IRS to give taxpayers access to leading online tax preparation software and critical step-by-step support. This year, we invite every taxpayer making $58,000 or less to join the 40 million Americans who have already saved time and money by using Free File.”
Free File is made possible through a public-private partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a non-profit coalition of leading tax software companies. IRS Free File is available at www.IRS.gov/freefile, which provides a list of Free File Alliance member companies and their free tax software offerings.
This is an important program. That’s why I cosponsored S. 669, the Free File Program Act. This bill would authorize and direct the Treasury Secretary to continue to operate the IRS Free File Program that provides all taxpayers with the opportunity to complete and file electronically their federal tax returns at no cost to the taxpayer.