Dr. Boozman's Check-up

We’ve all heard of the power of prayer. I am confident that prayers are being showered on Arkansas as we begin our process of mourning and recovery from the devastating tornados that tore through our state. I know these prayers are very much appreciated. 

On this National Day of Prayer we are reminded of the role of prayer and religion in the foundation of our nation. Our founding fathers made this clear in historical documents that have influenced our democracy and laws for hundreds of years. A call to prayer began when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in the formation of our nation and we follow this tradition every day when the Senate meets, we begin with a prayer. Today, we recognize our religious heritage as we celebrate the National Day of Prayer which I am confident will continue for hundreds of more years. 

I’m proud to support the National Day of Prayer that was signed into law in 1952 and amended in 1988 to permanently set the day of observance as the first Thursday in May. Each year since then, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. This year has been no different. 

I believe it’s our responsibility to uphold the values we were taught growing up, and because of that, I will continue to fight to uphold the right of religious expression. It is now more evident than ever our country needs our prayers. May God bless you and may God bless America.

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.

 

World Malaria Day

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.

 

Protecting Water Quality

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. 

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.

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).

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.” 

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. 
  • 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.

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
  • 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
  • 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.