Dr. Boozman's Check-up

Mr./Madam President,

Newspapers have played a vital role in our country’s history of public discourse, increasing our knowledge and awareness about what takes place around us.

The stories they print keep us informed, while building a sense of community and regional identity.

Newspapers drive political debates and set the agenda, helping us make sense of the issues impacting our world.

As one of the oldest continuously published newspapers west of the Mississippi, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has been a resource of information that keeps readers connected to community, the state and our nation for 200 years.

As the Senate returns to session today, I wanted to take a moment to share some of the highlights from the in-state work period. It was great to be able to spend a long, uninterrupted period on the road in the Natural State, visiting with Arkansans and learning what we need to be focusing on in Washington to improve their lives back home. 

  • KASU’s Morning Edition: While in Jonesboro, I visited KASU’s studio to chat with Johnathan Reaves during Morning Edition. We discussed veterans’ issues, agriculture, trade and opioids. The entire interview is archived here
I’ve introduced a bill – the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act – which aims to achieve global gender parity in economic activity by expanding access to U.S. backed enterprise development programs for micro, small, and medium sized businesses and integrating gender analysis and equality into the strategies and projects undertaken by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

ICYMI: Tele-Town Hall

Aug 01 2018

Thank you to the Arkansans who participated in my most recent telephone town hall that we conducted on Monday, July 30. I appreciated hearing the concerns and answering questions about a wide range of issues important to them including veterans benefits. If you missed the event you can listen to the conversation here. 

Join our next tele-town hall by signing up here.

Veterans are used to being part of something bigger than themselves. I enjoyed getting to see that in action with Sheep Dog Impact Assistance in Gravette. Bringing together veterans and first responders to build camaraderie is a good approach to combatting the challenges facing many of our heroes.
The Senate started this week off by passing The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This vital national security bill authorizes $716 billion for our nation’s defense to ensure our military is prepared to address the wide-range of threats the U.S. and our allies face in the world today. I’m hopeful that my amendment will be included in the conference report that comes before the House and Senate, and eventually makes it to the president’s desk to become law. The feedback I’ve received from our military leaders tells me that we have to be strategic and clear-eyed about the situation developing in Eastern Europe and my amendment is just one piece within a larger blueprint to help the Pentagon toward this end.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it is conducting a review of cases evaluated by a former pathologist at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center who was found to be impaired while at work. This physician has since been terminated. A preliminary investigation by the VA’s Office of the Inspector General found this physician misdiagnosed patients. The VA is now conducting a thorough review of all cases read by this pathologist and investigating the extent of misdiagnoses.

This misconduct is incredibly disturbing. Understandably, veterans and their families who receive care at the Fayetteville VA are frustrated and concerned about whether these misdiagnoses impact them. I am committed to getting answers for impacted veterans and their families and making sure the VA holds accountable those individuals responsible for this misconduct.

Unfortunately, at this time, we don’t know the extent of this pathologist’s errors. The VA is in the process of notifying patients whose cases were evaluated by this pathologist and will additionally contact these individuals after their case review is completed.

Patients who have questions or concerns can call 866-388-5428 or 479-582-7995. This call center is staffed by VA nurses specifically to answer questions and address patient concerns about this review process. 

The VA announced a town hall meeting to be held on Monday, July 9 at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville in the auditorium of building 3 to discuss updates about its pathology reviews. 

My office is ready and willing to help veterans and their families affected by this alleged negligence. For assistance, please call any of my Arkansas offices and let us know you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran who receives care at the Fayetteville VA. I am committed to ensuring that our veterans receive the health care they earned in service to our country and overseeing that the VA is providing the quality care they expect and deserve. 

A WIN-WIN for Arkansas, and for our nation.

That is how Carol Williams, the executive director of Land Trust Arkansas, describes the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act—a bill I introduced with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to modernize our approach to funding water infrastructure. 

Carol’s piece in today’s edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is behind a paywall, but I’d like to highlight what she wrote about the SRF WIN Act. 

She writes

As chair of the Environment and Public Works' Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife, Senator Boozman has introduced a bill which secures funding for the preservation and improvement of the processes which protect our natural surface and ground water, while assuring the proper re-entry of wastewater into our system of water resources.

This Senate bill is bipartisan and has become bicameral, with similar legislation introduced in the House. It provides leveraged funding of $50 billion over five years in secured loans to benefit communities both large and small. It is named the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN).

Its passage will be a WIN-WIN for Arkansas, and for our nation. 

Her praise for the SRF WIN Act comes on the heels of an Environment and Public Works (EPW) hearing where experts offered their support of the bill. 

During the hearing, Arkansas Rural Water Association Dennis Sternberg said it “would offer a new and efficient tool to leverage limited federal resources and stimulate additional investment in our nation’s infrastructure” and Kristina Swallow, the President of the American Society of Civil Engineers, called it “one more tool in our tool box that will help our local communities fund the infrastructure that they need to serve their community’s needs.”