Dr. Boozman's Check-up

President Obama’s healthcare law hasn’t been fully implemented, but it’s already worse than we anticipated. A new estimate by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows it will cost us $1.75 trillion over nine years—that’s $900 billion more than what President Obama promised. At a time when the U.S. borrows 42 cents for every dollar it spends, this news should raise a red flag.   

Remember when the President promised: “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it”? Sadly, neither is this true. According to the same CBO report, 4 million fewer Americans will receive employer-based health care coverage under ObamaCare. 

With employer coverage decreasing, insurance premiums climbing, government healthcare expanding, and budget deficits soaring, ObamaCare’s empty promises continue to grow.

Are you procrastinating filing your taxes because of the complexity of the forms? Take the hassle out of your taxes and try the free federal tax preparation services available through the IRS Free File Program. Visit www.IRS.gov  to prepare and electronically file returns. 

Click on the “Free File” icon on the right side of the screen and you can access a list of Free File Alliance member companies that fit your needs. You’ll be transferred to the company’s website to prepare and electronically file federal income tax returns.

 

President Obama’s most recent budget proposal would close six Agriculture Research Service (ARS) laboratories including the Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville. The President’s proposal redirects the money from these research centers to increase spending on other programs. 

This center has proven to be a vital asset to the agriculture community with important discoveries researched here and implemented in farms across the country. As a former Polled Hereford rancher, I understand the importance of the research done at the Center. Farmers rely on the innovations discovered here to improve their practices. 

I am working to preserve the important research being done at the Booneville facility. I believe shutting down these laboratories to increase spending on other programs is not a wise use of taxpayer dollars. 

Last Friday I toured the Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center. You can read the story about our visit in the Booneville Democrat. Today I encouraged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to look at the facility and reexamine the research important research being done at the laboratory.

In 1912, Arkansas Children’s Hospital was known as the Arkansas Children’s Home Society.  It was a safe haven for orphaned and abused children.  Today, Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) has become one of the most respected pediatric hospitals in the country.  

Serving children from birth to twenty-one, this facility is a destination for children from all over the country to receive the excellent care that the more than 500 physicians and almost 4,000 support staff offer. This hospital consistently ranks as one of the leading employers in Arkansas. It is the only pediatric Level I trauma center in the state, and it is the sixth largest in the United States.  Thousands of Americans have experienced the renowned care offered by the staff and facilities at ACH—many owe their lives to these world-class doctors and nurses that make up this fine institution.  

In the mission statement, ACH’s “vision is to become internationally recognized as a leader in pediatric biomedical research.”  I would say that on its 100 birthday, it has achieved unmatched success in this endeavor and I hope for continued success for another 100 years. 

I wish to congratulate Dr. Jonathan Bates, President & CEO, as well as the administration, physicians, residents, and support staff on the 100th anniversary of ACH.  This hospital is something the people of Arkansas can be proud of, both its history and vision for the future.

Talking with Arkansans

KASU and KBJT-KQEW Interviews

Feb 29 2012

Did you hear our radio interviews on your way to work this morning? If not, I want to share our conversations with Mark Smith from KASU in Jonesboro and Saxon Coates with KBJT-KQEW in Fordyce. We discussed foreign affairs, a recent floor speech on supporting the committment from Senate leaders to move forward with appropriations bills, gas prices, rights of conscience, and the budget.

 

Fighting For Veterans

Joint VA Hearing on Legislative Presentation of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

Feb 29 2012

Members of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees heard testimony from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) on its 2012 legislative priorities. The existing disability claims backlog, smooth implementation of electronic health records, continued access to VA services and the threat of possible budget sequestration were among their top concerns.

Senator Boozman met with members of the Arkansas DAV and other veterans organizations before the joint hearing. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette talked with some of the Arkansas members who attended the hearing and met with lawmakers in this story published today. (Subscription required)

With out-of-control spending, rapidly increasing national debt and an all-time high national deficit you would hope the government would eliminate wasteful spending. Unfortunately, in the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report on wasteful spending on duplicative programs within the federal government more than $400 billion taxpayer dollars is being spent on 1,500 duplicative, fragmented and inefficient programs. This outrageous number is on top of the $100 billion identified by last year’s report

This is the second year of a three-year process that the GAO is comprehensively reviewing federal spending for duplicative programs. It is evident that not much has changed in a year.

I am disappointed to see that our government is spending such an unspeakable amount of taxpayer dollars on more than 1,500 programs that have been identified as wasteful.

Most notably:

  • $3 billion have spent spend on over 200 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs. Many of which have not conducted evaluations on how well their programs are working. 
  • $736 million spent on 14 different diesel emissions and Federal funding for 55 surface transportation programs.
  • 82 duplicative teacher quality programs
  • $62.5 billion on 18 duplicative domestic food and nutrition programs

This information translates into years of wasted tax dollars. The President wants to continue this unsustainable spending and force the taxpayers to pay for it instead of changing how this hard earned money is spent. The President’s 2012 budget plan proposes to raise taxes by $2 trillion in order to pay for this spending spree.  While we need Washington to get its fiscal affairs in order, the first step of this process is to eliminate unnecessary and wasteful spending, not increase taxes.

This is unacceptable and we must demand this administration work to alter its spending immediately and to eliminate spending on unnecessary and frivolous programs.

To read the GAO report click here.

 

On Friday, I had the opportunity to meet with members of the 188th Fighter Wing and talk with members of the steering committee on the campaign to maintain the A-10 mission in Fort Smith. As part of the community’s efforts, citizens are encouraged to write Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that the Arkansas Congressional delegation will deliver to the Secretary. Letters are pouring in from all walks of life and all ages. Watch how one school is doing its part in this story from KFSM.

The 188th Fighter Wing is the model of efficiency and cost effectiveness for A-10 units. We have joined the other members of the Arkansas Congressional delegation meeting with high level Air Force officials and are working closely with the Arkansas National Guard and the Fort Smith 188th Fighter Wing Steering Committee to protect the mission of the Fort Smith base Air Guard.

You can learn more about our visit in this story published in the Times Record and this story on 40/29.

As I have previously stated, President Obama’s “accommodation” of religious liberty in his revised health care mandate covering contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients raises more questions than it answers. Perhaps, the most egregious part is that the President refuses to acknowledge that the Constitution guarantees conscience protections and instead tries to run around them.

You don’t “accommodate” religious liberties, you respect them. That’s why they are enshrined in the Constitution. Those Constitutional protections should prevent the President from trampling the conscience rights of Americans and religious institutions who hold a strong belief that contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients are wrong. Clearly, however, they are not enough. President Obama’s “accommodation” shows that he considers conscience rights to be an inconvenience in his effort to remake America in his vision. That is why we need to pass the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.”

The “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act”—introduced by my colleague from neighboring Missouri, Senator Roy Blunt—seeks to restore conscience protections that existed before President Obama’s flawed health care law. These are the same protections that have existed for more than 220 years since the First Amendment was ratified. It will likely be taken up in the near future as an amendment to the Highway Bill.

Many longstanding federal health care conscience laws protect conscientious objections to certain types of medical services. President Obama could have just as easily followed that course when he issued a mandate requiring almost all private health insurance policies—including those issued by religious institutions such as hospitals, schools and non-profits—to cover sterilizations and contraceptives, including emergency contraceptives, at no cost to policyholders…. ....but he did not. Now Congress must step-up and protect the religious liberties of all Americans.

Interview on Fox 16

Feb 23 2012

You may have seen this last night at 5 p.m. Senator Boozman talked with Fox 16's Donna Terrell about issues such as the Administration's contraception mandate, the payroll tax and social security and corporate tax reform. If you missed it you can watch the interview here.