Dr. Boozman's Check-up
An amendment to the Highway Bill that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline failed in large part due to President Obama’s lobbying against the project.
Amazingly that hasn’t stopped the President from touting his support for the energy project that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and every major labor union estimated would have created 250,000 jobs over the course of the project, including 20,000 workers that would have been on the job immediately.
After rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama is now claiming credit for speeding up the southern portion of the project. In reality, he doesn’t have to sign off on the southern, domestic portion of the pipeline, which is only 29% of the project. He just needs to authorize the portion of that crosses transnational borders, which he refuses to do.
During a visit yesterday to Cushing, Oklahoma he said this project is a priority and fast tracked the project. As the Bloomberg report on his visit revealed, the President’s promise “won’t speed up the project, which already is slated to start construction as soon as June.” The reality is this portion of the project is moving forward in a timely manner despite the president, not as a result of anything he has done.
With gas prices nearing $4 nationwide we need to develop all American energy resources and this can be done in environmentally sound ways. I encourage President Obama to work with Congress to produce an energy policy that would decrease our dependence on foreign oil. A perfect place to start would be for the President to quit working against Congress and instead join with us to finish the remaining two-thirds of the Keystone Pipeline.
We've had a great morning that started with talking to Arkansas radio stations in Jonesboro and Fordyce.
If you missed the interviews you can listen here. We discussed a variety of topics from legislation we’re cosponsoring to foreign affairs and the JOBS Bill the Senate is debating.
Make Congress Earn its Pay
Mar 15 2012
Recent news reports detailing the gridlock in Washington accurately show the difficulty of working in Congress and passing legislation that the American people deserve.
My colleagues on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee yesterday heard recommendations on how to improve Congress and make it more efficient and productive.
Witnesses at the hearing “Raising the Bar for Congress: Reform Proposals for the 21st Century,” testified about proposals that would help Congress accomplish more.
Among those proposals was the “No Budget, No Pay” legislation that I am proud to cosponsor. This bill would prohibit members of Congress from being paid if they do not pass a long-term budget each fiscal year. Arkansas News Bureau’s Steve Brawner wrote about this in a recent column.
This legislation makes sense. It’s been well over 1000 days since a binding federal budget resolution has been passed in the Senate. We are required to adopt a budget resolution but there is no penalty for failing to do so.
This hurts the American people and our fiscal future. American families don’t operate like this and neither should the federal government. I hope the members of the committee take a good look at this legislation and give it due consideration. This is an honest approach at restoring confidence in Congress.
Obamacare: Soaring Costs and Lost Coverage
Mar 14 2012
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.
Take the Taxing out of Taxes
Mar 13 2012
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.
Protecting Agriculture Research
Mar 07 2012
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)
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)
Wasteful Government Spending
Feb 28 2012
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.
- $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.