Dr. Boozman's Check-up

I’m pleased to hear that creating an environment that will enable our job creators to hire hardworking Americans is President Obama’s top priority. In his address to Congress last night, the President agreed that there are rules and regulations in place that are over burdensome to our businesses and said he “ordered a review of all government regulations.” 

Harsh and heavy-handed EPA regulations should be stopped. The Administration often blames others and says the EPA is required by law and the courts to issue burdensome, job-killing regulations. If they really believe that, they should ask their allies in Congress to help amend the law. A good example is the EPA’s efforts to regulate boilers. The Administration has issued very expensive and strict regulations to cover industrial and commercial boilers. The American and Forest Paper Association released a study this week shows the Boiler MACT rules could cost 20,500 jobs or 18 percent of the industry’s workforce. These regulations will destroy blue collar jobs and drive up the cost of business throughout our country.  

I have cosponsored S. 1392, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, that would require EPA to take a more reasonable and careful approach that would protect air quality without destroying jobs and I am hopeful that eliminating harmful and unnecessary regulations will help create jobs. 

For the first time since 1945, the Labor Department’s job report was released with a total of zero net jobs gained for an entire month.  It was the weakest job report since September 2010, a month where the Labor Department reported a net loss of 29,000 jobs. 

When the economy needs to add roughly 250,000 jobs a month to lower our nation's unemployment rate, a choice between zero and a negative number is not progress. 

Our economy is not sluggish, it is motionless.  And everything the President is doing to address the situation is preventing a recovery from beginning.  In a climate of overregulation and potential tax increases, the private sector is apprehensive to make any moves for fear of what tomorrow will bring from Washington.  When business owners don’t know what their tax rates and energy, healthcare and compliance costs are going to be, then the last thing they are going to do is rush out and hire a bunch of people.  It is common-sense that seems clear to everyone except the President and those who share his view in Congress.

To encourage investment in small business, the heart of our nation’s economy, we need to provide business owners and investors with the predictability they need to make sound investment decisions.  In order to accomplish this we need to rein in federal spending, reform our tax code, reduce regulatory burdens imposed by government agencies, increase exports by passing pending free trade agreements and create a new energy policy that allows us to use American resources and make us less dependent on foreign oil.

But I am not holding out hope that the President will take this approach in his speech before Congress next week.  I’m guessing what we will hear is more of the same in terms of his push for another “Stimulus” bill. 

We tried that Mr. President and it clearly didn’t work.  It is time to admit that and work with us on our commonsense approach to getting our economy back on track.

I enjoyed chatting with Mark Smith on KASU's morning show yesterday.  You can listen to the discussion we had on job creation, the economy, FEMA disaster aid, agriculture, Libya and other issues here.

From the Mailbag: Episode 2

Senator Boozman Answers Our Questions

Aug 31 2011

In our latest edition of "From the Mailbag" we answer questions from Arkansans about the debt ceiling negotiations, trade agreements and our nation's support of Israel. Hear from Senator Boozman on these important issues by clicking here.

Yesterday I visited with Fox16 anchor Donna Terrell and answered questions during the 5 o’clock newscast. In case you missed it we discussed the events in Libya, our tax structure, Washington’s spending problem and the debt negotiation deal. Thank you to Fox16 for inviting us to be part of your Thursday newscast. If you missed the interview you can watch it here.

If you’re a Franklin and Johnson county resident or business owner who sustained damage during the May 24-26 storms and tornadoes, you have less than two weeks to register for government disaster assistance.

The registration deadline is Sept. 6.

To register or check a registration status, you can go online to www.disasterassistance.gov or m.fema.gov. If you would rather, call dial 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585.  FEMA phone lines are open from 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week; multilingual operators are available.

To date, nearly 400 individuals and families in the two counties have registered with FEMA, opening the door to potential Individual Assistance grants from FEMA or low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

After registering with FEMA, you may receive a loan application package from the SBA. FEMA officials request that you fill out and return the applications.

Bad Medicine

Aug 25 2011

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” President Obama said in a town hall meeting in August of 2009. I, like most Americans, was dubious of his claim at the time and we have even more evidence now that shows his statement is not entirely accurate. As the consulting firm Towers Watson found through a recent survey, some employers don’t expect the health care initiative to contain costs and may force them to eliminate or reduce their health care coverage option.

We have already begun to see these take place and, as a result, the Department of Health and Human Services has begun picking winners and losers by offering some companies relief from the requirements.  With its latest round of waivers, HHS once again acknowledges that their mandate of “robust coverage” would lead many businesses to stop offering coverage altogether instead of providing more.   

So when you get down to it, you can keep your health care plan, but only if President Obama says it’s alright by him.

This article by the Associated Press shows the difficulties businesses face and what they’re likely to do to comply with the health reforms supported by President Obama. 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to abolish the Fairness Doctrine more than two decades ago but it never omitted the language. The rule, implemented following WWII, essentially required broadcasters to provide every point-of-view to controversial discussions on the air. With widespread availability of public opinion offered by more popular media outlets such as the internet and cable television today, this needed to be taken off the books.

I have been in favor of scrapping this outdated doctrine, and am pleased with the FCC’s decision to effectively eliminate the language. I believe that we must uphold the First Amendment and ensure that not only broadcasters, but all Americans continue to have the freedom and protection to express themselves. To read the FCC Chairman’s remarks about eliminating the Fairness Doctrine click here.

The August Congressional recess allows me to spend the month learning about Arkansans views of Washington legislation, how it impacts our state and what can be done to implement rules and regulations that can help us all. My calendar is full of events, meetings and tours. We spent much of last week on an agriculture tour in Southwest Arkansas travelling to El Dorado, Magnolia and Hope. In case you missed our visits, I want to share the articles about our stops.

El Dorado News-Times
Boozman opens El Dorado office

Magnolia Reporter
(With video) Sen. Boozman tours Albemarle, Amfuel plants in Columbia County

Hope Star
Boozman on agriculture tour,on the farm in SW Arkansas

The regulations imposed by the Obama administration are hurting our economy, hampering job growth and forcing businesses to comply with burdensome rules that bypass Congressional approval. This is a topic of a recent article by Investor’s Business Daily that I recommend reading.

To prevent this overreach by the Administration I cosponsored the REINS Act that provides a check-and-balance between Congress and the executive branch and allows business to focus on growth instead of how to comply with demanding regulations.