Dr. Boozman's Check-up
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.
Disaster Assistance Deadline Near
Aug 25 2011
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.
Finally...FCC Eliminates the Fairness Doctrine
Aug 24 2011
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.
In Case You Missed It: Touring Arkansas
Aug 22 2011
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
(With video) Sen. Boozman tours Albemarle, Amfuel plants in Columbia County
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.
Yesterday I visited with Talk Business’ Roby Brock and answered your questions that Roby received over twitter and facebook. These questions ranged from my recent visit to Heifer International to address food security issues to tax rates to the Global War on Terror. Thanks to Roby for inviting me to participate and thank you for your questions. I appreciate the thoughtful questions posed by the people of Arkansas. If you missed the interview, you can watch it here or read about our conversation here.
I will be joining Governor Beebe, Senator Pryor, Congressman Womack and Fort Smith area officials at the unveiling of a 5-year strategic plan of the Fort Smith Regional Alliance later this morning.
This 8-county plan is aimed at bring economic development and jobs to Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Sebastian and Scott counties in Arkansas; as well as Le Flore and Sequoyah counties in Oklahoma.
Similar regional development alliances in Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas have shown to be effective, so today's announcement holds a great deal of promise for the Fort Smith area.
The event begins 11:30 a.m. today at the Reynolds Room of the campus center at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
You can read more about it in this story from Talk Business.
Time to Get Tougher on Assad
Aug 08 2011
Some of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad's closest allies are now leaving him to fend for himself as pressure from the international community to end the violence against his own people intensifies.
I commend the Administration for imposing sanctions on Assad's regime early on, but since the bloodshed continues to get worse, it is time to get tougher and implement further sanctions on his regime.
That is what 67 of my colleagues are advocating in a letter we sent President Obama last week. The letter urges President Obama to "work swiftly to identify and implement additional sanctions—including on Syria’s banking sector—to send a clear message to the Syrian government that its behavior will not be tolerated."
The following is the full text of our letter:
August 3, 2011
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write to urge you to immediately implement additional sanctions on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. While we appreciate the measures you have taken to date—including imposing sanctions on President al-Assad, his family, and associates—we believe it is time to significantly increase pressure on the regime. No government should be allowed to inflict such suffering on its people without a harsh rebuke from the United States and from the broader international community.
Specifically, we request that you implement a number of key sanctions outlined in P.L 108-175, the Syria Accountability & Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003. As required under this law, President George W. Bush implemented two of the available sanctions—a ban on exports to Syria other than food and medicine, and a ban on Syrian aircraft landing in or overflying the United States.
We are pleased that you have maintained these sanctions, but seek further implementation of the law, including a ban on U.S. businesses operating or investing in Syria, restrictions on travel by Syrian diplomats in the United States, and blocking transactions of property in which the Government of Syria has an interest. We also request that you work swiftly to identify and implement additional sanctions—including on Syria’s banking sector—to send a clear message to the Syrian government that its behavior will not be tolerated.
In addition, we ask that you engage with our European allies and European energy companies on ceasing the purchase of Syrian oil and investment in Syria’s oil and gas sectors, and that you work to encourage the European Union to sanction the Commercial Bank of Syria, as the United States did in 2004.
We share your stated strong concern that the Syrian government has responded with unconscionable brutality and violence to calls for real political reform. According to available figures, an estimated 1,600 Syrians have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured. In addition, thousands of refugees have fled to Turkey.
The Syrian people deserve a government that represents their aspirations, and respects their basic human rights. It is clear that President al-Assad is not committed to pursuing the reforms that would meet these goals. As such, the United States and the international community must hold the regime accountable, and pressure them to change course. Implementing additional sanctions would show the Syrian people that we stand with them in their struggle for human rights and a more representative government, while also making it clear to the Syrian regime that it will pay an increasing cost for its outrageous repression.
Thank you for your continuing concern and we look forward to your response.
Health Care Prognosis: Expensive
Aug 03 2011
The cost of health care is skyrocketing. In a government report released late last week, it’s estimated that health care spending will account for 20 percent of our country’s economy by 2020. This means health care spending will grow faster than the economy.
While the President's health care initiative sought to reform the industry, this was not the answer. We need free market principles that will help drive the cost of health care down. Who is left to pay the tab? The American taxpayers. Read the Associated Press story that details the costs and what it means to the bottom line.
I Know What You Did Last Summer
Aug 03 2011
FLASHBACK: August 3, 2010.
On this date in history, The New York Times ran an opinion piece authored by Treasury Secretary Tim Geither entitled “Welcome to the Recovery”. Meant to help sell President Obama’s “Stimulus” bill, the Geither–penned piece was part of a larger PR campaign the Administration dubbed “Summer of Recovery”.
Let’s see how “well” that has worked.
This time last year, the nation’s unemployment rate was at an alarming 9.5%.
Almost a year later, at 9.2%, the numbers aren’t much better.
The most incriminating number is where the national unemployment rate stood in February 2009, when President Obama signed the “Stimulus” into law. On that date in history, the 8.2% unemployment rate was whole percentage point lower than it is today.
This summer the focus is still on job creation. If we had done it right the first time— instead of the “Stimulus”—more Americans would be working this summer.