Dr. Boozman's Check-up

Here’s rundown of the bills I have signed on to support in recent weeks:

Veterans First Act (S. 2921): I joined Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, on his bill which seeks to provide further accountability within the VA. Changing the culture with the department is of paramount importance and this bill seeks to continue this push by allowing the secretary to remove VA employees who fail to provide adequate care or service. It also expands and enhances programs to improve outcomes for the men and women who receive services from VA. It also includes two provisions that I authored. The bill is supported by several veteran service organizations, including the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (S. 2659): I’ve heard from many Arkansans who are concerned about a proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would crack down on amateur motorsports. I cosponsored legislation introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) to push back against this executive overreach and reaffirm Congressional intent that EPA regulations do not apply to vehicles used only for competitive purposes.

Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act (S. 2707): I signed on as a co-sponsor of Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) bill to ensure that the Department of Labor’s approach to update federal overtime rules is sensible and balanced. The Obama Administration released a proposal that would more than double the salary threshold under which employees qualify for overtime pay, sparking concerns that this will have adverse and negative impacts on employees and employers. S. 2707 seeks to require the Department of Labor to recognize and evaluate the economic impacts of any proposed rule change related to the threshold for wages and overtime.

POLICE Act (S. 2840): I’m supporting Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) legislation, Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion Act, which will allow law enforcement and medical personnel to use federal grant funds in their training to better prepare for active shooter events. This will also allow law enforcement to train civilians to respond to active shooter situations and is supported by the National Fraternal Order of Police.

Recognizing Charter Schools during National Charter Schools Week (S. Res. 449): I support the innovative approach to education embodied in many charter schools across the country. As such, I cosponsored this resolution which congratulates the students, parents, teachers and leaders of charter schools. It also supports the ideals and goals of the 17th annual National Charter Schools Week. 

You can find a full list of the bills I am cosponsoring in the 114th Congress here and the legislation I have authored here.

Iran continues to threaten stability in the Middle East as it amasses a collection of intimidating weapons. The Washington Post reports that earlier this week Russia delivered a S-300 air-defense missile system to Iran, a deal arranged nearly a decade ago.

These countries are following through with a $800 million deal signed in 2007, but was voluntarily put on hold because of a 2010 United Nations Security Council resolution.

President Obama’s weak Iran nuclear deal signaled to Russia that it’s acceptable to sell weapons to Iran, so it’s fulfilling the arms deal.

This is extremely dangerous.

This missile defense system has the capability to strike aircraft 120 miles away. As noted by defense analysts Patrick Megahan and Behnam Ben Taleblu, this system has the potential to target our defenses. “Should an S-300 battery be placed on Iran’s southern coast, Tehran could quickly detect American or allied aircraft taking off from local bases,” they wrote in a posting on The Hill’s Congress blog. 

In recent months we’ve learned that Iran test fired ballistic missiles, violating a UN Security Council resolution. We cannot trust Iran to follow the rules. That’s why I’m very concerned with this purchase.

As we work to protect our national security we need to keep Iran in check in order to deter violence. The President’s flawed Iran nuclear deal makes this more difficult.

Sanctions imposed on Iran restricted what countries it was able to conduct business with. Those have now been removed and now an influx of money is coming into the country.

Last month, the Obama administration agreed to buy heavy water, a component in creating nuclear weapons, from Iran. Today I voted to block the United States from making this purchase. Unfortunately, there was not enough support from my Senate colleagues.

I’m committed to strict scrutiny of Iran and to restoring sanctions immediately.

This week Agri-Pulse, a leading resource for federal farm and rural policy, featured an interview with me on it's "Open Mic" segment. 

I discussed legislative efforts to improve federal child nutrition programs with my legislation to reform the summer meal program, the appropriations process, the progress of biotech labeling and my efforts to open up trade with Cuba.

To listen to the ‘Open Mic’ interview click here.

Did the Obama administration lie to the American people about the controversial Iran nuclear deal? According to an interview with one of the President’s top national security advisors published last week in The New York Times Magazine, the answer is yes.

Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications at the White House, gloated about how the foreign policy team built an ‘echo chamber’ of experts to feed information to inexperienced reporters and sway the American public.

This is very troubling. As an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, I supported the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which could have stopped this deal from being implemented. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats blocked the vote required to do so. 

As a result, we are left with the President’s failed strategy to contain Iran, which puts our national security in jeopardy.

USA Today reported earlier today that Iran test fired a ballistic missile two weeks ago. This comes two months after it fired two ballistic missiles with the words “Israel must be wiped out” written on them. This is in clear violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution.

The regime in Tehran hasn’t proven to be trustworthy. Iran actively supports terrorism and aggressively works to destabilize the region. Based on its past actions, I’m convinced that we cannot depend on Iran to live up to its end of the nuclear deal. It must be abandoned and sanctions must be restored.

 

The Hill reported yesterday that the Obama administration is quietly working to decrease the number of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility (Gitmo).

This comes as no surprise. No new detainee has been transferred to this detention center since President Obama took office because closing Gitmo is one of his unfulfilled campaign promises.

The problem is the president’s actions threaten our national security. We’re fighting global terrorism. That’s why we need to use this state-of-the-art facility and keep dangerous terrorists from plotting attacks against our country. Maintaining this facility and housing terrorists there is the best way to protect American citizens.

With my support, Congress passed, and the president signed legislation prohibiting the transfer of these dangerous terrorists to the United States. Unfortunately this isn’t stopping the president from transferring these vile detainees intent on destroying our way of life, to other countries.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told CNN in January that there “are people in Gitmo who are so dangerous that we cannot transfer them.” Then why is the president putting our national security at risk?

Removing these terrorists from Gitmo makes us less safe. These terrorists have shown their willingness to continuing fighting against America. In February, the same day the President submitted to Congress his vague “plan” to close Gitmo, Spanish authorities announced they arrested a former Gitmo detainee for recruiting ISIS fighters.

This is not an isolated incident. Obama administration officials have admitted that transferred detainees have reengaged in terrorist activities.

That’s why I’m fighting against the transfer of Gitmo prisoners legislatively by cosponsoring:

  • The Detainee Transfer Transparency Act, legislation to require the Secretary of Defense make available to the public the intended transfer or release of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba at least 21 days in advance.
  • The Protections Against Terrorist Transfer Act, legislation to prohibit the transfer or release of any individual detained at Gitmo to the custody of any foreign country unless the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that the individual no longer poses a continuing threat to the security of the United States, its citizens and its interests.

I’m committed to protecting American citizens and that means ensuring Gitmo stays open.

I was honored to meet at the WWII Memorial with Arkansas veterans in Washington with the Honor Flight. The group was on a special day-long trip to the nation’s capital to see the memorials built in recognition of their service and sacrifice. The Honor Flight honors the men and women who served our country by bringing them to see, free of charge, the memorials that represent their commitment to freedom and their impact on the history of the world.

Here’s rundown of the bills I have signed on to support in the past week:

Detainee Transfer Transparency Act (S. 2788) & Protections Against Terrorist Transfer Act (S. 2780): I joined with Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and 12 other colleagues to co-sponsor a bill that would require the Secretary of Defense to make publicly available any intended transfer or release of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay at least 21 days in advance. I also co-sponsored legislation that would provide Congressional oversight of the transfer or release of Guantanamo Bay detainees and would require the Secretary of Defense to certify to Congress that any detainee proposed for transfer no longer poses a security threat to the United States. These are the latest steps in our efforts to prohibit the closure of GITMO and ban the transfer of detainees to U.S. soil.

Congressional Disapproval of the Fiduciary Rule (S.J. Res. 33): I’m supporting a joint resolution introduced by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) which would stop the Obama administration from implementing a new regulation that will have harmful effects on retirement planning services and the families dependent upon them. The Department of Labor’s rewrite of the fiduciary rule will make retirement investment advice unaffordable to many Americans because of concerns over legal liability.

Support for World Malaria Day (S. Res. 436): I signed on as a co-sponsor a resolution supporting the goals and ideals of World Malaria Day. As a member of the Malaria Caucus, I am committed to supporting the global efforts to fight this preventable and treatable disease, which kills over 400,000 people a year worldwide.

Recognizing the Benefits of 4-H (S. Res. 431): I supported a bipartisan resolution in support of 4-H and its recently launched “Grow True Leaders” campaign. My three daughters benefitted immensely from their participation in 4-H. This organization plays such a vital role in many rural communities across America and its new campaign will help expand the organization’s values and principles into every corner of Arkansas.

Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (S. 1002): I’ve lent my support to Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-MD) bill to allow tax-exempt charitable or educational organizations to make collegiate housing and infrastructure improvement grants to certain tax-exempt social clubs like college fraternities and sororities.

You can find a full list of the bills I am cosponsoring in the 114th Congress here and the legislation I have authored here.

Here’s rundown of the bills I have signed on to support in the past week: 

Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act (S. 386): I signed on as a cosponsor to legislation would simplify and standardize state income tax collection for employees who travel outside of their home state for temporary work assignments. The bill is supported by over 250 organizations and business groups.

Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act (S. 1503): I added my support to this bill which seeks to increase public awareness and strengthen efforts to combat tick-borne diseases. Lyme disease is a serious public health threat and we need a comprehensive strategy to prevent its spread. 

The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (S. 2217): This legislation seeks to provide flexibility to businesses in the food service industry. It would allow them options on how to present nutritional values and caloric information on their menus instead of a the current one-size-fits-all policy that were ushered in as a part of Obamacare.

Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016 (S. 2755): This bill which would provide Capitol-flown flags to the immediate family of firefighters, law enforcement officers, members of rescue squads or ambulance crews, and public safety offices who are killed in the line of duty. This is a fitting honor to show our eternal gratitude for the sacrifice our first responders make.

Small Public Housing Agency Opportunity Act (S. 2292): I signed on as a co-sponsor to legislation that seeks to cut burdensome red tape for small public housing agencies across the country.  This bill would eliminate excessive paperwork for smaller public housing agencies, which work to assist many low-income families with housing needs.

You can find a full list of the bills I am cosponsoring in the 114th Congress here and the legislation I have authored here.

Reports surfaced earlier this week hinting that the Obama Administration is considering easing financial restrictions that prohibit U.S. dollars from being used in transactions with Iran.

When the Obama Administration negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the President and Secretary of State John Kerry essentially gave the Iranians everything on their wish list. One of the only points that the Administration claimed to hold steady on was preventing Iran from gaining access to the U.S. financial system.

It is easy to see why allowing Iranian access to our financial system is a terrible idea.

Iran’s inability to trade in U.S. dollars prevents the regime in Tehran from fully opening its economy and protects the U.S. financial system from being used to launder terrorist funds. These two principles are the reason we had sanctions in place long before the JCPOA was ever signed. Those sanctions must remain in place.

Iran’s recent aggressions—such as testing ballistic missiles with “death to Israel” inscribed on them—are reminders of how much the Administration gave up when it signed the JCPOA and how Congress must exercise stringent oversight through this implementation process.  

And while some Administration officials were back-peddling on this idea during hearings on Capitol Hill this week, we cannot forget that the Obama Administration has a history of telling Congress one thing, and doing the exact opposite.

Congress is committed to restricting Iranian access to the dollar and will strenuously work to ensure the Obama Administration does not make a terrible deal worse.  

Here’s rundown of the bills I have signed on to support recently:

HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act: I signed on as a cosponsor to S. 857, the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act of 2015, which seeks to provide patients and their families with information about the disease and possible treatment options, including creating a care-management planning session for newly diagnosed patients.

The Veterans Choice Improvement Act of 2016: I joined with Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) on a bill to make the Veterans Choice Program a permanent program with advanced funding. This legislation also seeks to address the bureaucratic delays, hassles and confusion that veterans continue to experience while attempting to have their healthcare needs met.

Detaining ISIL Fighters in Guantanamo: I co-sponsored S. RES. 396 which calling for fighters involved with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to be detained at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) if they are captured by the United States. I’ve also opposed President Obama’s proposal to close Gitmo and transfer detainees to facilities on US soil.

Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act: I co-sponsored S. 689, a bill by Sen. John Thune that would allow sports medicine professionals to be covered by their medical malpractice insurance even when treating athletes outside the state where they are licensed. This bill would allow sports medicine providers to engage in treatment of injured athletes without taking on great professional and financial risk.

You can find a full list of the bills I am cosponsoring in the 114th Congress here and the legislation I have authored here.