Dr. Boozman's Check-up
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.
May 03 2016
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.
Apr 25 2016
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.
Apr 18 2016
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.
Apr 08 2016
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.
Apr 08 2016
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.
Mar 14 2016
I recently talked with KFFB about the the issues under consideration in Congress including the recently-passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, the President’s proposal to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison and my work as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee. Listen to the interviews by clicking on the corresponding links.
Need more evidence of how badly President Obama’s Iran strategy has failed?
The Associated Press reports that earlier this week, while Vice President Joe Biden was in Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Iranian regime test fired two ballistic missiles reportedly capable of reaching Israel.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division, told Iran’s state-run media that the test was aimed at showing that the range of Iran’s missiles could reach Israel and said America’s strongest ally in the region “will not last long in a war.”
As an added insult, the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” was said to have been written in Hebrew on the missiles.
This was the second straight day the Iranian regime conducted this type of weapons testing. The State Department labeled the previous missile test as a possible violation of U.N. Security Council’s resolution 2231.
These displays are clearly meant to intimidate the Israelis and send a message to the world that the Iranians intend to quickly rebuild its weapon arsenal now that it is free of nuclear-related sanctions.
Iran’s ability to develop and acquire these types of weapons is just one of the many disastrous results of the Obama Administration’s poorly negotiated Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Now that the regime in Tehran is flush with resources, it acts as if it is virtually untouchable. Even before implementation of the JCPOA, Iran shamelessly violated UN Security Council mandates by conducting prohibited ballistic missile tests.
Combine a rebuilt arsenal with continuous agitation in the region through its terror allies and you have a recipe for disaster. The State Department has already acknowledged that Iran will send its newly found funds and resources to terror groups, including Hezbollah.
Those Iranian proxies, and even some of the nation’s own military units, are fighting for Bashir Assad in Syria right now. Working with Russian warplanes, Iran’s special forces and Hezbollah fighters have helped Assad regain control of large swaths of Syrian territory including districts around Aleppo where some of the bloodiest battles of the conflict have been waged.
This is the world that the misguided Obama foreign policy doctrine has created. If Iran is allowed to continue to provoke and intimidate Israel, it is clear that the already unstable region will spiral further out of control. This situation calls for strong U.S. leadership. The Obama Administration needs to come off the sidelines and ensure that the Iranian regime understands that these provocations will not be tolerated.
Mar 02 2016
The availability of prescription painkillers is a leading factor in the increase of opioid abuse.
Since 1999, opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled nationwide. Unfortunately, Arkansas is not immune to this problem. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that it’s one of 12 states with more painkiller prescriptions than people. Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane has seen the impact in his community and across the state.
This is a nationwide problem. That's why the Senate is considering the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. This bill can help provide communities the ability to combat the growing opioid epidemic in Arkansas and across the country by expanding prevention efforts, supporting law enforcement, combating overdoses and expanding access to treatment.
The Library of Congress proudly announced that its Veterans History Project (VHP) has archived its 100,000th oral history submission from an American war veteran.
This is no small feat and all who have helped along the way deserve our gratitude because preserving the firsthand accounts of the men and women who served in these conflicts adds so much to the permanent record from which future generations will learn.
My office has conducted several workshops to teach volunteers how to capture the memories of our veterans and my staff has interviewed several veterans for the VHP. Learn more about the program and how you can participate here.