Dr. Boozman's Check-up

I joined Jonathan Reeves at Jonesboro’s KASU during the station’s morning show today to discuss recent events, including last week’s officer-related shootings and the ambush on law enforcement in Dallas. We also discussed the FBI's decision not to charge Hillary Clinton in relation to her reckless handling of classified emails while serving as Secretary of State and more. If you missed it, you can listen to the interview in its entirety on KASU's website

I will host a telephone town hall on Monday, June 27 at 7 p.m. CT to connect with Arkansans and discuss topics under debate in Washington.

This statewide event allows Arkansans the ability to ask me questions over the phone or listen to the conversation about the issues impacting them.

 Arkansans interested in participating in the phone conversation should call toll free 888-400-1986 to connect to the discussion and ask questions.

I look forward to talking with Arkansans about issues important to families, businesses and the future of our nation. Telephone town halls allow me to connect with Arkansans all over the state and discuss topics important to them. I look forward to the conversation.


In separate statements made just days apart last week, President Obama and CIA Director Brennan both touted progress in the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). They pointed to the terror organization’s loss of territory, key leadership and finances.

Their assessments of the group’s capabilities, however, was quite different.

“ISIL is on defense.” - President Obama on the Islamic State (6/14/16)
“ISIL remains a formidable adversary.” - CIA Director John Brennan on the Islamic State (6/16/16)

The disconnect between these two statements is quite striking. While both can be true at the same time, one outlook is unmistakably more positive than the other. The context of President Obama and Director Brennan’s statements were quite different. Clearly the President wants to present the situation in a much better light than our intelligence community sees it.

In a similar vein to the President’s pre-Paris attack declaration that ISIS has been “contained”, he has once again attempted to paint a rosier picture than reality offers.

The truth is the Obama Administration’s lack of a real strategy to combat ISIS allowed the group to continue to add recruits, claim territory and spread its warped ideology. Any territory that has been reclaimed by coalition efforts in the ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliphate, has been countered by massive growth in Libya, the co-opting of groups in places like Egypt and an expansion into Asian and East African nations.

The President’s lack of a strategy has not only failed us with ISIS. The Taliban holds more territory in Afghanistan now than at any time since 2001. Equally as troubling is the fact that the Taliban now appears to be taking a page from the ISIS playbook and ratcheting up the brutality of its atrocities.

We can defeat ISIS. We can make our homeland safer. In order to do so, the President has to bring forth plans based on reality. He must listen to the strategy our military leadership proposes to defeat ISIS abroad. He must engage our intelligence community, which has a much more grim view of ISIS’s capabilities than he does, to ensure that we can prevent attacks at home. And he absolutely must be honest with the American people about the nature of the enemy we face. 

These efforts cannot succeed, however, if the President does not understand the gravity of the situation. ISIS remains a dire threat and must be treated that way.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette’s editorial “Defeat them, the only answer left” published today, agreed that our nation must take the necessary steps to defeat ISIS and radial Islamic terrorists:

“The best answer to what's happening might have been suggested by the senior senator from Arkansas, John Boozman, who usually doesn't sound this angry. But Orlando was enough to get even the Hon. and honorable John Boozman up in arms, along with the rest of us”

Read the editorial here. (subscription required)

This week the Senate is debating amendments to the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I introduced several amendments including one based on the Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act (S.2712), legislation I introduced earlier this year to prevent taxing the severance pay of combat-injured veterans.

The Pentagon has been withholding combat-related disability severance payments because of an automated payment system error, which has potentially impacted nearly 14,000 veterans.

Watch this news report about the impact to one Arkansas veteran.

Here’s what they’re saying in support of the Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act:

Legislation is Key to Fixing This Problem

“Those who serve this nation and are impacted by that arduous service, deserve no less,said Michael Angelo Coon, member of the Air Force Sergeants Association, which represents current and former members of the Air Force.

“I see this as a priority for Congress to take action on”

“Please do all you can to pass this legislation,” Coon pleads. (Grand Forks Herald, “LETTERS: Combat-injured Veterans Deserve Tax Fairness,” 4/7/16) 

Veterans are Grateful the Issue is Finally Being Addressed

Army Staff Sergeant Brandon Davis told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette that he didn’t think he would ever see the money again. Davis was relieved when he got a call from our office saying that we are working to help him and others get their money back.

Davis said that the money “may be a life changer” to some veterans that were affected. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, “Boozman Bill Aims to Get Vets Refunds,” 5/16/16)

Supported by the American Legion

“The American Legion ... has worked with veterans in the past to recover these funds.”

The group has specialists who regularly advise transitioning service members on the tax and have them sign paperwork to prevent the tax from being taken out. (Military.com, “Bill Would Reimburse Combat-Injured Vets for Taxed Severance Pay,” 3/17/16)

We Need to Take Better Care of Those Who Fought for Us

“They fought for their country and so deserve every penny of that settlement, in order to make the transition to daily life again” says Brian Carlton of The News Virginian.

Carlton understands that taking care of our veterans is of the utmost importance. All four of his grandparents, as well as three cousins and several childhood friends, have served in our nation’s military. (The News Virginian, “We Can’t Lose Focus On What’s Important,” 4/30/16)

Col. Tamhra Hutchins-Frye recently received a promotion to Brigadier General in the Arkansas Air National Guard, the first woman to obtain this rank in the Arkansas Air National Guard.

Read the story published in the Times Record.

I was proud to recognize her accomplishment in the Congressional Record, the official proceedings of Congress, with the following statement: 

Mr. President, I rise today to congratulate Tamhra Hutchins-Frye on her recent promotion to Brigadier General in the Arkansas Air National Guard.

Brigadier General Hutchins-Frye was born in Bakersfield, California and entered the Air National Guard in November 1984 as an Airman First Class. She received her commission in August 1989 through the Academy of Military Science in Knoxville, Tennessee and has held various assignments in the 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the 189th Airlift Wing at the Little Rock Air Force Base, and Arkansas Air National Guard and Joint Force Headquarters at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock.

She was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as the Chief of Staff of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Afghanistan Transformation Task Force and then the Headquarters International Security Assistance Force where she helped lead the transformation of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as it transitioned to self-rule.

Tamhra earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Arkansas Tech University in 1983 and a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management from Webster University in 2012.  She has also completed numerous trainings and programs during her time in the Air National Guard. 

As a dedicated member of the Air National Guard, Hutchins-Frye has been awarded the Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star. She is also an active member of her community and takes a proactive role in giving back and investing in the lives of others as displayed by her roles as Co-Chairman of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas’s Girls of Promise and as a member of the Board of Directors of Heart of Arkansas United Way, among other types of service.

Mr. President, it is also important to note that Brigadier General Hutchins-Frye is the first woman to obtain this rank in the Arkansas Air National Guard. By virtue of this latest achievement in her impressive and distinguished career, she serves as role model for many, including the young women in our Armed Forces, of how hard work and professionalism can lead to historic and ground-breaking achievements.

I offer my sincere congratulations to Brigadier General Tamhra Hutchins-Frye on this momentous occasion and I applaud her continued commitment and dedication to our nation’s readiness. I know she will continue to make Arkansas proud in this new chapter of her career.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) needs to address the vulnerability of airport security and potential risks of insider threats according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

The report recommends that TSA update its operational assessment “to reflect changes in the airport security risk environment, such as TSA’s subsequent determination of risk from the insider threat—the potential of rogue aviation workers exploiting their credentials, access, and knowledge of security procedures throughout the airport for personal gain or to inflict damage.”

As The Hill reports, insider threats are to blame for breaches at airports around the world.

In April, I joined my colleagues in the Senate to improve airport security by passing a comprehensive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that strengthens air traveler security.

The bill enhances requirements and vetting for airport employees with access to secure areas, reduces crowds at security checkpoints by screening passengers in advance and providing unneeded TSA security equipment to international airports with direct flights to the United States to improve inspection of passengers and their luggage.

These safety reforms are important to preventing terror attacks at our airports. The recent attack on the Belgium airport serves as a reminder that terrorists remain committed to attacking our airlines and infrastructure. I’m committed to taking the necessary action to protect air travelers. I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this legislation to improve safety at our airports.

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

Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability Act of 2015 (S. 1082): I co-sponsored Sen. Marco Rubio’s bill that would empower the Veterans Administration (VA) to remove or demote an employee based on performance or misconduct

FUELS Act (S. 2993): I’ve co-sponsored Sen. Deb Fischer’s bill, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act (FUELS Act), which would modify costly and burdensome EPA regulations related to on-farm fuel storage. Our farmers and ranchers needs relief from onerous regulations, not further intervention from federal agencies like the EPA. Cutting costs and red-tape will benefit America’s farmers and ranchers. Treating small farmers the same way as large oil refineries makes no sense and I’m proud to support this legislation.

Expressing the sense of the Senate that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the economy of the United States (S. Res. 472): This resolution, introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), expresses the sense of the Senate that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the U.S. economy.

Expressing support of the goal of ensuring that all Holocaust victims live with dignity, comfort and security in their remaining years (S. Con. Res. 36): I joined Senator Bill Nelson’s resolution which urges a working group in the Federal Republic of Germany to recognize the importance of immediately funding the medical, mental health and long-term care needs of survivors of the Holocaust, particularly any home care and other medically prescribed needs.

Designating May 15-21, 2016 as National Police Week (S. Res. 468): This resolution, which passed the Senate, expresses support for law enforcement officers across the country for their efforts to build safer and more secure communities and recognizes their selfless acts of bravery

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