WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today voted for the omnibus spending agreement calling it an “important first step toward Congress reclaiming its spending authority.”
“For too long, we have ceded our power of the purse, allowing President Obama to set spending priorities. As we have realized all too well, his priorities are often at odds with ours in Arkansas. This is an important first step toward Congress reclaiming its spending authority,” Boozman said. “While this represents a bipartisan, bicameral compromise, it still contained a number of spending decisions and policy provisions that reflect Arkansas values and help our state.”
For example, Boozman noted that the Fiscal Year 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act allocates additional money to help secure the borders and combat illegal immigration.
“Securing the borders requires that we allocate the resources—including the manpower—necessary to ensure that those crossing our borders are doing so legally. This bill increases funding to hire historic levels of Customs and Border Protection officers who will certainly aid in that mission,” Boozman said. “In addition, it fully funds E-Verify, a web-based tool that has successfully helped employers confirm eligibility of job candidates. E-verify has a proven track record of combating the hiring of illegal immigrants and we need to continue to expand its use.”
Additionally, the bill addresses many issues of concern for Arkansans including:
- Increasing oversight, reducing regulatory burdens and strengthening our national security;
- Upholding First Amendment rights by prohibiting the IRS from using funds to target groups based upon political beliefs;
- Protecting Second Amendment rights by restricting another “Fast and Furious” type of program, blocking funds to allow implementation of the UN Arms Trade Treaty and mandating the first-ever comprehensive accounting of the Department of Homeland Security’s ammunition inventories, usage and purchases;
- Funding a comprehensive initiative included to significantly reduce the veterans disability claims backlog;
- Protecting the right to life by restricting federal funds for abortions;
- Blocking implementation of onerous regulations that are harmful to the livestock and poultry industries;
- Preventing the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.;
- Heavily conditioning our aid to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and prohibiting economic assistance for the Palestinian Authority if they try to gain further membership at the UN or seek action against Israel at the International Criminal Court;
- Prohibiting aid to Libya until the State Department confirms the Libyans are cooperating in the Benghazi investigation;
- Fully funding the recently passed highway authorization bill MAP-21, the first long-term surface transportation bill enacted since 2005.
There are a number of additional provisions that could benefit Arkansas contained in the bill. Boozman was particularly pleased that language preventing the closure of all current fish hatcheries, like Greers Ferry and Norfork, was included.
“These hatcheries replenish fisheries that were impacted by the construction of federal dams on our rivers. Working together, the Arkansas delegation has been able to keep our hatcheries open. This language, in particular, is vital to ensuring they can continue to operate,” Boozman said.
Additionally, Arkansas stands to benefit from provisions of the bill including:
- Funding for agriculture research at locations across Arkansas including state-wide universities;
- Economic development grants to help low-income individuals gain employment and assist employers in finding qualified workers, in addition to technical and management assistance to budding entrepreneurs and promoting Arkansas goods worldwide;
- Providing support to our nation’s defense through public and private research, enhancing the Army’s industrial base and fulfilling training and readiness requirements for military personnel.