Boozman Backs Bipartisan Appropriations Legislation
Bill Significantly Increases Funding for National Security and Veterans Programs, Limits Domestic Spending, Blocks Liberal Agenda Items and Funds Arkansas Priorities
Dec 22 2022
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), the top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voted in support of legislation that funds government agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year. The measure increases defense spending by 10 percent from the previous year, allocates record-level funding for veterans’ services and benefits, holds other domestic spending below the rate of inflation and delivers critical support for programs and projects in Arkansas.
“I’m disappointed congressional Democrats abandoned regular order and took this process hostage in service to their unrealistic demands, but I applaud the persistent, good-faith efforts that resulted in a compromise agreement. In addition to robustly funding our national defense and refusing to sacrifice support for America’s veterans, this deal restrains federal spending well below demands from the Biden administration and its allies while blocking far-left policies. I’m pleased the bill also delivers multiple wins the Arkansas delegation worked to secure including funding for transportation and water infrastructure, agriculture assistance, education and workforce initiatives, and Arkansas-based defense missions,” Boozman said.
As the ranking member on the Ag Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Boozman authored numerous provisions and pushed for the addition of his priorities:
- Assistance to Rice Producers: Provides $250 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make a one-time payment to U.S. rice producers who planted rice in 2022. A recent study conducted by Texas A&M University that looked specifically at the increase in fertilizer prices across an array of commodities found rice farms would be hit hardest by rising costs. A second study conducted by the university and focused solely on the impact of rising input costs found two-thirds of the rice farms they monitor will fail to break even in 2022.
- Natural State-based Agriculture Research and Education: Supports the National Rice Research Center by fully funding the rehabilitation of the Waste Water Treatment Plant in Stuttgart, provides over $2 million for the Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit in Fayetteville, and maintains funding for the National Agriculture Law Center at the University of Arkansas.
- Summer Meals Program Modernization: Updating the summer food service program to permanently allow states to provide non-congregate meals and summer electronic benefit (EBT) options nationwide to eligible children in addition to meals provided at congregate feeding sites. Non-congregate meals, such as grab-and-go or home delivery, would be provided in rural areas to eligible children, and summer EBT benefits would be capped at $40 per child, per month. This provision is fully offset and based largely on the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act, which Boozman authored and introduced earlier this Congress.
- Growing Climate Solutions Act: Incorporates updated language from this Boozman-led bipartisan bill, which directs USDA to establish a program to register entities that provide technical assistance and verification for farmers, ranchers and foresters who participate in voluntary carbon markets with the goal of providing information and confidence to producers.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT Skimming Regulations and Reimbursement: Requires USDA to coordinate with relevant agencies and stakeholders to investigate reports of stolen SNAP benefits through card skimming, cloning and other similar fraudulent methods. This provision aims to identify the extent of the problem, develop methods to prevent fraud and improve security measures and provide replacement of benefits stolen through these fraudulent actions.
- Pine Bluff Arsenal: Protects the installation’s munitions manufacturing capabilities and also provides funding for both the planning and design of an Access Control Point to maintain operational security as well as for sewage and sanitation modernization work.
- U.S. Military Investments in Arkansas: Secures $28 million to support the F-35 Foreign Military Sales training program’s relocation to Arkansas. Supplies over $9 million for an automated multipurpose machine gun range at Camp Robinson and an $8 million increase to support programs that will bring contracted light attack-type aircraft to Razorback Range to ensure U.S. servicemembers can adequately train for combat and maintain readiness.
- Red River Army Depot: Continues support for the jobs and mission at this Texarkana-area facility through increased High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) Rollover Mitigation program funding.
- Arkansas Defense Industry Support: Bolsters support for national security-adjacent businesses, particularly those located in Camden, that provide vital weapons, ammunition and components for the U.S. military and our allies and partners.
- Cybersecurity Education and Training: Allocates $5 million for the Cybersecurity Consortium for Innovation at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, which Boozman has pushed to meet workforce needs in emerging technologies, support national security and combat cyber-crime.
- Transportation Infrastructure Projects: Funds multiple highway, airport and waterway projects in Arkansas including runway extension at the Jonesboro Municipal Airport, temporary control tower replacement and access road work at Northwest Arkansas National Airport, Highway 60 resilience improvements, U.S. Highway 270 widening, the Future I-57 Corridor, Highway 412 Corridor improvements and development of the Mississippi Riverfront Docking, Ramp and Marina.
- Water and Wastewater Projects: Funds multiple water and wastewater projects including the Bayou Meto Basin and Grand Prairie Region projects to address depletion and resiliency of the Alluvial and Sparta aquifers, improvements to the Central Arkansas Water for West Pulaski County Water Delivery System, and modernizing and expanding the city of Wilson’s local water and wastewater infrastructure.
- Support for Arkansas Game and Fish Conservation: Funds the design, engineering and construction phases of the renovation of both the Charlie Craig Centerton and Joe Hogan State Fish Hatcheries.
- Health Care Resources and Workforce Education: Invests in facilities and equipment at Arkansas State University-Beebe to increase instructional space for nursing students, construction of a new 330,000 square foot Health Sciences Building on the campus of Arkansas State University Three Rivers, and over $10 million for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute for cancer screening and care.