Sen. Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, joined Little Rock's FOX16 News to discuss bills he's introduced, in coordination with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to improve VA breast cancer screenings and care for women veterans given the higher instances of breast cancer they experience after exposure to burn pits and other chemicals.

Boozman: President’s Tax and Spend Proposal a ‘Gut Punch’ to Rural America

Calls for Ag Committee Hearings on Administration’s Radical Plan

Oct 28 2021

WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is warning Americans about the negative consequences of President Biden’s reckless tax and spending agenda. 

“The president’s plan would be an absolute gut punch to our family farmers and rural America as a whole, especially as inflation continues to skyrocket under this administration’s watch,” Boozman said in a speech on the senate floor.

Boozman has repeatedly pushed back on the president’s $3.5 trillion partisan plan. In August, the senator rejected the Biden-backed budget resolution and has since been highlighting its outrageous cost and left-wing, fundamentally flawed framework.  

As ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Boozman has called for public hearings, with witnesses, so agriculture producers and stakeholders in rural America have an opportunity to offer input on the proposal. 

“There is a feeling among many of the people who do not live in our nation’s cities that their political leaders do not value their expertise, or their opinions, and do not understand their lives,” Boozman said during an ag hearing on Wednesday. “When the Senate agriculture committee decides to forgo the expertise and opinion of those we are entrusted to represent, we are not living up to what should be our commitment to our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.”

This is the second time this year Democratic leaders have bypassed the committee process as the Biden administration aims to advance radical policies despite an evenly divided Senate and Democrats’ slim majority in the House of Representatives.

Senator Boozman joined Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on Washington Watch to discuss the latest on the effort to raise the debt ceiling and the Biden administration's proposal to lower the IRS Reporting Requirement which would force financial institutions to notify the IRS when Americans withdraw or deposit more than $599 from or into their bank accounts –– a pay-for to finance Democrats' massive spending bill on so-called "human infrastructure."
Senator John Boozman – who serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry – visited farms, ranches and other agriculture operations around Arkansas during his 2021 annual Ag Tour. A tireless advocate for the Natural State's ag industry, Senator Boozman travels across the state each year to solicit feedback from farmers, ranchers and producers in order to craft policies that benefit them and rural communities.
Senator John Boozman, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, visited a farm in Lonsdale, Arkansas and heard firsthand about how agriculture was a natural transition from his career in the military. Senator Boozman is a longtime supporter of the Armed to Farm that helps America's veterans get a good start in farming and ranching.

I recently completed my annual Ag Tour of Arkansas which included meetings with ranchers, farmers and other agricultural stakeholders. I enjoyed visiting with veteran farmers including Damon Helton who discovered a passion for farming after his four years of military service. Helton is a member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Arkansas. With his farm and various business ventures, he is very active in the veteran agriculture community. The Arkansas PBS show "Good Roots" highlighted the tour stop at the Farm at Barefoot Bend in Saline County and how farming helps veterans transitioning to civilian life. 

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) discusses his recent annual Ag Tour and position as Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Green New Deal, and President Biden's Vaccine Mandate on KARK's Capitol View.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is advocating for improved cybersecurity education to strengthen core physical infrastructure systems and prevent attacks on critical industries.

In a Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hearing examining potential cybersecurity dangers, Boozman pressed witnesses about the tools available to mitigate cybersecurity attacks on small and medium utility systems.

“Is this an issue of a lack of resources and tools for small and medium systems or is it a lack of awareness of the tools already available?” Boozman asked witnesses.

Boozman has been a reliable advocate for improvements to water and wastewater systems. In April, with Boozman’s support, the EPW Committee advanced the Drinking Water and Waste Water Infrastructure Act (DWWIA) of 2021 which contains a number of cybersecurity provisions including:

  • Section 101 Technical Assistance and Grants for Emergencies Affecting Public Water Systems - Requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator to evaluate the compliance of community water and wastewater systems with environmental, health and safety requirements. As part of this evaluation DWWIA requires the Administrator to consider emergency situations resulting from a cybersecurity event.
  • Section 112 Advanced Drinking Water Technologies - Requires the EPA Administrator to carry out a study and issue a report to Congress examining the state of existing and potential future technology, including technology that could address cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
  • Section 113 Cybersecurity Support for Public Water Systems - Requires the EPA to develop a prioritization framework to identify public water systems that, if degraded or rendered inoperable due to a cybersecurity incident, would lead to a significant impact on the health and safety of the public. This section also requires the EPA to establish a Technical Cybersecurity Support Plan for public water systems. This would allow the EPA to prioritize water systems most at-risk of a cyberattack and provide assistance to reduce vulnerabilities.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing examining the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Telehealth programs. Ranking Member U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) delivered the following opening statement:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and welcome to this subcommittee. Good afternoon and thank you to our witnesses for coming today to discuss the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Telehealth programs.   

For years this committee has supported expanding and enhancing VA’s telehealth efforts, particularly for rural and highly rural veterans. VA was already experienced in providing telehealth services when the pandemic hit, and the dramatic expansion of services offered during COVID should be commended. It isn’t easy to institute this type of change in any large organization, and the speed with which VA did so is remarkable.   

In January 2020 VA provided just over 41,000 patient visits using video telehealth straight to their home. By April that number increased to more than 393,000, and by January of 2021 the number was 798,000. From January to January this represents a 1,831 percent increase in the number of telehealth visits. Just last month VA in-home telehealth visits totaled more than 965,000, so this growth trend is continuing. 

Between emergency supplemental and FY 21 base funding, Congress has provided VA with roughly $5 billion to enhance telehealth services. Clearly this has been a successful effort to date, but as this committee looks toward the FY 22 budget and beyond we will want to know more about how VA plans to harness this momentum and broaden access to these services. Behind the enormous growth we’ve seen over the last year are some statistics that show there are still challenges ahead that need to be addressed. In a non-pandemic environment telehealth is a valuable tool to enhance access to health care for veterans in rural, highly rural and underserved areas. When we look at the utilization numbers over the last year, though, we see that much of the growth has been realized in more urban and populous areas. I look forward to hearing more about what VA is doing to address this and what barriers our rural veterans still face to access telehealth services.

Thank you to our witnesses and thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.