Weekly Columns

Arkansans are being stretched thin. We’re experiencing record high inflation that’s forcing us to alter our budgets and future plans. More and more Natural State residents are reaching out to express their frustration over the pocketbook difficulties they’re facing. I’ve met with hardworking Arkansans, agricultural producers, small business owners, health care advocates and many others, all with similar concerns focusing on managing money in an uncertain economic climate caused by rising costs for everyday goods, supply chain disruptions and labor shortages.

I understand these challenges and I’ve brought the voices of Arkansans to the Senate floor and the halls of Capitol Hill to share the hardships families all across the state and country are experiencing. 

As President Biden prepares his State of the Union Address, it is my hope he will speak to the worries Arkansans have repeatedly shared with me.

It’s long overdue for the Biden administration to listen to these concerns and take action to address them. The president’s pursuit of a tax-and-spending agenda has thrown gas on the fire, making matters worse. 

The inflation rate is 7.5 percent – the highest in 40 years –, the price of gasoline has increased by 40 percent and input costs for agricultural producers are up across the board. This is directly impacting how we spend our hard-earned money. Folks are worried about their ability to pay their bills. A recent analysis by Moody’s Analytics shows this burden is costing families an additional $276 each month.  

It would be wrong to dismiss the troubles Americans are facing under his leadership, or worse yet, fail to acknowledge them in his speech. The president must address these causes of anxiety and offer commonsense solutions, that can get bipartisan support, to provide relief from inflation, end the supply chain bottlenecks and restore our workforce to full strength.

Like many Americans, I’m also interested in hearing how President Biden intends to tackle the humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border. It is necessary for him to reverse his administration’s policies allowing illegal immigrants unfettered access to our country. We are a nation of laws and it’s inexcusable for the president to pick and choose which ones to follow. This must end. It’s clear Vice President Harris, who was given the responsibility to solve this crisis, is not up to this task. It’s time to give this job to someone else who will be committed to executing actions deterring illegal immigration such as construction of a border wall and the Remain in Mexico policy.

Americans will additionally be listening closely for the president to lay out a specific plan to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for his military’s invasion of Ukraine. While President Biden has issued several sanctions against Russia, there is more we can do. Even as the cooperation of our allies is essential during this precarious time, I encourage the administration to impose strict measures like those I’ve championed in the Never Yielding Europe’s Territory (NYET) Act to impose tough economic consequences on the Kremlin and provide critical support for Ukraine’s defenses.

There are many issues for President Biden to address in his State of the Union speech. We need leadership that’s prepared to contain inflation, secure our southern border and demonstrate a strong foreign policy. I’ll be listening for solutions that can get support from both sides of the aisle.