Weekly Columns

When the schedule in Washington makes it difficult to spend an extended amount of time in Arkansas, I try to host telephone town halls from my Washington, DC office. These events allow me to reach thousands of Arkansans in a live, interactive town hall meeting conducted over the telephone at the touch of a button, despite being miles away from home.  

In keeping with the true spirit of a regular town hall, we don’t pre-screen calls, cut callers off or limit the ability of a caller to ask a follow-up question. This makes for lively conversation as well as an honest exchange of thoughts and ideas. It is an excellent way to respond to constituent inquiries and gather feedback on issues before us while the Senate is in session. 

In our most recent telephone town hall, many callers were concerned about executive branch overreach. The President and many of his cabinet members of this administration have a tendency to pick and choose which laws they enforce. For example, in the past year, the Obama Administration has delayed or modified Obamacare twenty-one times. 

I agreed with the callers who said it is not up to the President to selectively decide which portions of a law to enforce and which to ignore and shared an update with them as to how we were trying to address this problem. 

I joined with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and twenty-two of our colleagues to introduce a bill that would eliminate the procedural hurdles put in front of previous attempts by Members of Congress to seek judicial review of alleged failures by the president to faithfully execute the law. 

Veterans’ issues dominated this most recent telephone town hall. This led to a number of good conversations about how to ensure our veterans get the best care possible. Many callers were particular concerned about the unacceptable amount of time veterans are waiting to get a decision about their cases. And an unfortunate number of callers who had personal difficulties with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that had gone unresolved. These included hardships faced in a VA clinic or problems receiving the proper medication. We can help in that regard. 

No matter what major legislative crisis we are facing, our goal is to make every Arkansan who is having trouble with a federal agency a priority. In some cases, we are the last resort to overcoming a major obstacle and we work to give each and every case that comes before us our attention. 

I have a great staff that works to help navigate the often-confusing federal agencies. These staffers act as a liaison; working to resolve issues affecting Arkansans such as social security or Medicare paperwork glitches, passport problems or tax matters. 

While I cannot override the decisions made by a federal agency, I can often intervene to answer questions, find solutions, or just cut through the red tape.  I encourage you to reach out to my office if you need assistance with a problem you are having with a federal agency.

If you need assistance with an agency of the federal government, I want to help. You can start the process by visiting https://www.boozman.senate.gov/. While you are visiting my website, you can also sign-up to participate in future telephone town halls so we can communicate and discuss the issues important to you.