Weekly Columns

A new year gives us an opportunity for a fresh start and to make positive changes to the way we live. No matter what our resolutions are, we can agree on hoping 2023 will be better than the past. It’s also the beginning of a new Congress which is another reason to be optimistic because we will have expanded options to hold the Biden administration accountable and advance policies important to Arkansas.

One of the priorities I’m focusing on this year is writing the farm bill. Arkansas is a leader in agricultural production and as ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I’m proud to be a voice for the industry and support the needs of our state’s producers in this legislation. The farm bill is critical to providing our farmers, ranchers and producers with certainty and predictability so they can continue as leaders in feeding and clothing the world. 

The farm bill isn’t just a safety net for agriculture, it’s also a safety net for rural America. Nutrition programs, conservation initiatives and rural development measures are also shaped by the farm bill. The committee will be working to examine these programs and ensure the necessary resources are available to meet their unique needs.

As we craft policies to strengthen rural America, we’re in a better position this Congress to provide oversight of the Biden administration’s harmful actions toward families who call these communities home. 

Just days ago, the Biden administration demonstrated how out-of-touch it is with rural America with the release of a new Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. This rolls back a commonsense approach by the Trump administration to balance protecting our nation’s waters and the rights of landowners. We can all agree we need clean water, but this rule is more about expanding the authority of unelected federal bureaucrats than safeguarding our water. We’ve successfully fought the overreach of a similar policy by the Obama administration and I will be just as relentless in pursuing a reversal of this regulation.

Fortunately, with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, we will have increased oversight and accountability of the Biden administration. We’ll be working together to fight bad policies like this so Arkansas’s agriculture producers can use their land and grow their crops without unwarranted interference from Washington.  

More oversight will also be needed when it comes to the chaos at the southern border. President Biden announced he will make his first ever visit there and he should expect to see the consequences of the ongoing national security and humanitarian crisis he created by dismantling our nation’s immigration enforcement policies since day one of his presidency.   

In the last two years there have been more than 4.3 million illegal border crossings and record-high seizures of fentanyl at the border. This is a problem the Biden administration has largely ignored while Senate Republicans have offered numerous legislative initiatives to secure the border.

We’ll be working to encourage the administration to abandon its open border policies, uphold immigration laws, end incentives encouraging illegal immigration and finish building the wall. 

As we begin a new Congress, I appreciate the support of Arkansans who have entrusted me to be their voice in the U.S. Senate for another term. I look forward to serving Natural State residents by advancing policies to better our communities, state and nation.