The Boozman Bulletin:
Recognizing Black History Month
February is dedicated to celebrating the contributions and efforts of African Americans to our nation’s heritage and culture. We commemorate the heroes of the African American community who fought injustice and triumphed in the face of adversity. We honor the sacrifices of the brave men and women who persevered through challenges and celebrate those who championed equality for all Americans.
Established in 1976, National African American History Month is a time to reflect on the people who confronted prejudice and ultimately broke down social barriers. This is a special time of the year to reflect on the ways the African American community contributes to our country.
African Americans from all walks of life have played an integral role in shaping our nation’s history. A Smithsonian Museum on the National Mall will highlight and honor the influences of the African American community. The National Museum of African American History & Culture is expected to open in 2015.
We are grateful for the Arkansans who were part of the generations that helped lay the foundation for equality. From Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, one of the most well-respected lawmen of all time who worked under Judge Isaac C. Parker to the Little Rock Nine who became the faces of the struggle against segregation, we recognize their accomplishments and lasting influence. What they achieved was not easy, and we are proud of their legacy and the doors they opened by advancing equal rights for all people.
While much progress has been achieved in the pursuit of equality, we know that obstacles remain. We need to continue building on the actions of the generations who fought to get us here today. We can reach equality but it remains the task of all Americans.
No Budget, No Pay: It’s been nearly four years since the Senate passed a federal budget resolution, and while we are required to adopt a budget, there is no penalty for failing to accomplish this most basic responsibility. That’s why I’m an original cosponsor of the No Budget, No Pay Act, which withholds pay for members of Congress until they pass a budget. A similar bill recently passed the Senate as part of the debt ceiling extension. Learn about the bill here.
New Gun Laws Are Not the Answer: In light of the gun control legislation recently introduced in the Senate, I feel it is important to share my response to President Obama’s recent speech about his vision for gun control. New gun control laws are not the answer.
Build the Keystone Pipeline: Nebraska Governor David Heineman recently approved a revised Keystone XL pipeline route. This puts the Obama administration back on the clock. The president is running out of excuses for delaying the project.
NLRB “Recess” Appoints Ruled Unconstitutional: Last year, President Obama made a series of unprecedented recess appointments during a time when the Senate was in regular proceedings. This extraordinary power-grab required the president to alter the definition of recess. Not only did it violate hundreds of years of Senate precedence, but it violated the law. Recently, the court ruled that President Obama overstepped his authority and invalidated three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that had been made without Senate confirmation.
Immigration Reform: A framework for bipartisan immigration reform was recently unveiled in the Senate. I am pleased that members on both sides of the aisle are involved in serious reform discussions, but I believe we have a long way to go before we have a bill that everyone can agree on. I shared my initial thoughts and concerns about the effort on my blog.
E-Verify: When we discuss how to deal with our nation’s illegal immigration problem, one vital component is providing employers the right tools to ensure they are hiring a legal workforce. That’s why I’m cosponsoring the"Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act of 2013. The bill seeks to require all employers to confirm the legality of their employees through a federally approved system known as E-Verify, which has a proven track record of combating the hiring of illegal immigrants and is currently used by nearly 270,000 employers nationwide.
On the Radio: I joined the team at Mountain Talk Radio (KJMT-OD - 97.1 FM) in Mountain Home for their morning show. We discussed the debate over Second Amendment rights, aid to Egypt and my support for the No Budget, No Pay Act. If you missed it, you can listen to the entire interview online.
Disaster Assistance: After the Congressional delegation sent a letter to President Obama and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate supporting Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe’s request for a disaster declaration for Central Arkansas, President Obama approved aid. This is an important step in our efforts to bring assistance to the state following last Christmas’s snow storms that brought widespread damage and power outages.
Non-Emergency Sandy Disaster Aid: I support providing emergency relief to Americans whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, just as we do when disasters strike in Arkansas. That’s why I supported the initial $9.7 billion aid package which was unanimously passed by the Senate without any controversy. However, I couldn’t support the bill that was approved by the Senate in late January. That bill included non-emergency spending that should be debated in the regular FY2013 and FY2014 appropriations process and paid for with offsets, which this bill did not include. Read my full statement here.
USPS Mail Delivery Changes: The United States Postal Service announced it would stop delivering mail on Saturdays in early August. This is an effort by USPS to address its financial challenges. However, I do have concerns about this plan.
Job Creation Priority: Despite President Obama recently disbanding his Jobs Council, we still have a lot of work to do to get unemployed Americans back to work. Creating an economic environment that promotes job creation needs to be a priority. The January jobs numbers released by the Department of Labor show an increase in unemployment to 7.9 percent. This is unacceptable, but we are taking some important steps forward in putting our veterans to work.
Senate Page: Instead of remembering his locker combination, William Jenner, a junior at Fort Smith Southside High School, will be remembering the names and faces of members of the Senate. We selected him to serve as one of 30 Senate Pages who are responsible for preparing the Senate chamber for the day’s business. Local news talked with him about this honor. You can watch the story here.
Summer Internship Opportunities: We are looking for Arkansans to serve as interns in our state offices as well as our Washington, D.C. office. The deadline to apply is March 8. For more information on our internship program click here.
Constituent Services: One of my highest priorities is helping Arkansans who are having problems involving the federal government. 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 contact"one of my offices if you need assistance with a problem you are having with a federal agency and fill out the .