WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is marking the completion of 2018 in part by reflecting on his successful efforts to move legislation benefitting Arkansas and advancing his policy priorities, including improving benefits and services for our nation’s veterans and promoting opportunities to upgrade and repair aging water infrastructure.
“I serve the people of Arkansas and I’m willing to sit down with anybody, no matter how much we might otherwise disagree, who is prepared to work in good faith to reach outcomes that will benefit our state,” Boozman said. “Through a lot of hard work, determination and perseverance, my team and I delivered some significant wins in 2018 for Arkansans to be proud of. I am pleased with our work and pledge to continue fighting for those goals that have yet to be realized.”
Boozman’s Noteworthy 2018 Legislative Accomplishments
Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act – This Boozman-led initiative takes an innovative approach to modernizing critical water infrastructure, especially for small, rural communitiesthat are often unable to afford upgrades to their wastewater and drinking water systems. Helping finance repairs or replacements to this unseen but vital infrastructure is a timely win for many towns and cities in Arkansas and across the country. The SRF-WIN Act was included in a comprehensive water infrastructure bill which became law.
Fighting for Student Veterans’ Housing and Education Benefits – President Trump signed into law Boozman’s Forever GI Bill Housing Payment Fulfillment Act to hold the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accountablefor its failure to fully comply with housing reimbursement rates for student veterans after the VA missed or underpaid benefits owed to these men and women who served our country. Boozman also helped lead the charge on the now-passed SIT-REP Act, which ensures student veterans are not forced to endure additional financial burdens and are not denied access to school facilitiesdue to delayed processing of G.I. Bill benefit payments.
Farm Bill: Serving as a senior member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and as a 2018 Farm Bill Conferee, Boozman ensured the final versionwould provide a workable safety net for farmers and ranchers while pushing for provisions he authored includingSNAP reform, trade promotion funding for agriculture products in Cuba, regulatory reform and more which were included in the bill that was signed into law.
Protecting and Securing Arkansas’s Natural Resources – Working with Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Boozman secured passage of a land exchange, which was signed into law, between a church in Jessieville and the U.S. Forest Servicethat will expand the Ouachita National Forest. Boozman also joined Rep. French Hill (AR-02) in pushing to pass legislation to expand Arkansas’s Flatside Wilderness by 640 acresand name the new addition in honor of former U.S. Rep. Ed Bethune. This bill is expected to be signed into law in the coming days.
Funding Critical Military Installations and Programs in Arkansas – As part of the legislation that funded the Department of Defense (DoD) for Fiscal Year 2019, the bill supported numerous DoD initiatives in Arkansas that Boozman helped ensure would remain viableincluding $9 million for Razorback Range at Fort Chaffee, $20 million for munitions manufacturing at Pine Bluff Arsenal, research funding increases in which Arkansas schools and companies are engaged, increased funding for missile and munitions manufacturing––some of which occurs in Arkansas––in addition to funds directly marked for more Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopters and cyber research, both of which will benefit Arkansas military units. In the MilCon-VA funding bill, Boozman included measures to move forward with improvements at the Little Rock Air Force Base runway and additional resources to improve the base’s hydrant fuel system.
Increasing Resources for Veterans’ Health Care and Maximizing Troop Readiness– As Chairman of the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (MilCon-VA) Boozman authored legislationthat funds military construction and veterans programs for Fiscal Year 2019. The bill, which was signed into law as part of a larger appropriations package, includes a record level of funding for the VA. The bill also includes a provision to protect veterans from clinical errors at VA facilities which requires the Secretary of the VA to submit a departmental response plan to Congress that can be applied at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center and all future cases of clinical disclosures and provide recommendations about changes necessary to prevent such incidents.
Dismantling the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor (SEFOR)-As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Boozman long-advocated for federal funding to dismantle SEFOR in a safe and responsible manner. Boozman secured funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 to complete the effort to decommission and dismantle SEFOR.
Empowering Women in the Global Economy –Legislation that seeks to eliminate global gender-related barriers and empower female entrepreneurs around the world, the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act, was passed at the end of the 115thCongress and is expected to be signed into law. It will help the agency that leads U.S. international development and humanitarian efforts to increase the tools available to support the economic success of women around the world and further benefit the global economy. Boozman introduced this bill in the Senate and worked with his colleagues in addition to Ivanka Trump and the White House to ensure passage of this legislation.
Original article source: https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2019/1/boozman-2018-significant-legislative-victories | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council