WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined Washington Post Live to discuss the supply chain, labor shortage and inflation crises, as well as Democrats’ massive spending agenda, his leadership on veterans’ health care issues, the 2022 midterms and more. The senator spoke with Post reporter Jacqueline Alemany yesterday and raised his concerns with the lack of solutions from the Biden administration to the problems American families are facing.
Excerpts from the interview can be found below and a full transcript is available here.
On the supply chain issues:
Boozman: Well, we’ve got a huge problem on the ports. In the past, we’ve had problems periodically on the West Coast. Now, we’ve–it’s a real concern because we’ve got it on both coasts right now. And nobody really seems to know how to alleviate the problem. One of the–one of the solutions is not only for the port problem but just moving commerce in general, is to try and get more truck drivers. And when you look at the numbers that they’re going to need, you know, as we go forward, the numbers are really staggering. So, one thing I’d like to see is make it such that with training and this and that, there’s no reason that those that are younger than 21 could not start driving on an interstate basis. They do this in the military and have done it in the past in our nation. There’s no reason that this would not help alleviate the shortage.
On veterans’ health care:
Boozman: And now, we also have a number of female veterans. So, it wasn’t too long ago that you’d go into the–maybe the VA hospital and if a woman was standing there, somebody might come up and say, you know, can I help you find your husband, not knowing that they were actually a veteran. So, the VA’s worked really hard to get away from that. They’re doing a much better job. But we’re trying to push them even further.
So, myself, Senator Tester, again working together, created the Deborah Sampson Act, and that’s really gone a long way. I’m working with Senator Wyden now on a thing called the–it has to do–the SERVICE Act. It has to do with making sure–what we’re finding is, is that women that served in areas where there were toxic chemicals, burn pits, things like that, they’re having a much higher instance of breast cancer at a much younger age. So, we’re making sure that the VA is recognizing that and then lowering the standards as far as the age and things so that we can get them screened earlier.
We’ve also got a bill called the MAMMO Act, and we’re working with that bill to make sure that not only are they going to get screened and at an appropriate early age, but what this says is you’re going to do the screening, plus you’re going to have the finest equipment in the world to make sure that the screening is done appropriately, that we’re up to date. So, these are good things. The VA is moving rapidly in that direction. Still got some work to do, but another example of Democrats and Republicans working together to make sure that we take care of our veterans.
On Democrats’ massive tax-and-spending agenda:
Boozman: Well, they’re trying to. There–it’s a rocky road, and we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out. I think Virginia is going to make a big difference in that. The closeness of the race there, the closeness of the race in New Jersey. I think the country is more–some are center right, some are center, some are center left, but they’re not as far left as what is coming out of the White House right now.
And because of that and because of the inflation tendencies which, again, a lot of people are blaming on the $1.9 trillion, all of the money we’ve been spending–you know, so because of that, we’ll have to wait and see, you know, how it winds up in regards to some of the policies that they’ve been proposing. I don’t think America’s ready for the cradle-to-grave, the massive spending and taxing. You mentioned the pay-fors. Stepped up basis was on the table. I think that’s probably been taken off. Increasing capital gains for land exchange. This thing about if you have $10,000–and recently, it was $600 in your bank account that you made–you know, you had $600 worth of transactions in your bank account, well now 10,000, I think the average American is at 61,000. People don’t like that, the idea of hiring 89,000 new agents and spending $80 billion additional, they understand that that’s all about coming after them. So, these are the kind of things I think that Americans, whether they’re in New Jersey or Virginia or Arkansas, are really starting to push back on.
Ms. Alemany: So, if Democrats ultimately do pass the bipartisan infrastructure package, which was supported by a number of Republican senators, and the social spending package this week or next week, will you think that that’s a success for the president?
Boozman: I don’t think it’s been a success. I think–I think that discussion, not the infrastructure package but the other package, which started out $6 trillion, pared down to 3 1/2, now they’re down to 1.75. But, no, I think the idea of all of the taxes that were on the table, the other tax that they were talking about doing with billionaires where you were going to tax unrealized gains, American people are smart enough to know that when they–when we institute an income tax, it was 1 percent to 7 percent. The senator got up and said before you know it, you know, we’ll–this will be 10 percent. He was essentially told, you know, he was crazy and that that would never happen. So, the public is very, very leery of these things. So, I don’t–I don’t think it will be a victory. It certainly doesn’t appear to be that way based on what we’re seeing in Virginia and based on what we’re seeing in New Jersey. All of this factors into that.