U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., defended the new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions from charges of racism, while also expressing his hope that agricultural and healthcare policy would change dramatically.
Boozman, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, said Democrats were stalling the confirmation process, which is their right, but Republicans would soon move more quickly to install Trump’s appointees.
“So far, the Democrats have been very, very obstructive, obstructive in a way that we’ve not seen before. And that’s their right to do that. The reality is we’ve got the votes, we’re gonna get ’em done, we’re gonna work late, we’re gonna do whatever we need to do to get these people confirmed,” Boozman said.
This week one of the more dramatic confirmation votes centered around Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Senator. Sessions has faced allegations of discrimination from his earlier years of public service and a previous failed bid to be appointed as a federal judge. Boozman defended Sessions’ character.
“Jeff is not a perfect individual. You can disagree with him about certain things, but the idea that he’s a racist or something like that is just totally false. In fact, just the opposite. He’s worked hard through his career, really, in sometimes difficult situations to advance the cause of desegregation, fighting the Ku Klux Klan, things that were very, very real when I was growing up. And because of people like Jeff, those things certainly are prevalent, but they’re not near as prevalent as they used to be,” Boozman said.
The state’s senior senator sits on the Agriculture committee and says the former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue will be good for southern agriculture. He also said that he hopes the Trump administration will get behind his effort to remove credit restrictions from ag trade with Cuba.
“I’m working with Senator Heitkamp from North Dakota. We worked with her in the last Congress. We’re gonna be doing all that we can to make it such that those that would like to finance, provide credit, that aren’t involved with government, this doesn’t have anything to do with putting the risk of the federal government, but individuals that would like to finance regarding agriculture would give them the ability to do so,” Boozman said.
“As far as whether or not we can get that done, we’ll not only be talking with Secretary Perdue once he gets confirmed, but also the Secretary of State, people like that. I think that that’s how you get yourself in a much better situation with countries like Cuba. You’re not only trading goods and services, you’re trading ideas, you’re trading values. That’s how you change the world,” he added.
As for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, Boozman said he’s more interested in getting it “done right” versus quickly.
“It’s a huge sector of our economy, about 18%, but also it’s all about real people and we wanna get it right. We can’t have a situation where people’s premiums are continuing to increase dramatically with more and more increases in deductibles,” he said. “So, I’m for doing it right. And the idea that it’s taking a little bit longer is okay with me.”
Boozman also said that he did feel there would be a replacement of the controversial healthcare law versus making changes to the current ACA.
“I know it’s gonna be repealed. The question is, what do you leave in place? And certainly, things that I’m very concerned about are making sure that people with preexisting conditions are protected, insurance caps where you pay your insurance all your life and then you get sick and your company drops you, those have been good things. And so, those are the things that we need to protect. But the thing that is not working right now, that there’s nothing in there at all for, is affordability. There’s nothing to control cost. And we simply have to put those things in place or we’ll be in the same situation, if not worse than we are now.”
Watch Boozman’s full interview below.