Beyond budget bills and Zika funding, U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., says he thinks infrastructure funding will find its way into law before an October recess. The state’s senior senator also explained his position on overseas travel, an upcoming debate, and controversies in the Presidential race.
Boozman, who appeared on the TV edition of Talk Business & Politics, said work from the summer recess concerning water resources was a high funding priority for Congress.
“Those things aren’t glamorous, but what that has to do with are our inland waterways, our ports, our harbors – all of the things that are transported in that manner,” he said. Boozman also asserted that he thought additional Zika virus funding would also pass Congress.
From being back in Arkansas for more than a month and touring the state, Sen. Boozman said that the two biggest issues on Arkansans’ minds are jobs and national security.
“The two things at the top of the list have to do with the economy. … Most Arkansans have a job, but they’re worried about the future, they’re worried about the next 6-8 months. Are you going to have a job then?” he said.
Boozman said the regulatory atmosphere “has created a sense of uncertainty” and curtailed hiring and business investment. He cited a recently applied U.S. Department of Labor rule concerning overtime workers as stifling to businesses growth.
“Being the same in a town like Dumas, Arkansas as San Francisco – those things don’t make sense, and as a result, it really is putting a crimp in businesspeople’s hiring – small businesspeople in particular,” he said.
On national security, Boozman added, “We need to do whatever it takes, we need to spend the dollars, we need to listen to our leadership in the field and formulate a plan and prosecute that plan so that we can win that battle.”
Boozman offered thoughts on national politics and his re-election bid. He’s being challenged by Democrat Conner Eldridge and Libertarian Frank Gilbert. On GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns or financial records, Boozman said there should be more disclosure from Trump and Hillary Clinton.
“Mike Pence has released his tax records to the public and has been very open about that, so yeah, he needs to do that. On the flip side, certainly there’s questions to be asked about the [Clinton] Foundation and who the relationships have been with the Clintons through the years, particularly when she was Secretary of State.”
A controversy over the number of debates scheduled in the Senate race has been a sticking point for Eldridge and Gilbert. Both have called for more, but Boozman said he’s comfortable with just one statewide debate similar to how Gov. Mike Beebe handled his last re-election bid.
“That’s going to be a great debate, it always is on AETN, so we’re committed to doing that, have been all along. So we felt that was the route to go. It’s not uncommon. That was the Mike Beebe rule,” said Boozman. “I don’t think anybody can criticize me for being out and about and willing to talk at events, willing to talk to individual voters, talk to businesses, you name it. And as a result, be before the public in that way. The other thing I’m good about doing, is when you give me a question, I’ll give you an answer.”
Boozman was pressed for more clarity on the debate decision and he explained his overseas travel schedule from earlier in his Congressional career – a point of criticism from the Eldridge campaign. You can watch his full interview in the video below.