LITTLE ROCK 1. Congressman Boozman, explain your support for a plan to add a national sales tax of at least 23percent to everything Arkansans buy.
Boozman: I have the strongest record of any candidate in the race when it comes to supporting tax relief for Arkansans. And, I am the only candidate in this race who has signed a pledge not to raise taxes and who will fight for a full extension of the ’01 and ‘03 tax cuts.
I believe our tax system is inherently dysfunctional. I support various proposals that simplify and streamline the current system and reduce the tax burden on all Americans.
The Fair Tax abolishes the IRS, streamlines the over 67,000 pages of federal tax code, and replaces all current federal taxes with a simple sales tax.
It taxes us only on what we choose to spend, not on what we earn, so it allows us to keep 100percent of our paychecks, pensions and Social Security payments. It is not an additional sales tax, or tax increase, as all other federal taxes are eliminated.
Under the plan, every American will receive a reimbursement check for all basic necessities at the beginning of each month. This monthly “prebate” “un-taxes” all Americans for their basic necessities. For instance, a couple making $50,000 a year would take home their full wages and receive $4,697 a year in the form of a monthly “prebate.” Despite Senator Lincoln’s allegations, the Fair Tax doesn’t hurt low income Americans, rather it empowers them more so than any other demographic.
Arkansas’s working families and low-income earners are hurt by the inevitable tax increases they are going to pay as a result of Senator Lincoln’s out-of-control spending binge and her support of President Obama’s job killing legislation like Obamacare, card check and Cap-and-Trade. And what really hurts Arkansans is the fact that they can’t find jobs because Senator Lincoln has supported every single job killing initiative this administration has proposed.
I encourage Senator Lincoln to actually read and understand the bill before engaging in distortion tactics in an effort to further her political career.
2. Do you support Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget that would privatize Social Security and Medicare, yes or no?
Boozman: No. However, I believe that we must strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and I will oppose any efforts that compromise these vital programs for our seniors.
Unfortunately, these programs on are on a path to bankruptcy and the reckless, out of control spending, that Senator Lincoln supports, is only making matters worse.
3. Congressman Boozman, explain why you have voted against ending tax breaks for companies that send U.S. jobs overseas.
Boozman: I do not support tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas. The vote Senator Lincoln is referring to was on a comprehensive bill that included temporary extensions of expiring tax credits, but did so by permanently increasing taxes and adding another $134 billion to the deficit. I opposed this job killing initiative.
I have a solid record of fighting for jobs and securing a favorable business climate in Arkansas. I opposed Cap-and-Trade and new energy taxes; rejected ObamaCare and it’s costly administrative mandates; fought against wasteful stimulus spending, which ballooned government and did nothing to create sustainable private sector jobs; and I fully support tax relief for small businesses. I’m very concerned about the 100,000 unemployed Arkansans and will do everything in my power to jump-start our economy so they can get back to work.
If there is anyone sending jobs overseas and destroying the future job market in America, it’s President Obama and those who support his agenda.
4. Congressman Boozman, explain why you voted against providing tax credits to Arkansas small businesses for hiring unemployed workers.
Boozman: Small businesses are the economic engine of our nation and the key to getting Arkansans back to work. Therefore, I fully support initiatives that help our small businesses hire more Arkansans. The bill Senator Lincoln is referencing is another job killer disguised as a job creator.
H.R. 2847 was a flawed piece of legislation. In an effort to offset the cost of the bill, Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi imposed $31.3 billion in upfront taxes on job creators. This is another job killer at a time when we are struggling to put people back to work in the private sector.
5. Congressman Boozman, explain your vote in support of the original bank bailout (“TARP”) and against reforms that hold the Wall Street banks that wrecked our economy accountable.
Boozman: I joined Senator Lincoln in support of TARP because I didn’t believe it was conservative to allow an entire sector of our economy to disintegrate. We were on the verge of an unprecedented economic collapse that would have devastated the finance sector and rippled around the globe. I remain convinced that TARP saved Arkansans’ jobs, savings and pensions.
Today, the majority of TARP loans have been paid back by the banks with interest.
The same can’t be said for any of Obama’s wasteful bailouts, including Cash for Clunkers.
As for the Wall Street regulatory bill, I opposed this because it needlessly expanded the size of the federal government, failed to address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, unfairly restricted access to credit for Arkansas’s community banks, and created a permanent bailout authority that makes future bailouts much more likely.
Real financial reform would, first and foremost, tackle the failures of Fannie and Freddie. Their risky loans were the root of our financial sector’s meltdown, and one can’t, in good faith, claim to “reform” Wall Street without addressing their lending practices.
Real financial reform would bring regulatory clarity and restore market discipline, not create a patchwork of additional agencies, classifications, taxes, and bailout funds. Instead, we get a new federal insurance regulatory office, consumer protection agency, office of financial research and stability oversight council to supplement the Department of Treasury, FDIC, SEC, Federal Reserve, the 12 Federal Reserve regional banks, the NCUA, Comptroller of the Currency, Board of Governors of the Fed, the FHA, and other state and federal agencies and institutions.
Moreover, why would we create a permanent billion dollar government slush fund to rescue failing institutions in the future? Putting the taxpayers permanently on the hook for Wall Street’s misdeeds does not restore accountability. This only makes it more, not less, likely that bailouts occur in the future.
The last thing that Arkansas’s families, farmers and small businesses need in this economic climate is additional federal regulatory obstacles that will make it more difficult for to access credit. And this law will do just that. It disproportionately punishes our small towns, community banks and farmers.
6. Congressman Boozman, explain your five votes to raise the debt ceiling.
Boozman: Throughout my tenure in Congress, our nation struggled to address various challenges including 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, a new Department of Homeland Security, and Hurricane Katrina. I take full responsibility for my votes, which allowed our nation to address these challenges, particularly those votes to provide our troops with the resources necessary to execute their missions.
However, I’ve also taken many steps to address our debt. I’ve fought for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution as well as the line-item-veto for the President. I’ve fought to eliminate redundant programs within federal agencies; eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid; and rollback federal agencies by cutting the unnecessary staff and the confusing, job-killing regulations they create.
In the past ten years, my Congressional office has returned over $1,000,000 of our allocated office budget back to taxpayers. If my office can accomplish that, there’s clearly enormous potential for savings in the federal government.
Unlike Senator Lincoln, I’ve staunchly opposed President Obama and his reckless spending agenda. The $787 billion “Stimulus Bill” cost more than the entire War in Iraq. ObamaCare costs more than $1.5 trillion. Cap and trade legislation will cost at least $200 billion per year. We have to stop President Obama’s reckless and unnecessary spending.
7. Do you think it is the role of Arkansas’s congressional delegation to request special projects for Arkansas’s communities and universities from previously appropriated funds?
Boozman: Absolutely, which is why I fight hard to secure funding for worthy projects like retrofitting the turbines at the Ozark Dam. For every $1 spent, that project brings us $1.40 in return. That is responsible spending.
However, we have to stop the bleeding, before we can the clean up the mess. Right now, we are in a situation where 42 cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed money — that is unacceptable.
We can’t spend money for earmarks like the Teapot Museum for which there is absolutely no justification for funding. The Obama-Pelosi-Reid leadership is unwilling to make a distinction between responsible spending and pork.
8. Do you believe women whose lives are at risk or who are victims of rape or incest should have the option to terminate their pregnancies?
Boozman: Like the majority of Arkansans, I am proudly pro-life. I have a 100 percent voting record with the National Right to Life and have been endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List, as well as Arkansas and National Right to Life.
There is a clear contrast in this race. Senator Lincoln has a pro-abortion voting record that does not reflect the values of the majority of Arkansans. Regretfully, she was the sole vote from our state to allow a minor — a girl as young as 13 — to obtain an abortion without her parent’s consent.
I would encourage Senator Lincoln to refrain from making preposterous allegations concerning my pro-life record, particularly her suggestion that I am an advocate for “rapist’s rights.” That sort of nonsense has no place in a campaign for the U.S. Senate.
9. Do you consider yourself a Tea Party candidate?
Boozman: The Tea Party movement is a direct result of the extra attention Americans are paying to what is going on in Washington today. People are frustrated with the reckless spending that pervades in Washington and do not believe that Big Government is the answer to our problems. They want to be heard, not ignored, much less be called “un-American” as Senator Lincoln has done in the past.
As elected officials, we have an obligation to serve all our constituents, respect their views, and answer their questions. It makes no difference whether you have a D or an R after your name, there are no Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party members or Independents once you are elected — there are only Arkansans.
Boozman’s answers to Mayor John Gray’s questions:
1. How would you improve our economy in the short run?
Boozman: We jump-start our economy by empowering small business owners and job creators with economic certainty, regulatory clarity, and tax relief. Business owners need an advocate in Washington, not an enemy. Time and time again — whether through new energy taxes, wasteful stimulus spending, new bureaucracies, or needless new regulations that punish community banks—this administration seems dead-set on passing job-killing legislation. In the end, individuals, innovators, and entrepreneurs hold the key to our recovery and sustainable job growth—not the government.
Our long-term economic security rests squarely in our ability to stop the runaway spending and get our fiscal house in order. Economists understand that we cannot continue with record-setting deficits and still afford our Social Security and Medicare obligations.
That’s why I support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, the line item-veto for the President, and a full repeal of ObamaCare. The President’s plan cuts more than $528 billion in Medicare funding and extends a new $200 million-a-year Medicaid mandate on the state of Arkansas that we cannot afford. It also does nothing to control costs and bloats the size and role of the federal government.
2. Reports by the OECD and The Commonwealth Fund show the U.S. spends twice as much on health care, but has much poorer outcomes, than most other industrialized nations. Ours is the only industrialized nation whose government has been unable to move to a system of providing quality care for all it's citizens. What are your thoughts as to why we've been unable to provide for our people as well as other advanced countries?
Boozman: I firmly oppose socialized medicine and believe the “European-style” healthcare model is inherently flawed. In Canada, the average wait time for an MRI is ten weeks. In the UK, 41 percent of patients have to wait four months or more for elective surgery. This is not the direction we should be heading. Unfortunately, ObamaCare does just that.
We certainly need to take steps to lower healthcare costs. We need to implement substantive malpractice reform, encourage small businesses to pool health care plans, and allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines. However, more government bureaucrats, blind regulatory measures, and budget-busting mandates are hardly the recipe to improve quality and lower costs.
3. Since our military spending amounts to more than China, Russia, France, Japan, Germany, plus nine other countries, COMBINED, 72 times as much as North Korea, and 72 times as much as Iran while we face economic, infrastructure, and energy crises domestically would you support a reduction in military spending, as a sensible measure?
Boozman: Our servicemen and women put their lives on the line every day to protect the freedoms every American enjoys. They must have all they need to ensure they can accomplish their mission and return home safely. We must meet our promises to them.
While we cannot balance the budget on the backs of our troops, I have supported bipartisan bills to reign in wasteful spending at the Department of Defense.
However, I will steadfastly oppose any cuts that compromise our national security and troop safety.
It is important to note that according to the President’s most recent defense budget, the real growth in U.S. defense spending from 2001-2005 is approximately 1 percent. At the same time, the rest of the President’s FY11 budget would increase the debt from the current $12.3 trillion to $23.8 trillion by 2020.
The effect defense spending has on our national debt pales in comparison to the wasteful spending of this administration. If we are going to seriously address the debt, we are going to have to reform our unfunded entitlement liabilities and discretionary spending.
4. What do you think should be done about the $60 billion a year in owed taxes that large corporations avoid paying, through the use of transfer pricing?
Boozman: The U.S. had the second highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. This gives companies an incentive to minimize the profits of their U.S. operations, and to maximize the profits of their foreign subsidiaries.
We need to make our corporate tax rates more competitive so American businesses can survive in a global economy.
This Administration is all about finding more revenue for its Big Government programs — hence it’s interest in transfer pricing. The solution isn’t more IRS agents and it isn’t penalizing U.S. companies that do business overseas. We must address the root cause of the problem — an uncompetitive tax rate. The federal government doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem.
5. Do you support the Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project, and what is your response to the alternatives offered by the Wildlife Management Institute?
Boozman: Arkansas’ farmers help feed our country. We must create an environment where this can continue in a responsible manner. Smart infrastructure investments in this region will provide benefits to all Arkansans for decades to come. It would be a disservice to taxpayers to walk away from this partially completed project. We must not allow irreparable damage to the aquifer and our ground water supplies.
Conservation is a very high priority of mine. Good, feasible solutions to any major problem are always welcome. However, there are major concerns with the ground water supplies on the Grand Prairie and the future of farming throughout this region could be compromised if we maintain the status quo.
6. Are you in favor of agribusinesses being allowed to continue in their current practice of buying up patents, and controlling the use of seeds and other organisms, and if not, would you propose legislation to prohibit it?
Boozman: I support intellectual property rights. Many private businesses invest large amounts of money to develop superior agricultural products. At the same time, there is a tremendous amount of public investment in agri-research. Intellectual property rights should not extend to products that are developed with public funding.
7. Since our participation in free trade treaties and the WTO have resulted in the loss of almost all U.S. manufacturing, as well as a loss of some national sovereignty over our own regulatory and institutional standards, do you advocate our continued participation in such agreements?
Boozman: Free and fair trade is essential for our state’s economy. Over 600,000 Arkansas jobs depend on exports so not only is it critical to sustaining our current economy, but evidence that free trade is a job creator. As more international markets open, more Arkansas products and crops can be sold.
It is especially critical that Arkansas’s agricultural producers have access to markets in foreign countries. Given a level playing field, I firmly believe that our cotton, rice, soy, poultry, fish, and beef producers can compete with anyone in the world. I will continue to work to ratify fair trade agreements with various foreign nations including Korea, Colombia, and Panama—as well as opening trade negotiations with countries like Cuba.
8. Since it's been established that the expense of doing so would be minimal, where do you stand on requiring the labeling of all food products containing GMO's?
Boozman: It has not necessarily been “established” that the cost labeling GMO foods would be “minimal.” Labeling proponents like to claim a “consensus,” but there is a serious debate right now about what sort of impact this would have on businesses and jobs in terms of cost of compliance. Consumers should have as much information about the products they buy, especially when it comes to food safety. However, we must take the time to evaluate the economic impact of those regulations on jobs — particularly in an economy with our national unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent.
9. If farmers receive the $1.5 billion in disaster aid Senator Lincoln recently requested, and if you were or are the Senator, how would you see to it that the hardest hit farms, regardless of size, received the most aid, rather than the top 10 percent of wealthiest farmers receiving 2/3 of the total aid, regardless of how small their loss? Please be specific.
Boozman: I am very supportive of federal assistance to Arkansas’s farmers who have been dramatically affected by natural disasters. However, these programs have to be paid-for, not included in larger budget-busting bills. Sen. Lincoln’s party controls Congress and they refused to bring the package up in a responsible manner that does not add to the deficit. This administration and their allies in Congress continue to pass spending bill after spending bill with no ability to pay for them. The process, not the funding, is the problem. This was made clear by President Obama’s unilateral decision to take away the power of the purse from Congress and force his agenda on the people.
10. I'm inclined to describe our government's payment status of the $1.25 billion, more than 10-year old, settlement owed to minority farmers as being in default. What suggestions do you have as to where the money to pay this overdue debt might be found?
Boozman: The United States has a responsibility to pay settlements to all individuals in cases that have been properly adjudicated. Minority farmers deserve to receive their full court awarded settlement. Unfortunately, this administration doesn’t seem to have the funds available to pay this obligation because they are too busy spending it on wasteful, ineffective programs and projects.
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Boozman’s answers to candidate Trevor Drown's questions:
1. What do you consider your primary responsibility as a member of Congress?
Boozman: My primary responsibility is to serve the people of Arkansas while protecting, defending and upholding the Constitution.
2. Do you think you have done a good job as a member of Congress representing the people of Arkansas in Washington, D.C.?
Boozman: Yes. I have worked hard and done my best to represent the will of my constituents and will continue to do so if elected to the Senate.
3. What percentage of impact does your political party have on your decisions and votes?
Boozman: Zero. I vote for my constituents, not my party. However, I belong to a party because we share a similar platform. Therefore, my votes are often similar to those in my party.
4. How often do you feel you vote against your political party lines when it comes time to vote on a bill?
Boozman: I vote for my constituents, not my party. I have proven that time and time again.
Whether it was my opposition to President Bush’s amnesty proposal, my support to override the President’s veto of the Farm Bill or my desire to open up trade with Cuba, I have put the interests of Arkansans before my party with every vote I cast.
5. Do you feel an obligation to the PACs, Special Interest Groups and Political Party that helped you get into office?
Boozman: No, I always put the Constitution and the interest of Arkansans first.
6. Is that obligation higher than the one you have to the Constitution or the people of Arkansas?
Boozman: My only obligations are to uphold the Constitution and serve my constituents.
7. Do you consider yourself an independent voice for the people of Arkansas?
Boozman: I consider myself a public servant who has an obligation to uphold the Constitution and do what is right for the people of Arkansas. Day in and day out, I vote the will of my constituents on the floor of the House and help them here in Arkansas when they have personal issues with the bureaucratic maze in D.C.
8. If so then why didn't you run as an independent?
Boozman: I believe in the principles of fiscal responsibility, limited government and personal responsibility for which the Republican party stands.
9. Our national debt is growing higher every day. Do you feel responsible for that?
Boozman: Admiral Mullen testified before Congress recently and said the greatest threat to our national security is not Iran, not al-Qaeda, it is our national debt. In a few short years, the interest on the debt will be more than we spend on defense.
The current path that President Obama and his allies in Congress are taking this country will get us there sooner than Admiral Mullen predicted. I have stood my ground and fought against the Obama-Pelosi-Reid spending spree in the House and will continue to do so in the Senate.
10. Do you have any intention at all of dealing with this problem?
Boozman: Yes. We cannot borrow and spend our way to prosperity. The focus of my tenure as U.S. Senator will be to reduce the national debt by stopping the runaway spending. I support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution and the line-item-veto authority for the President. I’ve fought for that in the House and will continue to do so in the U.S. Senate.