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Boozman’s civics lesson

It’s getting hard to tell that the majority rules in America these days, U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, said on the floor of the U.S. House today in denouncing the new health care reform bill.

Boozman, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, said this in his speech:

“Madam Speaker, America is a democracy, not a monarchy, but you wouldn’t know it by the way the American people have been ignored by President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid.”

Video of Boozman’s speech is available here.

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Health care town halls

U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, says he’ll hold a town hall meeting on health care reform Friday, and U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder’s talk on health care next Tuesday has been moved to a bigger venue in Little Rock. 

Boozman’s event will be 10 a.m. Friday at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale.  Boozman’s office says the forum will feature a short discussion with health care professionals, after which Boozman will take questions from the audience.

The congressman says he plans to hold additional town hall meetings in Fort Smith and Harrison later this month.

Meanwhile, Snyder, D-Little Rock,  says his talk on health care, set for noon Tuesday, has been moved from the Clinton School for Public Service to the Wally Allen Ballroom at the Statehouse Convention Center. 

Hecklers shouted down Snyder and fellow Democratic Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, at a health care forum last week at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

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Arkansas Poll

Arkansans appear ready to back John McCain for president on Nov. 4, according to results of the annual Arkansas Poll released Thursday.

The poll shows McCain with a 51 percent to 36 percent lead over Barack Obama among registered voters. The poll by the University of Arkansas has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

Results of the comprehensive survey can be found at the Arkansas Poll Web site.

When asked about Initiated Act 1, which would prohibit unmarried couples living together from adopting or foster parenting children, 55 percent of respondents said they opposed the measure proposed by the conservative Family Council.

Arkansans do seem to like Lt. Gov. Bill Halter’s proposal for a state-run lottery to fund college scholarships, with 65 percent of those polled saying they favored Proposed Constitutional Amendment 3.

An overwhelming 56 percent of respondents said the economy was the most important issue facing Arkansans today. Last year, about 29 percent cited the economy as the key issue,

“In our 10 years of polling, no issue has ever been ranked that high,” said Janine Parry, a UA political science professor and director of the Arkansas Poll.

Also, only 27 percent of Arkansans said they approved of the job President Bush is doing. That’s substantially down from the president’s first year in office, when 87 percent approved of his job.

Approval ratings for other politicians were: Gov. Mike Beebe, 74 percent; Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., 54 percent; Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., 56 percent; Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, 50 percent; Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, 57 percent; Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, 52 percent; and Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, 62 percent.

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Esquire endorsements

In addition to naming Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., as one of the nation’s 10 best lawmakers, Esquire magazine in its November issue endorsed Pryor and all four House members from Arkansas for re-election.

The publication made picks in 482 races across the country. Its pick for president was Barack Obama.

No one in Arkansas faces major party opposition. Like Pryor, Reps. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, John Boozman, R-Rogers, and Mike Ross, D-Prescott, have Green Party opponents. Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, is unopposed. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., is not up for re-election.

Here are Esquire’s comments associated with the endorsements of Arkansas congressmen:

For Berry : ” … We feel all incumbents should be opposed. In this case, however, farmer/congressman Berry is a good fit for this Delta district.”

For Boozman: “The privately reasonable politician in John Boozman too often gets drowned out by the publicly reactionary one. From the draconian LEAVE act — as xenophobic a piece of immigration “reform” as we’ll see in this lifetime — to the childish GOP sit-in on offshore drilling, he consistently picks the worst issues on which to take a partisan stand. Arkansas ought to have at least one Republican in its delegation. But Boozman needs a strong opponent in ’10.”

For Ross: “When FEMA parked 10,000 trailers destined for Katrina victims in a field in Ross’ district, he demanded that they be moved — not because they were an eyesore but because they’d sink into the mud if it rained. That’s the sort of local knowledge that underlies good governance.”

For Snyder: “Would Arkansas elect to a seventh term a guy who supports needle-exchange programs, opposed the Iraq war, supports abortion rights and opposes the embargo of Cuba? Yep. So would we.”

The November Esquire is on newsstands now.

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House clears bailout on second try

The House voted 263-171 in favor of a $700 billion financial rescue plan. All four Arkansas congressmen voted for the measure.

The package passed the Senate on Wednesday. It now goes to the president, who is expected to sign it.

The Arkansas delegation in the House and Senate supported it even though public feedback that was decidedly against using taxpayer money to prop up imperiled financial institutions. Lawmakers said they backed the bill because it was the best way to stave off an economic crisis.

It was the House’s second attempt to pass the controversial bailout bill, which failed Monday despite the Arkansans’ support for it.

Opponents decried the legislation as improper government intervention in a crisis caused by Wall Street. Other foes demanded more help for homeowners caught up in the subprime mortgage mess.

Arkansas’ delegation is Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, both Democrats, and Reps. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, John Boozman, R-Rogers, Mike Ross, D-Prescott, and Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock.

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House dumps bailout

The House just rejected a Bush adminstration-backed plan to shore up the nation’s financial institutions by buying up bad debts.

The vote was 228 to 205.

Reps. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, John Boozman, R-Rogers, Mike Ross, D-Prescott, and Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, all voted for the bill.

The stock market fell sharply in response to the House vote.

The White House and congressional leaders pushed the plan as a “necessary evil” to protect the economy from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Opponents said the government shouldn’t be responsible for saving Wall Street firms that caused the crisis in the first place. Other bailout foes demanded more help for American homeowners threatened with foreclosure.

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Arkansas earmarks

Congress is set to approve a major appropriations package before lawmakers leave Washington for the year, which means press offices are eager to hit the send button on e-mail press releases that herald the dollars obtained for projects back home.

Thanks to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, here’s a list of the earmarks in the three appropriations bills headed for the president’s desk — a first look at what Arkansas lawmakers will be touting when they return to the Natural State.

Nearly $50 million worth of earmarks for Arkansas projects are contained in the Defense, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security fiscal 2009 appropriations bills.

Lawmakers are expected to take up the eight other spending bills when a new Congress convenes in January.

Here are the projects for Arkansas, listed by sponsor:

Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, and Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both D-Ark.:

$1.6 million for biological air filtering system technology;

$800,000 for spectroscopic materials identification center;

$2.8 million for a standoff hazardous agent detection and evaluation system;

$10.9 million for a new National Guard readiness center in Cabot.

Berry:

$50,000 for pre-disaster mitigation for the city of Wynne.

Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers:

$750,000 for Sebastian County’s emergency operations center.

Boozman, Lincoln and Pryor:

$3.2 million for development of mobile combat support hospitals, which could be manufactured in Russellville;

$204,000 for a infantry platoon battle course at Fort Chaffee;

Boozman and Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott:

$800,000 for the center for nanoscale biosciences at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and UA-Pine Bluff.

Ross, Lincoln and Pryor:

$8.8 million for mortar and grenade production at the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

Ross:

$1.6 million for development of a lightweight, unmanned ground robot;

$1.6 million for grenade production.

Rep. Vic Snyder, Lincoln and Pryor:

$2 million for advanced functional nanomaterials for biological processes;

$1.6 million for silicon carbide torso plates;

$1.6 million for information quality tools for persistent surveillance data sets;

$4 million for the engine shop replacement at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Lincoln and Pryor:

$1.6 million for advanced field artillery tactical data systems;

$2.5 million for nanoscale biosensors;

$800,000 for nanotech lubricants designed for durability, energy-saving and sustainability of oceanic vehicles.

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Political football

The NFL season starts in just a few minutes with a nationally televised game between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins. The game may overlap with John McCain’s speech to accept the Republican presidential nomination.

Since Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, is a huge football fan (and a former Arkansas player) the question was posed as to what he would choose to watch if a Razorback game was scheduled head-to-head with a presidential nomination acceptance speech.

Here’s what he said:

“If the Hogs were playing tonight, I’d probably have one eye on one thing and one on the other, but most of my time would be spent with the Razorbacks. There would be no doubt about that one.”

It’s a safe bet to say Boozman speaks for his constituents on that issue.

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Republicans skip breakfasts

Arkansas Republicans couldn’t complain about a lack of sleep during this year’s national convention.

Unlike their Democratic counterparts up every day at 7 a.m. for breakfast meetings, the state’s GOP delegates had just one group breakfast — on the convention’s first day.

Tuesday through Thursday, delegates were on their own to attend other meetings or hit the snooze button.

GOP state director Karen Ray said the party decided to save its money for political races instead of using it for breakfasts during convention week.

“Our business is to go out and elect candidates,” Ray said. “We didn’t go out and raise money for the convention. We went out and raised money for our elections this year. We’re trying to be as responsible with our dollars as possible.”

The hotel where the Arkansas delegation stays hosts a free buffet breakfast every day, so delegates didn’t necessarily have to miss a morning meal, Ray said.

Last week in Denver, the Democrats’ daily breakfast meetings included speeches by members of the state’s congressional delegation.

Republicans on Monday heard from former Gov. Mike Huckabee and supporters of John McCain that included North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven and conservative commentator Gary Bauer.

The lone GOP breakfast was sponsored by Wal-Mart. Sponsors last week for Democrats included Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both D-Ark.

Maybe Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, could have helped GOP delegates with what’s considered the most important meal of the day. Boozman does not have a Democratic opponent this year and had more than $175,000 in the bank at the end of June, according to campaign finance records.

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