Saturday, April 28, 2012

Boozman: Pushback from Family Farmers, Congress Leads to Withdraw of Proposed Farm Child Labor Rule

Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News: The following was just received and is welcome news.  Although the battle is not over to protect the American culture of family farming!  The abondonment of the proposed rule to apply child labor  laws to work performed by youth on family owned farms is at most temporary.  The Obama administration is simply tamping out the flames before they become critical to the current president's campaign for re-election.  If re-elected, family farming will be further attacked by bureucrats, their oeprations stangled andthey may potentially cease to exist.  The present administration is following the same plans established by more radical governments that swallowed up the control of their country's food supply.&

I was big enough and strong enough to play varsity football from my freshman year and one of the things that kept me in shape was working on farms.  By the time, I was 15 until age 18, I was employed full time on school breaks:  plowing fields, mowing and  bailing hay, milking cows, feeding and cleaning up after cattle and hogs, and much more.  I loved it!  I learned valuable lessons and was kept physically fit.  It it had not been for the Vietnam War and draft, my wife and I ;may well have become farmers.

Unfortunately, most Americans have no idea of the iportance of the American farmers to both their welfare and that of the world.  The actions by Senator Boozman and others standing against the tide of the government desire to control every aspect of our lives are appreciated.

Withdrawal comes on heels of Boozman Amendment to prevent rule

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator John Boozman, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today applauded the Obama Administration’s abandonment of a proposed rule that would have applied child labor laws to the work performed by youths on their family’s farm.

“Family farming is a core American value. Generations of Americans have earned their livelihood and learned important life lessons safely working their family’s land,” Boozman said. “Therefore, I am pleased to see that the President has ditched this onerous proposed rule. There was no commonsense, science or reason behind this proposal and it seemed to be written by bureaucrats who lack a full understanding of farm operations. This proposed rule was merely another attempt by the federal government to control every aspect of our lives.”

The proposed rule, drafted by the Department of Labor (DOL), would have dramatically changed the manner in which children could work on farms owned by family members prohibiting them from operating machinery, performing regular livestock tasks and working with raw farm materials.

“The Department was under no obligation to issue new regulations and opted not to disclose any information about the process that was used to determine how they arrived at this heavy-handed proposal. They seemed to have embarked on it with the attitude of ‘we know better than you’, which is dangerous when the authors clearly have a limited understanding of how family farms operate,” Boozman said.

The 85-pages of the proposed rule would have gone as far as to strip groups like 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) of the ability to offer agriculture safety training and certification to young Americans, transferring that authority over to the federal government.

“My daughters are among the millions of Americans who have participated in 4-H and greatly benefitted from that experience. It is absurd to think the government could teach our young people about farm safety better than these groups or their own family members,” Boozman said.

During yesterday’s Farm Bill markup, Boozman offered an amendment to block DOL from issuing the onerous farm child labor regulations by transferring authority over those regulations to the Secretary of Agriculture. While the amendment was withdrawn, it continued the pressure Boozman and his colleagues have been putting on the Obama Administration for months as part of a campaign to stop this proposed rule from moving forward.

“The idea behind the amendment is the need to bring a common-sense perspective to the issue, instead of the far-reaching response proposed by people who don’t have any concept at all about what it is like to be on a family farm. Fortunately, the pressure the agricultural community and Congress put on the Administration was enough to force them to abandon it,” Boozman said.

Along with offering an amendment, Boozman cosponsored the Preserving America's Family Farms Act (S.2221) to prevent DOL from enacting its controversial proposed restrictions on youth working on family farms. He also joined over 30 of his colleagues on a letter to DOL requesting it abandon the proposed rule.
It was great to see some elected officials getting fired up over protecting both the culture of America farming and the farm family.  The above statement was received on the heals of the following message from the "gentle giant" received late yesterday from his staff:

Farm Bill Lacks Protections for Southern Farmers

WASHINGTON D.C. –U.S.Senator John Boozman, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee expressed strong concerns about new commodity programs and lack of protection for southern farmers during today’s Farm Bill markup.

“This nation has a diverse fabric of agriculture with a variety of risks, and we must write a Farm Bill that serves as a safety net for all crops and regions,” said Boozman. “The commodity title, as it is currently written, will have a devastating impact on southern agriculture which relies heavily on irrigation and, therefore, benefits less from Crop Insurance.”

Although the Farm Bill includes important reforms, exceeds required committee spending reductions and eliminates duplicative or obsolete government programs, Boozman is very concerned that the untested, one-size-fits-all revenue plan will not work for southern producers.

“A safety net that works for all our nation’s producers of food and fiber must include producer choices that cover their risk. Although there are choices in this revenue plan to meet the needs of several other crops and regions, this proposal falls short of the protection southern farmers need against multi-year price declines,” Boozman said.

Boozman expressed concerns that a revenue plan may work for some people when prices are high, but a multi-year price decline could expose the gaps in coverage.

“I am very concerned that this proposal is couched in the assumption that we will continue to have these high commodity prices. A revenue plan is attractive when prices are high, but I am not sure there is anything in this plan that protects producers from a multi-year price decline and an untested, one-size-fits-all program, with no producer choice could leave many producers vulnerable,” Boozman said during the markup.

Boozman also expressed concerns about the ability for producers to demonstrate a level of coverage sufficient to get operating loans.

“Even with a reference price, this revenue plan may not even be strong enough for our farmers to get operating loans,” Boozman said during the markup.

Boozman believes that the bill does not do enough to end waste and abuse in the nutrition program and reinvest those savings in ways that fight hunger and encourage nutrition. For this reason, he introduced an amendment to fully close the LIHEAP loophole, saving $13.9 billion. The amendment would reinvest some of the savings by increasing reimbursement rates for the School Breakfast and Lunch programs to help states and municipalities cope with higher costs resulting from unfunded increases in federal nutrition standards.

Boozman opposed final passage of the bill, but expressed his commitment to working with his colleagues to get a Farm Bill done that protects all crops and regions this year.

“With all of the members of this committee working together to give up their fair share and get back what they need, we can build the consensus necessary to usher a Farm Bill through the legislative process and see it signed into law this year. We can do this while preserving the safety net, making reforms, and achieving deficit reduction. I am confident that we can craft a bill that we are all proud of, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Chair, Ranking Member, and all the members of this Committee and seeing this through”

Boozman also proposed amendments to:
- Address the Department of Labor’s onerous on farm child labor regulations by transferring authority over those regulations to the Secretary of Agriculture. Boozman said “this would bring a common-sense perspective to the issue instead of the heavy-handed response proposed now by people who don’t have any concept at all about what it is like to be in a farm family.”
- Clarify language from the 2008 Farm Bill relating to FSA office closures by specifying criteria as 20 “road” miles and ensure that office could not be closed under the criteria of 2 or fewer employees if that number was achieved as a result of USDA action; such as offering early retirement or transferring employees
- Reign in onerous regulations that increase the cost of food.

Tags: America farming, American farmers, farming, farm families, government abuse, overregulation, U.S. Senate, Senator John Boozman, amendment, protecting farmers, Arkansas, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Crawford Backs Family Farms; Also Received Spirit of Enterprise Award

U.S. Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue presented me with the Spirit of Enterprise Award.
Thank you to the U.S. Chamber for recognizing me with the Spirit of Enterprise Award.
Small businesses are the backbone of Arkansas’s economy. In Congress I am working to
get government out of the way so that small business entrepreneurs can create jobs
and economic growth.
Congressman Rick Crawford: Keeping Family Farms in Business
This week the Department of Labor’s proposed rules that would classify the children of farm families as illegal child laborers came to the forefront. Since last August the Department of Labor has been considering new rules that would impose heavy fines on farm families whose children help with regular chores, feed livestock, drive a tractor or help with planting. The proposed child labor rules are the latest battle in the Obama Administration’s war on agriculture.

Since August, the Department of Labor has heard from farm families across the country and right here in Arkansas. The message has been unanimous: keep Washington out of family farms. While the Labor Department did announce they would not immediately impose labor rules on farm families, there is no guarantee that they will not try to implement the rules in the future.

After listening to families in our district, this week I signed on as a cosponsor of H.R. 4157, the Preserving America’s Family Farms Act. The legislation would prohibit the Department of Labor from ever imposing labor rules on farm families. Families in Arkansas should make decisions about raising their children and providing for their families, not bureaucrats from the Labor Department in Washington. On any farm, safety is a chief concern. The Preserving America’s Family Farms Act does not discount the value of safe farm practices. Instead, the bill empowers families to make decisions regarding safety.

Many times I have said that the greatest divide in Washington is not between Republicans and Democrats. The greatest divide is between rural and urban interests. By trying to regulate farm families, the Obama Labor Department is proving that they do not understand rural Arkansas and they do not have our best interests at heart.

Family farm operations in Arkansas and across rural America tell our nation’s story. The family farm represents the success that comes from hard work and never being willing to settle for less than the absolute best. The farms also represent what can be achieved when the entire family joins together through good times and bad. In Congress, I will continue fighting to protect Arkansas farm families from the Obama Administration’s war on agriculture.

Tags: Arkansas, US Representative, AR-01, Rick Crawford, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Spirit of Enterprise Award, family farms, business, H.R. 4157,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Arkansas' U.S. Sen. Pryor Sides With Big Labor, Not Arkansas Workers

Pryor Votes No On Enzi Resolution, S.J. Res 36

Arkansas Is an at will employment state
Why Would Sen. Mark Pryor side with
the Abusive NLRB Ambush Election Rule?
Answer: He is a L-I-B-E-R-A-L!
Little Rock, Ark. – Republican Party of Arkansas Communications Director Katherine Vasilos released the following statement regarding Democratic Senator Mark Pryor’s Tuesday vote for big labor and refusal to reject an abuse of power by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB):
“Instead of protecting Arkansas workers from intimidation by labor organizations, Senator Pryor chose to side with the likes of union bosses, recalling the millions of union dollars dumped into Arkansas to defeat his friend Blanche Lincoln. Simply put, Senator Pryor cares more about protecting his own job than those of Arkansas workers.

“The NLRB’s overreach is an assault on Arkansas small businesses and does nothing but cripple entrepreneurial America and give unions unnecessary political power. Big labor’s attempt to obstruct job creation and punish right-to-work states like ours should have been enough to convince Senator Mark Pryor to stand with hardworking Arkansans. Clearly, Senator Pryor is out of touch with what drives the real economy - our small businesses owners.”

Senator Pryor Sides With Big Labor, NLRB

“Arkansas senators split today as the U.S. Senate rejected a Republican effort to overturn new labor regulations rules intended to limit management from stalling union work place elections. A resolution to “disapprove” the new rules adopted by the National Labor Relations Board last year failed on a 45-54 vote. U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor joined every other Democrat in voting to sustain the rule. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., voted to reject the rule.” (Peter Urban, “Boozman, Pryor split on new NLRB rules,” Arkansas News Bureau, 4/25/12)

Union Dumps Sen. Lincoln, Pryor Defends Lincoln’s Union Record

“Parting ways over card check and other issues, the Arkansas AFL-CIO dropped its longtime support of U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln today and endorsed her Democratic primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter… U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., today defended Lincoln’s record on labor issues, saying Lincoln has voted with unions about 80 percent of the time.” (John Lyon, “AFL-CIO dumps Lincoln, backs Halter,” Arkansas News Bureau, 3/4/10)

Tags: Arkansas, US Senator, Mark Pryor, Big Unions, NLRB, Ambush election Rule,  liberal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Arkansas' Irresponsible Spending

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr
ARRA News Service - Lt. Gov. Mark Darr: Last week, a group of legislators on the Arkansas Legislative Council, made up of 31 Democrats and 17 Republicans, voted along party lines to approve spending 7.7 million dollars in taxpayer money to be spent by the Arkansas Insurance Department on planning for a state health insurance exchange as part of implementing the controversial federal healthcare law.

We are just weeks away from the United States Supreme Court reaching a decision on the legality of this law and these individuals have decided that 7.7 million dollars doesn’t merit a few weeks worth of waiting. I think this is irresponsible.

How many of you would spend a large amount of your own money or your business’ money on something that could be irrelevant just two months from now? This is just another example of frivolous government spending with other people’s money without regard to fiscal responsibility. Our country is currently 15 trillion dollars in debt because of things like this.

We keep being told that our state “must” do this or else. We have checks and balances in this country for a reason. This is one reason why I think this law is unconstitutional. The federal government is trying to force Arkansas into implementing a system that two-thirds of our state doesn’t want. It is our duty to stand up for our state. We cannot continue to allow our state to continue on a path toward bankruptcy, which is what I think will ultimately be the result of this law, under threat from the federal government. What’s more, the people in charge of implementing these programs admit that they have not even read the full legislation.

I don’t just oppose this law and its implementation on constitutional grounds or to be obstinate. I believe it will greatly damage the private insurance market, vastly expand government, and lead to an enormous financial burden from which our system and our economy may never recover.

Arkansans deserve better.

Tags: Arkansas, irresponsible spending, federal healthcare law, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr

Monday, April 23, 2012

State Democrats Stand For Obamacare, Not Arkansans

Little Rock, Ark. – Republican Party of Arkansas Communications Director Katherine Vasilos released the following statement regarding last week’s party-line vote by Arkansas Democrats to spend $7.7 million in taxpayer money to implement a key component of President Obama’s health care law while the Supreme Court is still considering its constitutionality:
“While Republicans continue to fight for hardworking Arkansas taxpayers, state Democrats continue to show how they are ‘working hard’ to implement Obamacare and keep President Obama happy. Arkansans deserve real solutions and accountability from their elected officials and, with a Democratic-majority in the state legislature, they are simply not getting it.

“Obamacare will hurt our state’s already exploding Medicaid budget, lead our nation further into debt and take away Arkansans’ freedom to make important health care decisions. In November, voters will reject Arkansas Democrats who stand with President Obama and elect a Republican majority to the General Assembly that will represent our state’s common sense conservative values.”
Click here to view the roll call.

Arkansas Democrats Pass Obamacare Grant
“The Legislative Council today endorsed a plan for the state to use a $7.7 million federal grant to fund planning for a federally mandated health insurance exchange in Arkansas…Approval came in a voice vote after about 90 minutes of debate largely along party lines. Republicans argued against any use of the money until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on whether the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is constitutional.” (Rob Moritz, “Panel OKs state use of fed grant for health insurance exchange planning,” Arkansas News Bureau, 4/20/12)

Arkansas Democrats ‘Working Hard’ to Implement Obamacare
 “Amici Curiae, a group of 518 State Legislators from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, believe that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“the Act”) is constitutional and are working hard in their States to implement the Act in a timely, efficient, and effective manner. They have a substantial interest in having this matter resolved expeditiously and in favor of the constitutionality of the Act.” (Source: Supreme Court Brief – US Department of Health Human Services v Florida)

Tags: Arkansas, Democrats, Support Obamacare, Not Arkansans

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ending GSA's Culture of Waste

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR-01): The House of Representatives took steps this week to end wasteful spending at the General Services Administration, protect the rights of sportsmen and cut taxes for small business owners.

This week I questioned GSA officials about the now infamous 2010 GSA conference hosted in Las Vegas. The lavish conference left American tax payers with a $822,000 tab.

On Tuesday, the House passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 to protect the rights of American sportsmen to hunt and fish. The legislation will remove roadblocks for hunters and fishermen on public plans and will guard against new regulations that could block or limit access to hunting and fishing.
In Arkansas, hunting and fishing are a way of life. For generations families have hunted and fished together. The federal government should not be a roadblock to generations of tradition.

The Small Business Tax Cut Act of 2012 will give our nation’s small businesses more opportunity to create jobs and grow the economy. The legislation allows small businesses to deduct 20% of their income from taxes regardless of how the company is legally structured. Small businesses that file their taxes as a corporation, a limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship, will benefit from this new deduction.
Visiting with small business owner Jesse Simmons in Newport.
Arkansas small businesses drive our rural economy. The 50,000 small businesses in our state employ over 477,000 people and the tax cut passed by the House will give these small businesses the ability to grow and hire more workers.

My column focuses on the culture of waste at the General Services Administration and what must be done to stop this abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Crawford Column: Ending GSA’s Culture of Waste
Recent revelations of the General Services Administration’s spending scandal are a prime example of why Americans do not have faith in their government. In 2010, the General Services Administration hosted an opulent conference in Las Vegas that cost the American taxpayers $822,000 dollars. Wasting taxpayer dollars should never be tolerated.

During a hearing this week on Capitol Hill, I questioned Robert Peck, the former General Services Administration Public Buildings Services Commissioner about the Las Vegas conference.  In the hearing, I asked for answers about a $30,000 pool party, a GSA official staying in 2,400 square foot Las Vegas hotel suite and a $2,000 bill for a “private” party – all paid for with taxpayer dollars.

As if pool parties and lavish hotel suites were not wasteful enough, here are some of the other expenses from the 2010 Las Vegas GSA Conference:
      • $44 per person for daily breakfasts
      • $75,000 spent on bicycle building exercises to encourage team building
      • $6,300 spent on commemorative coin sets given to conference attendees
      • $30,207 spent on a closing reception dinner
      • $58,808 for audio visual services
      • $3,200 spent on mind readers for entertainment

I’ve never claimed to be a mind reader, but if you are like me I can imagine how mad you are after learning that your tax dollars were wasted with such blatant disregard.

This abuse of taxpayer dollars cannot be tolerated. The Obama Administration has tried to sweep this issue under the rug and diminish its seriousness. It took the Obama Administration eleven months to take action. To add insult to injury, the chief organizer of the 2010 Las Vegas GSA Conference was approved for a bonus by senior Obama officials for his work in organizing the conference.

As your voice in Congress, I am taking this investigation very seriously. Officials who organize and authorize wasteful spending must be held responsible.  Fiscal responsibility and respect for taxpayer dollars is paramount. I am working to end the culture of waste at GSA and ensure that taxpayer dollars are respected.

Tags: Arkansas, U.S. Representative, Rick Crawford, Ending, GSA, Culture of Waste

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Objects to Spending $7.7 Million Implementing ObamaCare

Obeebe - Obama both progressives
. . . But, Arkansas' Liberal Progressive Governor really doesn't care. It appears that legislative democrats are more interested in destroying Arkansas liberty and freedom if they can no longer be in charge. Polling shows that Arkansas democrats may lose both the Arkansas State Senate and House which would mean that Gov. Beebe would have his hands tied in advancing Obamacare, locally called ObeebeCare.

Darr Disappointed by the Approval to spend 7.7 Million Dollars on Healthcare Exchange Grant Arkansas Lt. Governor Mark Darr (R) responded: “Just weeks away from the United States Supreme Court reaching a decision on the legality of the federal healthcare law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC), Arkansas State Legislators voted along party lines to approve a 7.7 million dollar grant to the Arkansas Insurance Department. This money would be used for planning and implementing the federal healthcare law, which may be ruled unconstitutional by the court. I think it is ridiculous for the administrators of this program and state legislators to refuse to wait a few more weeks for the Supreme Court to reach their decision. Our country is currently 15 trillion dollars in debt, yet some individuals feel that it is perfectly fine to waste 7.7 million dollars of taxpayer money. It is especially offensive when these same people admit that they have not even read the full legislation.”

Tags: Arkansas, ObamaCare, ObeebeCare, healthcare exchange, grant, Lt Gov, Mark Darr

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Griffin: ‘Like most Arkansans, I support’ Keystone XL Pipeline

Bill extends transportation funding, moves Keystone XL pipeline forward

Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) statement after House passage of the Surface Transportation Extension Act (H.R. 4348):

“Exactly three months ago today, President Obama killed thousands of jobs that would be created by the Keystone XL pipeline.  Like most Arkansans, I support this pro-jobs project that will strengthen our national security by making us less dependent on Middle Eastern oil.  And once again, the House has led the way in moving the Keystone XL pipeline project forward, and the Senate should join us in this effort.”

H.R. 4348 would provide a three-month extension for programs under the Highway Trust Fund at current levels.  In addition, it would direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue a permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline within 30 days of enactment.

Rep. Griffin’s speech on Keystone Pipeline

Tags: Tim Griffin, Representatives, AR-02, 2nd District, Keystone Pipeline

Darr Named to Leadership of Nation’s Lieutenant Governors Association

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr
LITTLE ROCK- Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Mark A. Darr was recently chosen to serve on the leadership committee of the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA).  NLGA is the professional association for the officeholders first in line of succession to governor in all 50 states and the U.S. territories.      
Lieutenant Governor Darr will serve as the South Region, Republican-at-Large member of the NLGA Executive Committee.  “The lieutenant governor was appointed this position in consideration of his contributions to the bi-partisan work of NLGA,” said NLGA Executive Director Julia Hurst.”

“As a NLGA leader, Lt. Governor Darr will work with his peers across the nation to find and foster multi-state and regional solutions to problems," said NLGA Chair Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy.  "Through NLGA, the nation's lieutenant governors discuss shared concerns and seek to influence national dialogue.”

“Darr said he was honored to have been selected and looks forward to working with the NLGA Executive Committee.”

The committee meets about three times a year and is responsible for charting the course of issues and work to be pursued by the nation’s second-highest state and territorial officeholders.  In addition to its specific duties, the committee will also address issues of mutual concern to all members.  Lieutenant Governor Darr will serve until July of 2012 at which time he is eligible for re-appointment.

Tags: Arkansas, Lt. Governor, Mark Darr, leadership committee, Bational Lieutenant Governors Association, NLGA

House Dems Vote to Block Keystone Pipeline: Does Hurst Stand With Them?

Arkansas Democrat’s Congressional Allies Reinforce Obama Administration’s Rejection of North American Energy and Jobs While China Celebrates

WASHINGTON --- Q. Byrum Hurst's Washington Democrat allies joined President Obama again today to oppose approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the manufacturing jobs and energy independence it would create in the face of soaring gas prices across the country. Rather than support a real all-the-above energy policy that includes common-sense projects like the Keystone pipeline, Hurst's Democrat allies demonstrated today that they would rather appease anti-energy Democrat donors than help middle-class families. Since Hurst is looking to join them, would he also support their effort to stifle American energy and jobs?

“Q. Byrum Hurst's House Democrat allies chose anti-energy Democrat activists today over families and small businesses struggling with prices at the pump when they voted to reject the Keystone pipeline again,” said NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay. “Gas prices have soared even higher since President Obama first rejected this common-sense energy project exactly three months ago, so would Hurst help push these opportunities for jobs and energy independence away to China?”

The Obama Administration has threatened to veto this legislation because it would green light the Keystone XL pipeline:

“The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto House legislation to extend transportation programs because it contains GOP language that mandates approval of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.” (Ben Geman, “White House threatens veto of highway bill over Keystone pipeline provision,” The Hill’s E2 Wire Blog, 4/17/12)

Since the Obama Administration first rejected the Keystone pipeline – exactly three months ago today – Canada is looking to China instead:

Canadian government officials, meanwhile, have boosted support for westward-flowing pipelines in order to diversify toward Asian markets. That effort accelerated after the White House earlier this year rejected a big pipeline-expansion project, TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL, which would have sent more Alberta crude south of the border. … Mr. Harper and other Canadian officials have said they want to open up new markets for Canada's resources in China and Asia, instead of relying on the U.S. as its biggest buyer.” (Edward Welsch, “With $5 Billion Pipeline Project, Canada Looks to Bypass U.S. For Asia,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/12/12)

Democrats had little choice except to reject the pipeline because their fundraising base has such strong anti-energy views:

“Democrats outside the West Wing and Chicago-based campaign say the politics were clear: With the exceptions of the grousing unions (who will have no choice but to support him in 2012), the party’s donor base, environmental advocates down to their hybrid SUVs oppose the pipeline.” (Glenn Thrush and Darren Samuelsohn, “Keystone decision a political win-win,” Politico, 1/18/12)

Tags: Q. Byrum Hurst, Arkansas, Democrat , candidate, 1st District, House Democrats, Vote, Block Keystone Pipeline

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

First District Democrats Flop on Fundraising

Ellington Makes Desperate Call for Campaign Cash

Little Rock, Ark. Three Arkansas Democrats vying for the First Congressional District seat appear to have flopped when it comes to raising campaign funds this quarter.

According to the Associated Press, Republican Congressman Rick Crawford “brought in more than his three Democratic challengers combined.” Meanwhile, Politico dubbed one Democratic candidate, Rep. Clark Hall, a “much-heralded prospect who fell short.”

“Clearly, Rep. Hall was right when he said running for Congress was ‘over his head,’” said Republican Party of Arkansas Communications Director Katherine Vasilos. "Voters in the First District have clearly wised-up as evidenced by his dwindling fundraising totals. They know that Clark Hall will be another Democrat supporting the economically destructive policies of President Obama that have hurt rural Arkansas."

On Tuesday, Democratic congressional candidate and former West Memphis Three Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington made a desperate call for campaign cash, telling Talk Business that if any party involved in the well-known murder case “wants to throw some money at me, it’s not going to hurt my feelings.”

“Arkansas Democrats like Scott Ellington will say anything to get elected and continue President Obama’s assault on our state and national economy,” said Vasilos. "This November, voters will return Rep. Crawford to Congress to continue fighting for the common sense conservative values of Arkansans that President Obama and his Democratic allies simply don't get."

Rep. Crawford Raises More Than Three Democrats Combined

“In the 1st District in east Arkansas, Republican Rep. Rick Crawford rebounded from sluggish fundraising at the end of the year and brought in more than his three Democratic challengers combined. Crawford, who was elected in 2010, raised $239,370 and spent $70,036. He had $459,659 cash on hand.” (Andrew Demillo, “Republican Tom Cotton widens fundraising lead in race for south Arkansas congressional seat,” Associated Press, 4/16/12)

Ellington Makes Desperate Call For Campaign Cash

Ellington: “If they want to send money this way, we’ll take it. Either side. Because right now, the case is closed…If somebody on either side wants to throw some money at me, it’s not going to hurt my feelings.” (Roby Brock, “Ellington Addresses Fundraising Shortfall, WM3 Contributions,” Talk Business, 4/17/12)

Rep. Hall Flops on Fundraising

“Another much-heralded prospect who fell short: state Rep. Clark Hall of Arkansas. The beleaguered House Blue Dog coalition, seeking to increase its diminished ranks, has endorsed Hall along with a handful of other congressional hopefuls. But Hall raised just $123,000, a little less than half of incumbent GOP Rep. Rick Crawford’s $252,000 takeaway.” (Alex Isenstadt, Lessons from the house cash dash, Politico, 4/16/12)

Running For Congress is Way Over Clark Hall’s Head

"Hall, who is barred by term limits from running for re-election in the House, said some state representatives had asked him to consider running for the 1st Congressional District seat next year, but thats probably way over my head." (“Candidates getting jump on 12 state Senate races,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 8/28/11)

Tags: Three Arkansas Democrats, Arkansas, First Congressional District Congressman Rick Crawford, Scott Ellington, Clark Hall,

Friday, April 13, 2012

Labor Department Takes Aim at Farm Families

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-AR-Dist 1: As unbelievable as it may seem, the Labor Department is trying to prevent farm children from working on family farms.

For many in Arkansas, farming is a family business. Generations join together to cultivate the land and earn an honest living. Many farms are passed from one generation to another and are a tremendous source of pride. Other families scrimp and save to purchase land and pass a legacy onto their children and grandchildren.

Family farm operations in Arkansas and across rural America tell our nation’s story. The family farm represents the success that comes from hard work and never being willing to settle for less than the absolute best. The farms also represent what can be achieved when the entire family joins together through good times and bad.

For some weeks now there have been rumblings from the Department of Labor about new rules that would classify the children of farm families as illegal child laborers. The Department of Labor is considering new rules that would impose heavy fines on farm families if any member of the family under 18 helps with regular chores, feeds livestock, drives a tractor or helps with planting. I have said before that the Obama Administration does not understand rural America, but with these new rules regarding farm families, it appears that President Obama is trying to end family farming as we know it.

Worse than any immediate fines are the long-term impact that the new rules could bring. By stopping young people from helping out on the family farm, the Department of Labor is forcing an end to generations of family farm operations. The new regulations would keep young people from taking up the family business and would force countless families to stop production. The new rules would kill the dreams of young people in Arkansas who want to own their own land and build a successful farming operation.

Many of the challenges we face in Washington are not Democrats versus Republicans, but are rather urban interests versus rural interests. The Labor Department’s planned rule to impose child labor fines on farm families is the most offensive assault on rural Americans to date.

Ask any farmer in Arkansas when he or she first started helping on their family farm and they will tell you age six or seven. Farming is in their blood and it is a way of life. Young people grow up excited to be able to help their parents and grandparents feed the animals, plant crops or maintain the farm equipment. Even young people who choose not to continue farming gain valuable life skills that will make them better teachers, nurses or business owners.

Arkansas farm families do not need a federal agency to tell them when their children can start pitching in on the farm. Parents should decide when their children are ready to start learning life lessons and contributing to the success of family farms.

Tags: Arkansas, 1st Congressional District, AR-01, US Rep, Rick Crawford, Republican, Labor Department, Family Farms

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Snicker: Gov. Beebe Gets an A+ - In Selective Reporting

Curtis Coleman, The New South Conservative: Governor Beebe has been proudly reporting that Education Week magazine has ranked Arkansas as fifth in the nation in education! Seriously – fifth! Now, the first heartburn that report causes is something like a heart attack for education in the rest of the nation. If Arkansas – where almost 50% of high school graduates who GO to college – 50% of our college freshmen require remediation in one or more core subjects, including reading and math, that should literally scare you to death for the rest of the country!

But that’s where Gov. Beebe earns his A+ in selective reporting. Arkansas earned an “A” in some mysterious category called “policies and performance.” But in the categories we can understand such as student achievement – 34th! And we’re 44th in students’ chance for success. So in the categories that matter – how our children are able to perform in real life after they get through our educational system, once again….and intolerably once again….our children rank near the bottom!

I have an idea that like me, you’re sick and tired of Arkansas being ranked near the bottom in almost everything except teenage pregnancies and childhood obesity.

It’s time – not just for that vague and indefinable thing called “reform” – it is time for revolution in education in Arkansas. And that essentially demands that parents be re-empowered to direct the education – and the money for the education – of their own children.

Tags: education in Arkansas, Education Week, K-12, Mike Beebe, parents, reform, remediation, revolution, Arkansas, Coleman Commentary Podcasts, Education

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Democratic Senator Mark Pryor Backtracks on Support of President Barack Obama

Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas’ senior Democratic Senator Mark Pryor this week backtracked on his support of President Barack Obama, claiming, “I just don’t really get involved in those races,” when four years earlier he urged Arkansans to join him and work as hard as we possibly can for Barack Obama.”

“What a difference four years makes,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Communications Director Katherine Vasilos. “After the enormous defeat of Senator Blanche Lincoln in 2010, reality has set in for Senator Pryor who is clearly running away from Barack Obama’s failed presidency in fear of losing his own job. Sen. Pryor knows that President Obama is such a drag on Arkansas Democrats in 2012, he fears it will spill over to his re-election in 2014.”< In 2008, Senator Mark Pryor said at a campaign rally, “Barack Obama has the leadership; he has the vision; he has the hope that this country needs right now.” “Obviously Senator Pryor no longer believes Barack Obama has the “leadership,” “vision” and “hope” to move our country forward," said Vasilos. "With unemployment still high, Obamacare threatening businesses and gas prices soaring, one thing is inherently clear: Barack Obama has taken our country in the wrong direction and Arkansas Democrats like Senator Pryor must now answer to the American people for his party’s undeniable failure.”<

Senator Pryor Runs From President Obama, Refuses to Campaign for Re-Election Bid

“U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said he will not actively campaign in Arkansas for President Barack Obama during the 2012 general election cycle. Pryor noted his unwillingness to support the Obama, the titular head of the Democratic Party, during the second edition of the The City Wire show, presented by 5News. ‘Not very active,” Pryor said when asked about his level of support for Obama. ‘As much as I may love all of our presidents,... I just don’t really get involved in those races…’” (“Pryor will not actively campaign for Obama,”The City Wire, 4/9/12)

Senator Pryor Campaigns For Barack Obama In 2008

“But this was not Sen. Pryor’s tune only a few years ago when he spoke at a get out the vote rally in 2008 with other Arkansas Democratic leaders. ‘Before we left (Washington) Hillary (Clinton) said ‘Mark if you can do me one favor while you are back in Arkansas during the campaign season. If you could tell every person you see to go out and work for and vote for Barack Obama.’ So can you do that?’ asked Pryor to which the crowd chanted, ‘Yes, we can.’” (Jason Tolbert, Sen. Pryor’s Reversal on Supporting Obama, The Tolbert Report, 4/10/12)

Senator Pryor Says Barack Obama Has The Leadership, Vision And Hope America Needs

“’Barack Obama has the leadership; he has the vision; he has the hope that this country needs right now. Amen!’ continued Pryor. ‘One of the things I learned from him back in Washington is that elections have consequences. 2000 election…2004 election…and guess what this one is going to have consequences too so let’s go out and work as hard as we possibly can for Barack Obama and let’s bring the change to America that we need.’” (Jason Tolbert, Sen. Pryor’s Reversal on Supporting Obama, The Tolbert Report, 4/10/12)

Tags: Mark Pryor, Barack Obama, Arkansas, non-endorsement

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Arkansas House Republicans Introduce The SIMPLE Plan

Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service: After 136 years of plantation politics in Arkansas, the voice of "We The People" is being heard. The rising tide of conservatism in Arkansas is making its impact. The demands for government accountable and transparency, for Big Government be put on a diet and for government waste and spending be reduced have been heard by numerous elected officials With the potential anticipated increases in elected Republicans in the 2012 Elections, the present Republican House leadership has boldly setting forth a road map - their plan for responsible actions.

Today, we note that road map. It was developed by members of the Arkansas House Republican Caucus which anticipates that 2012 voters will make them responsible for the Arkansas State Legislature. They realized that waiting until after the transition will be too late. Therefore, the Republican House Caucus has set forth the parameters within which Republicans will operate for the benefit of Arkansans. They call their plan The SIMPLE Plan. Below is an image depicting The Simple Plan and videos with Republican House leaders detailing their planned actions in working with other elected officials to address the major issues facing Arkansans.

Their playbook, The Simple Plan, is now placed before the public to read. Obviously, this is not usual politics in Arkansas. They and future elected Republicans and hopefully other elected officials will be held accountable for legislative and funding actions within the scope of this plan. I commend the current House Republican Caucus for reaching agreement and setting forth this plan. Arkansans will be watching and holding them accountable in their efforts.

Arkansas House Republican Caucus: Republicans are committed to fighting for hardworking Arkansans and replacing the status quo in state government with a simple, direct and bipartisan vision. Since 2012 will mark a new era for Arkansas government and politics, this week House Republicans unveiled their “SIMPLE” policy plan to move Arkansas forward.

Spending Reform
Income Tax and Other Tax Reform
Medicaid Sustainability
Protecting Arkansas’ Future
Legal and Regulatory Reform
Education Excellence
Click Image to Enlarge
The Arkansas Republican House Caucus unveiled its SIMPLE Plan for fighting for hardworking Arkansas taxpayers today in the State Capitol Rotunda. Speaking for the others are Arkansas State Representatives Bruce Westerman, Terry Rice, Mark Biviano and Charlie Collins.
Republican Leader Bruce Westerman (Hot Springs):

ARHC SIMPLE PLAN - Rep. Terry Rice

ARHC SIMPLE PLAN - Rep. Mark Biviano

ARHC SIMPLE PLAN - Rep. Charlie Collins

Tags: Arkansas, State House, Republicans, SIMPLE Plan, taxes, reform, Bruce Westerman, Terry Rice, Mark Biviano and Charlie Collins

Friday, April 6, 2012

ICYMI: Republicans Defeat Democratic Attempt to Waste Taxpayer Dollars Implementing ObamaCare

Insurance chief denied OK to spend fed funds on health insurance exchange

By John Lyon, Arkansas News Bureau, April 5, 2012
LITTLE ROCK — A legislative panel today failed to endorse state spending from a multimillion-dollar federal grant to implement a key component of the national health care reform law.

State Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford had sought an endorsement from the Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Subcommittee for the state Insurance Department’s use of a $7.7 million federal grant to fund various aspects of planning for a federally mandated health insurance exchange in Arkansas.

The subcommittee voted 10-3 on the request, with 11 votes needed for a favorable review from the 20-member panel.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in legal challenges to the federal health care law last week. A ruling is expected in June.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of states waiting for the next two months to see some resolution before we spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money,” said Rep. John Burris, R-Harrison...

Voting for the motion were Reps. Tiffany Rogers, D-Stuttgart; Tommy Baker, D-Osceola; David “Bubba” Powers, D-Hope; Linda Tyler, D-Conway; Gary Leding, D-Fayetteville; and John Catlett, D-Rover, voting as the alternate of Robert Moore Jr., D-Arkansas City; and Sens. Luker; Sue Madison, D-Fayetteville; Gene Jeffress, D-Louann; and Mary Anne Salmon, D-North Little Rock.

Voting against it were Reps. Burris, Rice and Robert Dale, R-Dover, and Sen. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home. Co-chairman Rep. James McLean, D-Batesville, did not vote...
Read Full story

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Boozman Travels Arkansas During Easter Recess

Sen John Boozman: Congress is in recess which gives me an opportunity to spend more time in Arkansas. We have spent the past week traveling across the state meeting with community and business leaders listening to the challenges they are facing in this economic climate. The price of gas dominated the conversation in nearly all of our meetings.

The price of a gallon of regular gas increased more than 20 cents in the past month according to AAA and that is impacting family and community budgets. Arkansans are demanding action from Washington. They are frustrated by the higher costs every time they fill up their car. ; They are tired of seeing more and more of their disposable income being eaten up at the pump. We can start providing them relief by increasing production here at home.

Our country needs to adopt an energy policy that reduces our dependence on Middle Eastern oil by using our natural resources in an environmentally sound way. Constructing the Keystone XL pipeline is a perfect example of how we can utilize U.S. manpower and get more oil from our number one trading partner, our North American friends in Canada, which in turn, will decrease our reliance on hostile regimes for our energy needs. This was the number one issue I heard from Arkansans during our last tele-town hall. I used some of the information I heard on this forum as well as stories Arkansans shared on my Facebook page in a speech on the Senate floor.

Washington can and must do more to help counter the rising price of gasoline. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to promote an energy policy that leads to real relief at the pump.

Healthcare Law Anniversary: We recently marked the second anniversary of President Obama's cornerstone healthcare proposal becoming law by answering questions from Arkansans we received via social media. It’s clear this flawed law left us with fewer jobs, more debt and lower quality of care. Then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said during the debate “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” This is what we’ve learned. We need an approach to reform healthcare that lets patients make their own health decisions. Community Health Centers are part of that solution as is real reform, based on free-market principles, which will drive down costs and increase coverage.  We must improve our healthcare system and increase access for all Americans without adding trillions to our already staggering amount of debt.

Putting Americans Back to Work: I recently received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award for supporting pro-job and pro-growth policies. Job creation is priority #1 and we must work to create an environment that encourages business growth and hiring. One of the ways that we are going to grow our economy and create jobs is by exporting more American goods. That’s why I cosponsored The Increasing American Jobs Through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2012. This legislation is a bipartisan bicameral effort to increase trade to Africa by requiring better coordination amongst U.S. government agencies and departments responsible for trade.

Honoring the Service and Sacrifice of SSG Jerry Reed II: Thank you for the service and sacrifice of Army SSG Jerry Reed II of Russellville who died while heroically serving our country in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. I honored SSG Reed in this floor speech.

Second Amendment: I am proud to support legislation that would guarantee the rights of gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines in accordance with the laws of individual states. I have long supported this idea and introduced similar legislation as a member of the House of Representatives.

Honoring the U.S. Marshals Service: The President recently signed legislation into law to mint a coin commemorating the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the coin will be used by the U.S. Marshals Service National Museum in Fort Smith for the preservation, maintenance, and display of artifacts and documents of the Marshal Service.

Tags: U.S. Senator, Rrkansas, John Boozman, news

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

State Democratic Candidates Unlikely To Overcome Obama Factor In November

How will Obama play in Arkansas?
By Jason Tolbert, Arkansas News Bureau, 3/30/12
On Tuesday, the campaign to re-elect President Obama opened its Arkansas headquarters in North Little Rock. However, it appears Obama has almost no chance of actually winning the state. The bigger question is how much Obama’s unpopularity will affect races down the ballot n the fight for control the state Legislature.

When the office opened, campaign manager Jim Messina addressed a small crowd of Obama supporters. He began by discussing problems the administration had inherited from President Bush, then talked about what he believed were the president’s accomplishments.

“One historian said (Obama) had more notches on his belt then any president in a very long time. Think about all the things he got done,” said Messina. “And don’t think about what we got done; think about why he did it. He did health care because it is a fundamental right of all of us to have health care reform in this country. He passed a bill to allow people to serve in the armed forces no matter who they loved because America is a tolerant place. He doubled renewable energy because he knew America had to stop depending on foreign places for oil and build our own energy in the United States of America.”

Messina’s boasting of passing Obamacare, repealing of “don’t ask don’t tell,” and the administration’s environmental policies seemed odd topics to bring up in Arkansas.

Noticeably absent from the event were almost all elected Democratic officials and candidates. The only elected officials I noticed were State Sen. Linda Chesterfield and State Rep. Tracey Steele. Herb Rule, 2nd Congressional District Democratic candidate, was the only candidate in attendance with an opponent in November. He faces Republican incumbent Congressman Tim Griffin.

How to deal with the top of the ticket has become a landmine for most Democrats in Arkansas, much to the delight of many Republicans.

“If President Barack Obama wants to waste his money in Arkansas, then let him,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb. “With unemployment still high, gas prices soaring and Obamacare threatening small businesses, it’s unlikely any local Democrats running for office in Arkansas will want to stand with the president and promote his failed policies.”

A new poll from Talk Business backs up Webb’s statement. The survey showed that nearly two out every three Arkansans disapprove of Obama’s job performance...
Click here to read full article.

Tags: Arkansas, politics, democrats, Barack Obama, Jason Tolbert, Arkansas News Bureau

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More Disturbing News About Arkansas U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor


by Carlton Saff, RetirePryor: The following is based entirely on IRS internal documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and filed in Federal Court in Little Rock, sworn testimony filed in the White County, Arkansas Circuit Court and Secretary of the US Senate filings. Want to see them? Go to {Website deactivated]

In 2006 Arkansas US Senator Mark Pryor disclosed that he owned at least $1.3 Million in interest in a finance company, a truck leasing company, a trust, and a lumber company on his US Senate disclosure forms. Pryor's wealthy mother-in-law, Bonnie Harvey, held the controlling interest in all these companies. The 2006 form say that two of these assets even paid a dividend. In 2007 these assets disappeared from his filing but yet on the same form he said he and his wife sold no stock in 2007.

How did Pryor's interest in four different business entities--which he claimed were worth at least $1.3 in 2007, all become worthless at the same time? How did they go from paying a dividend to worthless in one year?

Now we learn that at least one of those companies, Great Western Leasing leased trucks to Continental Express, a company owned by Pryor's mother-in-law that stiffed the IRS for $2 million in taxes withheld from employees paychecks but never turned over to the IRS. Great Western received 100% of it's revenues from Continental Express. Pryor held approximately $500,000 in stock in Great Western alone.

We also know that the IRS agent who attempted to obtain financial information and payment from Pryor's kin was abruptly transferred and the agent who replaced him quietly closed the case without collecting a dime.

The IRS closed it's case against Pryor's relatives right after the IRS upgraded the case to a "political" classification. Now the IRS is trying to collect these $2 million taxes from a former trucking company executive who is not wealthy and who had no ownership or interest in the company and had no control of the companies books when the taxes went unpaid!

We now know that Pryor's Mother-in-law sold the assets of Great Western Leasing - the company Senator Pryor owned a piece of and which paid him a dividend in 2006,just 30 days before the deadline for financial disclosure by the company set by the IRS. What happened to Sen.Mark Pryor's interest in the Company?

What is even more incredible is that Pryor's mother-in-law, estimated to be worth $30 million, admitted in a signed agreement that she owed these taxes and would pay them!

We also know that an agent for Bonnie Harvey testified under oath in State Circuit Court oath that Harvey was paying "her children" up to $24,000 monthly for "house payments, kids in school, and other needs" at the exact same time the company was skipping out on $2 million in past due taxes. We know from this same deposition that the reference to "her children" specifically meant the Pryor household. Its clear that the Harveys paid the tuition costs for Senator Pryor's children, and likely many other of Senator Pryor's monthly expenses.

To date no one has asked whether Senator Pryor or his wife, Jill Harvey Pryor, were taking large sum monthly payments from a company that owed the IRS $2 million. Pryor claims in both his 2006 and 2007 US Senate Financial Disclosures that he and his wife had no outside income or assets. He has also claimed he has no knowledge or interaction on the Harvey businesses, despite once listing as much as $1.3 Million in Harvey stock on his required disclosures and used a Harvey owned bank to finance the purchase of his home in Little Rock.


How long will the Arkansas media go without examining the public documents that confirm all these facts and start asking Mark Pryor the hard questions? Will a complaint have to be filed with the US Senate Ethics Committee?

There cannot be two sets of rules, one for the rich and politically connected and another for the working people of Arkansas

Tags: IRS internal documents, Mark Pryor, Arkansas, Retire Pryor, 2014

Burn PoTUS

From the ARRA News Service - Enjoy this parody by Duane Lester: Coming this fall (Nov 2012) to the USA ... hopefully!!!

Tags: Burn POTUS, POTUS, Barack Obama, 2012 elections, parody, Video, Duane Lester, ARRA News Service