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tv   Campaign 2022 Sen. John Boozman Discusses the 2022 Midterm Elections  CSPAN  November 2, 2021 5:53am-6:22am EDT

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this is hosted by "the washington post." >> good afternoon, welcome to "washington post" live. i'm jackie, author of the congressional correspondent for "the washington post." my guest today is senator john boozman, sooner senator from arkansas. dean of arkansas delegation.
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he's here to discuss the status of the biden economic agenda, what republican senators want. but first begin with food production. senator, welcome. thanks so much for joining us today. post live. senator boozman: thank you so much for having me. it's a pleasure. >> all eyes are on the cargo ships anchored off of california. talk about the supply chain issues we are seeing. specifically with regards to trucking. you are supportive of legislation to help train additional truck drivers to move goods more rapidly across the country. how do you think this is going to alleviate the supply chain bottleneck we are seeing? senator boozman: we have a huge problem on the ports. in the past we have had problems periodically on the west coast. now it's a real concern because we have it on both coasts right now. nobody really seems to know how to alleviate the problem. one of the solutions is, not only for the port problem, but
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just moving commerce in general, is to try to get more truck drivers. when you look at the numbers they are going to need as we go forward, the numbers are really staggering. one thing i'd like to see is make it such that with training and this and that there is no reason fellows younger than 21 could not start driving on an interstate basis. they do this in the military. and have done it in the past. there is no reason this would not help alleviate the shortage. jackie: trucking in general outside of the supply chain bottleneck is important for agriculture in terms of moving food across the country. how would additional truckers help farmers in the agricultural community? senator boozman: it's one of those choke points. as i go around arkansas and the country, there are two things people talk to me about. they talk to me about labor. and they talk to me about the supply chain.
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and labor is just difficult. it doesn't matter if you are trying to hire truck drivers. it doesn't matter if you are trying to hire engineers. people that work in restaurants. the list goes on and on. so because of that we really are in a crisis situation. this is something that we have to address. in visiting with the truckers, not only do they need drivers, i was visiting with an individual the other day, he had 30 trucks sitting idle because they couldn't get any parts. these are things that we got to be addressing. to be honest i'd like to see you us -- see us addressing some of these things rather than what we are spending time on now. jackie: one of the pay-fors that have been floated by democrats in order to fund the social spending package that's being hard out that might potentially look like $1.75 trillion, is a step up basis on farms. you have been vocal and
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outspoken against this pay-for. how would this affect farmers? senator boozman: it would affect them so negatively. the farmers have a tendin yency to have land, assets in that regard. but are very, very cash poor. we have an excellent economist on the minority ag staff. i said, john, tell me how this would affect farmers. he got a bunch of grass and charts and made it such where even i could understand it. i said ask somebody else and tell me what they think. get the best people in the country. texas a&m did that study. what they found was that 92 of the 94 farms that they have been studying for decades, 92 of the 94 would be feacted. the two that weren't, they had a model where they leased everything. they didn't own everything. those 92 the average was
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$720,000 that they owe in addition if you had a situation where you had an inheritance. this is a huge thing. because of the farm community rising up even the most liberal, the most progressive farm groups in the country all of them basically said no. we just can't do this. i think that's pretty much taken off the table right now. i hope it is. jackie: i'm wondering what else you think congress and the president himself can do to end the supply chain crisis. senator boozman: i think we have to address it. just making it such that we have people working around the clock on the ports and things like that simply isn't going to do it. we really need to make it such that this is an all out, almost like we have done so many other things, this is almost like a vaccine situation. just an all-out call to arms in
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the sense of how can we figure this out? how can we work through it? and it would be such that if we can solve the labor issue and the supply chain issue, i think the economy is really poised to burst out. but it's not going to do it as long as those things are hanging over it. jackie: i want to get to the v.a. and the issue of veterans health care, a large percentage of veterans were concerned about getting the vaccine, especially because their spouses or their caregiver wasn't eligible at the same time. you and senator john tesser offered legislation to improve access for vets to get the vaccine. what is the status of that bill? senator boozman: we talk a lot about democrats and republicans having a relationship it's not a good one. this is a great example. working for our veterans. making sure they get the care they need. what we found was when we were going home visiting with people
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during the pandemic who had a situation where the veteran was able to get a shot but the caregiver wasn't or the spouse wasn't. so we asked the v.a. about that. and they said that's right. so senator it'ser and i -- tesser -- tester and i got that situation together and fixed it. you would think they would have the administrate yf power to do that -- administrative power to do that. but it's such they didn't. i think that's great example we can work together. it's also a great example that there are many issues in congress that traditionally democrats and republicans do a good job of solving problems. jackie: just last week you had sent a letter along with other members of the republican party to the senate veterans' affairs committee -- sorry and you and the veterans' affairs committee sent that letter to secretary
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mcdonough that the vaccine mandate might have on the v.a. work force anti-ability of the agency to provide services to veterans if employees are let go because they chose not to receive the vaccine. have you heard a response from the administration yet on that issue? senator boozman: no. we are going to meet with the secretary in the near future to discuss that. we worked so hard to get the veterans' backlog down. also the v.a.'s like everyone else. labor is difficult. i'm a person, i have had the shot. i'm in the process of getting the booster. i believe in the vaccine. i think people ought to take it. on the other hand, i'm not in favor of mandates. people, certain percentage of people go the other way. i'm in favor of education. i'm in favor of giving them the carrot rather than the stick. but this is a complicated thing. good percentage of medical providers, good percentage of our nurses are not vaccinated.
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so it's not just people that -- of a particular ilk. it does cross the society. if we are not careful, if we just come down in a heavy-handed way and do this, my concern is is that we won't be able to provide the health care not only for veterans, but for lots of folks. now we are talking about veterans. then also making sure that we are not going to create a tremendous backlog that we worked so hard to diminish because of the fact that you simply are not going to have the labor force. so many people are babe i boomers, they are -- baby boomers, they are of the age they are thinking retirement anyway, these are stressors that push them over the edge. i hope that's not going to be the case. i think it is a great concern. we are seeing that -- indications of that all over the country. it seems like some of our fire departments, police departments
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again, nurses, doctors, providers, all kinds of folks i have heard from a lot of people in the military, pilots, so this is something that we need to address. i'd like to see us, again, encourage people to get vaccinated but i don't think it should be mandatory from the federal government. jackie: i'm wondering what else you think can be done to convince people to get vaccinated at this point other than move to these more punitive measures. since the administration has already given people a good chunk of time along with providing counseling and answering -- providing ample time to answer questions that people might have on the vaccine still. senator boozman: i understand. it's a difficult situation. i've got friends that are dear friends. i have family that simply don't want to be vaccinated. and again, it's all walks of life. i'm sure you are in the same
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position. that you have friends and family that simply don't feel like they'd like to take the vaccine at this point. a lot of women are concerned it might affect their childbearing capacity or this or that. it's a complicated thing. but i don't think that we do ourselves or do the country a service in penalizing people that simply don't eel fining -- feel like they'd like to do that. jackie: just yesterday a friend second degreemurder r surprised me by telling she me they weren't vaccinated, and this person in particular happens to be deep in conservative media. that's a whole separate conversation. i want to ask you about the u.s. postal service -- senator boozman: you'll find people not in deep conservative -- this is something that runs real gamut of society. jackie: i want to ask you about the u.s. postal service get into
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the banking. the usps wants to say they should offer banking services. a measure you oppose. many are asking why we would give them more to do when they can't keep up to their current demand of mail. what's your reaction? senator boazman: you just summed it up. they struggle to do what they are doing. i would encourage -- if we are going to spend more resources on the post office, i'm a great supporter of the post office, i'm against this. i'm very much in favor of the post office. we are in a situation where there's places all over -- arkansas' a good example. we have 75 counties. 50 of them lost population. that would be true throughout much of the country. rural areas. they really depend on the post office. newspapers depend on the post office. and the list goes on and on. economic activity that they produce is great. i just don't think that they need to get into the banking industry. we have banks. we have credit unions.
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we have all kinds of different vehicles. we might need, if we are having problems, we might need to encourage them to come out with different products or different ways of serving the public. i don't think that the post office is going to be doing that. jackie: before we move on to the re-election efforts, i want to ask you one more question about the v.a. as a doctor you are also trying to overhaul the v.a. to make it more access toibl member vets -- women vets. they greatly lack women-foes focused services such as mammography. you are the lead sponsor of legislation to remove barriers for women to be treated at the v.a. by helping them get the care they need. why is the v. -- why has the v.a. failed to adapt for women on its own? senator boozman: the v.a. is doing a much better job. if you look back not too long ago, predominantly, the veterans
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health, the veterans system in general was built for males because overwhelmingly that's who served. we had many women that did serve, but overwhelmingly it was a male dominated institute. now in the last several years we have so many women in service that are just not just a good job but tremendous job. we also have a number of female veterans. it wasn't too long ago you go into the v.a. hospital and if a woman was standing there, somebody might come up and say can i help you find your husband. not knowing that they were actually a veteran. the v.a.'s worked really hard to get away from that. they are doing a much better job. we are trying to push them even further. myself, senator tester, again working together, created the deborah sampson act. that's really gone a long way.
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i'm working with senator wyden now on one called -- has to do the sr. have is act. what we are finding is women vets served in areas where there were toxic chemicals, burn pits, they are having a much higher instance of breast cancer. at a much younger age. we are making sure that the v.a. is recognizing that and lowering the standards as far as the age and things so we can get them screened earlier. we've also got a bill called the ma'amo act. we are -- mammo act. we are working with that bill to make sure not only are they going to get screened appropriate early age, but what this is you are going to do the screening, plus the finest equipment in the world to make sure that the screening is done appropriately. that we are up to date. these are good things the v.a. is moving rapidly in that direction.
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still has work to do. another example, democrats and republicans working together to make sure we take care of our veterans. jackie: when do you expect some of these bills you mentioned, particularly the ones you worked on with john tesser -- tester, to pass? senator boozman: i think we'll get them passed before the end of the year. we have an excellent chance of doing that. as you know legislation just takes time to get through. we have all of this stuff going on that's taking the oxygen out of the air. i think we got a good chance. these are things that, again, are just common sense. they are just good for people. not tremendously expensive or anything like that. it wouldn't matter if they were. because it's something that we need to do. we always have to remember when we talk about veterans we are not talking about -- these aren't earned benefits. they are served, male or female, we need to take care of them.
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jackie: former president trump endorsed you in your re-election bid. what does his endorsement mean to you? senator boozman: president trump is popular in arkansas. i appreciate the fact he did enforced me. i voted with him almost all the time. in the sense of the issues that came about. because of that we had -- we did a lot. we had the best economy we had in 50 years. we rebuilt the military to large extent. took care of our farm community. our veterans. as a result i'm very proud of his support. it will be helpful to me in my re-election. jackie: i'm wondering in this re-election campaign how close to the former president do you feel like your policies and rhetoric needs to line up on some of these more divisive
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issues we have been seeing like election integrity and relitigating the results of the 2020 election? senator boozman: i don't think it makes any since difference. what i'm doing is talking to the people of arkansas and they are talking to me as i said earlier. they are concerned about labor issues. they are concerned about the supply chain. now they are getting very, very concerned about inflation. these are the things that i'll be talking about. these are the things i'm working on. but really are huge things for our country. so that's where we will be spending our time. i think that's why the people of arkansas appreciate me. that we are focused on the issues that are near and dear to their heart and make a huge difference. jackie: we have seen this issue of what republicans are calling election integrity become one of the more galvanizing issues for the party going into 2022 and 2024. i'm wondering where you stand on that and how you feel about
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republicans who have yet to acknowledge, or who have reversed course on acknowledging biden's presidential win? senator boozman: again, i think that what we ought to focus on is what i just said. in regard to the election, president biden is the president. and i respect that. the other question that i hear out the sides, labor and the supply chain, is who is running the white house. there is concern in that regard. again, these are things that we need to be concentrating on. jackie: who do you think is running the white house? senator boozman: i don't have any idea. do you? jackie: i -- i'm just wondering what in the conversations what
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people are speculating. senator boozman: i don't think they know. they are wondering who president biden relies on heavily. and i think there is a lot of speculation in that regard. not only among people in arkansas, but, pull me aside, who is really running the show? i think that's true when i talk to my senate colleagues, also. that's the question that's out there right now. jackie: it is. the democrats are at the same time still on the precipice of potentially passing some historic legislation that president biden himself has been deeply involved in the negotiations of. senator boozman: they are trying to. it's a rocky roed and we'll have to wait to see how it turns out. i think virginia's going to make a big difference in that. the closeness of the race there, the closeness of the race in new
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jersey, i think the country is more -- some are center right, center, center left, but they are not as far left as what is coming out of the white house right now. and because of that and because of the inflation tendencies which again a lot of people are blaming on the $1.9 trillion, all of the money that we have been spending so because of that we'll have to wait and see how it winds up in regard to some of the policies they have been proposing. i don't think america is ready for the cradle to grave, massive spending, and taxing. you mentioned the pay-fors. stepped up basis was on the table. i think that's probably been taken off. increasing capital gains. the land exchange. this thing about if you have
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$10,000, $600 in the bank account, that you have $of00 -- $of00 -- $600 of transaction, i think the average american is $61,000. people don't like that. the idea of hiring 89,000 new agents and spending $80 billion additional, they understand that that's all about coming after them. these are the kind of things i think that americans, whether they are in new jersey or virginia or arkansas are really starting to push back on. jackie: if democrats ultimately do pass the bipartisan infrastructure package with -- supported by a number of republican senators, and the social spending package this week, or next week, will you think that that's a success for the president? senator boozman: i don't think it's success. i think that discussion, not the infrastructure package, but the other package, which started out
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at $6 trillion pareed down to $3 5s, now down $1.75. i think the idea of all of the taxes that were on the table, the other tax they were talking about doing with billionaires where you are going to tax unrealized gains, the american people are smart enough to know when we institute income tax, it was 1% to 7%. senator got up and said before you know it we'll -- this will be 10%. he was essentially told he was crazy and that would never happen. the public is very, very leery of these things. i don't think it will be a victory. it certainly doesn't appear to be that way based on what we are seeing in virginia and based on what we are seeing in new jersey. all this factors into that. jackie: i just want to read what we just talked about to make sure we are not running any conspiracy theories here. in terms of when you said people
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are wondering who is running the white house, can you elaborate a little bit more on that? senator boozman: who are the most intimate advisors. what is so unique with this process, jackie, right now i'm the head republican on agriculture. agriculture has always been a very, very bipartisan thing. it's not about republicans and democrats. it's about regions of the country. the south has its need. the iowa, california is different. great plains. all of those are different. it's about commodities. it's about sugar. it's about cotton. and all these things. and the stakeholders. all of this is being done, there is $135 billion worth of agriculture spending in this bill. i wasn't consulted a bit. no stakeholder was that i know
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of. i have talked to most of the farm groups in america in the last two or three months. i have asked them. so this is coming from the white house. and most democrats aren't being consulted. not just with agriculture but the entire package. this really is unique. because of that you don't get good legislation. you get unintended consequences which i think we'll see in the future, which will not help them at all. jackie: before we run out of time i wanted to ask you one more question. we have a big election tomorrow in new jersey and virginia. i'm wondering if he glenn youngkinn does win tomorrow what do you think it means for the republican party heading into 2022? mr. boozman: i think we have to be careful because that doesn't mean that people will be voting for republicans. it will be voting -- they'll be rejecting what the democrats are trying to do right now.
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so republicans need to get ready. they need to have good solutions to the problems that we are facing. they need to present that to the public so that they'll be voting for us rather than against the administration what's happening right now. but this will be a big bell weather. i think we all agree. as a result really will influence the behavior of the democrats with some of the things they are trying to do. but republicans we need to do a good job of expressing what we are for not just what we are against. jackie: unfortunately, senator, we are all out of time for today. we'll have to leave it there. thank you so much for joining u -- us. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy visit] jack:'s always thanks so much for joining us today to check out what we have coming up this week. head to "washington post" to register and find out more information about all of our upcoming programming. thanks s
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jeff: the food and drug administration authorized pfizer's covid-19 vaccine for ages 5 to1. -- to 11. this is an important step forward in our nation's fight against the virus. as dr. walensky will discuss, this week, the cdc will make its clinical recommendations on


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