Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

There is More That Unites Us Than Divides Us


The State of the Union address is an important message delivered by the president that serves as a reminder of what we’ve achieved, the challenges we currently face and what remains to be accomplished to ensure future Americans will enjoy the same peace and prosperity we do today.


For the first time in Donald Trump’s presidency, he delivered a State of the Union address to a divided Congress. His message was clear – there is more that unites us than divides us. He challenged lawmakers to work together to accomplish great things for the American people rather than put the interests of political parties ahead of that goal. Viewers widely agreed with this vision. According to polling by CBS News, 76 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the president’s remarks and his call for bipartisanship.


Last Congress, we were able to find common ground in a number of areas. We had bipartisan support to improve veterans’ health care, upgrade our nation’s water infrastructure, provide certainty for farmers and ranchers with a new farm bill and deliver treatment and prevention methods for individuals and families struggling with opioid addiction. I am hopeful that this spirit of cooperation can continue.


In his speech, the president explained the need to secure our southern border and urged Congress to work toward this goal so we can stop illegal immigration, human trafficking and the flow of drugs into our country. Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane attended the State of the Union as my guest. He is on the frontlines for education, treatment and prevention of the opioid epidemic in our state. Director Lane insists that border security is a key factor in this battle. I support the president’s request for increased funding to enhance border protection.


I am encouraged by the president’s commitment to improve our crumbling roads and bridges. His desire to work with Congress to invest in vital national infrastructure projects is important as my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have been eager to approve infrastructure funding. Investing in transportation infrastructure will save money in the long-term, create immediate jobs and produce decades of economic opportunity.


As the president mentioned in his address, his administration is leading efforts to lower healthcare and prescription drug costs. This has long been a goal of Congress. I’m also concerned about the costs associated with healthcare delivery and prescription drugs. We took an important step last year when Congress approved and the president signed into law the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act which will prevent health insurers and pharmaceutical companies from masking the lowest possible cost of prescription drugs. We can build on this foundation by increasing access to generic drugs and increasing competition to lower the cost of medications.


We have a great opportunity before us to pave a path for a prosperous future. President Trump described some great examples from our history as well as in more recent times and introduced us to Americans who rose to the occasion to defend the interests of our country in fighting against cruelty, advancing space exploration and overcoming adversity. Americans have long been familiar with challenges to our freedoms, but we have always shown we are capable of overcoming these obstacles. We can achieve anything if we work together.


2-8-19 5:10 p.m. KAWX.ORG