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Dear John: Answering Your Questions

Our office receives thousands of pieces of mail each week from Arkansans just like you who want to express their opinions about the issues facing our country. I appreciate hearing the questions and concerns that are important to you, your family, friends and neighbors. I rely on hearing from you in order to best represent our state. One of my primary roles to is respond to people who take the time to reach out to me. I would like to share my thoughts about some of the questions we’re receiving.

It makes no sense to further allow over 11 million illegals into competition with the unemployed. Close the borders. – Lou from Omaha

In June, the Senate passed an immigration reform bill without my support. I didn’t vote for the legislation because it failed to address the core problems of border security and enforcement. The legislation allows the Department of Homeland Security Secretary discretion over border security. In the opinion of our current DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano the border is “more secure than it has ever been.” I disagree with that statement. The first thing we need to do is secure the border. This legislation failed on this front. It also provides a path to amnesty. I believe we shouldn’t reward bad behavior. While we need to reform our immigration system, these policies don’t fix what is broken.

My health care premiums are expected to increase because of Obamacare and now the President is delaying the employer mandate provision. Please continue to fight for a repeal of this law. – Holly from Stuttgart

Last week President Obama announced that the administration would delay the implementation of the employer health mandate of his cornerstone health law by one year. Delaying this provision is evidence that this unpopular law is unaffordable and unworkable. We’re starting to find out what’s in this law. We’re seeing trillion dollar increases in taxes and higher premiums. A recent report by the Society of Actuaries found that Arkansans can expect a 40 percent increase in private market healthcare premiums in January. Some Arkansans could see a 100 percent increase. We need patient-centered health care reform to drive down health care costs. Moving forward, I will continue to fight for repeal and work towards a solution that contains costs.

The Obama Administration is currently overseeing the mass confiscation of private phone records. This practice is a gross violation of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the spirit of American justice. – Tim from Conway

Current law provides a set of oversight tools, which allows the intelligence community to collect data on individuals currently under investigation for national security related matters. These policies allow for the investigation of foreign citizens as well as U.S. citizens for which specific evidence has been presented showing involvement with terrorist organizations or related activities. We need to make sure that the tools we have in place are appropriate for our current intelligence and security needs. We must also ensure the law is followed - not interpreted in a manner beyond the scope of congressional intent. I understand and share the concerns many Arkansans have shared about this situation, and I will look forward to reevaluating the methods used by our government to ensure our national security.

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