Getting Rid of the Obamacare Mandate.
The Obamacare mandate was a tax on more than 60,000 Arkansas households that couldn’t afford health insurance. Senator Cotton fought and succeeded in repealing the tax as part of the 2017 tax cut.
Arkansans who couldn’t afford health insurance were forced to pay a steep tax penalty called the individual mandate. Millions of Americans were forced to pay this penalty, including more than 60,000 Arkansas households that couldn’t afford to buy health insurance—insurance that Obamacare had made unaffordable in the first place. Forced to choose between paying too much for insurance and paying the fine, many Arkansas families had no choice but to pay the penalty.
Now it’s gone. In 2017, Senator Cotton led the charge in the Senate to end the hated penalty during passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Despite stiff opposition from Democrats, his provision to repeal the mandate passed into law. Thousands of Arkansans and millions of Americans no longer face the threat of IRS tax penalties for not purchasing overpriced health insurance.
Securing Funding for our Military and Veterans.
As a leader on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Cotton has fought for rebuilding our military. Tom has passed countless bills to make sure that our brave soldiers at the Pine Bluff Arsenal, Fort Chaffee, and Little Rock Air Force Base have the resources they need to keep us safe.
Senator Cotton believes that we can only keep our nation and allies safe if our military remains the strongest and most technologically advanced fighting force in the world. On the Senate Armed Services Committee, Tom has passed many national defense laws that include pay raises for our troops, increased numbers of active-duty soldiers across all branches of our military, and updated planes, tanks, and ships. In particular, he’s pushed for and passed legislation that helps the United States confront the rising threats of Russia and China.
As a veteran, Tom also knows the importance of taking care of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who have sacrificed so much as they work to keep the rest of us safe. That’s why Senator Cotton has worked hard to extend military child care to accommodate the unusual schedules of our service members. He’s also brought attention to problems with on-base housing and ensured that veterans receive proper burials when they pass away—especially veterans who can’t afford their own.
As any Arkansas veteran knows, the Veterans Administration has plenty of problems that often result in poor quality care for those who deserve it the most. Over the years Senator Cotton has voted for and sponsored many VA reforms. In particular, Tom helped pass a bill that established the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. He’s also amended whistleblower protection laws to remove VA employees who retaliate against other employees for bringing attention to problems within the VA system. Senator Cotton also has worked to modernize VA health care, approving new electronic health-care systems, walk-in care access, medical staff recruitment and training, optimization of VA facilities, and more.
Fighting for Lower Prescription Drug Prices for Arkansas Seniors.
Tom has worked across the aisle to stand up to big pharmaceutical companies that are driving up the cost of drugs for Arkansas seniors. He’s worked with the Trump administration to get more generic drugs on the market and stop a patent scheme where a pharmaceutical company transferred a drug to an Indian tribe in order to drive up the price.
If you’re a senior living in Arkansas, or an Arkansan living with a chronic illness, it’s not news to you that the cost of prescription medications are on the rise. One of the ways pharmaceutical companies keep their drug prices high is by abusing our patent system, which prevents the drugs those companies produce from facing competition. As long as pharmaceutical companies keep their drugs protected through legal loopholes, other companies can’t produce more affordable generic versions of those drugs. Senator Cotton believes it’s unfair for company executives to exploit the law in order to stuff their pockets with extra cash they’ve taken from Arkansas’s seniors.
To solve the problem, Senator Tom Cotton introduced the Preserving Access to Cost Effective Drugs (PACED) Act. Tom’s bill would give power back to the Patent and Trade Office and our federal courts so they can go after drug companies that try to keep their patents long after they should by using shady sovereign immunity claims.
Another way Tom believes we can lower drug prices for Arkansans is to make sure generic versions of those medications get to market as quickly as they can. To speed up the approval of generic drugs, Senator Cotton has worked with the Trump administration to accelerate the Food and Drug Administration’s review of generic drug applications, especially where competition is limited and drug prices are high. Senator Cotton believes speeding up the approval process will introduce more competition and help lower the cost of medications for Arkansas families.
Standing up for Victims of the Opioid Crisis.
Tom has been the leader in the Senate on cracking down on fentanyl and opioid traffickers. He has worked with Arkansas law enforcement and President Trump to increase the penalties for criminals trafficking opioids. In 2019, a national group of drug-enforcement officers named Senator Cotton their Member of the Year for leading the fight against illegal drugs.
115 opioid prescriptions are written for every 100 Arkansans, the second-highest rate of opioid prescriptions in the country. Arkansas ranks first in the nation in the misuse of painkillers among children ages 12 to 17. More than 400 Arkansans died of drug overdoses in 2016.
Senator Cotton has attacked the scourge of illegal drugs head on, leading Arkansas officials and his Senate colleagues in cracking down on criminals who peddle poison, both at the border and in Arkansas communities. To make the punishment fit the crime, Tom has introduced legislation that will increase penalties for fentanyl distribution and trafficking.
But it’s not enough to crack down on dealers selling death in our streets. We have to prevent illegal drugs from getting into the United States in the first place. To that end, Senator Cotton has fought to stop shipments of fentanyl before they make it to Arkansas. Most of the fentanyl used in the United States comes from China, and many drug traffickers are using our own Postal Service to deliver shipments in the mail. Senator Cotton’s bill would give the Postal Service more resources to shut down this abuse of our mail system and stop these drugs from ever getting into our communities.