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Arkansas' congressional delegation give year end review of legislative year

Come January, Democrats will once again be in control of the U.S. House.
Zach Gibson
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In 2024, Republicans will continue to be the majority party of the U.S House of Representatives. During the 2022 mid term election, Republicans gained control of the chamber.

In an interview with Arkies in the Beltway, a podcast produced by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas’ congressional delegation said they were satisfied with what their party, the Republicans, were able to accomplish.

This year was the first time Republicans had control of the House since 2018. U.S Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, said governing as the majority is more of a challenge than being the minority party.

“When you’re in the minority, all you really have to do is say ‘no,’” he said. “Being in the majority requires some thoughtful deliberation and also recognition that you can’t have every single thing you want.”

U.S Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, said controlling one chamber of Congress in itself was a success, because it limited the legislation that Democrats were able to pass. Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 are the deadlines that the Democrats and Republicans will have to pass appropriations bills by. Crawford said this will be a challenge.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff to try and jam. You might say 50 lbs of junk into a 10 lb bag,” Crawford said.

Along with passing the appropriations bills, Congress will need to work with the White House to approve military aid for Israel and Ukraine and border security.

During the podcast, the congressmen, however, did express disappointment with how former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-California, was removed. Crawford said removing the speaker set the wrong tone.

“Why are you basing a really huge action here on a personal grievance? Can we not be adults enough to settle our personal grievances in a more appropriate manner? Preferably behind closed doors, in ways that don’t impact the functioning of this body,” he said.

During the vote to remove McCarthy, U.S Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, presided over the vote. He said the vote to remove the speaker was a historic event. Crawford and Womack, along with U.S Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, and Westermant voted against removing McCarthy. All of them did vote to approve U.S Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, to replace McCarthy.

During the upcoming 2024 election, Republicans will be defending their slim majority in the House. According to Bloomberg Government, Republicans have an eight seat majority in the House. Each of Arkansas’ house delegates will face Democratic challengers in the general election. Currently, the U.S Senate is controlled by Democrats.

Ronak Patel is a reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.