Arkansas Congressional Delegation

Kelly Connelly / KUAR News

An Arkansas state legislator announced a bid Tuesday to unseat a Republican congressman in 2020 as the filing period for next year's election came to a close.

Democratic state Sen. Joyce Elliott is the only Democrat who filed to run against Republican Rep. French Hill, who was first elected to the 2nd Congressional District in 2014.

Elliott said she believes the district, which includes Little Rock, could be competitive for Democrats.

Lance Cheung/Flickr

Advocates for the hungry in Arkansas are hoping the U.S. Senate’s farm bill will not include House-approved work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  (SNAP). All four members of Arkansas’s House delegation voted for the $867 billion farm bill, which requires most able-bodied adults work 20 hours per week or enroll in job training in order to keep food benefits.

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Director Kathy Webb worries the work requirement will end up harming those that SNAP is supposed to benefit.

Second Congressional District candidate Clarke Tucker (D).
clarketucker.com

U.S. House hopeful Clarke Tucker, D-Ark, is opposing the possible use of Arkansas facilities to house migrant children and families detained at the U.S.-Mexico border and rejecting his opponent's claims he's in lock-step with Democratic national figures. While President Donald Trump has ordered a halt to his zero-tolerance policy of separating children from their families at the southern border, federal officials are still planning to scout potential detainment sites in Arkansas on Thursday, including the Little Rock Air Force Base.

U.S. Senator John Boozman in the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters in 2016 during a campaign interview.
KUAR News

Arkansas’s senior U.S. Senator John Boozman is calling for a stop to the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy to separate children from their parents at the border. Boozman was one of 13 Republican Senators on Tuesday to sign a letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying immigration policy must be consistent with "ordinary human decency" and putting the blame for the "immediate cause of the crisis" on the Attorney General’s new policy.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) questioning Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about Russian hacking.
C-SPAN

Arkansas’s Congressional delegation is applauding President Trump’s decision to resume sanctions that were waived as part of the Iran nuclear deal. The state’s junior U.S. Senator Tom Cotton is chief among the champions of the President’s move. Many of allies of the United States have expressed regret about the U.S. decision to exit the agreement, even as a majority of its citizens support the deal.

French Hill
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Representative French Hill is sending off House Speaker Paul Ryan with praise and has favorable impressions of possible replacements. The 2nd District Republican Congressman spoke about the House Speaker and US-China trade issues in an interview with KUAR.

Take a listen to the link above.

Second Congressional District candidate Clarke Tucker (D).
clarketucker.com

A frontrunner has emerged – at least in financial backing – in the four-person U.S. Second Congressional District Democratic primary. Clarke Tucker’s campaign reported a first quarter fundraising total of over a half-million dollars, ending the period with $440,000 cash on hand. Republican incumbent French Hill has $1.3-million cash on hand. Tucker’s only been running since February 5th.

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-First District).
C-SPAN

U.S. Representative Rick Crawford, chair of the House Steel Caucus, is maintaining support for President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs as officials in China unveil proposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural commodities. China is preparing to impose $40 billion of new tariffs targeting a range of goods, including soybeans, rice, corn, and grain sorghum. 

Click on the audio link above to listen to KUAR's full interview with Rep. Crawford.

Crawford said concerns about a damaging trade war are understandable but overblown.

U.S. Representative French Hill walked through his thoughts on mass shootings, student demonstrations, the National Rifle Association, and variety of proposed solutions to gun violence in this conversation with KUAR's Jacob Kauffman. Take a listen to the audio above.

Picture of a tractor on a farm
Creative Commons

Agriculture officials in Arkansas are concerned President Trump’s proposed steel tariff could have consequences that would negatively impact the industry. The administration has floated a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum

But U.S. Representative Rick Crawford, who represents one of the nation's highest steel producing counties along with some of the state's most fertile Delta lands, says it's time to take some action in a trade war he says China's already been waging for years.

Mass shootings in schools, concerts, and even army bases are a familiar specter in the United States of America over the last decade or so and there is a lot of daylight between how a Democrat and a Republican 2nd District Congressman would address it.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman asks the faces – some old and some new - hoping to represent central Arkansas in the U.S. House after November’s election, what do they plan to do about guns and mass shootings.

One of the many items being shuffled around Congress in short-term spending crises is funding for Community Health Centers. KUAR's Jacob Kauffman talks with U.S. Representative French Hill (R-2nd District) about healthcare, a short-term budget deal against a government shutdown deadline, and November elections.

U.S. Representative Steve Womack
Talk Business & Politics

An Arkansan has a newly minted role near the top of Congress’s budget-making hierarchy. U.S. Representative Steve Womack out of northwest Arkansas’s 3rd District is the new chair of the House Budget Committee. Congressman Womack talked with KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman as Friday’s government shutdown looms. Womack also addresses his initial support of the President’s immigration comments about Africa and Haiti.

Take a listen in the link above.

U.S. Representative Steve Womack (R-Third Distirct)
NPR

An Arkansas Congressman has been recommended to chair the U.S. House Budget Committee. The ascension of Representative Steve Womack to the post comes as Rep. Diane Black steps aside to focus on running for governor of Tennessee. The House Republican Steering Committee announced late Tuesday it chose Womack. The move still has to be voted on by the full House GOP conference and considered on the floor for ratification.

Gwen Combs at the Women's March for Arkansas in January 2017.
Combs Campaign.

Democrat Gwendolynn Combs marked her entrance into the 2nd Congressional District race on Monday night with a campaign launch event in downtown Little Rock. Combs’s presence means a Democratic primary between her and Paul Spencer. The winner will face Republican incumbent French Hill who is seeking a third-term in the U.S. House.

KUAR spoke with Spencer earlier this year at the time he announced his intent to run.

File photo: US Sen. Tom Cotton touring military vehicle prototypes in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The New York Times reports today on a White House plan to replace U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. It's reported that President Trump wants Arkansas U.S. Senator Tom Cotton to replace Pompeo as head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

East Arkansas Democrats will have a primary election on their hands for the First District Congressional seat. Chintan Desai announced today he’s seeking the party’s nomination and to unseat Republican incumbent Rick Crawford in 2018.

In a campaign launch statement, Desai immediately points out that his roots are outside of Arkansas, “I wasn’t born or raised here, but I’ve been proud to call Arkansas home for the past seven years.” The California native is the son of Indian immigrants. Arkansas has never elected a person who isn’t white to Congress.

Bruce Westerman
c-span.org

Arkansas Congressman Bruce Westerman’s bill to change how federal forests are managed passed in the U.S. House on Wednesday and is headed to the Senate. Last year a similar version of Westerman’s Resilient Federal Forests Act passed the House but stalled in the Senate. The Republican lawmaker tells KUAR this time around he expects better results in the upper chamber.

Listen to the full interview in the link posted above.

UPDATE: 10/31, 11:42 a.m. The lack of publicly expressed interest in the Mueller indictments from Arkansas's Congressional delegation is drawing condemnation from the chair of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.

Chair Michael John Gray told KUAR he hopes for more communication between the state's elected officials and Arkansans.

Arkansas’s two U.S. Senators - Republicans Tom Cotton and John Boozman – joined the slimmest of majorities this week to strike down a new rule that would have allowed consumers to band together in class-action lawsuits against credit card companies and banks. It’s a blow to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created after the 2009 financial crisis.

Democratic Party of Arkansas Chair Michael John Gray discusses the vote with KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman in the interview posted above.

Arkansas's Political Reactions To Trump's DACA Order

Sep 5, 2017
Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Some of Arkansas’s top elected officials – all Republicans – are generally supportive of President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program in six months barring Congressional action. Meanwhile the state’s Democrats are offering a full rebuke and condemning attempts to use DACA beneficiaries as a political football for broader immigration policy changes.

U.S. Rep. French Hill after giving remarks at the Governor's Mansion to the Political Animals Club in 2014, prior to his election.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

U.S. Representative French Hill put veterans at the forefront of his remarks on Wednesday to constituents at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock. The Republican lawmaker’s comments after the meeting of the Political Animals Club - on FEMA and the President’s tax plan - painted a busy picture for when Congress returns to Washington D.C. next month.

Gibbs Magnet Elementary School in Little Rock.
LRSD.org

The threat of a protest at Gibbs Magnet Elementary School in Little Rock today derailed a planned speaking appearance by U.S. Representative French Hill. A parent complained about Hill's support for Donald Trump and fears children would be used as a photo-op.

UPDATE: Congressman Hill responded to the matter in a statement.

U.S. Senator John Boozman Recovering From Heart Surgery

Aug 16, 2017
U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Senator John Boozman is recovering from a successful follow-up procedure to a 2014 heart surgery. Boozman's office says he'll be back to work when the Senate reconvenes in September.

The 66-year-old underwent the procedure at a Washington D.C. area hospital on Tuesday. Boozman staff say it was "recommended by doctors who have been monitoring his aorta since a tear in it was surgically repaired in 2014."

Both of Arkansas’s U.S. Senators - Tom Cotton and John Boozman – joined a failed effort in the early morning hours, around 1:30 a.m. Washington D.C. time, to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. While three Republicans (Linda Murkowski-AL, Susan Collins-ME, John McCain-AZ) voted with Democrats to defeat the proposal, Cotton and Boozman joined with the majority of their party. The vote was 51-49.

Late Wednesday night Arkansas’s four member U.S. House delegation, all Republican, split over a vote to eliminate the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis division. That’s the non-partisan government office charged with scoring things like healthcare repeal bills for cost and how many would gain or lose insurance coverage.

Independent 2nd District Congressional candidate Natasha Burch Hulsey demonstrating outside of U.S. Senator John Boozman's Washington D.C. resident in advance of a healthcare vote.
Twitter

Arkansas's U.S. Senators are poised to vote Tuesday afternoon to begin taking up some type of healthcare repeal, possibly the House backed plan to repeal and replace much of the Affordable Care Act. While U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton have been generally low key about the healthcare effort opponents have been notably vocal.

Arkansas demonstrators, of which more than 20 have been arrested so far, along with Congressional challengers have been active throughout the largely closed door legislative process.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R).
CSIS

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton is in favor of a Republican plan for a straightforward repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. Both of Arkansas's Republican senators, Cotton and John Boozman, have long favored ending the Affordable Care Act, but neither has spoken publicly about the now-flopped repeal and replace plan.

More than a dozen Arkansans have been arrested so far this month demonstrating against attempts by Republicans to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act and that number stands to grow. On Monday at 5 p.m. about a dozen Arkansans are gathering in Little Rock to head to Washington D.C. in a bid to keep up the pressure.

The U.S. Senate was expected to hold a vote this week following a Congressional Budget Office score but both have been delayed. Arizona Senator John McCain is recovering from surgery.

Paul Spencer is running for Congress.
Youtube

It’s now official, Paul Spencer announced on Thursday he is running as a Democrat to unseat Republican French Hill as central Arkansas’s U.S. Representative. The decision comes on the same day Senate Republicans released a revised version of legislation to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act. 

Check out this interview with Spencer when he announced an exploratory committee back in June.

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