Arkansas Congressional Delegation

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.

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. 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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