Arkansas Congressional Delegation

Arkansas’s congressional delegation is returning to Washington D.C. following a July 4th recess and the state’s U.S. Senators are as tight lipped as ever about the GOP’s stalled bill to end much of the Affordable Care Act.

Does Senator Tom Cotton support the healthcare plan he helped draft with 12 other white male Republican Senators? Does Senator John Boozman support the plan backed by the majority of his party? These are basic questions Arkansans don’t have answers to.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson outlines changes he wants made to the Republican healthcare plan in the U.S. Senate.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

As Congress readies for the July recess, governors are among those trying to shape the stalled Senate healthcare bill. Arkansas’s Republican governor wants the state’s Republican  senators to make changes.

He isn’t offering a full rebuke – even saying the U.S. Senate is moving in the right direction - but Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the proposal poses a “big problem” for the state.

AACF Health Policy Director Marquita Little.
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

The Congressional Budget Office’s scoring on the Senate Republican healthcare plan is out and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families concludes it'll do a great deal of harm to Arkansans. The CBO report finds 22 million people would lose insurance coverage, premiums would go up, and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts would be given to the country’s wealthiest citizens – and that’s among many other changes.

Republican Rep. Rick Crawford
crawford.house.gov

The state’s Congressional delegation is revealing little about their positions on the Republican U.S. Senate proposal to roll back much of the Affordable Care Act. Senator Tom Cotton was one of a select few lawmakers to draft the bill in secret but even he has not commented extensively on the proposal. During a KUAR interview on Friday related to Cuba policy, U.S. Representative Rick Crawford of east Arkansas’s 1st District said he hasn’t read the Senate plan yet but appreciates that it’s moving quickly.

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

Republicans in the U.S. Senate released the initial draft of a healthcare bill Thursday that will reduce Medicaid spending, cut taxes for the wealthy, limit subsidies to private insurance companies, remove health insurance mandates, lower taxes for companies in the healthcare industry and enact other changes.

GOP presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump.
Charlie Neibergall/ AP

The interests of Arkansas’s agricultural leaders went unheralded by President Trump on Friday as he announced a move back toward Cold War relations with our Caribbean neighbor, Cuba. Much of the state’s Congressional delegation has also chimed in on the prospect of tougher relations as a move in the wrong direction.

The Arkansas Farm Bureau wants a “normalization” of trade relations with the communist nation and promises it’ll be an economic boon for the state. Arkansas is the largest cultivator of rice in the nation and not far behind that in poultry production.

Talk Business & Politics

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., agrees with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that 50 votes for healthcare reform don’t presently exist in the U.S. Senate.

Talk Business and Politics reports.

GOP presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump.
Charlie Neibergall/ AP

Despite objections from world leaders, big business, Democrats, and people within his party and family, President Donald Trump announced Thursday he’s removing the U.S. from the historic Paris Climate Accord.

Talk Business and Politics reports:

Natashia Burch Hulsey is launching an exploratory committee to run as Independent in the 2018 election for Arkansas's 2nd District U.S. House seat.
Natashia Burch Hulsey Campaign

There’s another possible entrant into the 2018 Congressional race in central Arkansas. Natashia Burch Hulsey tells KUAR she plans to submit paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office Thursday afternoon, to launch an exploratory committee as an Independent.

Earlier this week, Paul Spencer began preparing for a bid as a Democrat to unseat Republican incumbent French Hill.

Paul Spencer (D) filed paperwork for an exploratory committee on the 2018 U.S. House seat.
Stephanie Spencer

A Democrat has launched an exploratory committee for the race for central Arkansas’s congressional seat which has been held by a Republican since 2011. Paul Spencer, a 50-year old pecan farmer, beekeeper, and long-time teacher at Catholic High School filed paperwork Wednesday afternoon in preparation for the election. Republican U.S. Representative French Hill is in his second term.  

On this week's podcast we take a look at what President Trump's first budget proposal could mean for the poor state of Arkansas. Analysis from political scientist Heather Yates of UCA and reaction from the state's Congressional delegation.

The KUAR News crew also takes a look at:

- A new task force on tax policy is off and running in the Arkansas Legislature. Tax cuts for the wealthy is the goal of some but at what cost? Is there a will to pay for it by cutting existing exemptions?

U.S. Representative French Hill (R-2nd District). File photo.
facebook.com

The news emanating from the Oval Office this week has escalated arguments the Trump White House, and before that his campaign, has illicit ties to the Russian government. Meanwhile, the President’s legislative agenda is hobbling along.

U.S. Representative French Hill (R-2nd District) joined KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman to share his thoughts on FBI Director James Comey and the future of healthcare.

Arkansas Democrats weren’t even able to muster a full slate of challengers for Arkansas’s four U.S. House seats last election but in northwest Arkansas, four-term Republican Congressman Steve Womack now has a race on his hands. Joshua Mahony, the 36-year old head of the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, is running as a Democrat for the 3rd District seat. He spoke with KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman about his bid for Congress.

Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Constituents of central Arkansas Congressman French Hill rallied at his Little Rock office on Monday to decry his vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. KUAR estimates about 50 people lined a sidewalk on North University Avenue holding signs saying “repeal and replace French Hill,” among other slogans. It was a grassroots effort that Katherine Pope helped organize.

Jay Woodson Dickey, Jr., the former Fourth District Congressman from south Arkansas, has passed away from complications with Parkinson’s disease, Talk Business & Politics has learned. His son Ted Dickey confirmed the news early Friday morning.

Dickey, 77, served in Congress from 1993 to 2001. His upset election over Democrat Bill McCuen in 1992 – a year where Arkansas voters went overwhelmingly for native son Bill Clinton for President – made Dickey the first Republican to hold the south Arkansas seat since Reconstruction.

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