Saturday, April 27, 2013

Freight Transportation Delivers Arkansas Goods To World Markets

FAA funding has increased almost 110%
since 1996. It’s hard to believe the
administration did not have the funding
to continue normal air traffic.
by Rep Rick Crawford, AR-01: Last week I was honored to be appointed to a special panel of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee charged with examining challenges facing our Nation’s freight transportation system. It is a privilege to be one of only eleven members in the House of Representatives asked to serve on this panel and I look forward to working with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to ensure our Nation’s freight transportation infrastructure can meet the demands of America’s job creators.

Freight transportation is vital to the rural economy of Arkansas’s First District. Our Congressional District is home to Arkansas’s entire Mississippi River frontage and we understand the value of ports and inland waterways. Additionally, truck and rail freight transportation are key to getting the crops grown in Arkansas fields to a global market. On the Freight Transportation Panel I bring a rural perspective and am a voice for opportunity in rural corners of America.

In 2011, the U.S. transportation system moved 17.6 billion tons of goods, valued at over $18.8 trillion. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that in the next 30 years, there will be 60 percent more freight that must be moved across the Nation. If we want America to remain competitive with other nations, we must a have a twenty-first century infrastructure system in place.

With the country facing over $17 trillion in debt, we must scrutinize every investment. We must remember the way we invest is as important as how much we invest. The government’s number one concern should be supporting programs that encourage economic growth, job creation and ultimately benefits all Americans. For decades, improving roads, bridges, ports, rail and airports have been a source of American innovation and played a pivotal role in overall economic growth. I am proud to be part of a select panel with the goal of improving freight transportation in America and I look forward to improving access rural Arkansans have to quality freight transportation systems.

Tags: Rick Crawford, Freight Transportation, FAA Operations Budget

Friday, April 26, 2013

Arkansas GOP Weekly Update - 4/26/2013

by David Ray, Communications Director The regular session of the 89 th General Assembly is officially adjourned and we’re starting to see plenty of speculation about 2014. Here’s your weekly update courtesy of the Arkansas GOP:

Legislative Session Wraps Up
In 2012, voters decided Arkansas needed a new direction, and Arkansas Republicans were there to provide it. This year’s legislative session saw a lot of activity on a number of different fronts. Republicans made significant advances in strengthening our education system, improving our tax code, protecting human life, defending our Constitutional rights, and reforming Arkansas state government, just to name a few.

There is still plenty of work left to be done, but if we expand our majorities and bring even more Republicans to Little Rock in 2015, we will be in the best possible position to enact more conservative policies and sound solutions to the challenges our state faces.

In the coming days, we’ll be releasing a report recapping the progress made during the 89 th General Assembly, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, here’s our weekly Webb-cast discussing the end of the legislative session.

Also, be sure to tune in Sunday morning to KARK at 8:30 to catch Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb discussing this legislative session alongside the Arkansas Democrat’s Chairman.

Summer Internship Available
Are you or someone you know looking for a summer internship? The Republican Party of Arkansas is currently accepting resumes for those interested in a summer internship with our party. You can view the details on our website. Anyone interested should send their resume and a short summary of why they want to intern with the Arkansas GOP to

In the News…
Congressman Steve Womack took to the House floor to blast President Obama’s unconstitutional recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

Congressman Tim Griffin made another visit to the Mayflower spill site, this time with the Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster.

Congressman Tom Cotton took the Obama administration to task over their counterterrorism efforts, giving a speech about it on the floor of the House.

Congressman Rick Crawford writes in his weekly column about the importance of freight transportation in getting Arkansas goods to the world market.

Senator John Boozman appeared on the Alice Stewart Show to discuss immigration and effects of sequestration.

Tags: Arkansas, GOP, Weekly Update, 4/26/2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Griffin: Bill Protects Communities from Banking ‘Regulation Devastation’

Says ‘it’s not fair to punish Arkansas families, farmers and startups
for mistakes made by megabanks on Wall Street’
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 1693:
“Community banks did not cause the financial crisis in 2008, but new regulations intended for global banks involved in international commerce could soon be applied to every bank in the nation, both large and small. It’s not fair to punish Arkansas families, farmers and startups for mistakes made by megabanks on Wall Street. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation to protect local communities and economies from this new one-size-fits-all regulation devastation.”

Largely in response to the financial crisis, in 2010, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision produced a new international regulatory framework. Known as “Basel III,” these regulations would fundamentally change how banks calculate their regulatory capital requirements by increasing minimum levels of required capital, narrowing the definition of capital, and increasing the risk weighting of various assets, including residential mortgages. Basel III was conceived as being a standard for global banks involved in international commerce, yet in 2012, U.S. banking regulators announced a proposed rule that would apply the complex Basel III capital framework to every bank in the nation, both large and small, with significant disadvantages to the latter. 

H.R. 1693 will protect community banks from Basel III’s overly complex and punitive risk weighting standards by exempting banks with under $50 billion in assets from these standards. It does not undermine the importance of strong capital requirements in the banking industry; it simply protects community banks from regulatory overkill that could have a devastating impact on local communities and rural areas. It also prevents further consolidation in a banking industry that has already become too-big-to-fail.

Community banks are engines of opportunity that generate economic growth and strengthen communities. There are almost 7,000 community banks throughout the United States, constituting 96.6 percent of all banks. Community banks are the primary source of lending for small businesses and farms.

Tags: Tim Griffin, bill, Community Banks,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Boozman Questions Healthcare Law’s Impact on Businesses and Arkansas Families

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) questioned how the Affordable Care Act allows businesses to stay competitive and maintain their workforce while complying with mandates imposed by the law requiring businesses employing 50 or more full-time people employees to provide comprehensive healthcare coverage or face a fine.

“I’m hearing a lot from Arkansas businesses that are concerned with the employer healthcare mandate. How does a company with 75 employees compete with a company that has 49? Isn’t there an incentive for a larger company to downsize or reduce employee hours?” Boozman asked Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), during her testimony today before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies.

Boozman expressed his concerns that this law will negatively impact employment. In a letter to congressional members in February, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) wrote “the employer mandate will be devastating to small businesses and job creation. It is already hurting employees by forcing small business owners to reduce hours and cut jobs in order to sustain their businesses.”

Sebelius said the law intends to make businesses more competitive similar to Massachusetts, which already has similar provisions in place and where more small businesses were offering options for health coverage.

However, Boozman highlighted an Associated Press article published today discussing efforts to cut state costs in Washington state that would move its part-time employees from the state to the federal exchange.

A recent report by the Society of Actuaries found that Arkansas can expect a 40 percent increase in private market healthcare premiums starting in January and Boozman questioned the dollar figures touted by the White House that indicate families will see healthcare savings.

To watch Secretary Sebelius’s response to Senator Boozman’s questions, then click here.

Tags: Sen. John Boozman, Healthcare Law’s Impact, Businesses, Arkansas Families

Monday, April 22, 2013

Griffin Introduces Veteran’s ID Card Act

"Will help veterans and curb identity theft at no cost to taxpayers."
Virginia offers Veterans ID
Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02), a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, issued the following statement after introducing the Veteran’s ID Card Act (H.R. 1598):
"Currently, only veterans who have served at least 20 years or have a service-connected disability are eligible to receive an official ID card from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). My bill would enable all veterans to obtain an ID card through the VA at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. These cards will help employers verify a veteran’s military service, reduce the potential for identity theft, and aid veterans in proving their eligibility for discounts and promotions offered by businesses to America’s heroes.”
Veterans who do not currently qualify for a VA-issued ID card must carry a paper DD-214 form to prove their veteran status. This document contains a veteran’s social security number, date and place of birth, selective service number, and service details. While this is appropriate information for the official DD-214 document, carrying this information puts veterans at risk of identity theft.

The Veteran’s ID Card Act would:
  • Provide simple proof of military service;
  • Minimize the potential of identity theft through the loss or theft of a form DD-214;
  • Provide employers looking to hire veterans a standard way to verify an employee’s military service;
  • Provide military veterans the ability to take part in the goods, services or promotional opportunities that are offered to those who are able to provide proof of military service.
In order to ensure that this legislation has minimal impact on the VA and can be done in a budget neutral way, this legislation:
  • Requires a veteran who seeks to obtain this ID card to pay for the initial and any subsequent replacement cards;
  • Requires the VA to determine the cost of such a card and apply a fee to the card to cover all costs;
  • Uses the equipment already in place at VA facilities across the country to issue the card and collect payment;
  • Requires the Secretary of the VA to review and assess costs every five years and change the fee structure appropriately to cover all ID costs under this bill.
The bill has 35 original cosponsors, and text of the legislation can be found here.

Tags: Tim Griffin, Veterans ID Act

Saturday, April 20, 2013

FRAME Act Will Help Farm Families In Times Of Disaster

Congressman Crawford with representatives from the USA Rice Federation.
"I hosted a large group of Arkansans from USA Rice Federation this week. Our First Congressional District producers more rice than any other district in the country and I am proud to serve as Co-Chair of the Rice Caucus in the U.S. House."
Congressman Crawford with members of Arkansas Cattlemen's Association.
"I was honored to welcome members of the Arkansas Cattlemen's Association to Washington for a discussion on Arkansas’s beef industry. As Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Credit and Rural Development, I advocate each day for our state’s livestock producers."

The FRAME Act gives U.S. farm families a free-market option for disaster preparedness and will reduce reliance on government programs and give farmers the assurance they need to stay in business.
by Congressman Rick Crawford, (AR-01): This week I introduced a bill before the House of Representatives that would give farmers a free-market option to prepare for disasters without relying entirely on the federal government. My bill, the Farm Risk Abatement and Mitigation Election or FRAME Act, would establish tax-deferred farm savings accounts to give farmers a choice in responding to disasters.

Farmers in our corner of Arkansas and across the country face risks and uncertainty each day. Crop failure, changing markets, insect damage, uncertain weather conditions and even natural disasters threaten farmers and their livelihood. The FRAME Act would give farmers the freedom to invest in a personal, private account dedicated to disaster relief. FRAME Accounts would work much like an IRA or Health Savings Account and would give farmers options for contributing and investing.

Like an IRA and Health Savings Accounts, FRAME Accounts would allow contributions, capital gains and dividends to be tax-deferred. Farmers would be able to draw from the FRAME Account if a disaster should occur. Also like an IRA or Health Savings Account, penalties would be imposed if money is taken from FRAME Accounts without a disaster occurring.

Often times federal disaster assistance does not arrive fast enough. In fact, some farmers in our district are just now receiving aid from requests they made more than two years ago. During times of disaster, farmers cannot wait for the federal government. Farmers who choose to invest in FRAME Accounts would not be hamstrung by a sluggish federal disaster response. FRAME Accounts would give farmers a safety net to stay in business when they are most vulnerable.

Farmers in our district want to be prepared for disasters. After the flooding Arkansas experienced this past spring and the drought this summer, I talked to farmers and saw the need to develop a private, free-market system that would give farmers the flexibility to manage their own disaster relief funds. The FRAME Act is a common-sense bill to give the farming community the ability to have a self-supporting disaster plan. Over time, the FRAME Act will reduce reliance on government programs and give farmers the assurance they need to stay in business. Agriculture is the number one industry in our First Congressional District. As your voice in Congress, I will fight to make sure that Arkansas’s farmers are given the options they need to prosper.

Tags: FRAME ACT, farm families, agriculture, preparing for disasters, disaster relief, Rick Crawford, Arkansas Cattlemen's Association

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crawford Earns U.S. Chamber’s Spirit of Enterprise Award

U.S. Chamber says Crawford has a 100% Pro-Jobs Voting Record
Thomas J. Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber,
presents Congressman Rick Crawford
with the Chamber’s Spirit of Enterprise Award
Washington, DC – Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1) has earned the United States Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Award for the second session of the 112th Congress. The award is given annually to members of Congress based on pro-jobs based votes including reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, reauthorization of surface transportation legislation and votes that would repeal the most onerous provisions of ObamaCare.

“The U.S. Chamber is the preeminent voice for America’s small businesses. I am honored to receive their Spirit of Enterprise Award and I look forward to working with the Chamber to advance pro-growth policies that will encourage small businesses to create new jobs and ultimately grow our economy,” said Crawford.
Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber, praised Crawford’s leadership:

“In the face of high-stakes politics and difficult choices, Rep. Crawford provided America’s job creators with a strong voice in Congress,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “This award recognizes Rep. Crawford for consistently demonstrating his support for pro-growth policies.”
Tags: U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Donohue, Spirit of Enterprise Awrd, Rick Crawford, Arkansas, Congressman

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Arkansas GOP Exposes Pryor’s Checkered Past on Concealed Carry

Little Rock. Ark. – On Wednesday, the Arkansas GOP uncovered Senator Mark Pryor’s checkered past on concealed carry issues the same day an amendment on the issue was offered by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in the U.S. Senate.

With his re-election chances undoubtedly at the forefront of his mind, Senator Mark Pryor cast his vote in favor of concealed carry. But as with Senator Pryor on so many issues, it hasn’t always been that way.

Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb is drawing attention to a Washington Post column by Dana Milbank that recalls how in 2009, Senator Pryor voted against concealed carry reciprocity – only to then consult New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who gave Pryor permission to vote in favor of the concealed carry proposal after seeing there would be enough Democratic votes to defeat it.

“Mark Pryor is fond of saying he doesn’t take advice on guns from the Mayor of New York City,” said Webb. “But he sure is fond of taking gun advice from the Senator from New York – and the Washington Post agrees.”

The entire column by Dana Milbank can be viewed here. The pertinent selections are listed below:

Excerpts from “Gun-Shy” by Dana Milbank. July 23, 2009, The Washington Post
“After a morning of angry speeches, a vote was called at high noon. Toward the end of the vote, Pryor entered the chamber through the back door, took a few steps inside, flashed a thumbs-down to the clerk, and retreated as fast and furtively as somebody dodging gunfire.”

“Several minutes later, the Democrats had racked up more than enough votes to block the proposal. "Are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote?" the presiding officer inquired.”

“Pryor burst back in, this time through a side door. "Mr. President!" he called out. "Mr. President!" He stopped in the well to consult with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a gun-control advocate who was keeping the whip sheet. Schumer gave Pryor a nod, and the Arkansan -- reassured that his vote was not needed to defeat the proposal -- changed his vote to an ‘aye.’”

Today, the U.S. Senate blocked an amendment by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to allow for expanded concealed carry reciprocity. (S.Amdt 719 to S. 649)
In 2009, a similar measure was presented. According to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, Senator Pryor originally voted “Nay,” but after receiving permission from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Pryor changed his vote to “Yea.” (Dana Milbank, “Gun-Shy,” The Washington Post, July 23, 2009)

Less than a month ago, Pryor told Arkansans he doesn’t “take gun advice from the Mayor of New York City.” (Ginger Gibson, “Pryor: I don’t take advice from the Mayor of New York City,” Politico, March 25, 2013)

Tags: Arkansas, GOP, Democrat, Senator, Mark Pryor, checkered past, concealed carry

FLASHBACK: Mike Ross Was Deciding Vote to Give Arkansas Obamacare

Editor's Comment (9:45 PM) - FLASHFORWARD: Today, Republicans in the Arkansas Senate joined democrats to pass the funding appropriation (HB 1219) for the Arkansas version of Obamacare. Republicans in the House previously supported passing of the same appropriation bill and both supported the fundamental legislation funded.

While in the past, Mike Ross may indeed have been the deciding vote previously in the U.S. House to advance Obamacare, the Republicans actions in the House and the Senate to advance and fund the establishment of O'Beebe/Obamacare in Arkansas have place the Arkansas Republican Party  message on Obamacare in jeopardy.

Serious challenges now lie ahead for the Arkansas GOP to be trusted by the voters as a serious voice opposing the Reid, Pelosi, Obama Nationalized Health Care.
RPA, Little Rock – As former Congressman Mike Ross kicks off his campaign for governor (less than a year after pledging not to run), the Republican Party of Arkansas is warning voters that Mike Ross is counting on them to have a short memory regarding his role in the passage of Obamacare.

In 2009, Congressman Ross provided the deciding vote to allow Obamacare to pass out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, ultimately to be passed by the full House and Senate. That sentiment was captured best by Arkansas columnist John Brummett, who wrote in 2010 that:
“[T]he truth is that he [Ross] and his pals among Blue Dogs, by having enough votes on Energy and Commerce to hold up the bill and demand changes in the first place, also had enough votes to kill it outright. Instead, in the end, they did Pelosi’s bidding, as they always will do at crunch time, and let her have the bill on the floor of the House.”

Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb added that: “While Mike Ross is prancing around the state today proclaiming his status as a so-called Blue Dog Democrat, Arkansans from every corner of this state are recalling the fact that he was the deciding vote to let Obamacare pass through his committee.”

The Brummett article from 2010 can be viewed here.

Tags: flashback, Mike Ross, deciding vote, Obamacare

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Griffin Calls on Exxon to Relocate Pipeline

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) sent a letter to Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil Corporation, urging Exxon to support the Central Arkansas Water (CAW) utility’s request to relocate a section of the Pegasus pipeline. Here is an excerpt from the letter:
“I am monitoring ExxonMobil’s ongoing cleanup efforts of the Pegasus Pipeline oil spill that occurred in Mayflower, Arkansas, on March 29, 2013, and I am confident that a complete and thorough investigation will determine the cause of the accident. We must do all we can to prevent accidents like this from happening, and I remain committed to ensuring that the concerns of the residents of Mayflower are addressed truthfully and fairly…. Currently, the Pegasus Pipeline runs through about 13 miles of the Lake Maumelle watershed and also crosses some of the lake’s tributaries. I am especially concerned that the steepness of the shoreline at Lake Maumelle could exacerbate contamination of the water supply in the event of an oil spill and make cleanup more difficult…. I urge ExxonMobil to develop and implement CAW’s request and work to provide an effective plan to relocate the pipeline.”A copy of the letter can be found here.

Tags: Tim Griffin, Exxon, relocate pipeline, Arkansas

Monday, April 15, 2013

Griffin: Tax Day is a ‘Powerful Reminder of the Need for Comprehensive Tax Reform’

by Rep Tim Griffin (R-AR): Anyone who’s done their own taxes knows that our 60,000-page tax code is too complex. Americans spend $168 billion and six billion hours just complying with tax laws annually. These shocking numbers are a powerful reminder of the need for comprehensive tax reform. Unlike President Obama – who’s latest budget calls for a $1.1 trillion tax hike – I believe Americans deserve a fairer, simpler, and flatter tax code.

According to the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is April 18 – the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year. This year, Americans will pay $2.76 trillion in federal taxes and $1.45 trillion in state taxes, for a total tax bill of $4.22 trillion, or 29.4 percent of income. April 18 is nearly one-third of the way into the year.

Tags: Tim Griffin, Tax Day, need for Comprehensive Tax Reform

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Under pressure, Democrat Senator Mark Pryor refuses to endorse same-sex “marriage”

Mark Pryor
by Kirsten Andersen, Life Site News: U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, D-AR, is so far bucking the trend of Democratic lawmakers jumping on board the pro-same-sex ‘marriage’ bandwagon.

“I oppose same-sex marriage, and I’ve been very clear about that for a very long time,” the second-term senator said on a conference call with local reporters Wednesday. “That’s the way I will vote. If that’s what it comes down to, that’s where I am.”

Currently, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether or not the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans gay marriage on the federal level, should be struck down as unconstitutional.  Pryor says he believes DOMA to be legal, but acknowledges that if the Supreme Court decides otherwise, legislators will have to make some tough choices about expanding an already stretched federal budget to include benefits for same-sex couples.

“On the benefits issue, I said to ‘put me down in the undecided category,’” Pryor told Bentonville’s Channel 5 News in an e-mail.  “By that I meant that, depending on what the U.S. Supreme Court decides, I will evaluate whether federal benefits should be available to gay couples.”

Added Pryor, “Of course, I will consider the impact any extension of benefits would have on the federal budget.”

Pryor is one of only three Democratic senators to publicly oppose gay unions.  The others are Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.  All three represent states where same-sex “marriage” is deeply unpopular.  In 2004, about 75 percent of Arkansas voters backed an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman.  That same year, Louisiana voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of a similar constitutional ban on gay marriage.  Same-sex unions are also illegal in West Virginia according to state law.

Sen. Landrieu told CNN that while she is personally in favor of legalizing same-sex unions, as a senator she feels obligated to represent the will of her constituents. “My state has a very strong constitutional amendment against gay marriage and I think I have to honor that,” said Landrieu.

The three holdouts are in the minority of Democrats in the senate.  More than half of Democratic senators have come out in favor of same-sex “marriage” since President Obama endorsed it last year and made it a centerpiece of his agenda.  In the past week alone, Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-IN; Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND; and Tim Johnson, D-SD have all announced their support.

Tags: Mark Pryor, democrat, under pressure, no endorsement for same sex marriage

Saturday, April 13, 2013

EPA Acknowledges Releasing Producers’ Information

This week the Environmental Protection Agency finally acknowledged it released the personal information of thousands of farm families to radical environmental groups. My weekly column discusses the breach of trust the EPA inflicted on America’s livestock producers.

by Rep. Rick Crawford: After much pressure, this week the Environmental Protection Agency finally acknowledged it released the personal information of thousands of farm families to radical environmental groups. Moving forward, I plan to hold EPA’s feet to the fire to ensure farm families are not subjected to this kind of trust breach again.

The EPA turned over personal information like phone numbers, addresses and even geographic coordinates to environmentalists. An overwhelming majority of the information released appears to be from farms owned by families who may now face threats to their homes and businesses. I have serious concerns over the EPA’s release of this information, particularly regarding individual privacy rights and possible bio-security threats to the nation’s food supply. The fact of the matter is that the EPA should never have pursued a national searchable database in the first place, and they shouldn't be working with activist groups to pursue a backdoor route to accomplish the same goal.

Unfortunately, this release of information is yet another example of the EPA’s overreach into the lives of hardworking individuals in rural America. As Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, I led a group of 40 House members in writing a letter to the acting director of the EPA expressing our concerns and asking the acting director to ensure the released information is not improperly used. In the letter, we demand answers on why the EPA obtained producers’ private information and, most importantly, what steps the agency will take to protect the affected producers while ensuring these actions will never happen again. Nearly a month after sending the letter to the EPA, we have not received a response.

In Arkansas, farming is a way of life. Agriculture is the number one industry in our First Congressional District and for many families it’s a rich tradition. As Arkansas’s only representative on the House Agriculture Committee, I fight each day to ensure farm families in our state can continue producing the safest, most abundant and reliable source of food on the planet. It is unacceptable for the EPA to do anything that could jeopardize our nation’s food security or threaten American farm operations. The EPA must be held accountable for their actions and bureaucrats in Washington must consider the livelihoods of farm families and our nation’s food-security before they cower to extreme environmental groups.

Tags: Rep. Rick Crawford, Arkansas, EPA, farms, ranchers, EPA abuse, record,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rep. Steve Womack Floor Speech on HR 1120 and The Constitution

Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR-03):

Tags: Steve Womack, Representative, Floor Speech, HR 1120, NLRB, recess appointments, The Constitution

Griffin questions HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over Arkansas's Medicaid private option plan

Hearing on the President's Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Proposal with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Apr 12, 2013
1100 Longworth House Office Building at 9:00 AM
Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) questions witness.
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius,
Secretary, United States Department of Health and Human Service

Tags: Arkansas, Medicaid, private plan, Rep. Tim Griffin, Questioning, Sec, Kathleen Sebelius, Obamacare

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Senator Mark Pryor Undergoes Election Year Conversion on Guns

Senator Mark Pryor has a long history of banning guns and abridging the rights of law-abiding gun owners. But now, in an election year, Pryor is trying to convince Arkansans that he's actually one of them when it comes to the 2nd Amendment.

Little Rock. Ark. – Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb today called out Senator Mark Pryor for flip-flopping on his support for gun control measures, which Pryor has supported in the past but now opposes as he is up for re-election next year.
Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb said: “No matter what sort of posturing and revisionist history Mark Pryor undertakes in a desperate attempt to get re-elected, it won’t erase his support for banning guns and restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
In recent days, Pryor has boasted that he “doesn’t take advice from the Mayor of New York City” and that he “opposes the assault weapons ban.” Yet that stands in stark contrast to his entire voting record of over a decade in Washington. For instance:
  • In March 2004, Pryor Voted To Reauthorize The Assault Weapons Ban. “Feinstein, D-Calif., amendment no. 2637 that would provide for a 10-year reauthorization of the assault weapons ban set to expire in September 2004.” (S. 1805, CQ Vote #24: Adopted 52-47: R 10-41; D 41-6; I 1-0, 3/2/04, Pryor Voted Yea)
  • Pryor Said in 2004 on Assault Weapons Ban: “I Didn’t See How I Could Vote Any Other Way. … Hopefully, The People Back Home Will Understand.” (Paul Barton, “2 Parties See Close Presidential Race In State, Analyst Says,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 3/4/04)
  • Supported The Brady Bill And The Assault Weapons Ban in 2002: CNN’s JONATHAN KARL: “So would you voted, for instance, for the Brady Bill or for the assault weapons ban? Those were key gun control bills.” PRYOR: “I actually do support those. And I support closing the loophole at gun shows.” (CNN’s, “Inside Politics,” 10/28/02)
The Arkansas GOP has released a video highlighting Senator Pryor’s flip-flop on gun control measures. You can view the video HERE.

Tags: Senator, Mark Pryor, election year conversion, guns, RPA video

Pryor joining effort to derail gun-bill vote

By Alex Daniels: WASHINGTON - Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said Wednesday that he will break from his party and side with gun-control opponents today as they try to prevent a vote on a bill that would tighten gun access.

Barring last-minute changes to the legislation, Pryor said he’ll work with Republicans to derail the vote.

Four months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., when a gunman killed 26 students and educators, the Senate is poised to take action on a bill that would require a federal background check for most gun purchases.

The measure consists of a combination of bills that passed the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee in March on largely partisan votes.

Pryor said he would join a Republican-led filibuster and vote against “cloture” - a vote scheduled for today that would limit debate on the bill and clear the way for a final up-or-down vote. To end what is known as a “ filibuster,” 60 or more senators must vote for cloture.

“Currently, I am going to oppose cloture and support the filibuster,” Pryor said Wednesday.

Pryor said the the legislation would be difficult to implement and suggested that, if passed, the bill would violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.”

“It’s too broad and it’s not workable,” said Pryor, who is up for re-election in 2014.

Pryor’s stand puts him at odds with most of his party. It is unclear how many Democrats will join Pryor in backing a filibuster, but Wednesday, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana suggested he also would support one, according to several news accounts.

President Barack Obama supports more stringent legislation that would ban assault-style weapons and limit the number of bullets allowed in ammunition clips. On Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee sent an e-mail criticizing Republicans who want to block the gun-control vote, accusing them of denying Newtown families “the simple up-or-down vote they deserve.” The committee made no mention of Pryor.

The two-term senator, who has received a “C minus” rating from the National Rifle Association, has said he opposes the bill because Arkansans aren’t in favor of further gun restrictions.

In March, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group headed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ran an ad campaign in Arkansas that pressed Pryor to vote for gun legislation that included expanded federal background checks.

In response, the Arkansas senator said: “I don’t take gun advice from the mayor of New York City. I listen to Arkansans.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said he was “increasingly confident” that Democrats have enough votes to break a Republican-led filibuster.

“America wants a vote,” he said in an interview. “Enough is enough. The American people want common-sense measures to stop gun violence.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, has not taken a position on the bill, but opposes the stalling tactics of a filibuster.

“It’s an important debate to have on preventing violence and also on protecting people’s Second Amendment rights,” she said.

Ayotte isn’t the only Republican who opposes the filibuster, an indication that the gun issue has created fissures within the GOP.

“The Republican caucus is split on this issue,” said Sen. John Boozman, an Arkansas Republican.

Boozman was not one of 13 senators who sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatening a filibuster, but he said he supports using the tactic.

New gun laws, he said, are unnecessary.

“The vast majority of the people of Arkansas aren’t really interested in gun control,” he said. “Mark is looking to the people of Arkansas and trying to represent their views on this matter.”

On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia worked toward an agreement that would loosen the background-check requirements in the bill headed to the Senate floor.

Pryor said he did not know if he would support a filibuster of that effort, because the details of the compromise were still being worked out.

“This is a moving target - no pun intended,” he said.

Tags: Mark Pryor, Arkansas, opposing gun bill, second amendment,

ICYMI: Dem Insiders See Pryor as Most Vulnerable

Little Rock. Ark. – On the heels of a Roll Call article naming him the most vulnerable Senator in 2014, National Journal, another well-known national publication, has published the results of a survey of Democratic insiders that names Senator Mark Pryor as the “most vulnerable” Senator in Washington.

National Journal conducted the poll of various political insiders. Some of the notable Democrats surveyed were political analyst Donna Brazile, former Governor Howard Dean, and the Executive Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Guy Cecil.

Below is the article, which was published in National Journal, and can be viewed here.

Dem Insiders See Pryor As Most Vulnerable
Democrats on National Journal's Political Insiders panel choose Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., as the party's most-endangered member in 2014. This week's Insiders Poll shows Republicans agree Hagan is most vulnerable, but they pick Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, as second on the list of promising GOP targets.

Majorities of Insiders from both parties also said the National Rifle Association has been more effective in the recent debate over the nation's gun laws than President Obama.

Which red-state Democratic senator is most vulnerable going into 2014?
Democrats (98 votes) Republicans (96 votes)
Mark Begich, Alaska 18% 24%
Mark Pryor, Arkansas 31% 17%
Mary Landrieu, Louisiana 18% 18%
Max Baucus, Montana 4% 7%
Kay Hagan, North Carolina 29% 34%
National Journal members can read some quotes from our Insiders panel here.

Tags: Mary Pryor, vulnerable

SCA Highlights Mark Pryor's Liberal Record on Social Issues

New Arkansas Radio Ad Calls Attention to Pryor's Past Support for a Gun Ban, Support for Taxpayer-Funded Abortion, and New "Undecided" Position on Benefits for Gay Marriage
Alexandria, VA -- Today, Senate Conservatives Action launched a new 60-second radio ad designed to educate Arkansas about the liberal record of U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) on social issues.

The radio ad is called "Liberal" and focuses on Senator Pryor's support for gun control and taxpayer-funded abortion, as well as his evolving position on federal benefits for gay marriage. The ad also reminds listeners that Senator Pryor voted with President Obama 95 percent of the time and urges them to visit to learn more about his liberal record.

"Mark Pryor is not just out of step with Arkansans on fiscal issues like Obamacare, bailouts, and the stimulus," said Senate Conservatives Action Executive Director Matt Hoskins. "His liberal views on social issues like gun rights, abortion, and marriage are also out of step with a majority of voters in Arkansas."

A recent Senate Conservatives Fund poll showed that a majority of likely voters in Arkansas oppose gun control, abortion, and gay marriage. In fact 49.5% said they were less likely to vote for Mark Pryor because of his support for the assault weapons ban compared to just 31.0% who were more likely. On the issue of abortion, 62.7% said they were pro-life compared to just 32.3% who were pro-choice. And on marriage, 61.0% said they support traditional marriage compared to 18.7% who support gay marriage and 18.3% who support civil unions that extend benefits for gay marriage.

"Mark Pryor says he supports the Second Amendment, but he voted for the gun ban in 2004," added Hoskins. "He says he's pro-life, but he voted to fund Planned Parenthood. And he says he supports traditional marriage, but just last week he said he was 'undecided' on whether to extend federal benefits for gay marriage. The longer Mark Pryor is in Washington, the more he thinks he can have it both ways."

"Liberal" - RADIO : 60 sec - >Listen Here
Senator Mark Pryor says he doesn't fit into categories on issues like gun rights, the sanctity of life, and marriage.

But he does. It's called being liberal.

Since going to Washington, Pryor has voted for a gun ban to take away our Second Amendment rights.

He voted to give taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider.

And just last week Pryor said he's now "undecided" on the issue of benefits for gay marriage.


It gets worse.

Mark Pryor voted with Barack Obama ninety five percent of the time.

That's not just liberal. It's dangerously liberal.

And it doesn't reflect Arkansas values.

Learn more about Mark Pryor's liberal record at Pryor Left Us dot com.

That's Pryor Left Us dot com.

ANNCR: Paid for by Senate Conservatives Action which is responsible for the content of this message. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. SenateAction dot com.

Tags: SCA, radio ad, Mark Pryor, Liberal Record, Social Issues

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pryor Named Most Vulnerable Senator of 2014

Mark Pryor, "Hummm"
Yesterday, noted political analyst Stu Rothenberg published an article that gives Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor the dubious distinction of being the Senate’s most endangered incumbent up for re-election in 2014.

Below is the article, which was published in Roll Call.

Rothenberg: Most Vulnerable of '14? Pryor by a Hair
Who is the most vulnerable senator seeking re-election next year?
Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss might have won the distinction because of his vulnerability to a conservative primary challenger, but he has already announced he won’t seek another term.

The same goes for West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller and South Dakota Democrat Tim Johnson, both of whom would have had difficult races but have announced that they will retire at the end of their current terms.

Neither of the two “most vulnerable” Republicans up next year, Maine’s Susan Collins and Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, appears to be in all that much trouble.

As I wrote in a recent Rothenblog post, Collins has high job performance ratings and no threatening Democrat in sight, while McConnell could draw a well-funded opponent and starts off with mediocre polling numbers. But President Barack Obama’s weak standing in the Bluegrass State, as well as Kentucky’s strong Republican bent in federal races, gives the Senate minority leader a clear advantage to start.

Sen. Max Baucus>, who was first elected to the House in 1974 and then to the Senate four years later, could find himself with a serious challenge. But the Montana Democrat begins with an advantage, especially after fellow Democratic Sen. Jon Tester’s re-election victory last year.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich barely won in 2008 on the basis of absentee votes and veteran incumbent Ted Stevens’ conviction on corruption charges for making false statements on financial disclosure forms (a conviction that was later vacated), and his state’s preference for Republicans obviously puts him at risk. But seniority and personal relationships matter in Alaska, and that could help the Democratic senator.

Like Begich, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan won primarily because of the Democratic wave of 2008, though the weakness of incumbent Republican Elizabeth Dole surely played a role in the challenger’s victory. But what had been a fairly reliably Republican state has become more competitive recently, as evidenced by Mitt Romney’s narrow victory in the state in November. But unlike Baucus or Begich, Hagan already has a potentially formidable Republican challenger circling her; state Speaker Thom Tillis is mulling a Senate bid.

Baucus, Begich or Hagan could well end up in serious trouble next year, but for now the distinction of most vulnerable incumbent senator surely boils down to either Arkansas’ Mark Pryor or Louisiana’s Mary L. Landrieu.

Pryor and Landrieu both represent Southern states that have been realigning over the past few cycles. Both come from well-established political families and each has demonstrated political savvy.

Pryor was elected in 2002 and re-elected six years later, while Landrieu was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and was re-elected in both 2002 and 2008.
Landrieu has had the closer races, winning with only 52.1 percent in 2008, 51.7 percent in 2002 and 50.2 percent in 1996 against a series of challengers who have ranged from weak to not bad.

Pryor, the son of a former governor and senator, was first elected to the Senate with almost 54 percent, when he defeated a sitting Republican senator. He did not have a GOP opponent when he ran for re-election in 2008.

In some ways, Louisiana and Arkansas are politically similar. Democrats were able to hold on to working-class white voters in both states for longer than they were able to elsewhere in the South, which kept Republicans from taking over the two states until recently. But that has changed now.

Surprisingly (to me, at least), African- Americans constitute 32 percent of the population of Louisiana but only 15 percent of the population of Arkansas. That’s a substantial difference and an obvious advantage for Landrieu, if she can turn out those reliably Democratic minority voters.

Landrieu already has an opponent: Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, a Baton Rouge-area physician first elected to Congress in 2008. But Cassidy, who served briefly in the state senate, isn’t likely to clear the field, and, as one GOP insider told me, “You can’t apply the same political rules to Louisiana that work everywhere else. You won’t have an idea about who is running for the Senate until June of 2014.”

A February survey by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling showed Landrieu leading a number of Republicans in head-to-head ballot tests, albeit narrowly. On the other hand, a poll done by GOP firm Basswood Research for the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund showed Pryor trailing freshman GOP Rep. Tom Cotton by 8 points.

Moreover, it was less than three years ago that moderate Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln lost re-election in what admittedly was a bad Democratic year. Still, the size of Lincoln’s defeat — she drew only 36.9 percent of the vote — is a stark reminder of the challenges any Democrat now faces in this state.

Either the 4th District’s Cotton or 3rd District Rep. Steve Womack seems to be the mostly likely Republican nominee against Pryor, and GOP strategists seem confident that either one can and will beat the senator. Democrats, on the other hand, are clearly worried about both Pryor and Landrieu.

It’s a close call on who is more vulnerable, but I’d probably pick Pryor, especially if Cotton runs. The Harvard-educated Iraq veteran who worked for McKinsey would be an especially difficult opponent for Pryor, and the Democratic base in Arkansas appears to be evaporating quickly.
Stuart Rothenberg (@stupolitics) is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.

Tags: Stuart Rothenberg, Rothenberg Political Report, Arkansas, U.S., Senator, Mark Prior, most vulnerable, 2014

Monday, April 8, 2013

Extreme Makeover: Arkansas Edition

Senator Mark Pryor Misleads Arkansans on Pro-Life Position
Image Via BootBerryism
by David Ray, Communications Director: Little Rock. Ark. – The Republican Party of Arkansas is calling out Senator Mark Pryor for intentionally misleading Arkansans over the weekend regarding his position on abortion and pro-life issues.

Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb said: “What we’re seeing with Mark Pryor is Extreme Makeover, Arkansas Edition. He’s supported the left’s radical abortion agenda for over a decade in the Senate – including taxpayer funding of abortion -- and now that he’s up for re-election, he’s trying to dupe Arkansas voters into believing he’s one of them.”

In a Friday afternoon interview, Pryor told KFSM-TV: “I’ve always leaned toward the pro-life side of that, but I don’t fit neatly into any of the categories.”

Despite telling KFSM-TV he “leans toward the pro-life side of the abortion debate,” a quick examination of Pryor’s record on abortion issues reveals he is extremely pro-choice.
  • Senator Pryor has received multiple 100% ratings from NARAL Pro-Choice America (2010, 2011).
  • Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, gave Pryor a 78% rating in 2013.
  • National Right to Life has given Pryor a 0% rating for 2011-2013 and an 8% rating over his Senate term spanning from 2008-Present.
FACT: Pryor Claims to “Lean Toward the Pro-Life Side of the Debate.” “Pryor Says He Opposes Same-Sex Marriage,” (Larry Henry, KFSM5-TV)
FACT: Pryor Has Voted Repeatedly to Allow Taxpayer Dollars to Fund Abortion ( H. Con. Res. 36, S.Amdt. 1141 to S.925, S.Amdt 2719 to H.R. 2764, S.Amdt. 65 to H.R. 2)
FACT: Pryor Has Received Almost Perfect Ratings from Pro-Abortion Groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood (Planned Parenthood: 2013 Congressional Scorecard, NARAL: 2010 Congressional Scorecard, NARAL: 2011 Congressional Scorecard)
FACT: Pryor Has Received Extremely Low Marks from Pro-Life Organizations such as National Right to Life ( National Right to Life Scorecard)

Tags: Mark Pryor, pro-abortion, extreme makeover, Arkansas Edition,

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Take Time To Get It Right

by AFP Arkansas Arkansas Legislators are rushing to vote on the private option Medicaid expansion. They should take time to get it right. Give the bill the due diligence hard working Arkansas taxpayers deserve.

Tags: Arkansas, legislature, private option, Medicaid, expansion, AFP Arkansas, video

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rep Crawford: Arkansas Plan Will Not Fix ObamaCare

by U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, AR-01: Three years ago President Obama signed his massive takeover of our Nation’s healthcare system into law. Since then the Department of Health and Human Services has been busy writing thousands of new regulations to begin implementing the mandate. Today, states like Arkansas are being forced to make tough decisions about paying for expanded healthcare services.

I applaud Arkansas state legislative leaders who are doing their best to make lemonade out of lemons and try to cope with a bad situation. However, I feel the Arkansas Plan, which can only receive temporary approval at best, is destined to worsen the fiscal outlook for our state. As the reality of ObamaCare’s unsustainable and skewed funding formula becomes the subject of review as Congress grapples with the national debt crisis, states that sign up for ObamaCare, even under waivers, will find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place.

In my view, the current no-win situation in which state legislators find themselves will become significantly worse if they set up a government-funded private insurance program and are forced to pull it back in a few years after the entire provider system has plugged into it. Perhaps a better approach would be to petition Congress to delay ObamaCare for two or three years and ask the hard question – isn’t it the height of recklessness to add $1.3 trillion in new entitlement spending in the middle of a debt crisis?

This week I encouraged all state legislators who are concerned about our Nation’s debt crisis to set aside the Arkansas Plan and call on Congress to delay the multi-trillion-dollar ObamaCare entitlement program. The greatest crisis facing our Nation today is our $17 trillion national debt. The costs of ObamaCare will continue to grow over time and will make our Nation’s debt rise even higher.

Without a doubt, America’s healthcare system needs reform. Healthcare needs to be affordable and accessible. Patients should be empowered and not overburdened with rules and financial penalties from Washington. We need smart reform that enacts medical liability reform, allows individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines, expands personal health savings accounts and ensures access for people with pre-existing conditions. We do not need a healthcare mandate from the federal government that creates a new entitlement program that will add to our national debt.

Tags: Rick Crawford, U.S Representative, Arkansas, 1st District, Arkansas Plan Obamacare

Operation Vote Arkansas

RPA Chairman Doyle Webb
Rolls Out Operation Vote Arkansas
David Ray, Communications Director, Republican Party of Arkansas: Spring is officially here, and the end of the legislative session is finally in sight. Here’s your weekly round-up of Arkansas politics.

Protecting the Integrity of Our Elections
We are pleased to announce that Voter ID is now law in Arkansas after the House overrode the Governor’s veto early this week. This puts Arkansas among the leading states in regards to safeguarding the integrity of our elections. This legislation would not have been possible without our Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

Operation Vote Arkansas
As a result of the new voter ID law, the Arkansas GOP is announcing a new initiative we will launch later this year. It is a voter education effort to make sure every Arkansan knows about the new law and has the opportunity to obtain a photo ID before the next election. We want every eligible Arkansan to vote because it strengthens our state and our party when they do.

Here’s a preview of the plan, and you can read some of the roll-out coverage from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, , KARK, and FOX 16.

Also, in this week’s Webb-cast, RPA Chairman Doyle Webb gives an overview of the program. Stay tuned, there will be more to come.
Tax Freedom Day in Arkansas
This Sunday, April 7 th, is Tax Freedom Day in Arkansas. That means that from January 1 st through this Sunday, all the work you’ve put in has finally paid off the state’s tax burden. Fortunately, the rest of the year will be yours to keep. But we’ve got a long way to go to make Arkansas a leader in taxes. That’s just one reason we’re working so hard to make sure we continue to grow the Republican Party.

In the News…
Senator John Boozman and Congressman Tom Cotton both came out strongly against a UN treaty that would limit the rights of gun owners.

The Washington Times editorial board highlighted Congressman Rick Crawford’s work to stop the EPA from sharing ranchers’ private information with radical environmental groups.

Lastly, the Young Republicans will be hosting a special event with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in Fayetteville. Click here to learn more.

Have a happy Tax Freedom Day!

Tags: Doyle Webb, Republican Party, Arkansas, Operation Vote Arkansas, Tax Freedom Day, 

Sen. Boozman: Opposses UN Arms Trade Treaty

by Arkansas U.S. Sen. John Boozman: Earlier this week, the United Nations agreed to the Arms Trade Treaty. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, the Obama Administration voted in support of the misguided treaty.

Fortunately, in order for any treaty to take effect, it must be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. Based on previous statements and the fact that 53 Senators went on record a few weeks ago supporting an amendment to stop the State Department from negotiating this treaty, I do not believe the votes are there for ratification.

The administration is well aware of where the Senate stands on the issue. Last year, I joined 57 other Senators in sending a letter to President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reminding them that the Senate has final say on treaties, and stated our unequivocal opposition to any treaty that would affect civilian ownership of firearms, challenge the authority of Congress to regulate firearms within the United States, or call for an international gun registry.

Now that the Obama Administration helped pass the treaty, it is important to reiterate that we will fight ratification. It is the reason why I support a concurrent resolution that was introduced in the Senate stating the treaty should not be ratified. This treaty puts us on the same level as global bad actors, those countries that abuse human rights and arm terrorists, and a backdoor way to chip away at every law abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. The Obama Administration should have recognized that to begin with, but clearly protecting the Second Amendment rights of every law abiding American is not on its priority list. It remains on mine. I will work to ensure that this treaty never gets ratified.

Tags: Arkansas, Senator, John Boozman, Opposses, UN Arms Trade Treaty

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cotton: Senate should reject UN Arms Trade Treaty

By Peter Urban, Stephens Washington Bureau [Published in Arkansas News: WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, on Wednesday urged the U.S. Senate to vote against ratifying a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that he fears will be used to limit rights of gun owners in the United States.

“The Senate must ratify the Arms Trade Treaty with a two-thirds majority before President Obama can implement. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to oppose the Arms Trade Treaty,” Cotton said in a press statement.

The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday approved the treaty with 155 nations in favor including the United States. Three nations voted against the treaty - Iran, Syria and North Korea. China, Russia and Cuba were among the 22 nations to abstain from the vote.

“This is a victory for the world’s people,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement issued after the vote.

The treaty, he said, would help prevent “grave human abuses” and provide much-needed momentum for other global disarmament and nonproliferation efforts. ...

Cotton said Wednesday that he is “deeply troubled” that the Obama administration voted in support of the treaty. He said he has concerns with “several dangerous and controversial provisions seeking to regulate the global trade of conventional armaments.”

Aside from his Second Amendment concerns, Cotton said the treaty could limit the ability of the United States to support its allies by requiring a lengthy review process for arms transfers.

Also, he said he fears “outlaw regimes” — including North Korea, Syria and Iran — will not be bound by the treaty.

Cotton last month co-sponsored a House resolution drafted by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., urging the United States not to become a signatory to the treaty. Reps. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, and Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, have also co-sponsored the resolution.

The treaty will go into force 90 days after the 50th signatory ratifies it. [Read Full Story]

Tags: Rep. Tom Cotton, Arkansas, Reject UN Arms Trade Treaty

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Arkansas State Senator Paul Bookout

AR State Sen. Paul Bookout
(D-Jonesboro-Dist 21)
Administrative Director,
St. Bernards Healthcare
Bob Hester, Press Release: Arkansas Democrat State Senator  Bookout collected $80,950.00 for Primary and; General Election. Bookout spent $63,334.76 of that amount. Bookout did not itemize any of $50,115.76 of the amount he spent. Of that amount, $29,516.69 was spent on entertainment, but none of it was itemized. Candidates are supposed to itemize all expenditures over $100.00. These financial records can be found at this link: Secretary of State Financial Disclosure Search

Bob Hester, Arkansas Family Coalition, mailed in the complaint on March 28, 2013. Following is the exact wording of the complaint.

"According to Senator Paul Bookout's Final Campaign Contribution and Expenditure Report (reported as well in his monthly reports), Bookout spent $63,334.76 of the $80,950.00 he raised in his 2012 Campaign in which he was unopposed both in the Primary and in the General election.

"This ethics complaint concerns Senator Paul Bookout's financial Campaign Contributions and Expenditure Reports. According to his final and monthly reports Senator Bookout spent $50,115.76 without itemizing any of it in section 23 of the financial report under "Itemized Campaign Expenditures Over $100"; therefore, the citizens of Arkansas cannot tell where one dime of that $50,115.76 was spent. Bookout spent $29,516.69 of that $50,115.76 just for entertainment alone without indicating where any of it was spent. Bookout has been in the legislature since 1999, long enough to be well aware that out of that $50,115.76 he should have itemized many, many amounts even as most legislators do. In essence, Bookout's reporting seems to indicate that he spent $50,115.76 in amounts of less than $100.00 in order to hide where the money was actually spent.

"Campaign Training Manual for the 2012 Election Cycle," Chapter 5: Instructions For Completing the Campaign Contribution and Expenditure Report for State and District Candidates, Section 23 reads:"This section is for itemization of expenditures over $100 made during the reporting period. For each expenditure over $100, the candidate must disclose the DATE, the AMOUNT and a DESCRIPTION of the expenditure made during this reporting period and the name and address of any person, including the candidate, to whom the expenditure was made. If additional pages are necessary to report all of the expenditures made, this page of the Contribution and Expenditure Report may be photocopied and attached to the report when the report is filed."

"Senator Bookout should be made to produce receipts for that $50,115.76 (any amount that was spent over $100.00 should have been itemized); and any other sanctions should be imposed that are relevant to this behavior of evading his fiscal responsibility as a candidate, behavior that appears purposeful.

"Following are the amounts listed by month from Senator Bookout's financial reports online for both the Primary and General Election.
Time Period
Filing Date
Expenditures Not Itemized
Entertainment alone - this figured included in former column
1/1/2012 - 1/13/2012
2/1/2012 - 2/29/2012
3/1/2012 - 3/31/2012
4/1/2012 - 4/30/2012
5/1/2012 - 5/22/2012
5/23/2012 - 6/30/2012
7/1/2012 - 7/31/2012
8/1/2012 - 8/31/2012
9/1/2012 - 9/30/2012
11/1/2012- 12/28/2012
Total: $50,115.76
Total: $29,516.69 this figure included in former column
"Senator Bookout collected $80,950.00 for Primary and General Election. Bookout spent $63,334.76 of that amount. Bookout did not itemize any of $50,115.76 of the amount he spent."

Tags: Ethics Complaint, Arkansas State, Paul Bookout, state senator