Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Griffin Praises Senate for Acting on House-Passed Student Loan Fix

Urges President Obama to ‘sign this bill quickly’</>
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after voting for final passage of the Smarter Solutions for Students Act (H.R. 1911):
“The House passed this bill more than two months ago in order to prevent interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans from increasing on July 1 and end Washington’s ability to use student loan rates as political bargaining chips, and I’m glad that Senate Democrats finally chose to act on it and stop playing partisan politics.  This bipartisan solution is a long-term fix that makes things right for students, provides certainty and protects hardworking taxpayers by coupling rates with the government’s cost of lending.  I urge President Obama to sign this bill quickly.”According to a new study from the American Action Forum, the average student could have saved up to $3,400 more through college had there been a market-based interest rate.

In June, Griffin joined 51 other Republican and Democratic congressmen in writing a letter to Senate Leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell urging them to pass a bill similar to the House-passed Smarter Solutions for Students Act (H.R. 1911).

Tags: Tim Griffin, Student Loan fix,

Tom Cotton Sends Mark Pryor’s Outlook From Bad To Worse

Washington Post

If there were any doubts that Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) is the most vulnerable senator in the country this election cycle, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) appears to have put them to rest.

Cotton will reportedly announce his bid against Pryor next week, giving Republicans a top recruit for a race they have been eyeing eagerly.

Here’s what makes Cotton such a potentially formidable contender: He is popular among both conservative groups who prize ideology and establishment Republicans who worry about electabilty. . . .

"Representative Cotton is a conservative leader and rock star candidate," said Steven Law, the President of the GOP-aligned group American Crossroads. "Arkansas is now one of the very top pickup opportunities for Republicans this cycle and we are excited to get engaged in the race on behalf of Rep. Tom Cotton." . . .

Conservative groups like the Club For Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund — which, like Crossroads, matter because they spend money in congressional races — are also expected to get behind Cotton. . . .

On the other side stands Pryor, a Democrat fighting for his life in an increasingly red state. Pryor has been getting it from both sides. Conservative groups seeking to dislodge him have already lobbed attack ads his direction. . . .

“Like [former senator] Blanche Lincoln, Pryor faces tough primary and a tougher general,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring. . .


Tags: Tom Cotton, US Senate, Arkansas, Mark Pryor

A Laughing Matter? President Obama Laughs Off Keystone Jobs... Does Mark Pryor?

National Republican Senatorial Committee: Yesterday in Chattanooga, President Obama made jokes about the jobs that can be created by the Keystone XL Pipeline - which has strong bipartisan support from unions, workers, businesses, and a clear majority of Americans.
"They keep on talking about this -- an oil pipeline coming down from Canada that's estimated to create about 50 permanent jobs -- that's not a jobs plan." - President Obama, President Obama's speech in Chattanooga, 7/30/2013
A few days prior, President Obama "chuckled" as he mocked those who knowingly say Keystone will create jobs:  "Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that’s true. And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline -- which might take a year or two -- and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a economy of 150 million working people."
Today, PolitiFact, who did look into it, rated Obama's claim as "False." 
Is President Obama really in a position to laugh at the creation of any jobs? The truth is that his own State Department said the Keystone Pipeline would support more than 42,000 jobs. 
But whether Keystone would create one hundred, one thousand, or one-hundred thousand jobs, why would anyone mock them? At a time when job growth remains anemic, every single job is important.
Does Democrat Mark Pryor agree with President Obama that the Keystone Pipeline is a joke?  Does Mark Pryor agree that passing up an opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs is a laughing matter?
"Mark Pryor claims to be an independent voice,  but in Washington he just empowers the liberal Obama/Reid/Schumer anti-energy agenda which costs jobs in Arkansas," said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen.  "Arkansas workers, businesses and families have been crippled by the liberal agenda of more regulations, higher taxes, and the empowerment of bureaucrats at EPA that has hurt growth and created a mountain of uncertainty. Mark Pryor should have the courage to stand up to President Obama as he insults pro-energy states like Arkansas by laughing off the Keystone Pipeline and the thousands of jobs that come with it." 
BACKGROUND:
The State Department Said The Keystone Pipeline Would Support 42,100 Jobs. (Brad Plumer, “State Dept: Keystone XL Would Have Small Impact On Climate, Tar Sands,” The Washington Post, 3/1/13)
Americans Support the Keystone XL Pipeline By Wide Margin. (National Journal, United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, 7/16/2013)
Labor Unions Strongly Support Construction Of The Keystone XL Jobs Project 
PolitiFact Rates Obama Claims On Keystone As False
Obama said the Keystone XL pipeline might produce about 2,000 jobs during construction, based on the most reliable estimates. The White House provided no supporting evidence and the administration’s own State Department predicted that while the pipeline would produce few permanent jobs, the construction process itself would create nearly twice as many jobs as the president said. We rate the statement False. (PolitiFact, Obama says Keystone XL would mean "maybe 2,000 jobs", 7/31/2013)

Tags: NRSC, President Obama, XL Keystone Pipeline, Mark Pryor

Rep. Duncan Baird Announces Campaign for State Treasurer

Seeks to restore trust to the Treasurer’s Office.
Rep. Duncan Baird
Lowell, AR - Representative Duncan Baird of Lowell announced today that he will be a candidate for State Treasurer in 2014. Baird said he has demonstrated a commitment to government reform as a legislator and has the professional experience necessary to lead the office. His campaign will focus on restoring public trust to the Treasurer’s office.

“As elected officials, the power and responsibility that we have comes from the citizens of the state. That public trust has been broken in the Treasurer’s office,” Baird said, “My primary focus as State Treasurer will be to restore trust to the office. I want the people of Arkansas to be able to look at the Treasurer’s office and have confidence that we’re working on behalf of them to do what’s best for the state.”

Baird serves as House Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee of the Arkansas General Assembly. He worked as a Series 7 licensed securities trader in the brokerage division of Arkansas’s largest bank and holds a degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Arkansas.

“My degree in finance and accounting and my professional experience as a licensed securities trader have helped prepare me for this job,” Baird said, “Experience in the legislature, and the opportunity to be heavily involved in the budget process, will help me lead the office.”

Baird has been an advocate of government reform as a legislator. He helped draft and pass legislation that reformed legislative travel policies and put in place a cooling off period before a legislator could become a lobbyist. He was the House sponsor of a law that extended the lobbying cooling off period to constitutional officers, agency heads, and government regulators.

“I believe we should always be looking for ways to make state government more open, ethical, and accountable,” Baird said, “Reform has been important to me as a legislator, and it will be a priority for me in the Treasurer’s office.”

About Duncan Baird
Duncan Baird is in his third term in the Arkansas House of Representatives where he serves as House Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee. He began his career in the investments industry, working as a Series 7 licensed securities trader in the brokerage division of Arkansas’s largest bank. He holds a degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Baird lives with his wife Courtney in Northwest Arkansas, where they attend Cross Church in Rogers.

Tags: Duncan Baird, 2013, candidate, Republican nomination, Arkansas, State Treasurer

Boozman Proposes Elimination of the Federal Estate and Gift Taxes

WASHINGTON – Committed to job growth and building our economy, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR)  is urging Congress to eliminate the estate tax, commonly referred to as the death tax, which acts as a hurdle that prevents America’s agriculture producers and small business owners from realizing their full potential.

Boozman introduced legislation that would permanently eliminate the federal estate and gift taxes that punish America’s small business owners and agriculture producers.

“Part of the American Dream is to build an inheritance that will benefit our future generations. The death tax works against that idea by making planning and passing on family farms and businesses to the next generation even more difficult. We need to eliminate polices like the death tax that create unnecessary burdens on our agriculture community and family businesses. These job creators should be planning on how to grow their operations, but instead they’re faced with the threat of having to pay Uncle Sam,” Boozman said.

In January 2013, Congress raised the death tax to a 40 percent rate while maintaining a $5 million exemption.

According to a study by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing the death tax would create 1.5 million additional small business jobs and would decrease the national unemployment rate by nearly one percent.

Boozman introduced similar legislation in the 112th Congress. He is also a cosponsor of the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2013 introduced by Sen. John Thune (R- SD).

Tags: Senator, John Boozman, Arkansas, elimination, Federal Estate Tax, Gift Tax

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

House Approves Griffin Amendment Providing Additional Resources for Pipeline Safety

Reduces Washington bureaucracy to increase PHMSA funding
‘with no additional cost to hardworking taxpayers’
 
(click here to watch video of today’s floor action)
LITTLE ROCK – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after the House passed his amendment to fund the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA):

“Federal agencies are too top-heavy and full of waste.  My amendment removes $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary’s salary and expenses budget and appropriates it for the operational expenses of PHMSA.  It ensures PHMSA has additional resources to maintain the safety of America’s pipelines with no additional cost to hardworking taxpayers.”

The House passed Griffin’s amendment by voice vote, and final passage of the Transportation Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act (H.R. 2610) could come as early as Wednesday. 

Tags: US House, Rep Tim Griffin, AR-02, amendment, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration,, pipeline safety

Pryor, Clinton, Weiner & the "War on Women"

Credibility Gap: Mark Pryor, Anthony Weiner, Bill Clinton and the "War on Women"
Washington, D.C. - For over a year now, Democrats have repeatedly used and exploited the term, "War on Women," for their own political gain. It’s a manufactured talking point based on disinformation, exploitation and fear - but one that Democrats acknowledge they'll use for political purposes in 2014.

However, now that Democrats across the country are caught in the midst of multiple scandals involving sexual harassment, assault, and predatory actions against women, their colleagues - including Mark Pryor - have little to say. In fact, just yesterday, the White House claimed that President Obama has no opinion about Anthony Weiner. There's a reason for their silence: Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton will barnstorm across the country in 2014, no doubt working to help elect Mark Pryor and other Democrats as they use the manufactured "War on Women" to score political points. Remember: This is the same Bill Clinton whose own predatory behavior destroyed lives, hurt his wife, and embarrassed his colleagues (and our country). Yes, the same Bill Clinton who other Democratic Senators admittedly said they would not trust alone with their daughters.

Therein lies the 2014 problem for Democrats. How can politicians like Pryor stand with Bill Clinton to raise money if he condemns Anthony Weiner? One married man inappropriately sending young women disgusting photos of himself vs. a married man whose repeated transgressions with women included taking advantage of a White House intern, which forever wrecked her career. A distinction without a difference, no?

"Democrats can’t have it both ways when it comes to the treatment of women and Mark Pryor should have the courage to condemn any politician that assaults, harasses, or exploits young women," said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. "Anthony Weiner's behavior toward women really isn't much different than Bill Clinton's. Politicians like Mark Pryor lose all credibility preaching about a so-called 'War on Women' while standing alongside Bill Clinton to raise money and boost their campaign war chests."

Tags: Mark Pryor, Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner, War on Women, 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pryor Refuses to Take Position on Pain-Capable Legislation

Senator Dodges Reporter’s Question About 20-Week Abortion Ban
Little Rock, Ark. – Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb is calling on Senator Mark Pryor to tell Arkansas voters his position on a late-term abortion ban after the Senator dodged a question from Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack about how he would vote on the bill if it came to a vote in the Senate.

Even though the Arkansas Legislature passed similar legislation earlier this year and the U.S. House of Representatives just a few months ago, Pryor won’t say how he would vote were the legislation to appear in the Senate. When asked by McCormack, Pryor responded “I’ll have to look at it. I haven’t focused on it.”

Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb criticized Pryor’s ducking and dodging: “To pretend he’s never considered this issue after being in public office for almost two and a half decades is not only laughable, it’s an insult to the voters,” Webb said. “He knows his views on this issue are out-of-touch with Arkansas, and he’s trying to hide from scrutiny.”

Nationwide polls indicate that Americans support a ban on late-term abortions. A Washington Post/ABC survey shows that by 64 percent to 28 percent, Americans favor limiting abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or earlier. A Huffington Post/YouGov poll similarly found that by 2-to-1 (59 percent to 30 percent) Americans support banning almost all abortions after the twentieth week of gestation.


In Arkansas, a poll conducted in February by Talk Business and Hendrix College found 60% support for a Fetal Heartbeat Protection Act, which would prohibit abortions after 12 weeks gestation, even earlier than the 20-week proposal Pryor refuses to take a position on. Both a 12-week and 20-week measure were passed by the Arkansas legislature during the 2013 legislative session.

Tags: Senator, Mark Pryor, abortion, 20 weeks, pain capable, abortion

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dr. Milton Friedman; Ideas To Be Discussed At July 31 Events

Milton's Educational Reform in Conway
The 101st anniversary of the birth of Dr. Milton Friedman (1912-2006), the 1976 Nobel Economics laureate will be commemorated at a July 31 forum hosted by the Arkansas Policy Foundation.

The forum will start at Noon at the Faulkner County Library (1900 Tyler), Conway, Arkansas.

Dr. Friedman, a 1928 graduate of Rahway, N.J. Public High School, later earned economics degrees from Rutgers before teaching at the Univ. of Chicago until his 1977 retirement.  He later served as a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board, a group of non-government experts named by the president.

Dr. Friedman is closely associated with the idea of competition in the delivery of education services.  He supported educational competition in books like Free To Choose. Please contact the Policy Foundation at (501) 537-0825 for further information or to make a reservation.

"Free to Choose" Movie in Little Rock
AFP Foundation Arkansas is excited to present the film event: "Free to Choose"

In an original documentary series by featuring Nobel winning economist Milton Friedman, we'll take a look at school choice and its effects on children and families.

One review of Dr Friedman and the "Free to Choose" series states that, "he has helped millions of people understand the close relationship between the ideas of human and economic freedom. The interaction between these ideas has created, in the United States of America, the richest and freest society the world has ever known. Milton Friedman sees this success threatened when citizens assume that government intervention is the answer to all their problems."

State Representative Randy Alexander will join us to talk about what happened this past legislative session in regards to school choice and education at all levels.

This is a free event! Click to register for this free event.

What: "Free to Choose" - A Milton Friedman Day Event
When: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 6:30p.m.
Where: Riverdale 10 Cinema
2600 Cantrell Road in Little Rock
Cost: Free admission plus popcorn and drinks!

Tags: Milton Friedman, events, Arkansas, July 31, 2013, Americans for Prosperity Arkansas, Arkansas Policy Foundation

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blueway Designation Down, Not Necessarily Out

U,S, Representative Rick Crawford, AR-01: Last week in testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that after overwhelming negative feedback following the White River Blueway designation in Arkansas and Missouri, the entire program has been put on hold until further notice. The designation for the White River itself had been rescinded a few weeks earlier after the Department of the Interior attempted to designate the river without input from local leaders, no explanation of the effects or purpose of the designation, and little thought to its implementation thereafter. This poorly planned rollout was doomed from the start.

I am glad the Secretary has made this decision to hit the pause button on the National Blueway program and examine the process and usefulness of the designation. Clearly, the problems with the program are many, and there is need for reflection. However, I would be much more comfortable if the Secretary had been more forthcoming about plans for the program’s future, as well as the Department’s plans for the White River going forward. While the designation has been suspended, there is some wiggle room for the Department to reinstate it. We need to make sure that this is not done over the objections of those back home concerned about the private property implications this could have.

The American people are losing faith in their government. Between scandals at the IRS, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health & Human Services, those who I talk to are concerned about a federal government increasingly overreaching its boundaries. The attitude and approach of the Department of the Interior in relation to this program is no different. The government needs to remember who it works for, and treat the American people with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Secretary Jewell has undertaken the important first step of honoring the wishes of those in the White River watershed by rescinding the Blueway designation. But we must continue to keep the pressure on to ensure she fully understands the issue at hand. The federal government must govern only by the consent of the governed – and after an overwhelming negative response, clearly there are changes to be made. I hope to work with the Secretary going forward to represent the voice of Arkansas’ First District in the matter and help her continue to understand this issue.

War on Coal
This Administration has been one of the most hostile in history to the energy industry, increasing rates for families nationwide. 50% of Arkansas homes run on coal power, yet the Administration’s top advisors have said that a “War on Coal” is necessary. We have to stop this War on Coal from raising energy rates while we’re already in the midst of a tough economy.

Lost Jobs Due to Obamacare
This week, we found out that 74% of U.S. small businesses will either fire workers or cut hours as a direct result of ObamaCare. I made a Vine video (click in image) illustrating the fact that this law is bad policy for America, will kill jobs and will add trillions to the national debt. I am working to defund this law and ensure that it is repealed so we can keep America’s health care the best in the world.

Tags: Arkansas,  Rick Crawford, Representative  AR-01, Blueway Designation, War on Coal, Lost Jobs, Obamacare

Friday, July 26, 2013

David Ray, RPA Communications Director:  As we approach August, everyone is beginning to turn their attention to 2014 as candidates all across the state are starting to plan their campaigns, while others are already launching them. In the months, ahead we’ll introduce you to candidates all across the state. But for now, here is this week’s GOP update:

Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday [A Republican Idea]
August 3-4 (Saturday and Sunday) is Arkansas’ “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday, which allows families the opportunity to purchase school supplies, art supplies, classroom instructional materials, and clothing free of state and local sales tax.

If you use this opportunity to make your paycheck stretch further or purchase school supplies for your children, you can thank a Republican. In 2011, State Representative Matthew Shepherd (District 6 – El Dorado) was the sponsor of HB 1369, the legislation that made this sales tax holiday possible.
Pryor Fundraises with Pelosi in San Francisco

Many Arkansans try to get away for a summer vacation, but Mark Pryor’s choice of destinations this week raised a few eyebrows. Even as Obamacare was forcing local companies to lay off employees, Pryor jetted off to San Francisco to fundraise at a personal-injury lawyer’s conference. Guess who joined Senator Pryor at the conference? That’s right – none other than Nancy Pelosi.

It’s just another example of how Mark Pryor says one thing in Arkansas and does another when he leaves.

Are You On Pinterest?
If you are, you should follow the Arkansas GOP! We’ve added new boards like Patriotism & Americana, Conservative Quotes, and First Principles for you to enjoy. Plus, we’re adding fresh content daily, so there will always be informative images and video for you to share with your friends and family.

In The News…
Be sure to check out this heartwarming story about President George H.W. Bush, who shaved his head to support a 2-year-old boy suffering from Leukemia.

The Arkansas GOP continues to grow and expand! This week in Cleveland County, an alderman from Rison announced he has had enough of the Democrats and is becoming a Republican.

RPA Chairman Doyle Webb was on the radio drawing attention to the disastrous consequences Mark Pryor’s vote for Obamacare is having on Arkansas.

Tags: Republican Party of Arkansas, newsletter

Exxon Responds to Griffin, Reverses Course

ExxonMobil cancels automatic September 1, 2013 assistance cutoff, pledges to work to meet individual needs of the affected families

LITTLE ROCK – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after learning that ExxonMobil has reversed its decision to terminate prematurely housing assistance for the Mayflower oil spill victims:
"After personally speaking with a number of impacted residents, I urged ExxonMobil to reverse its decision to terminate prematurely housing assistance for the Mayflower victims – families who have had their lives turned upside down and face difficult decisions on where they want to live.  Exxon officials have informed me that they are reversing course, have cancelled the automatic September 1, 2013 assistance cutoff, and pledge to work to meet the individual needs of the affected families, in response to my request yesterday.  These victims didn’t ask for this spill, and I will continue to do all that I can to make sure they’re made whole.”Yesterday, Rep. Griffin sent a letter to Gary Pruessing, president of the ExxonMobil Pipeline Company, expressing his anger over the company’s decision to terminate the housing allowance after September 1, 2013.  In the letter, Griffin called on Exxon to “step up and fulfill its duty” to the impacted residents.

A copy of the letter, which among other things requests that ExxonMobil continue to provide housing assistance to the affected residents through December 31, 2013, can be found here.

Since the March 29 oil spill, Rep. Griffin has toured the cleanup site many times (most recently last week), has remained in constant contact with residents and representatives of the Unified Command, and has called for relocating the Pegasus pipeline away from Lake Maumelle. Last week, Griffin introduced H.R. 2724, which will prevent compensation provided to Mayflower residents from being taxable by classifying it as “a qualified disaster relief payment” under current law.  This would protect the impacted families from facing thousands of dollars in additional taxes. In a presidentially-declared disaster, such as those that occurred in Oklahoma and New Jersey, any benefits provided would automatically be tax-exempt.

Tags: Exxon, responds, reverses course, oil spill, Mayflower victims, Tim Griffin

Boozman Criticizes Wasteful Obamacare Advertising Blitz in Arkansas

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator John Boozman criticized federal marketing, publicizing and advertising spending on the President’s health care law in Arkansas. The Associated Press revealed more than $24 million would be spent in the state making it the second highest level of spending per capita in the nation.

“Given our $17 trillion debt, we shouldn’t borrow money from our children and the Chinese to advertise Obamacare,” Boozman said. “At a time when we’re furloughing federal employees, the American people can’t afford a $24 million Obamacare ad blitz in Arkansas. Given how much we’re paying because of President Obama’s failed energy policies, it’s also not fair to submit Arkansans to more pain at the pump with Obamacare advertisements.”

At least $684 million will be spent on marketing nationwide. $17.1 million in outreach spending will be in West Virginia, amounting to $9.23 per resident. Arkansas is the next closest state at $8.28 per resident according to the AP. Taxpayers will foot the bill from everything from television and radio advertisements to gas station billboards to promote the President’s health care law.

Tags: Arkansas, U.S. Senator, John Boozman, criticizes, wasteful spending, advertising, Obamacare

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Obamacare's Crushing Impact on Arkansas's Service Industry

Rep. Tom Cotton & Arkansas 4-H members
on the steps of the U.S. Capitol
by Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-04): I spoke on the House floor about the impact Obamacare—and the tidal wave of regulations it brings with it—will have on the service industry. The service industry is a key component of Arkansas’s economy. It creates over 100,000 jobs and its economic impact is estimated to be over $5 million. Unfortunately, it also stands to be devastated by Obamacare as the law’s implementation date rapidly approaches. As this Washington Post article points out, employers are cutting part time hours in order to avoid the fines created by the law’s employer mandate. Even with last week’s vote in the House to delay both the employer and individual mandates, uncertainty remains. The only real solution for Arkansas’s service industry is full repeal of this terrible law.
Full Text of Remarks
"More than 100,000 Arkansans work in the retail, restaurant, lodging and other service sectors. These service industries have helped keep the American economy afloat in recent years. From restaurants like U.S. Cafe in Dardanelle, where I flipped burgers and fried fish as a teenager, to the convention hotels in Hot Springs, Arkansans rely on the service industry every day as both employees and customers.

"Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s many fails are imperiling the service sector. Nowhere is this more true than with Obamacare. Service-oriented companies often have large and shifting workforces, they operate on extremely thin margins and cannot thrive in uncertainty. And Obamacare brings nothing but uncertainty. The House took an important step last week by voting to delay both the employer and individual mandates in Obamacare. But the only real solution is to repeal this awful law. Otherwise, service-sector employees and businesses will suffer continued setbacks—which means our economy will suffer yet another blow."

Tags: Representative, Tom Cotton, AR-04, Obamacare impact, Arkansas Service Industry, video

Lieutenant Governor Mark A. Darr Named to Leadership of Nation’s Lieutenant Governor Association

LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Mark A. Darr has been elected to serve as the Southern Regional Chair of the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) Executive Committee.  “The lieutenant governor was nominated to this position by a bi-partisan group of his peers,” said NLGA Executive Director Julia Hurst.  “His unanimous election among officials of both parties from every region of the country speaks to the high regard he is held in among his peers.” The election took place during the NLGA Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

“I am very honored and gratified that the NLGA chose to reappoint me to their executive committee,” Darr said. “We have an excellent group of lieutenant governors across the country and I am privileged to serve with them.”

The committee meets approximately three times a year and is responsible for charting the course of policy issues and national impact to be pursued by the nation’s second-highest state and territorial officeholders.  In addition to its specific duties, the committee will also address issues of mutual concern to all members.

The NLGA is a professional association enabling policy discussion and progress at the state level and which provides research and best practices exchange to the officeholders first in line of succession to governor in all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

Tags: Arkansas, Lt Governor, Mark Darr, Southern Regional Chair, National Lieutenant Governors Association, NLGA, Executive Committee

ICYMI: Sen. Mark Pryor in California To SuckUp Progressive Bucks From Liberal Trial Lawyers For His Arkansas Campaign

Democrat Mark Pryor, aka the most unpopular vulnerable Senator in 2014, is ducking out on Arkansas - but not only to spend time in his beloved D.C. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Pryor has hit the California fundraising scene and is "working it" in the Golden State, hobnobbing with trial lawyers and the liberal leaders of Washington, like Nancy Pelosi at the "big national trial lawyers convention in SF...a political bonanza."

Pryor boasts of putting Arkansas first, but constantly puts the Obama agenda and the rich donors who fund it (and him) before all. Pryor hoped to collect some major campaign cash from his trial lawyer buddies - who sought to continue to influence the embattled Senators. Pryor has a history of fighting for trial lawyers, protecting their pockets ahead of Arkansans' by voting against commonsense measures like medical malpractice reform.

The San Francisco Chronicle describes the "bonanza": "The American Association for Justice Convention at the Hilton in San Francisco this week has brought hoards to town — hoards of politicians. And we’re betting they’re not so much interested in AAJC’s panel discussions...than they are in being here in the Mother Lode of political fundraising....'Half of the Democratic caucus is hanging out at the Hilton,' quips one Dem insider on scene."

Despite the massive economic benefits of tort reform, which the Congressional Budget Office projected would mean $54 billion in ObamaCare savings alone, Pryor vocally opposed and repeatedly voted against measures to pursue cost-saving medical malpractice reform during the 2009 health-care debate.

Why? The trial lawyers have lent a helping hand to fill Mark Pryor's campaign coffers and this week, Pryor is collecting.

"Mark Pryor consistently puts President Obama's liberal agenda first, and no slogan is going to fool middle class families across Arkansas," said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. "Rather than helping the hundreds that were recently laid off in Arkansas last week because of his vote for ObamaCare, Pryor instead is reaping the benefits of his liberal agenda and filling his campaign coffers with the trial lawyer money that depends on his vote. Arkansans have had about enough of Mark Pryor and will send a message that their voice is more important than liberal special interest cash."
---------------------------
For more background see previous article:
Pryor to Fundraise Alongside Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco

Tags: Mark Prior, progressive, fund raising, in California, Trial Lawyers, Nancy Pelosi

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Boozman Votes for Student Loan Agreement

Bill to make long-term fix to interest rate hike passes Senate
WASHINGTON – Calling it a “smart compromise solution” to the interest rate increase on federal Stafford loans, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today voted for the bipartisan agreement that passed the Senate 81-18.

“After a great deal of discussion between all sides, we were finally able to pass a smart compromise solution to restore lower interest rates on student loans through the Senate with the support of a majority of Democrats and Republicans. It goes to show that when everyone is willing to work together, we really can solve issues that matter to Americans,” Boozman said. “It’s taken awhile, and that’s not all bad. It’s helped ensure we do the right thing, instead of rushing to just do something that ends up causing more harm than help in the end.”

Boozman added, “The sticking point had been whether we find a long-term solution that is better for students, parents and graduates or do we just continue to kick the can down the road like we did last year. I am pleased that we were able to come to a commonsense agreement that addresses this issue well beyond the one-year extension previously proposed while lowering the rate for 100 percent of students next year and saving taxpayers money.”

The bill sets the interest rate on all newly issued loans to the U.S. Treasury ten-year borrowing rate, plus add-ons to offset costs associated with defaults, collections, deferments, forgiveness, and delinquency. These rates are locked in for the lifetime of the loan, but rates on new loans reset each year.

Under current law, the federal government issues loans to students based on statutorily-set rates (6.8% for Stafford loans and 7.9% for PLUS loans) regardless of market forces or borrowing costs. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), changing this to a market-based rate will save taxpayers $715 million over ten years.

Tags: Senator, John Boozman, votes, Student Loan Agreement,

Pryor to Fundraise Alongside Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco

Little Rock, Ark. – The Arkansas GOP criticized Senator Mark Pryor for  jetting off to San Francisco to fundraise at a personal-injury lawyer’s conference attended by a “Who’s Who” of the Washington liberal elite, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci writes that the American Association for Justice Convention is a “political bonanza” and “the Mother Lode of political fundraising.” Her report also states that Pryor will be attending this week’s festivities alongside some of DC’s liberal elite, including Minnesota Senator Al Franken and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The AAJC website indicates the conference runs from Thursday, July 18 through Wednesday July 24. The convention registration page lists Senator Mark Pryor as an attendee. [Editor Note: Later Pryor's name was removed from the public list.]

“While Mark Pryor is rubbing elbows with Nancy Pelosi and the DC political elites, everyday Arkansans are struggling under liberal policies like Obamacare that Mark Pryor helped create in Washington,” said Arkansas GOP Spokesman David Ray. “Instead of coming back to Arkansas and apologizing to the 170 Baptist Health workers laid off last week because of his vote for Obamacare, Senator Pryor is jetting off to San Francisco so he can pad his campaign accounts with money from personal-injury lawyers.”
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Background:
In December 2009, Pryor Voted Against An Amendment Adding Tort Reform To The Health Care Law. “Ensign, R-Nev., amendment no. 2927 to the Reid, D-Nev., substitute amendment no. 2786. The Ensign amendment would limit plaintiff attorney fees in medical malpractice suits to no more than 33.3 percent of the first $150,000 of the settlement recovered, plus 25 percent of any amount recovered in excess of that, unless otherwise determined by state law. It also would allow for new calculations of the limits if the settlement includes periodic or future damages payments. The substitute would create marketplaces for purchasing health insurance, create a public health insurance option from which states could opt out, require most individuals to obtain insurance, and impose requirements on insurance companies regarding the coverage that they offer.” (H.R. 3590, CQ Vote #366: Rejected 32-66: R 27-12; D 4-53; I 1-1, 12/6/09, Pryor Voted Nay)

CBO Estimated Tort Reform Would Reduce The Federal Budget Deficit $54 Billion Over 10 Years. “Combining the effects on both mandatory spending and revenues, a tort reform package of the sort described earlier in this letter would reduce federal budget deficits by roughly $54 billion over the next 10 years.” (Congressional Budget Office, Letter To Senator Orrin Hatch, www.cbo.gov, 10/9/09)

Tags: Mark Pyor, Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco, fundraiser, event,

Crawford Statement on President Obama’s Jobs Speech

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR) issued the following statement after President Obama traveled to Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, to deliver an address announcing the Administration’s pivot back to job creation as a priority issue:“Although I welcome the President’s renewed focus on repairing our struggling economy, I wish he had never let his focus wander in the first place. My colleagues and I have been hard at work all year passing bills that will cut red tape, reduce the deficit, and create jobs – points the President outlined as important priorities in his speech. The President should stop blaming Congress and instead take a hard look at the reality facing our nation: a mounting national debt without a coherent strategy to address the out-of-control spending weighing down our economic recovery.

“President Obama blames Washington gridlock for sluggish economic growth – but the President needs to realize there are deeper systemic issues driving a lackluster recovery under this Administration that can only be fixed with an honest assessment of our financial situation. The national debt, which has ballooned to nearly $17 trillion, is a pandemic that drags on investor confidence, damages the strength of our currency, and ultimately chokes job creation and growth. If Washington does not take the threat of rising interest rates on the debt seriously, we will end up in an economic situation much more dire than what we face today.

“While words are important, I hope the President will consider what these consequences mean for the future of our nation’s fiscal health and solvency. I look forward to continuing the important work of reducing the debt that will lead to greater prosperity for all Americans.”

Tags: Representative, Rick Crawford, AR-01, Arkansas, President Obama speech,

Arkansas Senators Seek Tax Relief for Mayflower Oil Spill Victims

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman today introduced legislation that would ensure Arkansans who receive compensation from ExxonMobil for the Mayflower pipeline spill are not taxed by the federal government. The Mayflower Oil Spill Tax Relief Act of 2013 would protect Mayflower families who receive compensation by classifying these contributions under current law as “qualified disaster relief payment.”

“Families in Mayflower are still coping with the aftermath of the oil spill—damaged homes, lost possessions, and the disruption of everyday life,” Pryor said. “The last thing they need—or deserve—is to have their compensation taxed. That’s why I was proud to team up with Senator Boozman on this common-sense bill. I’ll continue to do everything I can to help those affected by this spill.”

“Mayflower families who are victims of this oil spill are rightfully being compensated by ExxonMobil for being forced out of their homes because of this disaster. These hardworking Arkansans shouldn’t be required to pay taxes on this disaster relief assistance. Much like victims of federal disaster areas are exempt from disaster relief payments, these families also deserve that benefit,” Boozman said.

On March 29, 2013, the ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured spilling an estimated 147,000 gallons of oil into the neighborhood. 66 Mayflower families received financial relief from ExxonMobil. 22 of those families were evacuated and only three have returned home.

Rep. Tim Griffin introduced similar legislation in the House that has the support of the Arkansas Congressional delegation.

Tags: John Boozman, Mark Pryor, Tim Griffin, Arkansas, tax relief, Mayflower, oil spill, victims

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Griffin and Wolf Introduce the Stop Pay for Violent Offenders Act

Bill would suspend military pay to those awaiting trial for rape,
sexual assault, or a capital offense
WASHINGTON – Congressmen Tim Griffin (AR-02), a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, and Frank Wolf (VA-10), Chairman of the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statements after introducing the Stop Pay for Violent Offenders Act (H.R. 2777):
Major (Dr.) Nidal Husan
Murdered 13 (& 1 unborn child);
Wounded 30
“Four years ago this November, a lone gunman opened fire at Fort Hood and killed more than a dozen people, including a pregnant mother,” Griffin said.  “The fact that the sole suspect in this attack, Nidal Hasan, a Major in the U.S. Army, has continued to draw his Army salary – costing taxpayers more than $278,000 – is outrageous.  That is why Rep. Frank Wolf and I have introduced legislation that will suspend pay for members of the military accused of committing serious crimes.”

“This bill would correct a huge oversight that has allowed military personnel charged with a serious crime to continue to receive their pay while awaiting trial,” Wolf said.  “Does anybody really think it’s right that Nidal Hasan has collected more than $200,000 in taxpayer dollars since being charged in the Fort Hood shootings?  Does anyone think military personnel charged with sexual assault – a growing problem in the military – should continue to receive taxpayer dollars while awaiting trial, especially if other federal employees, like FBI agents, DEA agents and U.S. Marshals can have their pay suspended under current law?”
Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17), a former member of the U.S. Army JAG Corps who served as a prosecutor at Ft. Hood, issued the following statement as a cosponsor of the bill:“How can we justify the fact that the victims of the Ft. Hood attack and their families are fighting to get the benefits they deserve, while taxpayers have paid Nidal Hassan almost $300,000 to sit in a jail cell?  This is unconscionable.  Our bill is simple – if you’re awaiting trial for a serious crime, you can’t collect a salary from the American taxpayer."Under current law, federal civilian employees may have their pay suspended if there is reasonable cause to believe the employee has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed.  However, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), no such provision applies to members of the military.

H.R. 2777 would modify Article 13 of the UCMJ to allow for suspension of pay and allowances of a member of the Armed Forces in confinement pending trial for rape, sexual assault, or a capital offense, effectively ending the use of taxpayer dollars to continue to pay Hasan’s salary.  The legislation also contains important provisions to provide additional compensation to victims of these crimes and would require that, in the event of conviction, the withheld salary funds be distributed to the victims of these crimes.

H.R. 2777 also provides protections for those falsely accused, including the ability to apply for a waiver from the Secretary of the military branch concerned, and would provide the full payment of the withheld salary if acquitted.

Tags: Tim Griffin, Frank Wolf, Representative, Stop Pay, Violent Offenders Act

Sterling Calls For Stand Your Ground Law In Arkansas

Republican Attorney General candidate David Sterling today announced his support for a Stand Your Ground law in Arkansas.  Stand Your Ground laws give citizens the right to use deadly force to protect themselves from criminals.  The laws were brought to national attention following the George Zimmerman trial in Florida.

“Law-abiding Arkansans should not be intimidated by criminals.  If someone is in a public place where they have a right to be, they should not be forced to flee for their lives by those who seek to do them harm,” stated Sterling.

Under Arkansas law, a citizen has a “duty to retreat” from conflict when they feel threatened unless they are in their home or on the surrounding property.  Sterling noted that Arkansas is the lone southern state without a stand your ground law.

“We should promote the right of citizens to self-defense.  As Attorney General, I’ll ask the legislature to put the law on the side of honest citizens, not lawbreakers.  I believe it is the criminal who should be retreating from conflict, not law-abiding Arkansans,” remarked Sterling.

Sterling says a Stand Your Ground law will be included in his initial legislative package if he’s elected Attorney General next year. 
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Learn more about Republican David Sterling at Sterling4AG.com.

Tags: Arkansas, Stand Your Ground, David Sterling, Republican, candidate, Attorney General, 2014 Election

Monday, July 22, 2013

Griffin Introduces Bill to Provide Tax Relief to Mayflower Victims

Believes they ‘deserve to be compensated fully and fairly’
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02), a member of the Ways and Means committee, issued the following statement after introducing the Mayflower Oil Spill Tax Relief Act (H.R. 2724):
“The oil spill in Mayflower has been a difficult ordeal for many families.  Their lives were turned upside down and many were impacted financially.  Those affected by this nightmare deserve to be compensated fully and fairly, but the IRS plans to tax them on it.  That’s not right, and I’ve urged ExxonMobil to cover those costs.  But to ensure these families won’t have to pay the IRS on the disaster relief they receive, I’ve introduced the Mayflower Oil Spill Tax Relief Act.  These families didn’t ask for this spill, and they shouldn’t be forced to pay the IRS more because of it.”Since the oil spill on March 29, Rep. Griffin has toured the cleanup site several times, most recently last week, and remains in constant contact with residents and representatives of the Unified Command, and has also called for relocating the Pegasus pipeline away from Lake Maumelle.

H.R. 2724 will prevent compensation provided by ExxonMobil to Mayflower residents from being taxable by classifying it as “a qualified disaster relief payment” under current law.  This could protect the impacted families from facing thousands of dollars in additional taxes.

In a presidentially-declared disaster, such as those that occurred in Oklahoma and New Jersey, any benefits provided would automatically be tax-exempt.

Reps. Rick Crawford (AR-01), Steve Womack (AR-03), and Tom Cotton (AR-04) are cosponsors of the legislation.

Tags: Tim Griffin, AR-02, Rick Crawford, AR-01, Steve Womack, AR-03, Tom Cotton, AR-04, Mayflower Oil Spill Tax Relief Act

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's Have Fairness For All in ObamaCare

ARRA News Service - In this week’s Republican address, Reps. Tim Griffin (R-AR) and Todd Young (R-IN) call on the Democratic-run Senate to allow a vote on their legislation, which would – as a matter of basic fairness – protect all Americans from the mandates in the president’s health care law.

Transcript:
Remarks of Representatives Tim Griffin (R-AR) and Todd Young (R-IN)
Weekly Republican Address, The Capitol, July 20, 2013


REP. TODD YOUNG: Hello, I’m Congressman Todd Young, from Indiana’s Ninth District.

REP. TIM GRIFFIN: And I’m Congressman Tim Griffin, from Arkansas’s Second District.
Equal justice under the law is a basic, founding principle of our country. As Americans, we want to see our children have the same opportunities we’ve had. We want them to work hard and have a fair shot at achieving success. So whenever Washington helps businesses and ignores families and workers, Americans have a duty to speak up.

REP. YOUNG: Recently, the Obama administration announced it was going to delay the employer mandate in the president’s health care law. They took this action, they say, because businesses are having a hard time complying.

Well that’s great news for big businesses, but it’s left many hardworking taxpayers asking, ‘what about me? what about my family?’ After all, the law’s mandates are just as daunting for individuals. And they don’t have an army of lawyers, lobbyists and accountants at their disposal to make sense of it all. The government just put out an additional 145 pages of regulations on the individual mandate alone. How are ordinary citizens supposed to keep up?

REP. GRIFFIN: Republicans understand Americans are worried about the impact of the President’s health care law, so we acted. Because let’s be fair about this: if the president’s going to help out businesses by exempting them from the law, he ought to give the same relief to folks like you.

That’s why, this week, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill I introduced authorizing President Obama’s delay of the employer mandate.

REP. YOUNG: The House also approved my bill, the Fairness for American Families Act, which provides the same relief to the rest of the country.

Unfortunately, many Democrats voted to stand with big business and against fairness for individuals and families. President Obama threatened to veto our proposals altogether. We take that to mean he thinks it’s fair to let businesses off the hook while leaving middle-class families in harm’s way.

Well, it most certainly is not, and we urge him to reconsider his veto threat. We also call on Democratic leaders in the Senate to give our proposals a vote immediately in the name of fairness.

REP. GRIFFIN: Republicans will continue to do everything we can to protect all Americans from the president’s top-down, one-size-fits-all, Washington-knows-best approach to health care that is driving up costs and hurting our economy.
The story I recently heard from a 21-year old Hispanic-American who runs a small business in my district is becoming all too familiar.

He currently employs 45 workers, and according to him, he’s ready to hire 10 or 20 more, but he can’t because ObamaCare makes him choose between new, higher insurance premiums or hefty fines. He said “the government should be my partner, so I can help my employees prosper. I can help them more than the government, but I’m literally not able to.”
The whole thing is a train wreck, plain and simple.

REP. YOUNG: Bottom line: the sooner we can delay, dismantle, and repeal the president’s health care law, the sooner we can get people back to work and focus on expanding opportunity for everyone.

For now, thank you for listening.

REP. GRIFFIN: And thank you for speaking out in support for fairness for all. Have a great weekend everyone.

Excerpts from early media coverage of the address:
UPI“GOP calls for ‘fairness,’ urges delay in individual healthcare mandate”
Two Republican congressmen called on Senate Democrats Saturday to vote to delay the individual mandate in the federal healthcare law ‘in the name of fairness.’ Reps. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Tim Griffin, R-Ark., said President Obama had allowed businesses to delay providing healthcare coverage until 2015, and individuals should be permitted to do the same.  Young said the president should reconsider his threatened veto and called on Democratic Senate leaders ‘to give our proposals a vote immediately in the name of fairness’… The healthcare law ‘is a train wreck, plain and simple,’ Griffin said.

CBS News: “GOP: Delay Obamacare's individual mandate, too”
“Griffin and Young touted a pair of bills passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday that would delay implementation of both mandates by one year to buy people and businesses additional time to adjust to the new law.  ‘President Obama threatened to veto our proposals altogether,’ Young said. ‘We take that to mean he thinks its fair to let businesses off the hook while leaving middle class families in harm's way.’  ‘We urge him to reconsider his veto threat,’ he added, calling on Democrats in the Senate to schedule a vote on the delayed mandates ‘in the name of fairness.’ … Republicans, for their part, have said they'd like to uproot the law in its entirety, a goal reiterated by Young on Saturday.

The Hill: “GOP urges Senate to delay ObamaCare’s individual mandate”
“House Republicans on Saturday called on the Senate to vote to delay ObamaCare's individual mandate since businesses will not be required to provide healthcare coverage until 2015. … Young and Griffin accused Democrats and the White House of ignoring the needs of individuals by opposing their legislation.  Griffin told the story of a ‘21-year old Hispanic-American who runs a small business in my district’ who says he cannot hire more workers because ‘ObamaCare makes him choose between new, higher insurance premiums or hefty fines.’  Republicans have stepped up their criticism of the healthcare law since July 2, when the Treasury Department announced the delay of the employer mandate. … Republicans quickly turned the argument on the White House, saying individuals deserve as much flexibility as companies.

CNN: “Republicans argue for extending ObamaCare delay”
“A one-year delay of the Obamacare employer mandate should be extended to the individual requirement that Americans obtain health insurance, two Republican lawmakers argued in their party's weekly address on Saturday. … In Saturday's weekly address, Rep. Todd Young of Indiana called the move ‘great news for big businesses,’ but claimed it didn't go far enough. … Rep. Tim Griffin, who represents Arkansas, said it wouldn't be reasonable to only offer businesses a delay in complying with Obamacare.  ‘Let's be fair about this: if the president's going to help out businesses by exempting them from the law, he ought to give the same relief to folks like you,’ he said.”

Voice of America
“In the Republicans' weekly address, two members of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives - Todd Young and Tim Griffin - are calling on the Democratic-controlled Senate to vote on House-approved bills that would delay requirements put into place by Obama's health care reforms.”

Associated Press
“In the Republican message, Reps. Todd Young of Indiana and Tim Griffin of Arkansas are calling on the Democratic-controlled Senate to vote on bills passed by the House to delay requirements on individuals and businesses by Obama’s health care law.”

Tags: Republican, Weekly Address, Rep Tim Griffin, Arkansas, Rep. Todd Young, Indiana, healthcare mandate, fairness, Obamacare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Crawford: ObamaCare Law Bad Policy For Arkansas | Elementary and Secondary Education Act

by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR-01) The ObamaCare law is bad policy for Arkansas, highlighted by the fact that the President has decided to delay the employer mandate portion of the law for one year. This week, I was proud to vote on bills to delay both the employer mandate and individual mandate of ObamaCare to provide relief for small businesses and families from this law.

Our nation’s education policy is in need of reform. Too much federal overreach into the classroom has deprived teachers and parents the decision-making power they need, while achievement scores falter. This week, the House voted on the Student Success Act, which returns control to local school officials while empowering parents to take ownership of their child’s education.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act a Chance for Reform
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act is a piece of legislation Congress reauthorizes every five years that sets education policy for our country, outlining priorities and initiating reforms when needed. The current piece of legislation, also known as No Child Left Behind, has been due for reauthorization since 2007. There is increasing agreement on both sides of the aisle that this law is outdated and no longer serves the needs of public schoolteachers and students nationwide. The House is set to consider its proposal to reform this legislation, the Student Success Act, sometime this month.

Although well-intentioned, No Child Left Behind has proven that a top-down approach to education does not best serve the needs of our children. With mandates such as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and the Highly Qualified Teacher program, the law values one-size-fits-all metrics analysis over good teaching. Education decisions should be made at the local level between teachers and parents, rather than politicians and unelected bureaucrats. Even with significant investments of taxpayer resources into this law, student achievement levels have largely fallen short of projected goals.

Conservatives believe we can make smarter reforms to our nation’s public education system that will have a positive effect on achievement. No Child Left Behind proves that federal overreach into the classroom simply does not work. Our aim is to grant needed flexibility to the state and local level, giving the authority to make decisions more closely tailored to individual students’ needs. We should end antiquated or misguided programs such as AYP or Highly Qualified Teacher, replacing them with guidance to state and local authorities to come up with their own innovative plans for evaluation that encourage a focus on student learning, not test scores.

I am glad the House will take this opportunity to initiate much-needed reforms to our nation’s education system. America must be a leader in education if we want to continue our nation’s prosperity into the future. One of the most important aspects in a child’s development is access to top quality education, and my highest priority on this issue is to ensure every child has that kind of access. As the fields of science and mathematics continue to produce cutting-edge technology with applications in every corner of our economy, we must place an emphasis on continuing this training for future generations. I look forward to supporting legislation that will accomplish this goal.

Tags: Rick Crawford, Education, elementary, secondary, Obamacare, bad, Arkansas

Pryor Hands Arkansans The Pink Slip

David Ray, RPA, Communications Director: While most Americans are enjoying their summer, there are still a lot of important political battles going on both in Washington and here in Arkansas as well. This has been an action-packed week, and we hope you’ll take a moment to catch up on all the news.

Pryor’s Vote Generates Pink Slips in Arkansas
The news about Obamacare continues to get worse and worse by the day. This week, Mark Pryor’s vote harmed our state in a way that hits too close to home. News that Little Rock-based Baptist Health would be eliminating 170 jobs in Arkansas is a significant blow to our economy.

What’s worse is that Baptist Health says the layoffs are necessary “ to address the challenges of health reform and severe federal budget cuts…In a difficult and challenging environment of substantially less government reimbursement, burdensome government regulations, rapidly rising costs of supplies, increasing charity care and bad debt, and the need for technology and medical innovations, we believe these efforts will serve to make Baptist Health more effective.”

Obamacare’s steep cuts to Medicare, its onerous taxes like those on medical devices, and its 20,000-page red tape tower of burdensome regulations are driving jobs out of Arkansas. Mark Pryor’s vote for Obamacare handed these 170 Arkansans the pink slip. We should all return the favor in 2014 and hand Mark Pryor his pink slip.

House Votes to Delay Individual and Employer Mandates in Obamacare
As more and more Americans learn about the train wreck that Obamacare is becoming, the more there is to be done. This week, the House passed legislation that delayed both the employer and individual mandates in Obamacare.

The legislation to delay the employer mandate was sponsored by Rep. Tim Griffin, who discussed the vote on the Mike Huckabee Show. Congressman Steve Womack says that by not supporting a delay of the individual mandate, the Obama administration is leaving hardworking taxpayers and families out in the cold. Senator John Boozman points out that small businesses overwhelmingly approve of the actions Republicans are taking to delay Obamacare’s mandates.

In The News…
Lt. Gov. Mark Darr showed Arkansans a great example of fiscal conservatism by announcing that his office had saved over 19% of their FY13 budget.

Congressman Tim Griffin paid another visit to the Mayflower spill site and has introduced legislation to provide tax relief for victims of the spill.
Congressman Rick Crawford weighed in on the previously mentioned Baptist Health layoffs, pointing out that Obamacare’s negative effects on job creation are spreading across Arkansas.

Real Clear Politics published an article about how Congressman Tom Cotton is becoming a key House voice in the immigration reform debates. Robert Costa, National Review Online, addressed Cotton's influence on immigration issues.

The RNC has released a hard-hitting new video called “Faces of Obamacare” that everyone should watch.

Former Congressman Ed Bethune wrote a reasoned, thoughtful piece in the Democrat-Gazette about Tom Cotton and the upcoming races.

Tags: RPA, Republican party of Arkansas, newsletter, Mark Pryor, Arkansas, pink slip

Friday, July 19, 2013

ICYMI: A life of ambition

Tom Cotton, Representative (AR-04): I am flattered and grateful for the article Ed Bethune wrote in today's Democrat-Gazette and wanted to share it with you.

Congressman Bethune has been a vocal and effective advocate for conservatives in our state for several decades. I am honored to join with his voice - and the voice of hundreds of thousands of other Arkansans - to demand real change in Washington, D.C.

Below is the article.

As always, thank you for your continued support.
Click Here To Continue Reading
Note: No money was received to post this item.

Tags: Ed Bethune,  A Life of Ambition,  article, Tom Cotton, Arkansas 

Griffin: Students Should Have Equal Opportunity in Education

Votes for bill that ‘empowers parents, restores local control, supports effective teachers and reduces our reliance on Washington’

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after House passage of the Student Success Act (H.R. 5):
“Like most folks, I believe our children should have equal opportunity in education, and state and local school districts should have the freedom to decide how to best serve the educational needs of our communities.  That’s why I support the Student Success Act, which empowers parents, restores local control, supports effective teachers and reduces our reliance on Washington.H.R. 5 removes federal authority and restores state and local control of our nation’s schools.  It also eliminates more than 70 duplicative and ineffective programs and replaces them with the Local Academic Flexible Grant, giving local school districts the ability to prioritize their unique needs.  It prohibits the Secretary of Education form coercing states into adopting specific academic standards, including Common Core.  The legislation also reauthorizes the Charter Schools Program and supports Impact Aid for school districts affected by the presence of federal installations and land.

Tags: Arkansas, Representative, Tim Griffin, students, equal opportunity

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yang to Address National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW)

Little Rock, AR – Arkansas Candidate for State Auditor, Ken Yang, will address the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) Southeastern Regional Conference this week.

On Friday July 19, 2013 at 2:40 PM EDT, Yang will participate on the “Modern Day Candidates and Campaigns Panel” segment of the conference to be held at the Waverly Renaissance Hotel Ballroom in Atlanta, Georgia.

This year’s theme is “United We Stand”. The NFRW conference features numerous leaders of the Republican Party as well as up and comer rising political stars such as: Texas Senator Ted Cruz; former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez; Columnist Jackie Gingrich-Cushman, Congresswoman Martha Roby; Republican National Committee (RNC) Co-Chair, Sharon Day; Governor and First Lady Nathan and Sandra Deal; Congressman Tom Graves; State Senator Elbert Guillory; and several RNC operatives.

“It is an honor to have been selected to participate in such a grand event,” said Yang. “I believe that the outlook of the Republican Party is bright, and much of what we need to do to pave the way for a stronger future includes the elevation of our women’s groups and the inclusion of young people on the national stage. I consider it a very humbling and exciting experience that the National Federation of Republican Women has tapped me as a part of this movement. I’m excited about the direction that our grassroots organizations are taking the Republican Party. We need all elements of our party working together to elect strong conservative candidates across the country, and that is the message I plan to convey in Atlanta.”

This is not the first time that the NFRW has featured Yang. One month ago, they interviewed him for a video highlighting Arkansas’ role in the future of the Republican Party. (See Yang’s feature here at the 1:29 mark. https://vimeo.com/68391604)

Tags: Ken Yang, National Republicans, National Federation of Republican Women, NFRW