November 16, 2018


To start off this week's From the Front... I would like to thank all of the Arkansans who stopped by my Washington office during their visits to our nation’s capital, including Matt Wood of Fayetteville, Katherine Stephani of Fayetteville, Hannah Froberg of Fayetteville, and William and Rachel Dixon of Prairie Grove. Safe travels back to the Natural State!

This week, the House considered and passed on suspension the Rabbi Michoel Ber Weissmandl Congressional Gold Medal Act (H.R. 2740), the National Geologic Mapping Act Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4033), a bill to rename the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge as the Congressman Lester Wolff National Wildlife Refuge (H.R. 6064), a bill to establish a procedure for the conveyance of certain federal property around the Dickinson and Jamestown Reservoir in the State of North Dakota (S. 440, S. 2074), the Cottonwood Land Exchange Act (H.R. 6146), the Gulf Islands National Seashore Land Exchange Act (H.R. 2615), the Flatside Wilderness Enhancement Act (H.R. 5636), the World War II Pacific Sites Establishment Act (H.R. 5706), a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to grant to States and local governments easements and rights-of-way over Federal land within Gateway National Recreation Area for construction, operation, and maintenance of projects for control and prevention of flooding and shoreline erosion (H.R. 6666), the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Extension Act (H.R. 6651), a bill to affirm strong United States-Liberia ties and support for democratic principles, and call for full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations (H.Res. 1055), the Affirming United States-Australia cooperation on space research, exploration, and utilization (H.Res. 1052), and the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Act (H.R. 6018). 

I had the pleasure to renew an old friendship when I gave the oath of office to newly promoted Colonel Micah Bell of Rogers. I have known Micah since I recruited him to attend the University of Arkansas 25 years ago after he graduated from Rogers High School. It was an honor to be part of this ceremony and see Col. Bell’s military career continue to flourish. I am extremely proud of his accomplishments and service. Colonel Bell, you continue to make Arkansas and our nation proud.

On Wednesday, I joined my Republican colleagues to choose the GOP House leadership team for the next Congress. Congratulations to my friends Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise on being elected Republican Leader and Whip for the 116th Congress. I am also proud to see Liz Cheney selected as chair of the House Republican Conference. We have lots of work to do over the next two years, and I am confident that these qualified leaders will help us execute our goals. I look forward to continuing our work together and fighting for the American people!

Agriculture is one of the economic engines of the Natural State. It was great to sit down with US Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and my colleagues in the Arkansas delegation to discuss issues related to the needs of farmers, ranchers, and producers. Thank you to Secretary Perdue for his time and productive discussion.

As you might know, I am the co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, a bipartisan and bicameral panel of 16 lawmakers tasked with identifying and recommending reforms to the budget process. Throughout the year, we’ve been hard at work to design a neutral process for the future – one which allows Congress to move forward with its budgetary agenda, no matter which party holds the majority. Our efforts included five public hearings, meetings in which members vetted solutions, general work to build consensus, and finally putting pen to paper on actual recommendations. On Thursday, we announced and held a markup on the Committee’s report, recommendations, and legislative text. We still have lots of work to do to get a final proposal over the finish line, but I am proud of the bipartisan work we have done so far. We have an obligation to deliver significant reforms to create a properly functioning budget and appropriations process.

On Friday, we wrapped up legislative business with the passage of the Manage our Wolves Act (H.R. 6784) and the Strengthening Coastal Communities Act (H.R. 5787). H.R. 6784 provides for removal of the gray wolf in the contiguous 48 States from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife published under the Endangered Species Act and was passed by a vote of 196-180 (Roll Call #420). H.R. 5787 updates existing coastal barrier maps across the country under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) and was passed by a vote of 375-1 (Roll Call #419).

In other news, small business optimism continues to grow according to a recent report released by the National Federation of Independent Business. “Thanks to a number of factors, including the federal government’s loosening grip on the private sector, the U.S. regained the top spot in the World Economic Forum’s ranking as the most competitive country during the month of October. An unburdened small business sector is truly great for employment and the general economy,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. Learn more here.

This weekend, I am looking forward to being back in the District! Remember to keep an eye on my website or check out my Twitter and Instagram pages to stay up-to-date with the latest news from the Third District and Washington.

From the front...

Congressman Steve Womack
Arkansas Third District

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