November 30, 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 James Arel of Cabot, Jason Carter of Texarkana, Dolores Chitwood of Fort Smith, Cammie Scott of Springdale, Robert Waddell of Springdale, Howard Woodall of Fort Smith, Mark and Karen Lundy of Rogers, Kevin Horn of Rogers, Julie Paladino of Russellville, Braden Vaughn of Russellville, Bill and Jen Horton of Rogers, Ryan Hollingsworth of Bentonville, Tracy Neal of Rogers, Kevin Butzlaff of Rogers, and Brett and Joanna Thompson of Fayetteville. Safe travels back to the Natural State.

This week, the House considered and passed, on suspension, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act (S. 1768), the Women in Aerospace Education Act (H.R. 4254), the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act (H.R. 5273), the United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act (H.R. 1567), the Preventing Destabilization of Iraq Act (H.R. 4591), the Democratic Republic of the Congo Democracy and Accountability Act (H.R. 6207), the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act (Senate Amendment to H.R. 390), the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act (Senate Amendment to S. 140), the Strengthening the Health Care Fraud Prevention Task Force Act (H.R. 6753), the Action for Dental Health Act (H.R. 2422), the State of Modern Application, Research, and Trends of IoT Act (H.R. 6032), a bill to add Ireland to the E–3 nonimmigrant visa program (H.R. 7164), Federal Agency Customer Experience Act (H.R. 2846), the All-American Flag Act (H.R. 3121), the Inspector General Access Act (H.R. 3154), the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (H.R. 5759), the Settlement Agreement Information Database Act (H.R. 6777), the Federal CIO Authorization Act (H.R. 6901), and the National Flood Insurance Program Further Extension Act (H.R. 7187).

The end of the year is fast approaching, which means that we are in the final stretch of the 115th Congress. The House is busy wrapping up legislative business, while also looking forward to next year. This week, I was re-elected to serve on the House Republican Steering Committee, where I represent members from Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico. The Steering Committee recommends members of the U.S. House of Representatives for committee assignments and chairmanships. We do this by analyzing a range of factors, including member background, expertise on issues, and level of seniority.

Why does this matter? Committees are at the heart of the legislative process and where significant work occurs. Legislation is written by committees, hearings are held by committees, and policy priorities are impacted by committees. Committee assignments also determine what issues and policy areas members will have a direct influence on.

My focus in this role will always be to position members for success, and in a way that allows them to serve their constituents and the American people in the strongest way possible. There is a lot of work to be done in the 116th Congress and effective leadership will be critical to turning our priorities into results. It’s an honor to serve on the Steering Committee, and I thank my colleagues for entrusting me to be their voice through this process again.

I also spent a majority of the week trying to advance the work of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform. The panel of 16 members – four House Republicans, four House Democrats, four Senate Republicans, and four Senate Democrats – spent the last year working to accomplish our charge: producing bipartisan, bicameral recommendations to reform the federal budget and appropriations process.

And we did. We came up with a proposal that – while not a silver bullet – began to take steps towards improving federal budgeting and found consensus amongst our diverse panel. In spite of this, our plan failed with five Republicans and two Democrats voting in the affirmative, three Republicans and two Democrats voting in opposition, and four Democrats voting present.

We had the wonderful opportunity to serve as an example to our colleagues and our country—the opportunity to prove that Washington can work together. We let them down. I am extremely disappointed in our failure and in my colleagues who lacked the ‘political will’ we have preached is so needed in Washington to vote out this good, bipartisan proposal. Their votes were on politics, not product and proved us deserving of Congress’s low approval rating. (Full statement)

On Thursday, I was honored to say a few words at the unveiling of Speaker Ryan’s House Budget Committee chairman portrait and recognize his time at the helm of the committee. His dedication to entitlement reform and innovative policies to set our nation on a fiscally responsible path set the standard of excellence that is expected in this role – one I have worked to uphold during my tenure as Budget Chairman.  It has been a privilege to serve beside him, and an even a greater honor to call him a friend. I wish him the utmost success in the years ahead and thank him for his commitment to our great nation.

I’m now headed to the Reagan National Defense Forum to talk about our national defense and discuss how we can better improve our military readiness. With today’s ever-evolving national security landscape, it is critical that we constantly analyze how our country can better prepare for and confront the challenges we face. 

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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