Arkansas

Opinion: The Grand Old Patsies
Few Republicans dare to criticize Trump over his behavior toward Putin

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., was among the Republican lawmakers who did not criticize the president directly after the Helsinki summit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Commenting after President Donald Trump’s performance in Helsinki, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell observed, “I have said a number of times, I’ll say it again: The Russians are not our friends. And I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community.”

Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander said in a release, “There is no doubt that Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election.”

Budget Chairmen Weigh in on Veterans Funding Fight
‘Proponents of the effort argue that it is needed to ensure adequate care for our veterans. We disagree.’

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., wrote to top appropriators in both chambers Tuesday insisting that funding for veterans private medical care be kept within the topline $597 billion nondefense spending cap for fiscal 2019. 

That’s a direct shot at the Senate Appropriations leadership on both sides, who want to exempt from budget limits additional funds for the so-called Veterans Choice Program, enacted after the 2014 wait-time scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Joint Budget Committee Will Meet on the Side to Work It Out
Members face November deadline for developing legislation and report

Co-Chairman Steve Womack and the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform will meet on the side to see if they can work out their differences. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The 16 lawmakers tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process will begin meeting informally this month to determine if they can agree on bipartisan changes before the end of November, according to House Budget Chairman Steve Womack.

The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform has an uphill climb before it can produce the type of legislation that a majority of its Democrats and a majority of its Republicans will support — let alone the type of bill that a majority of each chamber will vote to enact.

Trump’s Trade Policies Get a Senate Slapdown
Lawmakers support congressional authority over tariff decisions

President Donald Trump trade policies aren’t feeling the love from Congress. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators delivered a bipartisan, if nonbinding, rebuke to President Donald Trump’s trade policies on the floor Wednesday, voting 88-11 to express support for congressional authority over presidential decisions to impose tariffs for national security reasons.

The motion, offered by GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, would instruct conferees on an unrelated $147 billion spending bill covering the Departments of Energy, Veterans Affairs, Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies to “include language providing a role for Congress in making a determination” under a law enabling presidents to impose trade restrictions on security grounds.

Senate and House to Negotiate on Farm Bill After Recess
Senators overwhelmingly passed their farm bill Thursday

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow were united in keeping the chamber’s farm bill a bipartisan one. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate passed its farm bill Thursday by a vote of 86-11, after rejecting a proposal that would have reduced food stamp benefits for able-bodied adults.

The vote clears the path for a Senate-House conference committee after Congress returns from the weeklong Fourth of July recess. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow remained united in keeping the bill bipartisan by working to prevent contentious provisions from being added to it.

So Many Facets in the Downfall of a Single Democrat
Crowley’s ouster emboldens the left, scrambles House leadership and gives all incumbents pause

From left, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi all saw their political fortunes change with Crowley’s primary loss on Tuesday, Hawkings writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s some silliness to reading too much of a national trend into any single congressional election. So instead it may be better to consider Joseph Crowley’s defeat as more of a Rorschach test.

For the “Bernie Bots,” it’s a sign the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is newly ascendant.

Opinion: Trump and the Case of the Missing 15 Percent
The president’s golden gut has told him to demonize immigrants, but where is that strategy leading?

When President Donald Trump boasted Monday night in South Carolina that he has “the greatest political instinct in 50 years,” he may have been forgetting who won election in 1968, Shapiro writes. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

It was a trademark Donald Trump performance down to his invoking a race of sycophants with the typically vague formulation “Some people have said.” In his self-absorbed ramble at a Monday night South Carolina rally, Trump boasted, “Some people have said I have the greatest political instinct in 50 years.”

Of course, 50 years gets us right back to Richard Nixon.

In Midst of Migrant Crisis, Trump Calls Media ‘Almost Treasonous’
President suggests coverage of Kim summit amounts to crime punishable by death

President Donald Trump was interviewed by Mike Huckabee at the White House on Monday for the former Arkansas governor’s weekly TV show. (Courtesy TBN)

Updated 8:50 a.m. | President Donald Trump had little to say Wednesday night about his self-created migrant crisis, but in its midst he was quick to suggest the media committed treason with its coverage of his summit with Kim Jong Un.

Speaking to a campaign rally crowd in Minnesota, Trump gave only a brief mention to his decision to keep migrant families together while the parents await prosecution for the misdemeanor of trying to enter the United States illegally. He appeared in no mood to talk about the broader subject, immigration, one of his go-to campaign rally themes.

House Budget Would Direct $302 Billion in 10-Year Spending Cuts
‘Three-step process to give to the rich and make everyone else pay for it,’ Democrats say

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., walks down the House steps after final votes of the week in the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack’s fiscal 2019 budget resolution charts a path to balancing the budget in nine years through a combination of steep cuts in mandatory spending programs, freezing nondefense discretionary spending and banking on robust economic growth, according to a summary.

Under the draft fiscal blueprint, which will be marked up in committee Wednesday and Thursday, the deficit would be reduced by $8.1 trillion over 10 years compared to current law or policy. The budget would produce a surplus of $26 billion in 2027 if all of the assumed policies were enacted, growing to $142 billion in 2028.

Trump’s Space Force Order Would Need Congressional Action
Senate could be final stumbling block to creation of new service branch

Ohio Rep. Michael R. Turner, who chairs the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, is waiting for a Pentagon report before evaluating the need for Space Force. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the Pentagon to create a new service branch dedicated to military operations in space.

“I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump said at the White House, indicating that the proposed service would be completely separate from the other five existing services.