Arkansas

Congressional Offices Announced as Democracy Award Finalists to Help Establish Trust in Congress
Congressional Management Foundation picks finalists in four categories

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert and Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, right, are among the finalists. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

To try to “restore a little faith” in Congress, the Congressional Management Foundation on Friday announced the finalists for its first Democracy Awards.

The organization chose its finalists for their focus on constituent services, their workplace environment, innovation, and transparency.

Womack Picks Bush White House Veteran as Budget Staff Director
Dan Keniry will replace Rick May and start on Feb. 20

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., picked Dan Keniry to replace Rick May as Budget Committee director. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Dan Keniry, a lobbyist and former legislative aide, has been named the new staff director of the House Budget Committee and will start Feb. 20.

Keniry was deputy assistant for legislative affairs to President George W. Bush, where he was principal liaison to the House. Keniry earlier worked as staff director of the House Rules Committee and a senior floor assistant to then-Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

GOP Unlikely to Revisit Spending Ban on Gun Violence Research
Congress has restricted such endeavors for more than two decades

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says it was “just not helpful to turn a funding bill into a debate over gun control.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans, at least for now, appear unlikely to allow federal funds for research on gun violence after a nearly 22-year prohibition.

Following yet another mass shooting on Wednesday, at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead, two key Republican appropriators said Thursday they don’t anticipate removing or altering an amendment in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using injury prevention research dollars “to advocate or promote gun control.”

House Budget Being Drafted Despite Nearly Insurmountable Obstacles
Topline spending levels, no path to reconciliation among reasons lawmakers to oppose

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack is writing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution despite major obstacles to passing it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Obstacles to House Republicans passing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution appear insurmountable and have some members questioning why the Budget Committee is even planning to write one. 

Exactly half of the 22 Republicans on the Budget panel — more than enough to block a partisan budget resolution — voted against last week’s budget deal that set fiscal 2019 topline spending levels of $647 billion for defense and $597 billion for nondefense. Under the agreement, House and Senate leaders committed to those topline numbers if their chambers decide to advance fiscal 2019 budget resolutions.

Senate Intel Leaders Look for Better Security Before 2018 Primaries
DNI testifies about importance of public information on Russian election meddling

FBI Director Christopher Wray, left, shakes hands with Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr before a Tuesday hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee hope to make their findings public on improving election security before primary contests get underway.

That’s what panel Chairman Richard M. Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said Tuesday in wrapping up the open portion of the annual hearing on “Worldwide Threats.”

Trump Rises Early With a Warning for Democrats
‘There will never be another opportunity’ to address DACA, he tweets

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer makes a point to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in September. On Tuesday, Trump had critical words and a warning for Schumer’s party. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump rose before sunrise Tuesday with one group on his mind: congressional Democrats.

The GOP president criticized the opposition party for what he sees as a collective unwillingness to cut immigration and infrastructure deals.

More Funds Sought for Wall, Detention Beds
‘We’re asking for about $3 billion, I think, this year for the wall,’ Mulvaney says

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., talks with reporters in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal seeks $23 billion for border security and immigration enforcement funding, a sure sign that he will intensify his deportation agenda and clash again with Democrats during his second year in office. 

The administration will seek a total of $18 billion for fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019 to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, the Office of Management and Budget said Sunday, a request tied to ongoing congressional negotiations over the fate of “Dreamers” enrolled in the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

House Appropriators Ready to Carve Up Budget Deal
Side deal among leaders would divide spending, and could divide members

House Appropriations member Steve Womack, who is also Budget chairman, said he and his fellow appropriators never like to have their work spelled out for them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A side agreement among congressional leaders to allocate some of the new nondefense funding to opioid abuse prevention, infrastructure and several other priorities is complicating the plan to write a fiscal 2018 omnibus.

Even if that weren’t the case, appropriators say they don’t like being micromanaged.

Senate Immigration Debate to Begin With Blank Slate
“The amendment process will be fair to all sides,” McConnell says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised a “level playing field” for the immigration debate likely to take place next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he will kick off next week’s debate over the fate of 690,000 “Dreamers” with a shell bill that does not include immigration-related language.

The debate “will have an amendment process that will ensure a level playing field at the outset,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.

Democrats Land Recruit Against Arkansas’ French Hill
Clarke Tucker faces an uphill race against the well-funded Republican

The DCCC is targeting Arkansas Rep. French Hill in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

No Democrat represents Arkansas at the federal level. National Democrats are excited about state Rep. Clarke Tucker’s prospects of changing that. 

Tucker, an attorney, entered the race against GOP Rep. French Hill in the 2nd District on Monday. He faces an uphill climb. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Republican.