Federal Government Issues
With just a few weeks left before Congress takes the month of August off, the House and Senate are busy trying to markup appropriation bills and address other pending legislative issues. When they return in September the Presidential election will be all-consuming so don't expect anything to happen in September and October.
An issue that will likely garner some coverage over the next two weeks concerns the impact of budget sequestration. When Congress raised the debt ceiling last August they agreed to reduce the federal budget by $1.4 trillion over the next decade. The debt ceiling agreement did not specify where those cuts would take place. Instead it established a "supercommittee" to come up with the cuts. The supercommittee could not reach a consensus on where to cut so in the absence of direction from Congress, all departments will be cut proportionally.
This blind, off-the-top cut hits the Department of Defense the hardest and reduces their budget by $72 billion. Such significant cuts to the DoD have Republicans pushing President Obama to submit his proposal for how to reduce the budget by $1.4 trillion. The House passed an alternative sequestration bill that would shift spending cuts to social programs.
Defense cuts have an impact in Arkansas. To cut that much money, you have to get into the National Guard as well as additional base closures. Fort Smith is fighting hard to keep the A-10s instead of becoming a base for operating drone aircraft - this would not bode well for that effort. Likewise, the C-130 squadron in Central Arkansas could be in trouble as a new round of realignments and closures might have to be enacted.
Bills Under Consideration This Week:
Senate Vote: S3369 - DISCLOSE Act. The bill would require corporations, unions and super PACs to disclose aggregate campaign expenditures of more than $10,000 to candidates to the Federal Election Commission.
Bills Introduced This Week:
None of note
Contact Your Congressional Delegation:
Congressman Steve Womack - email
Senator Mark Pryor - email
Senator John Boozman - email