Archive for the ‘U.S. Senate’ Category
Two potential Democratic challengers to U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s re-election bid are playing it close to the vest as the March political filing period approaches.
A campaign spokesman for Lt. Gov. Bill Halter says today nothing has changed as Halter eyes a political shift.
“The lieutenant governor continues to focus on his re-election while also considering the available options to best serve Arkansans,” says Halter campaign pitchman Bud Jackson.
Meanwhile, state Senate President Pro Tem Bob Johnson, who previously made noises about a possible U.S. Senate run, says today he is focusing on the current legislative fiscal session and intends to “lay low” for now.
“We’re talking about two subject matters: budget and lottery,” Johnson says.
The one-week filing period for political office starts March 1. The fiscal session is scheduled to recess March 2 and adjourn March 9.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln reports that she met with First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House today to discuss ways to combat childhood obesity.
As chairman of the Senate’s Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, Lincoln will oversee reauthorization this year of the Child Nutrition Act.
“The prevalence of childhood obesity is an alarming trend, with one in three American children now considered overweight or obese,” Lincoln said in a news release. “Although we have our work cut out for us, we are not going to be starting from scratch. Programs in Arkansas have been making great strides to encourage more nutritious eating habits among our children, to get them physically active and to promote healthier lifestyles. I was proud to share these successes with the First Lady.”
Also attending the meeting were Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; Senate Agriculture Committee member Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Senate Health Committee member Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Mill, D-Calif., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
The “Turn Around Arkansas” coalition is rallying at Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s Little Rock office in an attempt to push her toward approving the Employee Free Choice Act, labor’s highest legislative priority.
The coalition, with members such as ACORN, Sierra Club, and the AFL-CIO, is hosting a 24-hour vigil, delivering hundreds of hand-written letters asking for support of the bill, and then rallying at the Arkansas Statehouse on Thursday.
Lincoln came out against the bill “in its current form” at a meeting of the Political Animals Club in early April, and has said her door is open to a possible compromise, yet one has not been offered by either labor or business.
Former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin is slated to speak to the Saline County Republican committee at an annual gathering of the local GOP members.
Griffin is one of several names floating around as a possible opponent to two-term incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln in her 2010 re-election campaign. He announced his consideration of the running against Lincoln in December, but has yet to announce his candidacy.
Last week in an interview with the Arkansas News Bureau, Griffin said that whomever the candidate may be, he believes they must announce before June 1.
The Saline County GOP will host their annual Lincoln Day Dinner Friday, April 24th at the Bauxite Community Center at 7:00 p.m., with a reception in Bryant at Luigi’s Pizza at 5:30. Reps. Ann Clemmer, R-Benton, and Dan Greenberg, R-Little Rock, will host the dinner and reception respectively.
U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor is prodding the Federal Communications Commission to do more to help parents block scenes and language inappropriate for children from TVs and computers.
The Pryor-sponsored Child Safe Viewing Act is headed to President Bush’s desk after the Senate gave final congressional approval to the measure.
It requires the FCC to continuously review and implement blocking technology as it is developed, something Pryor says the agency has failed to do since Congress in 1996 required television manufacturers to embed the V-Chip in televisions to allow parents to filter some content according to a rating system.
The senator says parents today want more help in blocking an increasing amount of sexual scenes and violence shown on more than 500 TV channels and video streaming over the Internet.
“Today’s technology to protect children from indecency goes above and beyond the capabilities of the V-Chip,” according to Pryor. “It’s time for the FCC to take a fresh look at how the market can empower parents with more tools to choose appropriate programming for their children. This bill is a pragmatic, sensible approach where parents, kids and technology can all benefit.”
Two Arkansas-based companies donated money this election cycle to Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican convicted of seven felonies Monday for failing to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts he received from an Alaska oil company.
Alltel Corp.’s political action committee has given Stevens $5,000 in the past two years, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Windstream Communications’ PAC donated $2,000 to Stevens in April, campaign finance reports show.
A spokesman for Alltel had no comment Monday about that company’s donations to Stevens. Alltel’s latest gift was $1,000 in March. The company’s PAC gave $4,000 last year.
Stevens, 84, is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Commerce Committee. The panel has jurisdiction over telecommunications legislation.
David Avery, a spokesman for Windstream, said the company typically donates money to lawmakers who support the rural telecommunications industry.
“Sen. Stevens generally, from what I understand, has been supportive of rural telecom interests throughout his career,” Avery said.
Stevens has been in the Senate since 1968 and is its longest-serving Republican. He faces up to five years in prison on the corruption convictions.
Stevens faces Democrat Mark Begich in the Nov. 4 general election.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., was critical Thursday of John McCain’s decision to suspend his presidential campaign to return to the Senate as Congress considers a massive bailout of financial institutions:
“I think he’s distracting things (with) the idea he’s got to stop what he’s doing and come back and rescue the Congress,” Lincoln said during a conference call with reporters.
McCain is a Republican senator from Arizona.
Lincoln said members of Congress have been working for nearly a week to find a solution to the nation’s economic crisis. The Bush administration’s $700 billion bailout proposal was met with tepid support on Capitol Hill.
“There’s a lot of us that have been working on this over the past five to six days,” she said. “We certainly hope Sen. McCain will come back and vote on it and participate if he wants. We’re doing that now. I don’t think he needs to halt this campaign.”
Congress is set to approve a major appropriations package before lawmakers leave Washington for the year, which means press offices are eager to hit the send button on e-mail press releases that herald the dollars obtained for projects back home.
Thanks to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, here’s a list of the earmarks in the three appropriations bills headed for the president’s desk — a first look at what Arkansas lawmakers will be touting when they return to the Natural State.
Nearly $50 million worth of earmarks for Arkansas projects are contained in the Defense, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security fiscal 2009 appropriations bills.
Lawmakers are expected to take up the eight other spending bills when a new Congress convenes in January.
Here are the projects for Arkansas, listed by sponsor:
Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, and Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both D-Ark.:
$1.6 million for biological air filtering system technology;
$800,000 for spectroscopic materials identification center;
$2.8 million for a standoff hazardous agent detection and evaluation system;
$10.9 million for a new National Guard readiness center in Cabot.
$50,000 for pre-disaster mitigation for the city of Wynne.
Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers:
$750,000 for Sebastian County’s emergency operations center.
Boozman, Lincoln and Pryor:
$3.2 million for development of mobile combat support hospitals, which could be manufactured in Russellville;
$204,000 for a infantry platoon battle course at Fort Chaffee;
Boozman and Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott:
$800,000 for the center for nanoscale biosciences at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and UA-Pine Bluff.
Ross, Lincoln and Pryor:
$8.8 million for mortar and grenade production at the Pine Bluff Arsenal.
$1.6 million for development of a lightweight, unmanned ground robot;
$1.6 million for grenade production.
Rep. Vic Snyder, Lincoln and Pryor:
$2 million for advanced functional nanomaterials for biological processes;
$1.6 million for silicon carbide torso plates;
$1.6 million for information quality tools for persistent surveillance data sets;
$4 million for the engine shop replacement at Little Rock Air Force Base.
Lincoln and Pryor:
$1.6 million for advanced field artillery tactical data systems;
$2.5 million for nanoscale biosensors;
$800,000 for nanotech lubricants designed for durability, energy-saving and sustainability of oceanic vehicles.
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