Steve Womack

Steve Womack

ARKANSAS' 3rd DISTRICT

Pottsville Mobile Office Stop

2015/09/15

In the Third District, I have offices located in Rogers, Fort Smith, and Harrison. But I understand that many constituents aren't able or don’t have the time – to travel to the nearest office.

That’s why I am sending my office to YOU!

Come to my Mobile Office and allow my staff to assist you in your own town.

Pottsville Mobile Office Stop
Tuesday, September 15, 2015, from 11:00AM-1:00PM
Pottsville City Hall
173 East Ash Street
Pottsville, AR 72858

Questions? Call my Fort Smith office at (479) 424-1146 for more information. Read More

Prairie Grove Mobile Office Stop

2015/09/10

In the Third District, I have offices located in Rogers, Fort Smith, and Harrison. But I understand that many constituents aren't able or don’t have the time – to travel to the nearest office.

That’s why I am sending my office to YOU!

Come to my Mobile Office and allow my staff to assist you in your own town.

Prairie Grove Mobile Office Stop
Thursday, September 10, 2015, from 1:00-3:00PM
Prairie Grove Senior Center
475 Ed Staggs Drive
Prairie Grove, AR 72753

Questions? Call my Rogers office at (479) 464-0446 for more information. Read More

Diamond City Mobile Office Stop

2015/09/10

In the Third District, I have offices located in Rogers, Fort Smith, and Harrison. But I understand that many constituents aren't able or don’t have the time – to travel to the nearest office.

That’s why I am sending my office to YOU!

Come to my Mobile Office and allow my staff to assist you in your own town.

Diamond City Mobile Office Stop
Thursday, September 10, 2015, from 1:00-3:00PM
Diamond City Community Center
232 North Grand Avenue
Diamond City, AR 72630

Questions? Call my Harrison office at (870) 741-6900 for more information.

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Coffee with the Congressman - Berryville

2015/09/03

Don't miss the chance to join me for coffee!

Coffee with the Congressman – Berryville
Thursday, September 3, 2015
8:30-10:00AM CDT 
Carroll County Senior Activity & Wellness Center
202 West Madison Avenue
Berryville, AR 72616


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Policy Update: Growing Concern in Ukraine

2015/08/28

If you are anything like me, Ukraine was not on your list of top U.S. foreign priorities before the events of 2014.  However, with Russia annexing Crimea while continuing to send troops and weapons to Ukrainian separatists, it’s become important to pay attention to Ukraine in the interest of our nation’s safety and security.  For these reasons, I decided to update you on the situation in Ukraine and the steps Congress is taking to aid the Ukrainian people in this week’s newsletter (which you can sign up to receive here).  

For the sake of review, Ukraine shares its eastern border with Russia and its western border with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.  Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and since then, its history has been a tumultuous ride led by corrupt oligarchs attempting to toe the line between Russia and the western world.  

In November 2013, the Ukrainian government made a last-minute decision – due to Russian pressure – to not sign an Association Agreement with the European Union which would have better aligned the nation with its western neighbors.  This sparked anti-government protests throughout Ukraine and led to the Yanukovych government fleeing the country.  In response, on February 27, 2014, the Ukrainian parliament approved a new government, headed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk and no key figures from the former regime.  

The same day the new government was approved, Russian Federation military forces poured into Crimea seizing airports and other key installations.  On March 16, 2014, the Crimean authorities held a questionable referendum on Crimea’s annexation to Russia.  Two days later, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a “treaty” with Crimean leaders formally incorporating Crimea into Russia.  

Since this time, Ukrainian separatists, aided by the Russian military, have been waging a bloody war throughout Ukraine.  Although cease-fires have momentarily slowed down the fighting, the war continues and calls into question the future of the balance of power in Europe.  

In response, Congress has focused on providing assistance to the new Ukrainian government and supporting sanctions against Russia.  On April 3, 2014, President Obama signed H.R. 4152 and S. 2183 into law.  These bills authorized security assistance to Ukraine and required the President to impose visa bans and asset seizures against persons in Ukraine and Russia who are responsible for undermining the peace, security, stability, and sovereignty of Ukraine.  They also increase broadcasting in eastern Ukraine, Crimea, and Moldova to counteract Russian propaganda.  At this point our security assistance has focused on training and technical help, and we have not sent any defensive weaponry to Ukraine.  However, the military has rotated various units throughout Europe and on August 24, 2015, U.S. and allied paratroopers staged the largest airborne exercise in Europe since the end of the Cold War.  

Within the past year, I had the privilege of visiting Ukraine, as well as hear Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko address a Joint Session of Congress.  Through these experiences, I am convinced that the situation in Ukraine cannot be ignored.  Putin is currently testing what the world will allow, and I, along with many of my colleagues, believe the U.S. must work closely with NATO to formulate clear policy that will deter Russia from further aggression.  As your Representative, I will continue to fight for foreign policy that ensures a safe world for our children and grandchildren.  

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Womack Responds to WOTUS Stay

2015/08/28

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) today released the following statement in response to the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota to grant a preliminary injunction against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:

“As I have traveled the Third District, I have been overwhelmed with the number of Arkansans that will be egregiously harmed by the outrageously overreaching Waters of the United States rule.  This preliminary injunction is the first of many dominoes that will fall throughout the process of stopping WOTUS.  The House has already passed the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, and I am hopeful that our colleagues in the Senate will put this critical legislation – which dismantles as much of this harmful rule as possible – on President Obama’s desk.”


Congressman Steve Womack has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011 and serves on the House Appropriations Defense, Financial Services and General Government, and Labor-Health and Human Services subcommittees and the House Committee on the Budget.

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Coffee with the Congressman - Alma

2015/08/26

Don't miss the chance to join me for coffee!

Coffee with the Congressman – Alma
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
8:30-10:00AM CDT 
Alma Senior Center
248 Collum Lane East
Alma, AR 72921


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Coffee with the Congressman - Garfield

2015/08/25

Don't miss the chance to join me for coffee!

Coffee with the Congressman – Garfield
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
8:30-10:00AM CDT 
NEBCO Community Center
14639 Wimpy Jones Road
Garfield, AR 72732


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Policy Update: Education Reform

2015/08/21

I’ll be the first to tell you that education has not always been a focal point in Congress, but it is increasingly becoming one of the most critical domestic issues facing our country. As such, in this week’s newsletter (which you can sign up to receive here), I wanted to share my views on education reform and update you on the work Congress is doing to improve and strengthen our education system.

America continues to decline globally when it comes to student achievement; we rank 20th in science and 27th in math out of the 34 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. And we continue to spend more money on education than these countries – $11,841 per student on elementary and secondary education and $26,021 per student on postsecondary education, respectively–35 percent and 200 percent higher than the OECD average. We must take a step back and reevaluate what’s working and what isn’t. While it is certainly important to provide adequate resources, all too often we look to increased funding to solve inadequacies and increase student achievement, rather than looking at fundamentally reforming our education system through innovation, greater state control of their own classrooms, and eliminating burdensome regulations. 

In a perfect world, from an early age, parents would have the ability to compare, evaluate, and select the best education for their child based on their specialized needs regardless of income, zip code, or social stature.  Now, that is a lofty goal, but there are steps we must start taking now to move closer to such a system for our students and for America to remain competitive globally. 

There’s no silver bullet that will alleviate the issues facing our education system, but many will agree that what we’re doing right now simply isn’t working and that we can do better. In Congress, the House took a critical step to improve K-12 education by passing the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) in July. This bill gives states, rather than the federal government, the power to adopt standards for math, reading, and science and explicitly prohibits the federal government from coercing states into adopting uniform federal standards, such as Common Core. It also eliminates the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) evaluation, allows states to develop their own school-accountability systems, requires student assessments of math and reading standards only once per year, allows low-income students’ funding to transfer between schools through Title I portability, and consolidates 65 unnecessary programs into a Local Academic Flexible Grant to allow individual schools to determine how to best meet students’ needs. Overall, the Student Success Act strives to put decision-making back in the hands of our states and communities – where it belongs. I continue to be impressed with the innovation taking place at the state and local levels and by the initiative Governors are taking despite the haphazard federal intrusion that has reached an all-time high over the past decade.

The Senate passed its own reforms in the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (S. 1177), and it will need to be conferenced with H.R. 5 to work out the differences. For the sake of our students, I remain hopeful that this will happen sooner rather than later.

I believe we also need to expand educational options – especially higher education. This is why I proudly joined Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO-8) to introduce H.R. 3409, a bill to help make college more affordable by allowing students to earn tax-free, work-based scholarships at Work Colleges, like Ecclesia right here in Springdale, Arkansas. With the cost of college skyrocketing across our nation and 53 percent of college graduates being under or unemployed, work colleges provide an excellent opportunity for students to earn a valuable degree at little-to-no cost while gaining critical hands-on work experience prospective employers desire. I cannot stress enough the importance of making critical reforms to higher education to ensure students and parents have the necessary information to evaluate higher education institutions, in order to have the ability to make the best financial choice.

But we can’t stop at work colleges. I believe we need to have a greater focus on career and technical education, sometimes referred to as “vocational training.” For years, there has been a certain stigma attached to choosing a vocational education route, but increasingly, employers are looking for technical skills – obtained from an associate degree or a technical certificate, not a liberal arts degree – to fill their good-paying jobs. I applaud our state for recognizing that with a changing economy and labor force, our education system must also adapt and continue to evolve in order to serve as an effective pipeline for preparing students for the workforce or higher education. It will most certainly ensure that Arkansas’s students are employable and companies are drawn to Arkansas, which helps ensure a growing, thriving local economy.

Many high schools are even beginning to offer opportunities to earn these credentials before high school graduation and are working with local businesses to streamline curriculum and facilitate job opportunities for students right out of high school. With 20 percent of students never reaching their high school graduation and only roughly half of students who seek a bachelor’s degree completing the degree within six years, I am encouraged by this greater, concerted effort to make students aware at an earlier age the options available for them.

As the debate on education reform continues in Congress, I will continue to pursue ways to promote educational reform and help alleviate states from burdensome federal education regulations that will continue to impede states’ abilities to leverage technology and innovation to deliver a more high quality, cost-effective education to the next generation.

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Policy Update: Combatting Opioid Addiction

2015/08/14

For the past seven months, the 114th Congress has been hard at work on the issues facing America. But there still is much to be done. 

In this week’s newsletter (which you can sign up to receive here), I thought I would bring to your attention one of the bills I hope will join the 49 that have been signed into law so far this Congress – and that’s the Opioid Addiction Treatment Modernization Act (H.R. 2872), which Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN-8) and I introduced on June 24, 2015. 

The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic.  Fueled by the dramatic increase in the use of illicit prescription opioids and heroin, the number of prescription drug overdoses have tripled, while heroin overdose deaths have increased five-fold in the past decade.  Unfortunately, Arkansas is not spared.  Our overdose mortality rates have more than doubled and remain higher than the national average. 

The impact on our communities is devastating.  According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the economic cost of drug abuse in the United States was estimated at $193 billion in 2007 (last available estimate).  Of this amount, 62 percent was attributable to workplace costs (e.g., lost productivity), 31 percent to criminal justice costs, and 7 percent to health care costs (e.g., abuse treatment).

In spite of investment in opioid addiction treatments at the federal level, the problem has worsened substantially… and now, nearly 70 Americans lose their lives each day due to opioid overdose.  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – bureaucratic red tape is part of the problem. 

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.  Yet, among all diseases, opioid addiction is unique because the federal government has legislated clinical treatment requirements.  

Over the past 50 years, the federal government has refined legislation and guidelines governing the treatment of opioid addiction in specialized “opioid treatment programs” (OTPs) that are permitted to offer methadone maintenance therapy.  In 2000, Congress passed the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000), which allowed physicians to apply for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine products for the treatment of opioid addiction at Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) programs.  While today we know this not to be the case, during FDA-approval trials buprenorphine was believed to be non-addictive and have a lower risk of abuse, addiction, and side effects compared to methadone.  Therefore, the regulations written for OBOTs are less strict than those that govern OTPs.  Consequently, the treatment a patient receives is almost entirely based upon where they seek treatment rather than on their specific clinical needs.

If we are to attempt to reverse incidence of opioid dependence and the increasing numbers of opioid overdoses and opioid-related deaths associated with prescription drug and heroin addiction, medication-assisted therapy is an essential tool and patients must have access to all FDA-approved treatment options.  

The Opioid Addiction Treatment Modernization Act modernizes the segregated addiction treatment system to ensure that opioid-dependent patients are provided with individualized, evidence-based treatment by requiring that both OBOT and OTP providers are trained on and provide – either directly or by referral – all FDA-approved opioid addiction treatment medications based on the clinical needs of the patients, as determined by the physician.  Additionally, the bill requires both addiction treatment settings to provide relapse prevention counseling and medication adherence monitoring, as well as develop individualized treatment plans and diversion control plans. 

In 2013, NIDA estimated that 22.7 million Americans (8.6 percent) needed treatment for a problem related to drugs or alcohol, but only about 2.5 million people (0.9 percent) received treatment at a specialty facility.  Once enacted, H.R. 2872 will allow health care professionals – working with their patients – to prescribe the most appropriate treatments based upon the patient’s individual needs, ultimately helping us bridge the “treatment gap” and providing our country an important tool to combat the opioid epidemic.  

I am proud to join Congressman Bucshon in the fight to bring much-needed reforms to the segregated opioid addiction treatment system and help ensure that opioid-dependent patients are provided with individualized, evidence-based care, and I am hopeful that we will be able to count the Opioid Addiction Treatment Modernization Act as another victory of the 114th Congress.

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Bella Vista Mobile Office Stop

2015/08/13

In the Third District, I have offices located in Rogers, Fort Smith, and Harrison. But I understand that many constituents aren't able or don’t have the time – to travel to the nearest office.

That’s why I am sending my office to YOU!

Come to my Mobile Office and allow my staff to assist you in your own town.

Bella Vista Mobile Office Stop
Thursday, August 13, 2015, from 2:00-4:00PM CDT
Riordan Hall
3 Riordan Drive
Bella Vista, AR 72714

Questions?  Call my Rogers office at (479) 464-0446 for more information.

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Alma Mobile Office Stop

2015/08/11

In the Third District, I have offices located in Rogers, Fort Smith, and Harrison. But I understand that many constituents aren't able or don’t have the time – to travel to the nearest office.

That’s why I am sending my office to YOU!

Come to my Mobile Office and allow my staff to assist you in your own town.

Alma Mobile Office Stop
Tuesday, August 11, 2015, from 11:00AM-1:00PM CDT
Alma Senior Center
248 East Collum Lane
Alma, AR 72921

Questions?  Call my Fort Smith office at (479) 424-1146 for more information.

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Eureka Springs Mobile Office Stop

2015/08/10

In the Third District, I have offices located in Rogers, Fort Smith, and Harrison. But I understand that many constituents aren't able or don’t have the time – to travel to the nearest office.

That’s why I am sending my office to YOU!

Come to my Mobile Office and allow my staff to assist you in your own town.

Eureka Springs Vista Mobile Office Stop
Monday, August 10, 2015, from 11:00AM-1:00PM CDT
Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce
516 Village Circle
Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Questions?  Call my Harrison office at (870) 741-6900 for more information.

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Policy Update: The Iran Deal

2015/08/07

As you may know, last night Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York publically announced that he will oppose the Iran nuclear deal when it comes to the Senate for a vote.  Now, Senator Schumer and I agree on practically nothing – but I cannot stress how much I agree with his position and how much his stance matters to Congress’s ability to ultimately defeat one of the potentially greatest security blunders of our lifetimes.  

Many of my constituents have reached out to me with questions regarding the Iran Deal – have I read the deal?  Does Congress get to vote?  And what are the terms of the deal?  I thought I’d spend time explaining some of the key features and pitfalls of the Iran Deal in my newsletter this week (which you can sign up to receive here) – and there couldn’t be a better time for discussion, since it looks like the tide is turning against President Obama and his poorly negotiated “deal.”

While terms of a nuclear agreement between Iran and the international community have been in the works since 2003, the “Iran Deal” that is in the news right now – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA – was finalized between Iran and negotiators from the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Germany, and France.  This international group, known as the P5+1, essentially agreed through their negotiators, including Secretary Kerry and other heads of state, to a framework for international restrictions on Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for lifting economic sanctions that are currently crippling Iran’s economy.

The international intelligence community has known for over a decade of Iran’s nuclear activity – specifically spinning centrifuges in order to enrich uranium and plutonium to increase the concentration of the uranium-235 isotope.  Now, there’s a lot of science involved, but the bottom line is this:  the more regular uranium that is transformed into uranium-235 increases your percentage of “enrichment.”  To put it in perspective, nuclear power plants usually use a reactor of uranium with less than five percent enrichment.  Research reactors can be made using uranium enriched 20 percent, and weapons-grade uranium has to get to about 90 percent enrichment.  The concern is that Iran has thousands and thousands of centrifuges spinning to enrich uranium.  And while they claim that they only want to create medical isotopes or energy sources, we already know that Iran had the technology and infrastructure necessary to produce a nuclear weapon within a year in 2013, and they’d only need 2-3 months of that period to actually get the uranium enriched to weapons-grade.

Due to this activity, many nations have effectively had sanctions in place on Iran’s financial institutions, trade, and restrictions on most economic activity with the nation.  Sanctions have worked, as Iran’s economy is limping along because they’re effectively being suffocated from building their economy with international commerce.  Many of my colleagues and I believe that sanctions are the only way to truly restrict a country that has lied and avoided nuclear activity inspections over and over again.

So what exactly is in the JCPOA, which was finalized on July 14th?  There are many confusing terms, but I break them down into three general areas:  1) nuclear activity provisions; 2) access and cooperation provisions; and 3) lifting of sanctions.  

The nuclear activity provisions basically limit centrifuges, require Iran to promise to reduce their stockpiles of enriched uranium, and alter their nuclear facilities to become research and development hubs for medical and industrial nuclear uses only.  

The access and cooperation provisions are almost entirely governed by an international agency for nuclear oversight called the IAEA and give Iran plenty of warning before someone can walk in and see if they’re keeping their promises.  Both of these are built mostly on trust that the Iranian government will do what they say, and the whole framework is set to be lifted in ten years – after that Iran can go about building weapons as they please.

But the final – and most chilling – portion of this agreement lifts virtually all of our sanctions on Iran.  Iranian banks and oil companies will suddenly have access to an infusion of foreign cash.  In five years, there will be no ban on the arms that are able to be sold to Iran.  Finally, Iran was able to negotiate a bonus provision – they’re even allowed to start making nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in eight years.  That’s in the agreement.  And, with the state of affairs in the Middle East right now, Iran will be primed in the future to throw cash and weapons behind the organization of their choice in the ISIL conflict.

The clock is ticking – the UN Security Council adopted the JCPOA as written, so the day for the United States and their six partner countries, plus Iran, to adopt the agreement is expected to be in mid-October.  Congress has until then to accept or reject the agreement by a vote of both the House and Senate and then, if we reject the deal and the President vetoes our rejection, we have to override his veto by two-thirds of both the House and the Senate.

Iran is the world’s largest sponsor of terror.  By paving the way for this most dangerous state to obtain nuclear weapons and a free flow of arms, this agreement will ultimately increase Iran’s influence in Iraq and Syria and its ability to support violent extremists worldwide.  I simply cannot condone a deal that legitimizes and empowers this regime and jeopardizes U.S. security, the Israeli state, and stability in the Middle East.  I pray for the safety of our nation.