U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), and Tom Cotton (AR-4) applauded a decision Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend the repayment date of its Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs) an additional 90 days to agricultural producers affected by the Turner Grain Merchandising collapse in Brinkley, Ark.
The Arkansas House delegation sent a joint letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on August 28 requesting a 180-day extension, but Vilsack only granted an extension of 60 days on top of the 30-day extension already provided. FSA’s new extensions come as its current marketing authorization extensions would begin expiring on October 30, meeting the 180 days requested in the letter. The agency’s decision now pushes those expirations to January 2015. In addition, FSA further clarified it would waive interest accrual for the entire 180-day period. The delegation said the extension and the waiver give Arkansas producers much needed breathing room and more flexibility in the repayment of their loans.
“These additional 90 days provide relief to producers facing a deadline on their federal loans while also dealing with the collapse of their grain buyer,” the group said in a joint statement Tuesday. “Agriculture accounts for approximately one in six jobs in the state of Arkansas, and we thank Secretary Vilsack for recognizing the need to give the farmers involved in this situation ample time to recover. Furthermore, after 180 days, our growers would have faced sticker-shock with the interest accrued on their MALs. FSA did the right thing by not punishing our producers for an event they could not control. We look forward to working with all parties involved to fully resolve this loan issue and to protect our growers should a similar situation arise in the future.”
Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), and Tom Cotton (AR-4) today sent a letter to President Obama asking the administration to take further steps to protect Americans against the spread of the Ebola virus. The letter says, in part:
“While it’s important to establish appropriate protocols to treat, contain, and defeat the virus in this country, those protocols and the admirable efforts of health officials and workers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are, unfortunately, subject to human error. Plus which, ease of movement in today’s global economy means that individuals in affected countries could—possibly knowingly—be infected but not yet symptomatic and travel to the U.S., as was the case with the patient now in a Dallas hospital.”
The letter goes on to request the administration to consider and implement travel restrictions on countries affected by Ebola and to enforce immigration policies in the interest of securing our border.
The full text of the letter can be found here.
Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, says he’s “bullish on Fort Smith,” and he offers compelling support for his position.
Speaking last week to the Times Record editorial board, Rep. Womack described himself as a “fundamentals guy,” and said Fort Smith has all the fundamentals for a great city.
From its scenic beauty to its strategic location, from its river and rail transportation to its highways and airport, from its current “world-class health care” and proposed medical college to its military footprint, the city clearly has its best years ahead of it, he said.
When the Interstate 49 bridge across the Arkansas River is constructed — and he said “when,” not “if” — this area will be “white hot.”
Rep. Womack isn’t pro-Fort Smith by birth. Born in Russellville, raised in Moberly, Mo., the congressman served as mayor of Rogers for 12 years, starting in 1998, according to his House of Representatives biography.
Those were heady years in Rogers, a period of rapid economic growth and congruent development in infrastructure and services. In addition to acting as the city’s CEO, Rep. Womack served as chairman of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, a powerful, valuable alliance in that corner of the state.
We mention these positions to note that Rep. Womack knows what cities on an upward arc look like.
Again, we are reminded that people from outside Fort Smith often see strengths where those who live here see deficiencies. It’s a question of getting above or beyond the problems to see the core strengths that can propel the city forward.
The trick will be to exploit every opportunity to advance, not waiting for bridges or highways or jobs to come, but working every day, every step of the way to grab that future that Rep. Womack sees.
The key is to become as bullish on Fort Smith as the former mayor of Rogers.
Click here to read the original article.
Drug addiction is not a pleasant subject, and those in attendance at the Boone County Recovery Project on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at North Arkansas College heard some unpleasant stories about drug addiction.
Boone County Sheriff Mike Moore and Third District Congressman Steve Womack told of personal experiences with drug addicts. Womack’s were especially heart breaking, since they dealt with his son.
One might expect a sheriff and a law-and-order Republican to take a hard stance against drug and alcohol abusers, and make no mistake, they both believe that those who are abusers should take responsibility for their actions.
However, both Moore and Womack are also big supporters of the Recovery Project. They agree with the organization’s goal of helping drug abusers get their lives back together and becoming contributing citizens once again.
Womack, in particular, believed that the “lock ‘em up and throw away the key” philosophy isn’t working when it comes to drug addiction. It just perpetuates the problem, according to Womack.
Moore and Womack supported educating drug addicts, finding jobs for them and giving them a second chance.
As much as Womack’s stories of his son’s addiction were upsetting, the story of his son’s recovery was just as uplifting and encouraging.
The sheriff and the congressman harbored no illusions that battling the drug problem in our country would be easy. In fact, Moore warned that the battle would get worse. “Buckle up!” was his warning.
However, it’s nice to know that we have elected officials like Moore and Womack who are supportive of community organizations like the Boone County Recovery Project.
On September 24, 1789, the U.S. Marshals Service was founded. Today, the service celebrates its 225th anniversary by breaking ground on the U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The museum will be funded in part by the sale of commemorative coins authorized by the United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (P.L. 112-104). This bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) on March 2, 2011, and directed the secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue $5 gold, $1 silver, and half-dollar clad coins emblematic of the 225 years of exemplary and unparalleled achievements of the U.S. Marshals Service. It was signed into law on April 2, 2012, and the coins will be available next year.
On Wednesday, September 17, 2014, Congressman Womack wished the U.S. Marshals a happy 225th anniversary from the House Floor.
“I speak for all of my constituents in the Third District of Arkansas and my fellow Arkansans when I say we are humbled to have the U.S. Marshals Museum make Fort Smith its home and honored to play a prominent role in the next 225 years of the U.S. Marshals’ history. Happy birthday, U.S. Marshals!”
The full video can be found here.
Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), and Tom Cotton (AR-4) today sent a letter to Arkansas Department of Insurance (ADI) Commissioner Jay Bradford requesting information on the health insurance rates Arkansans can expect to find on Healthcare.gov when open enrollment begins November 15, 2014. It was publicly reported earlier this year that the ADI would release the expected rates for health plans available on Healthcare.gov for coverage starting in 2015 on September 10, 2014. However, these rates have yet to be released. The letter says, in part:
“Thanks to your actions last year regarding private market plan renewals, a large number of Arkansans are only now receiving cancellation notices for their plans and will thus be navigating Healthcare.gov for the first time this November. Therefore, it is vital they have the information necessary to evaluate which exchange plan best meets their needs and complete their purchase in time to receive health care coverage on January 1, 2015.”
The letter goes on to express concern that the problems associated with last year’s rollout of Healthcare.gov may not be resolved and requests the department release this year’s rates, along with rate data detailed by insurer, rate area, age, and premium.
The full text of the letter can be found here.
U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman today joined Congressmen Tim Griffin (AR-2) and Steve Womack (AR-3) to announce that seven Arkansas cities will receive $7.5 million from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to finance projects that will create jobs, promote innovation, increase resiliency to natural disasters, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
“Reinvesting taxpayer dollars into job growth opportunities will pay off in dividends for Arkansas families, communities and our economy,” Pryor said. “These grants strengthen our communities through outreach programs and infrastructure projects that build our state’s future.”
“Infrastructure is the key to economic development and growth throughout Arkansas,” Boozman said. “These grants will help attract businesses to the region, foster growth for existing companies and provide jobs for hardworking Arkansans by expanding and improving infrastructure in our communities.”
“Expanding workforce training and education is key to helping individuals succeed in their careers. This funding will provide more good-paying job opportunities for Arkansans, while supporting economic development in our communities and strengthening our economy,” said Griffin.
“Leveraging federal dollars with local investment in the Third District is essential to ongoing projects that will secure our future and strengthen our community. I applaud this announcement, which ensures the infrastructure in Fort Smith is ready to support the new Arkansas Osteopathic Medical School, addressing a shortage of physicians in our state, and supports the efforts of the World Trade Center at the University of Arkansas to diversify our state’s economy so it isn’t as vulnerable to the negative impact of natural disasters,” Womack said.
This funding is provided by the EDA to promote job creation and foster disaster resiliency in communities affected by devastating storms. The projects receiving funding are as follows:
U.S. Representatives Renee Ellmers (R-NC-2), Steve Womack (R-AR-3), Doris Matsui (D-CA-6), and Bill Owens (D-NY-21), along with 44 of their House colleagues, today sent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Burwell a bipartisan letter requesting that the she instruct the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to use its existing authority to update outdated regulations to comprehensively address the disease of addiction, allowing patients to access the right treatment at the right time based on their individual circumstances.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which shows an increase in the rate of drug poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics between 1999 and 2011, highlights the need to update current regulations. Because there were only two medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of opioid dependence at the time the regulations were written, the medication a patient is prescribed depends almost entirely upon where they seek treatment. The letter asks for an evaluation of strategies to address the opioid crisis in our country and says, in part:
“If we are to attempt to reverse incidence of opioid dependence and the increasing numbers of opioid overdoses and opioid-related deaths associated with opioid addiction, it is important that patients have access to all FDA approved treatment options.... We have a higher number of effective treatment interventions available today than ever before, and the trend leading to so many tragic consequences can, and must, be reversed. HHS, working with SAMHSA, must modernize its regulations to ensure access to all FDA-approved opioid treatment medications, based on the clinical needs of the patient, and train practitioners to treat this devastating disease in a manner consistent with the treatment of other serious life-threatening illnesses or chronic conditions.”
The letter goes on to request a timely response from Secretary Burwell and a briefing to discuss a pathway forward on this important issue.
The full text of the letter can be found here, and the list of co-signers is below.
|Renee Ellmers (NC-2)
Ralph Hall (TX-4)
Ed Whitfield (KY-1)
Lee Terry (NE-2)
Mario Diaz-Balart (Fl-25)
Tim Ryan (OH-13)
Brett Guthrie (KY-2)
Tom Rooney (FL-17)
Lou Barletta (PA-11)
Andy Harris (MD-1)
Steve Stivers (OH-15)
Dave Joyce (OH-14)
|Steve Womack (AR-3)
Jack Kingston (GA-1)
Robert Aderholt (AL-4)
Ander Crenshaw (FL-4)
Jim Gerlach (PA-6)
Gus Bilirakis (FL-12)
Leonard Lance (NJ-7)
Aaron Schock (IL-18)
Rick Crawford (AR-1)
Bill Johnson (OH-6)
Kevin Yoder (KS-3)
Doug LaMalfa (CA-1)
|Doris Matsui (CA-6)
Sam Farr (CA-20)
John Shimkus (IL-15)
John Carter (TX-31)
Phil Gingrey (GA-11)
Robert E. Latta (OH-5)
Pete Olson (TX-22)
Paul Tonko (NY-20)
Bill Flores (TX-17)
Billy Long (MO-7)
Mark Amodei (NV-2)
Chris Stewart (UT-2)
|Bill Owens (NY-21)
Tom Latham (IA-3)
Mike Simpson (ID-2)
Tom Cole (OK-4)
Tim Murphy (PA-18)
Bill Cassidy (LA-6)
Chellie Pingree (ME-1)
Bill Foster (IL-11)
Tim Griffin (AR-2)
Alan Nunnelee (MS-1)
Tom Cotton (AR-4)
David Valadao (CA-21)
Yesterday, members of the Arkansas House delegation introduced H.R. 5542, the Farm Protection Act of 2014. The legislation was introduced to help protect ag-producers who may become creditors in a bankruptcy. Earlier this summer, a grain merchandiser, known as Turner Grain, located in Arkansas’s First District ended its operations and has since entered into bankruptcy litigation causing problems for producers.
“The Arkansas House delegation is moving forward to assist ag-producers who stand to be impacted the most as a result of poor management by those who worked at Turner Grain. We believe this bill would ensure that ag-producers aren’t burdened with unreasonable expectations of meeting their loan requirements or the accrual of interest on their loans while they work through bankruptcy proceedings as creditors. We are hopeful that this bill will be considered later this fall, as the extension granted by Secretary Vilsack comes to an end, but bankruptcy proceedings will likely be just beginning.”
Earlier this summer, the House delegation wrote U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack requesting a 180-day grace period on loan repayment for ag-producers who have contracts with Turner Grain while the complicated issues around Turner Grain were being handled. While the full grace period that was requested was not granted, Secretary Vilsack did agree to an extra 60-day grace period for the producers who were affected in addition to the 30-day period that had already been granted.
The bill would prohibit the USDA from trying to collect any loan from producers who have become involved in a bankruptcy as a creditor until at least 180-days after the final disposition of the bankruptcy case. The bill also would also allow for a similar extension of 180-days following the final disposition for loans made under the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act. Lastly, the bill will help protect farmers whose loan repayments have been pulled back into a bankruptcy case.
Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) today released the following statement in response to the passage of H.R. 4, the Jobs for America Act:
“Third District Arkansans want policies that allow them to hold the keys to their success instead of promoting the status quo, that grow the economy and not the federal government, that enable them to create jobs rather than make doing so a disincentive, and that empower them to achieve their goals and the American dream without holding them back with red tape. Simply put, they want more opportunity and a stronger America. That’s what we’ve been working to create in the House and the America H.R. 4 can unleash. I applaud its passage in the House.”
1119 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Stephen A. Womack, 57, is a native of Russellville, Arkansas. After attending K-10 in Moberly, Missouri, Womack’s family returned to Arkansas in 1973, and he graduated from Russellville High School in 1975. Womack earned a Bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University in 1979 and, after graduation, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Arkansas Army National Guard.
In the fall of 1979, Steve relocated to Rogers where he and his father established KURM Radio, and he served as station manager from 1979-1990. In August of 1990, Steve accepted an assignment with the University of Arkansas Army ROTC program and served as Executive Officer of the program for six years. In 1996, Steve was hired as a financial consultant with Merrill Lynch.
On November 3, 1998, Steve was elected Mayor of Rogers and served in that capacity for twelve years. During his tenure, the City of Rogers experienced exponential economic growth, adding $1 billion in new development with major improvements to the city’s infrastructure, retail services, and quality of life amenities.
Steve also served on numerous boards and commissions in Northwest Arkansas serving as Chairman of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, Chairman of Rogers United Way, board member of the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce, and the Rogers Parks Commission. A former Rotarian, Steve is also a Paul Harris Fellow.
In the Army National Guard, Steve served in a variety of command and staff assignments, including command of 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry, 39th Separate Infantry Brigade. Following the tragic events of 9-11, Steve’s battalion was mobilized for duty with the Multi-National Force and Observers (MFO), Sinai, Egypt in 2002. It marked the first time in the history of the 39th Brigade that a battalion was deployed overseas. It was also the first time in the MFO history the US Battalion mission was conducted by a pure National Guard unit. Steve’s task force received praise from the highest levels of civil and military leadership around the world and is credited with convincing Army leadership of the capabilities and readiness of the Army Guard.
Steve retired with over thirty years of service from the Arkansas Army National Guard October 31, 2009, at the rank of Colonel. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and the Global War on Terror Expeditionary and Service Medals, and the Arkansas Distinguished Service Medals. Steve was inducted into the Arkansas Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame in 2011.
In the House, Steve serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Defense, Financial Services, and Labor-Health and Human Services subcommittees. Steve is also on the Whip Team, House Energy Action Team (HEAT), and various caucuses.
Steve has been married to his wife, Terri, for 29 years, and they have three grown sons and two grandsons, Liam and Kaden.
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