Weekly Wrap-Up: March 10, 2014 - March 14, 2014
House Financial Services Committee
Thursday, I attended a House Financial Services Full Committee Mark-up of several bills, one of which addressed the CFPB’s misguided definition of “rural” for the purpose of mortgage lending by banks. The Bureau’s published definition was, unsurprisingly, a one-size-fits-all policy that would not have worked for many parts of Arkansas. The regulation would prevent community banks from issuing mortgages such as balloon loans, or other responsibly underwritten products. Click here to watch an archived webcast of the hearing.
House Foreign Affairs Committee
Thursday, I attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing where Secretary of State John Kerry’s testified about the State Department’s annual budget request. Click here to watch an archived webcast of the hearing and click here to read the full text of Secretary Kerry’s testimony.
Cotton Applauds Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge Decision
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service’s decision to exclude Bradley County from the expansion of Felsenthal National Wildlife refuge is a victory for private landowners and sportsmen. I support the important protections National Wildlife refuges provide, but in this instance there was no scientific evidence to support the inclusion of Bradley County. I am pleased the FWS reversed their decision so that private landowners in Bradley County will be able to continue to care for their land as they have for generations. Click here for more information and my full statement.
This week, I had the opportunity to meet with several great groups from Arkansas. Thursday, I was fortunate to spend some time with Sarah, a talented Special Olympics athlete, and Donna and Terri with Special Olympics of Arkansas. It was also great to meet Tim Shriver, the National Chairman of the Board for Special Olympics. Teri and Julie with the Arkansas chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society also stopped by the office this week. We discussed their to find a cure for MS and the future of MS research. Thursday, I also met with Cheri Arnold from the Paralyzed Veterans of America (and her service dog Mollie!) to discuss veteran and disability issues. Thanks to everyone for stopping by!
Staff-Led Veterans Assistance Sessions
Members of my staff will be holding a Veterans Assistance Session in Clarksville, Jasper, and Huntsville within the next several weeks. My staff will be there to provide you with information and answer any questions you may have regarding the VA. Hope you can make it to one of them! Please click here for more details on the upcoming events.
Congressional Art Competition
The 2014 Congressional Art Competition is underway! This annual competition recognizes and honors the artistic talents of high school students in Arkansas’s 4th Congressional District and throughout the country. All high school students currently in grades 9-12 are welcome to participate. Click here for more information.
Saving Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage provides high quality, affordable healthcare to nearly 20 percent of Arkansas seniors. The President’s namesake legislation, Obamacare, cut more than $200 billion from Medicare Advantage payments and now the Obama Administration is proposing additional cuts to Medicare Advantage that would raise Arkansas seniors monthly healthcare payments by up to $45 and further reduce access to care. This week, I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, urging CMS to keep 2015 Medicare Advantage payments rates at 2014 levels. Rest assured, I will fight to save the Medicare Advantage program for Arkansas’s seniors.