Washington news in brief

Museum dedication delights Boozman

As a member of the Smithsonian board of regents, U.S. Sen. John Boozman has been following with extra interest the progress of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

So when officials announced plans for Saturday's official dedication, the Republican from Rogers stuck around so he could be on hand.

He also invited one of his constituents, state Rep. George McGill, D-Fort Smith, to go to Washington for the ceremony.

As a member of the U.S. House, Boozman supported the legislation in 2003 that called for the museum to be established, and he has watched it slowly rise near the Washington Monument.

"It's very exciting to get it on line. It's something that everybody has worked so hard to [complete]," he said.

Also last week, Boozman congratulated Buck and DeAndra Gibson of Searcy for being named 2016 Congressional Angels in Adoption. Boozman nominated the couple for the award, which recognizes recipients' "commitment to strengthening families and advocating for adoption," he said.

Cotton introduces generic-drugs bill

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton on Thursday introduced legislation that he's calling the Safely Advancing Valuable and Inexpensive New Generic Solutions Act.

SB3387 would require the Food and Drug Administration to speed up the review process for "both the first and second introduced generic" versions of an existing drug, mandating that a decision be reached within 150 days of the application being received.

In a news release, the Republican from Dardanelle said the agency has a backlog and that "requiring the FDA to make a decision in a timely fashion will increase competition in the prescription drug market and help lower costs for Arkansas families."

The Federal Trade Commission has stated that, typically, "the more generic versions of the same drug product that are on the market, the lower the price consumers pay for a generic version. ... For example, the entry of a second generic drug product generally doubles the price decrease introduced by the first generic product from the branded drug product's price."

The agency added that "the sooner more companies offer the same generic product, the greater the price competition and the lower price consumers pay for a generic version of a drug product."

SB3387 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Westerman honors U.S. ally Taiwan

In the Congressional Record, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman paid tribute Thursday to a longtime American ally.

The Hot Springs Republican noted that Oct. 10 is Taiwan's National Day, which marks the start of an uprising that eventually toppled China's Qing Dynasty, bringing imperial rule to an end.

The holiday is celebrated with parades and fireworks in the island nation.

Westerman said Taiwan, population 23.5 million, is Arkansas' "sixth-largest export market in Asia."

"The United States and Taiwan enjoy a longstanding friendship based on shared values," Westerman said, adding that he visited the country earlier this year. "I hope the friendship between our two nations continues to grow in the years ahead."

2 celebrities stop in to visit Womack

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack had several visitors at his Capitol Hill office last week, including a couple of celebrities. Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber stopped by. The daughter of an Army master sergeant, Barber was "the first woman actively serving in the United States Army Reserve to win the title," according to pageant's website.

On Wednesday, actor Michael J. Kelly popped in. He's better known, perhaps, as Doug Stamper, President Frank Underwood's Machiavellian aide on Netflix's political drama, House of Cards.

Hill praises House OK of ransom bill

U.S. Rep. French Hill on Thursday praised passage of HR5931, the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act. The measure, which was supported by all four House members from Arkansas, passed 254-163.

It would prohibit the U.S. from making cash payments to states that are deemed to be sponsors of terrorism.

In a news release, Hill said the legislation makes it clear that the nation won't pay ransom when its citizens are seized overseas.

The Iranian government received $1.7 billion in non-U.S. currency earlier this year, part of a settlement arising from a decades-old arms deal. Iran purchased the weapons but its pro-American government collapsed before they were delivered.

The U.S. sent the first $400 million on the same day that American prisoners were released.

"Whether this was a ransom payment or not is irrelevant, and in handing over cash in exchange for these American hostages, this administration has given bad actors the impression the United States is willing to negotiate and trade money in exchange for hostages," the Little Rock Republican said in a news release.

HR5931 "will make it clear to our enemies throughout the world the United States will not pay ransom," he added.

Crawford meets with flooring exec

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford met last week with Tommy Maxwell, chief executive officer of Maxwell Hardwood Flooring. The Monticello-based company, which was created in 1992, started with 30 employees. Today, it has nearly 200 and offers white oak, red oak, walnut, hickory, maple and American cherry flooring. The Hardwood Federation was holding its fall fly-in, which drew a large number of industry officials to Washington.

Crawford also met with Marsha Crader of Jonesboro, who is affiliated with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Crader, who earned a doctor of pharmacy from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, is also an assistant professor in the college of pharmacy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, according to the school's website.

UA professor talks on foods' label data

Betsy Howlett, a professor of marketing at the University of Arkansas' Walton College of Business, spoke at a Federal Trade Commission workshop in Washington earlier this month.

Howlett said she'd been invited to discuss "consumers' understanding of information disclosures on product packaging."

The professor and her colleagues have studied "the different kinds of formats you can use on the product packages of food products."

"What we found is that one size does not fit all," she said in an interview. Some consumers do best with what Howlett calls objective labels -- those listing calories, grams of fat and other nutritional data.

Others, she said, prefer something like Wal-Mart's "Great for You" icon -- a label that instantly assures the consumer that the product is a healthier option.

Planning to visit the nation's capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Please contact Frank Lockwood at (202) 662-7690 or flockwood@arkansasonline.com. Want the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Washington bureau? It's available on Twitter@LockwoodFrank.

SundayMonday on 09/25/2016

Upcoming Events