Arkies in the Beltway | Week of Feb. 18, 2024

This is "Arkies in the Beltway" for the week of Feb. 18, 2024. I'm Alex Thomas — Washington correspondent for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette — with your look at national politics and the Arkansans influencing the discussions.

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The U.S. Senate approved its $95.3 billion security package last Tuesday. The legislation includes billions of dollars in assistance for Ukraine, Israel and the United States' partners in the Indo-Pacific.

Arkansas' U.S. senators were split on the matter.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., supported passage, describing the measure as the first step in ensuring the United States continues to deliver "strong, reliable and resolute American leadership" worldwide.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., opposed the bill. The senator from Little Rock criticized the legislation for its lack of language addressing border security and some funding directed toward non-defense needs.

STORY: Boozman supports, Cotton opposes U.S. Senate aid package

Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., emphasized the importance of the United States' support for Ukraine in an interview with the Democrat-Gazette.

Hill, of Little Rock, was part of a bipartisan House delegation that traveled to Ukraine earlier this month to hear from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the country's ongoing war against Russia.

STORY: Hill: U.S. must ‘draw a line,’ continue Ukraine support

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appeared before the House Agriculture Committee for a hearing, during which the secretary faced questions regarding issues facing agricultural producers.

One committee member — Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark. — used the hearing to ask industry-related questions, including one point pertaining to temporary labor.

STORY: Crawford presents Vilsack with questions on agricultural wages, projects

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