Arkies in the Beltway | Week of March 17, 2024

This is "Arkies in the Beltway" for the week of March 17, 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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After federal lawmakers missed the initial deadline for approving a new compact with the Marshall Islands, Congress finally agreed to extend the relationship with the Pacific island nation as well as similar agreements with Micronesia and Palau.

Members of Congress approved new Compacts of Free Association with the three nations earlier this month as part of the $460 billion spending package averting a partial government shutdown.

Through the agreements, the United States can maintain a military presence in the Freely Associated States in exchange for providing the nations with economic and security assistance. 

The agreements also allow citizens of the island nations to live in the United States as lawful non-immigrants, including 8,300 Marshallese residing in Arkansas.

STORY: Recent federal spending package renews relationship with Marshall Islands, other Pacific island nations

Arkansas' delegates in the U.S. House of Representatives supported legislation to require TikTok's parent company to sell the social media platform or risk a nationwide ban.

Federal lawmakers have been vocal with their concerns about Chinese company Byte Dance, arguing the Chinese government can access Byte Dance's data — and information about American TikTok users — because the company is subject to Chinese national security law.

TikTok has insisted it stores the data of American users in the United States outside of China's authority.

A U.S. House of Representatives working group has released its final report detailing possible ways to improve the nation's agricultural workforce.

The bipartisan Agricultural Working Group's efforts coincided with increased use of the federal H-2A visa program allowing producers to hire foreign workers on a temporary basis.

Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., and Don Davis, D-N.C., served as the working group's co-chairs.

STORY: Under Crawford’s leadership, U.S. House working group releases final report addressing agricultural labor woes

Thanks for listening to this week's episode of "Arkies in the Beltway!" Make sure to keep up to date with all news involving Arkansas at You can also stay informed about what's happening in the nation's capital by following me online; my social media handle across all platforms is @AlexHouseThomas.

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