Washington, D.C. roundup | Arkansas Blog

Washington, D.C. roundup

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Paul Barton checks in from Washington with a roundup of items related to Arkies in the capital.

U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder is working on the great Sultana riverboat disaster .... U.S. Rep. Mike Ross described as key on climate issues (sigh) ... a Catholic group is praising our senators ... Tim Hutchinson has a new lobbying client.

BY PAUL BARTON

Surprise Caller …..

WASHINGTON  - During  the second hour of the “Diane Rehm Show’ on National Public Radio this morning – a favorite listen-to of the Capital’s elite - none other than Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder of Little Rock was a surprise caller.
   Substitute host Katty Kay of the BBC was interviewing Alan Huffman, author of a new book on the sinking of the Sultana, a Mississippi River boat that was carrying Union soldiers from Vicksburg, Miss. to back across the Mason-Dixon line on April 27, 1865. Boilers on the ship exploded in the middle of the night, killing at least 1,700 and resulting in the worst maritime accident in U.S. history, exceeding even the Titanic.
    But little has been known or written about the accident, because, despite the enormous loss of life, government officials at the time did their best to sweep it – and questions of accountability – under the rug, Huffman said. Further, he added, it had to compete for headlines that month with two other events -  the end of the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln
   Snyder called in to praise the author and to say he, too, is trying to change the lack of  knowledge about the incident. On April 2,  he introduced House Resolution 329, recognizing the anniversary of the tragedy. It’s been referred to the House Armed Services Committee, but Snyder said he expected House floor approval soon.
    Meanwhile, Huffman described several tidbits about the sinking that related to the state, including that remains of the craft are now buried under farm land in east Arkansas, due to the shifting of the Mississippi over 144 years.


Environmentalists are identifying Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas as a key lawmaker to persuade in the upcoming debate over climate legislation, according to Environment and Energy Daily and the website citizensdailylobby.com. Environment and Energy Daily said Ross could be an influential vote on President Obama’s proposals because of his membership in fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, his seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and his influence with the state’s two moderate Democratic Senators, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. The environmental publication quotes Pryor as saying:  “I guarantee you if Mike Ross is with it, it goes a long way with me if he’s for it. I still have to make a judgment myself. But if he’s OK with it, it means a lot to me.”


The liberal group Catholics United has sent a big thank you to senators from “purple” states that have supported the economic recovery proposals of President Obama, according to U.S. News and World Report’s website. The Catholic group has launced radio ads praising Lincoln and Pryor, as well as Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Warner and James Webb of Virginia, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill.  Part of the script for the add reads:
  In First Thessalonians, Chapter 5 verses 14 through 18 Paul writes,
" . . . encourage the fainthearted, help the weak . . . seek after that which is good for one another and for ALL people . . . and in everything, give thanks."
Today, people of faith across [STATE] give thanks to Senator [NAME] for supporting the economic recovery plan in next year's budget.”
Pryor has expressed irritation with such thank-you’s from such liberal groups recently, saying they need to understand he doesn’t represent President Obama, just his Arkansas constituents.


Former Republican senator-turned-lobbyist Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas has the government of Turkey as one of his new clients, according to a report last week in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper. Hutchinson is lobbying on Turkey’s behalf along with Denny Hastert, former Republican speaker of the House from Illinois. Both Hastert and Hutchinson work at the Washington law and lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro. The Hill said their contract with Turkey is valued at $35,000 per month.

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