Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - JUSTIN BLUM In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Philip Bump of The Wash­ing­ton Post.

catches sen­a­tors’ chat on D.C. strife.

WASH­ING­TON — At the end of a Se­nate ap­pro­pri­a­tions sub­com­mit­tee hear­ing Tues­day morn­ing, Chair­man Su­san Collins, R-Maine, was heard mock­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tive who had sug­gested he would chal­lenge her to a duel if she weren’t a woman be­cause of her op­po­si­tion to hold­ing a vote to get rid of the 2010 health care law.

“He’s huge,” Collins said of Rep. Blake Far­en­thold, R-Texas, “He’s so unattrac­tive, it’s un­be­liev­able.”

Collins had for­got­ten to turn off her mi­cro­phone and was speak­ing with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., ap­par­ently un­aware that their con­ver­sa­tion was picked up.

Reed told Collins: “Do you know why he chal­lenged you to a duel? Be­cause you could beat the s**t out of him first.”

On Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to The Texas Tribune, Far­en­thold told a ra­dio host: “Some of the peo­ple that are op­posed to [hold­ing the vote to re­peal the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act], there are fe­male sen­a­tors from the North­east. … If it was a guy from South Texas, I might ask him to step out­side and set­tle this Aaron Burr-style.”

Burr, then the sit­ting vice pres­i­dent, shot and killed ad­ver­sary Alexan­der Hamil­ton, the for­mer Trea­sury sec­re­tary, dur­ing a duel in Wee­hawken, N.J., in 1804.

On Tues­day af­ter­noon, Collins said in a state­ment that she re­ceived a hand­writ­ten apol­ogy from Far­en­thold. And she called the Texas law­maker to say she’s sorry.

“Nei­ther weapons nor in­ap­pro­pri­ate words are the right way to re­solve leg­isla­tive dis­putes,” she said.

On an­other topic, Reed and Collins dis­cussed their un­ease with how Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion is deal­ing with the bud­get and the debt ceil­ing and ex­pressed con­cern about the im­pact.

“I swear, [the Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get] just went through and when­ever there was ‘grant,’ they just X it out,” Collins said. “With no mea­sure­ment, no think­ing about it, no met­rics, no noth­ing. It’s just in­cred­i­bly ir­re­spon­si­ble.”

“Yes,” Reed replied. “I think — I think he’s crazy,” ap­par­ently re­fer­ring to the pres­i­dent. “I mean, I don’t say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy.”

“I’m wor­ried,” Collins replied.

Collins added, “I don’t even think he knows there is a BCA” — re­fer­ring to Trump and the Bud­get Con­trol Act, a 2011 law that de­fines the bud­get process.

“He was down at the Ford com­mis­sion­ing,” Reed said, re­fer­ring to Trump’s week­end event launch­ing a new air­craft car­rier, “say­ing, ‘I want them to pass my bud­get.’ OK, so we give him $54 bil­lion and then we take it away across the board, which would cause chaos.” “Right,” Collins replied. “It’s just — and he hasn’t — not one word about the bud­get. Not one word about the debt ceil­ing,” Reed said.

Both ex­pressed con­cern about the mixed mes­sages com­ing from the ad­min­is­tra­tion about leg­is­la­tion to raise the debt ceil­ing to avoid a de­fault by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. The gov­ern­ment will reach its statu­tory limit on bor­row­ing some­time in Oc­to­ber, the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice es­ti­mates.


“Nei­ther weapons nor in­ap­pro­pri­ate words are the right way to re­solve leg­isla­tive dis­putes,” Sen. Su­san Collins said Tues­day af­ter she and Rep. Blake Far­en­thold of Texas ex­changed apolo­gies.


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