COVID-19 Update | December 9, 2020
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Dear Friend,

Every year, it is vital that Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act in order for Congress to determine how best to utilize the dollars from hard-working American taxpayers for our national defense and security priorities.

Yesterday, H.R. 6395, the William M. Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by a bipartisan vote of 335-78.

This year, the NDAA will include a cost of living raise for the servicemen and servicewomen who defend our nation. It will also support our local mission at the Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB) by allocating funds to upgrade our nation’s C-130 fleet and enabling LRAFB to continue its crucial role in our military’s airlift capabilities in the years to come.

This year’s NDAA also includes two of my national security priorities, both of which already passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan approval.

One of these policies, the Ensuring Chinese Debt Transparency Act, will address the transparency of lending terms between developing countries and China. With the expansion of the Chinese Community Party’s (CCP) ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, and the country’s growing role as an international creditor, there is a need for greater transparency within lending terms to ensure that the CCP does not take advantage of developing nations and economies. My legislation would promote this transparency and regulate the guidelines by which developing countries receive lending from the CCP and other international financial institutions (IFIs), such as the IMF and World Bank.

The other bill included was the Cooperate with Law Enforcement Agencies and Watch (CLAW) Act, which helps the financial services industry partner with law enforcement agencies to monitor the flow of cash associated with criminal activities.

During my time as a community banker, I was conflicted between wanting to help law enforcement agencies but being limited by Anti-Money Laundering or Bank Secrecy Act requirements. My bill would promote cooperation between these two groups allowing law enforcement agencies to keep our financial system safe from criminals and terrorists while removing the conflicting repercussions for the financial services industry.

I am proud that the passage of the NDAA will implement policies such as these, and that our country will continue to safeguard our national security.

Working to Achieve Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief

As Congress continues to deliberate on a COVID-19 relief package, I will continue to fight for Arkansas families, workers, and small businesses.

In my interview with KARK News’ Jay Bir, I talked about how House Republicans are advocating for a bill that will extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), increase the flexibility that governors have to spend funds from the CARES Act and increase funding for vaccine development and distribution.

Over the past few months, Speaker Pelosi has consistently failed to negotiate with House Republicans to produce a bipartisan piece of legislation to implement COVID-19 relief. That is why House Republicans are working to produce a bill with a bipartisan group of senators, which will provide needed relief for hardworking Americans.

This proposed bill will extend funds from the CARES Act to governors until September 2021, as well as provide funds for vaccine distribution and COVID-19 tracing and testing.

It will also provide funding to our educational institutions, which have been hit hard by the pandemic, and extend the PPP providing our restaurants, hotels, and small businesses a second chance at applying for the program.

I will continue to fight for solutions that will give Arkansans the tools they need to help defeat the virus and restore our economy.

HBCU Legislation Passes House

Developing Career Opportunities for Arkansas Students

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play a critical role in America by giving thousands of students the opportunity to pursue their dreams and aspirations.

As the Vice-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus, I am encouraged by Senator Tim Scott’s legislation, the HBCU PARTNERS Act, as it draws upon partnerships – public, private, and community – to strengthen our HBCUs.

Recently, I spoke on the House Floor to encourage my colleagues to vote with me in favor of the HBCU PARTNERS Act in order to help students achieve a college education and help them start on the pathway to achieving their academic and career aspirations.

In central Arkansas, we are blessed with four outstanding HBCUs – Arkansas Baptist College, Philander Smith College, Shorter College, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. I am committed to supporting our HBCUs and helping Arkansas students graduate prepared for a competitive global economy.

Last year, I hosted the first HBCU Summit in Little Rock to support and develop partnerships for our HBCUs in philanthropy, student recruitment and advancement, workforce partnerships, and apprenticeship programs.

Every student in America deserves the opportunity to succeed in the global competitive environment. For thousands of students in Arkansas and across the country, HBCUs offer the essential tools to help students seize that opportunity. 

Hong Kong Legislation Passes House

As the people of Hong Kong cry out to the free world for support against tyranny, the United States stands at their side, calling on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to honor our 1984 treaty commitments and aid those seeking refuge and freedom.

Recently, I spoke on the House Floor to encourage our elected leaders to support the people of Hong Kong in their pursuit of democracy against the CCP, which threatens Hong Kong’s freedom and autonomy.

I commend Congressman Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) on his bill, H.R. 8428, the Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act, which will give those seeking refuge on our shores the protection they need.

Like all nations around the globe, the people of Hong Kong look to the United States as a symbol of freedom and democracy and as a nation that stands as a beacon of hope in a sea of global despair for two and a half centuries.

In my travels to Hong Kong, I have witnessed firsthand the innovative spirit and dedicated work ethic of its citizens. Hongkongers, like those in many nations, look to the United States as a symbol of freedom and opportunity, and likewise want to emulate those principles in their own government.

We must continue to fight for Hongkongers and allow these democracy-loving people to taste the freedoms we Americans get to enjoy every day. 

International Space Station Broadcast with Arkansas Students

Downlink Conversation Livestream Available

This Thursday, December 10, Nettleton STEAM Intermediate School students are preparing for a once in a lifetime experience. Students in grades 3-6 science classes will share a downlink conversation with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Arkansas PBS has partnered with NASA, Arkansas State University, Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Nettleton High School to promote this exciting event.

While the astronauts aboard the International Space Station are accustomed to sharing downlinks with different organizations here on Earth – no one has ever communicated with the Space Station directly from Arkansas – until now!

In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of astronauts living and working continuously aboard the International Space Station, NASA offered the chance for young astronauts here on Earth to earn the opportunity to communicate with the scientists currently aboard.

I congratulate the students of Nettleton STEAM Intermediate School for this opportunity, and I commend them on their hard work put into their projects this semester. The students’ water filtration systems, robotic arms, plant growth chambers, and space suits are an amazing achievement for primary education. They are exemplary young scientists: using the tools and technology of today to help solve the problems of tomorrow.

Arkansas PBS will be capturing the magic of the downlink conversations, which will begin with a pre-event show, featuring opening remarks from Arkansas leaders including Governor Asa Hutchinson and former President Bill Clinton. We will also have space-inspired art and music created by Nettleton STEAM students.

The pre-event will start at 9:30 AM CT, and the in-flight downlink is scheduled for 10:25 AM tomorrow. To view the livestream, please visit HERE. 


In Arkansas, I am proud that our students strive to follow their goals and set themselves on a path destined for success.

Earlier this week, I honored the achievements and aspirations of Mr. Clayton Boothe -- a student at Maumelle High School.

Clayton has a broad span of interests -- from founding his high school's chess team to being a member of the National Honor Society, ranked at the top of his class, and a semi-finalist in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship program, out of 1.5 million national applicants.

As an aspiring novelist and member of the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra, Clayton also has high academic aspirations, as he plans to attend Northwestern University in Chicago.

Clayton is a bright and dedicated young man, and I expect him to succeed wherever life takes him. 


Both Federal and Private Insurance Enrollment Period

If you plan to enroll in 2021 Marketplace health insurance or wish to change your existing coverage, now is the time to do so. You currently have just over 1 week until the deadline on December 15th, 2020, to make these changes. Plans purchased during this period will take effect on January 1, 2021.

If you do not complete your enrollment by Tuesday, December 15th, you will be unable to get 2021 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

  • Create an account HERE
  • Update your application and compare plans for 2021 HERE
  •  Preview 2021 plans with estimates based on income HERE

The open enrollment period for Medicare ended on Monday, December 7, 2020. Any changes made during the open enrollment period to either enroll within Medicare or change a current plan will take effect on January 1, 2021.

For more information about your current plan’s costs, benefits, and rules for 2021, please visit HERE.

It is important to note that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be more changes than usual this year when enrolling within private and employer-based insurance plans.

I am proud to have a dedicated team in Arkansas who can assist you with matters involving the federal government. If you have any questions about Social Security benefits, the Internal Revenue Service, or federal healthcare programs, please contact my office at (501) 324-5941 or visit Hill.House.Gov.  

Representative French Hill 
Representative French Hill

Office Locations
Washington, DC Office
1533 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2506
Fax: (202) 225-5903
Conway Office
1105 Deer Street, Suite 12
Conway, AR 72032
Phone: (501) 358-3481
Fax: (501) 358-3494
Little Rock Office
1501 N. University Ave., Suite 630
Little Rock, AR 72207
Phone: (501) 324-5941
Fax: (501) 324-6029
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