Cong. Tim Griffin (R) said he’s confident that the Second District seat he’s choosing to leave will remain in Republican hands.
Appearing on KARK’s Capitol View, Griffin said there are three good GOP candidates, but he’s not ready to show support for one candidate over another.
“I’m going to stay out of it for now. I’ll make up my mind on whether I change that position later on. If it becomes readily apparent to me who has the best chance to keep the seat, then I may go public on that later,” said Griffin, who announced last month that he would not seek re-election to a third term.
He added that he’s told all three GOP candidates – Rep. Ann Clemmer, banker French Hill, and Col. Conrad Reynolds – that he’ll give them as much advice as they’d like. Former North Little Rock mayor Pat Hays is the only announced Democrat for the seat.
Griffin also discussed the recent developments regarding health care reform, which included President Obama’s admission this week that he was sorry that some citizens are losing their health care plans that he said they could keep.
“I think he’s acknowledging the obvious, although if you look at what the President has said, he’s made it sound as if he took steps to avoid these cancellations in the early planning,” said Griffin.
Griffin said media reports that the President’s policy and political staffs bickered over his assertion that health plans could be kept show that Obama was deceptive in his remarks.
“It looks like to me they knew exactly where this was headed,” said Griffin, who added that the House was going to take up this week a measure to grandfather in existing health plans similar to legislation proposed by Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and supported by Sen. Mark Pryor (D).
“I think we are going to take up this exact issue in the House this week.
We’re going to pursue this as we basically say we’re going to make sure that what the President said is actually the exact policy of the country,” he said.
Asked what other actions Congress should take, Griffin said he still favors ultimate repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but he knows that won’t happen.
He contends healthcare.gov will eventually get fixed, but he said a “top-down, one-size-fits-all” approach to health care reform will “never work.”
“I’m advocating for the ultimate, which is to repeal it, and yes pursue health care reform, yes deal with pre-existing conditions, but that’s not going to happen – full repeal – we know that,” he said.
Griffin also discussed recent developments related to ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline, which ruptured in Mayflower earlier this year.
Last week, federal regulators slapped ExxonMobil with a $2.6 million fine. Griffin says the issue is far from settled.
“I’m open to stiffer fines, particularly as it relates to sensitive areas where water is at risk,” he said. “I think whatever it takes to get Exxon to do the right thing with this pipeline, consistent with the law of course, we’re going to pursue that.”
The Second District Congressman recently toured parts of the pipeline in the Lake Maumelle watershed with Central Arkansas Water officials.
“I feel more confident than ever in my view that the [pipeline] ought to be moved,” he said, noting that several areas of the pipeline are open to exposure to a natural disaster.
Rather than moving the pipeline, Griffin said it would be safer to quit using the existing infrastructure and build a new one.
“I think more likely you shut it down, as it is,” he said. “You wouldn’t dig that pipe up and move it. You would shut that one down and put the [new] pipe somewhere else.”
You can watch his full interview below.