U.S. Rep. French Hill was generally pleased with the tone and subject matter in President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union speech, but the second term Republican Congressman said he wants many more details before committing to specific programs.
Hill, appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, said Trump’s proposals to reform immigration policy from family unification to merit-based is worth exploring.
“When I think about merit-based, it’s both skilled and unskilled labor, and it’s based on a change in approach from a purely genealogical family unification approach,” Hill said. “When we had family unification, beginning in the 1920s to the 1960s, we said, ‘If you immigrate to this country, you can legally immigrate to this country, you could bring your parents over from the old country to the United States, or if you were married, you could bring your spouse over.’ But then it extended to brothers and sisters, sisters-in-law, cousins, and really the family unification definition became very, very broad and drove our immigration policy.”
Hill contends that this takes up a lot of positions in the immigration visa/green card capability of the U.S. and that focusing more on labor needs could be a positive reform.
On infrastructure, Hill holds some of the conservative purse-string precautions that many deficit hawks have in Congress. Trump proposed a $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan to retool airports, highways and bridges. Hill said he’d need to see much more intricate language before committing to something that could be a budget buster.
“Is it $100 billion over 10 years? That was left unsaid. He did mention both public and private infrastructure investment, so how much of the trillion would be private sector, such as the expansion of the Keystone Pipeline or the Dakota Pipeline, just to name two? How would we set priorities for what kind of infrastructure?” Hill asked.
He said tax reform could soften the budget blow but he’s not for spending money ahead of stronger revenue collections.
“So, I haven’t seen the financing proposals, but to go borrow money in the treasury market to do it is something that I’ve have difficulty personally supporting,” Hill said.
Watch his full interview below in which Rep. Hill offers his assessment of the positives and negatives of Trump’s Congressional speech, his thoughts on health care reform, and his efforts to meet with constituents in the district without holding town halls.