U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, said he hopes President Donald Trump will provide leadership to Congress on the issue of tax reform.
Appearing on this week’s Talk Business & Politics, Hill said that despite the failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and the vacancies that remain in the Trump administration, the President himself could give strong guidance.
“I think the Trump administration should step back and come forward with their own views on tax reform. And I think that would provide some leadership to the House and Senate,” Hill said.
“We have a clear view in the House of the preference of the Ways and Means Committee, but some of those provisions are not welcome in the Senate. So this is a great opportunity for the President to step up and deliver some leadership and fine tune the direction of tax reform.”
Hill would not commit as to whether or not a tax reform measure will succeed in the current session of Congress, but he’s expecting action.
“I think there’s going to be a worthy effort at getting it done because there are a lot of people who want to reform our tax system and make it more competitive. And that’s a good enough reason to try,” he said.
On the issue of health care reform, Hill expressed disappointment that the Ryan-Trump repeal and replace effort failed. He viewed its passage as key to tax reform. However, the Second District Republican says another effort could and should be put forth.
“I still think the House and Senate should try to do that. They should try to come up with a consensus plan that will leave the American people better off as it relates to access to affordable healthcare.”
Hill defended the effort of the last seven years to put forth a plan to replace the ACA, known as Obamacare. He said principles of a plan have been discussed, but a future GOP proposal will need more time for study.
“Putting it together, getting it in legislative language, I do think the American people needed more time to look at the pros and cons of it. I agree,” he said.
In his TB&P interview, Hill also touched on recent military activity in Syria and Afghanistan. He said the President already has authority to take action against ISIS and the dropping of a 21,000-pound MOAB in Afghanistan was within his latitude.
As for Syria, Hill says he has questions, but supported the President’s action, which he described as sending “a signal.”
“In the question of Syria, I think the issue there is what was the mission? This was a small proportionate strike against air fields in Syria. I think doing that one action was appropriate and didn’t require additional Congressional authorization, but I believe the Trump administration would need to come and consult with Congress if they expanded operations, particularly air operations, in Syria,” said Hill.
North Korea is another tricky international dilemma. Since Trump has taken office the communist regime has launched test missiles and worked to advance its nuclear capabilities. Does Hill think we are at the end of a diplomatic solution?
“I’m not sure because the linchpin in a diplomatic solution, really, still is China. And, as you know, since the Clinton administration, Bush administration, and Obama administration, three presidencies have made a commitment to make sure that North Korea doesn’t get a nuclear weapon. And over the past three presidencies they’ve continued to make progress,” said Hill.
“I still think that China is instrumental to the diplomacy and I’m looking forward to hearing from the administration of what progress they think they made between [Chinese] President Xi and President Trump’s talks. If you read the press here at the end of the week, maybe there’s some encouragement there, but I’d like to see what happens next.”
Hill will conduct a town hall on Monday with Sen. Tom Cotton at 2:00 p.m. at the west Little Rock Embassy Suites. Watch his full interview below.