Rep. Hill sees quick action on health care, tax reform in new Congress
U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, said tax reform and repealing the Affordable Care Act will be two certain items for action in the new Congress that will be seated in January 2017.
Hill, who appeared on Talk Business & Politics, is wrapping up his first term in office and offered his views on a wide range of subjects including border control, the Veterans administration, military spending and waste, Russian influence and President-elect Donald Trump’s business conflicts.
In his first full term in Congress, the Little Rock Republican has focused on border control by visiting the U.S.-Mexican border for on-site inspection on multiple occasions. With Trump calling for a “wall” between the two countries, Hill said he’s always taken that figuratively not literally.
“I always have. I call it a security wall, true. But in some places, it is the double-fencing road between it, like you see in El Paso and in San Diego. You get into these desert, mountainous areas, it may take a different technique,” Hill said.
Hill recently awarded his monthly Golden Fleece for government waste to the Pentagon, which revealed it may have suppressed a report showing $125 billion in potential waste. Hill quoted former Bush Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield who often complained that “one of the biggest problems we have in the Pentagon is we have a World War II culture and staffing levels with a 21st century need.”
Will Cong. Hill support more military spending despite the massive potential Pentagon waste?
“I think the military’s budget is, in my view, if it’s funded at the level it is, it’s adequate, but I think you’ve got an example here from my Golden Fleece, there’s need for serious reform both in the procurement,” he said, adding that he also feels the Pentagon staffing may be bloated.
In the new Congress, Hill said that he expects much action on the tax reform front. He indicated that lowering the C-corporation rate on businesses as well as removing territorial taxation differences would result in jobs stimulation. Hill also suggested that collapsing the tax rates for families into a simpler, more streamlined process would be pushed, including personal income taxes that could be filled out on a postcard.
“I do support that,” Hill said. “One of the biggest complaints about our income tax system is how complicated it is to fill out and comply when you’re in the Spring pay-up mode.”
Hill does expect a “repeal and replace” effort for the Affordable Care Act. He sees Congress “unplugging the fiscal plumbing” of Obamacare through the budget process, but he warned that the lack of a future plan could roil health care markets.
“Under no circumstances should you go through the repeal process without a transition period that maintains service and a transition-appropriate service level to the people that have either exchange policies or under the expanded Medicaid-type policies,” he said.
With potential conflicts of interest between President-elect Donald Trump’s business empire and his conduct of American domestic and foreign policy, Hill said he’s hoping for a “bright line” so that it’s clear that conflicts are avoided.
On recent reports of Russian influence in the latest U.S. elections, Hill emphasized two areas he hoped to see bipartisan support. One, he wants a “common view” between the executive and legislative branches of what Russia did or didn’t do. He also wants to see a publicly-released position of American policy on dealing with these types of situations.
“What is the federal policy for a counter-cyber attack that can be made public?” Hill said. “I’d like to make sure that the incoming administration and the Intelligence committees on the Hill have that plan. What is our official U.S. government policy on that?”
Watch his full interview in the video below.