U.S. Rep. French Hill up for security review for Congress, private sector approach at VA; still stands by healthcare vote

by Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net) 295 views 

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, has had time to reflect on the shootings that targeted Republican Congressional members last week, but he’s cautious on going too far, too fast on changes to security.

Hill, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, said that U.S. Capitol police may need to re-think gatherings of elected officials, but individual members need to rely on local law enforcement, if needed.

“Generally, I think that when people are working in their district, they need to be aware and use good judgment about the circumstances they’re in, and if there’s a necessity for local law enforcement to perhaps be at an event or something, that might be helpful,” he said.

“In this instance, though, where there’s a group of members, and it’s publicly known that they’re going to be at this place, at this time, I think the Capitol police should reassess any assemblage of members of Congress, even off the Capitol grounds,” Hill added.

Other issues discussed during the interview included Trump’s new Cuba policy, banking regulatory relief, reforms at the Veterans Administration, and the GOP effort to undo Obamacare. Some highlights:

On the VA: “I think Congress’s approach has been to contribute more money, they’ve almost more than doubled the budget and added 100,000 people in the last decade, so they really just applied more financial resources, and the results have not been demonstratively better.”

“If you look at that healthcare system, the VA healthcare system, versus a privately-run health distribution system, let’s look at benchmarking productivity, and I hope Dr. Shulkin, who’s the new VA Secretary — I think the only Trump cabinet official to get close to 100% of the vote in the Senate — will bring that private sector management approach to streamlining the VA and making it more accountable.”

On the GOP healthcare plan: “I do support my vote in the House for the plan because the vote to not support it would to be to support the status quo of a failing system where we’re losing healthcare providers, we’re seeing soaring premiums, we’re seeing soaring deductibles for families, and people dropping out of the individual market, which was the whole intent of the Affordable Care Act. I’m hoping the Senate will now bring their creativity to the process, and will actually have a joint product that we can all support, and improve healthcare for our families.”

“Absolutely it was to keep the process going, it was to take the best ideas we could get through the U.S. House of Representatives and move it to the Senate to see what their ideas were, which are different.”

On Cuba: “The key that we’re trying to do is not only get private financing for agricultural products in Cuba, but also get a recipient and a distributor of those ag products that’s not the Castro regime.”

On bank regulatory changes: “We have an off-ramp for community banks, that if you keep a 10% tier-one leverage ratio – which is very high – to be well-capitalized, the government says 5% is well-capitalized in tier one leverage, so that’s how much capital you have for your assets. That allows a community bank to have a lighter touch in their regulatory policy, while maintaining those rules – those harsh, more difficult, more complex rules – for the big too-big-to-fail banks. So I think it’s a good approach to right-sizing bank regulations.”

Watch Rep. Hill’s full interview below.