In a wide-ranging TV interview, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, paid tribute to former University of Arkansas coach and athletic director Frank Broyles, assessed the President’s handling of the Charlottesville fallout, and said the Senate has been the primary reason the Republican legislative agenda in Congress has been slow.
Womack appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics. He said he first met Frank Broyles, who passed away last week at the age of 92, in his early days in radio.
“We worked closely on a lot of things. You know not just coverage of athletics, but most of my relationship with Coach Broyles dates back to the time he was athletic director and then in the aftermath of his directorship at the University of Arkansas,” Womack said. “I was a mayor for a good part of that time and trying to build and grow a destination type community. Razorback athletics was a key part of that as was public safety and good healthcare, and K-12 education, those kinds of things.”
The Third District Congressman, who is seeking re-election in 2018, said Broyles’ contributions to the quality of life in Northwest Arkansas put him in the same league with many of the business titans in state history.
“In building the university and in creating a quality of life using that Razorback image and persona, the things he did to elevate our region, he ranks right up there with the likes of the Waltons and the Tysons and the Hunts of the world. You have to add the name Broyles into that mix because of what he brought to the table,” he said.
When asked about a lack of progress in Congress on key issues ranging from healthcare to tax reform to the budget, Rep. Womack said he and his House colleagues have done a lot this calendar year. It’s the U.S. Senate that has been the biggest stumbling block to the GOP-controlled Congress and the White House.
Womack noted that the House of Representatives has passed a healthcare bill to repeal Obamacare, marked up and reported a budget, queued up 12 appropriation bills, and successfully passed several regulatory reforms.
“The House has been very busy. We’ve been very active, a little chagrined that we haven’t taken the budget and the appropriations issues all the way to the finish line. We could have done that the week that we began the August recess. But when we come back after Labor Day, I’m confident that Speaker Ryan and the leadership team will put these items on the floor, give us a chance to move them through, send them to the Senate,” Womack said.
“And then, we’ll just hope and pray that the Senate will take those up and we can get them across the finish line. Maybe to conference and eventually to the desk of the president. And that’s how the legislative process works. Too often people want to paint members of the House with a broad brush and say, ‘You guys haven’t gotten anything accomplished.’ Well, in fact we have gotten a lot of things accomplished, but we do have to have our partners in the Senate to work with us,” he added.
Womack shared praise and criticism of President Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville crisis that resulted in a clash between neo-Nazis and counterprotestors. He said while “armchair quarterbacking” has taken place, the President should be more definitive in his statements.
“You know the fact that the president used some restraint because of the investigation, I’m okay with that. Doubling down on some of that, some of those comments in the Tuesday news conference, not so much so,” Womack said. “I think this we can all agree on, there’s no place — and it matters not if you’re the president of the United States or just Joe six pack out here — there’s no place in this country for the type of hatred and vitriol that is spewed by people who claim to be white supremacists or white nationalists, anti-semitic, KKK and any other said organization. No place at all, you can’t defend it. The president can’t defend it. I can’t defend it and would never try. This is not who we are as Americans.”
Watch Womack’s full interview in the video below.