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Congressman French Hill

Representing the 2nd District of Arkansas

Rep. French Hill: Policy at the center of Obamacare vote, Speaker Ryan leadership

January 31, 2016

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, says Congress has changed under House Speaker Paul Ryan’s leadership with more emphasis on policy and less on politics.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock, Hill looked back at his first year in office, which included the seismic leadership shift of Speaker John Boehner’s resignation and Rep. Paul Ryan’s ascent.

“Paul Ryan is all business. I think Boehner was more of a political leader. He took a political approach to things,” Hill said. “I think of Paul Ryan as more studied, more committed. I think he’s very good on television, he’s a good communicator. And he’s the first policy-oriented speaker we’ve had since Newt Gingrich back in the 1990’s.”

One area of continued Congressional debate is the battle over keeping the Affordable Care Act, originally passed in 2009. Six years and many repeal votes later, the Republican-controlled Congress has finally pushed a repeal bill to President Obama’s desk. He vetoed it and now the GOP Congress is pushing a vote to override the veto, but the votes are expected to fall short.

“I don’t think it’s a waste of time,” Hill says of the effort that appears in vain. “This is the first bill that repeals the core features of Obamacare and sends it to his desk and let’s him veto it…I think people felt like they were fulfilling a commitment to do that and it tees up the discussion about how do you replace Obamacare, how do you have that discussion.”

With a Presidential election looming in 2016, odds of a deeper discussion or any real Congressional action on the ACA is a long-shot, according to most Washington observers. Hill said with Ryan’s policy experience, he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a replacement version of legislation being introduced for debate.

“I think we could,” said Hill. “Ryan led the GOP debate over policy differences in the original healthcare reform debate.”

Watch Hill’s full interview below.