One of the most hotly-contested races in Arkansas during the 2020 election is the Second District congressional race. The Republican incumbent, Rep. French Hill, is facing off against Democratic challenger Joyce Elliott for control of one of Arkansas’ four U.S. House of Representatives seats.
Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014, Hill has been reelected to his 2nd District seat in 2016 and 2018. He serves on the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services and is a member of the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy as well as a member of the CARES Act Congressional Oversight Commission, according to his House biography.
Arkansas Money & Politics has assembled a “cheat sheet” of policy positions for state voters. AMP asked Hill on his positions on various issues related to the U.S. economy, education, elections, foreign policy and health care.
- Should the U.S. economy be shut down again if recommended by scientists? As we fight the virus, enhance effective therapeutics, and approve vaccines, we must learn how to live with the reality of COVID-19. Scientists have recommended wearing masks, social distancing, and higher awareness activities that expose those susceptible to complications of coronavirus, and all Americans should follow these recommendations.
- Should federal taxes be increased? No
- Should the federal minimum wage be increased? No, because minimum wage is better decided at the state level because states have the best awareness of the needs of their local economies and workers – not by politicians in D.C. looking for a one-size-fits-all solution.
- Should federal welfare benefits have work requirements? Yes, for all able-bodied adults without dependents. This was presented effectively in President Clinton’s welfare reforms in the 1990’s.
- Should the U.S. have a Universal Basic Income?
- Should there be a wealth tax? There already are taxes on wealth, as according to the Tax Foundation, in 2015, the top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97.2 percent of individual income taxes; all estates over $5.49 million for individuals and $10.98 million for couples are subject to the inheritance tax; and gains on realized long-term (held for more than one year) capital gains from sold assets are typically set at 15-20 percent, depending on income levels.
- Should for-profit charter schools receive federal funding? According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, for-profit charter schools account for only 12 percent of charter schools in the United States. Federal funding of education has increased significantly, but according to the Brookings Institution academic achievement of 17-year olds has remained flat for the last 50 years. We should improve outcomes in our public schools – not check a box by pouring more money without accountability, which is what Democrats want to do.
- Should student loan debt be forgiven? No, not unless the individual completes the current public service requirements. Further, I worked hard to create incentives in the CARES Act for employers to help employees pay off student loans. This approach would increase competition for workers and help workers with student loans.
- Should public college be tuition-free? No, and it’s time to stop pushing the myth that college is the only option because the skilled trades provide and equal or better chance at professional or financial freedom. We should increase the education of skilled trades and better educate students about the burden of student loan debt. Further, if not implemented correctly, this is another proposal that would end up being a subsidy for middle class and upper-class students who may not necessarily need financial aid to attend college. I do not believe the American taxpayer should be subsidizing the education of these students. The reason for these proposals is rising student loan debt. The “free college” tuition idea throws money at a problem rather than seeking solutions that help with the underlying problem of student loan debt. Higher education leaders and states are experimenting with ways to enhance education offerings in a more affordable and accessible manner.
- Should Election Day be a national holiday? Nearly every state allows some form of convenient early voting. We should encourage all states to adopt early voting for 7 days a week.
- Should the United States abolish the Electoral College? No, otherwise states like Arkansas would have even less say in the process of electing a president. The Founding Fathers debated the Electoral College and crafted a keen balance between populous states and those less populous. Each state, if it so chooses, can divide their electoral votes proportionately, like Nebraska and Maine.
- Should former felons be allowed to vote? I support Arkansas’ law that enables a felon to be eligible for the restoration of their vote.
U.S. FOREIGN POLICY
- Should the tariffs on China be maintained? That depends. “Across-the-board” tariffs like those on steel and aluminum are a blunt instrument that run the risk of causing negative repercussions on the American economy. However, select, targeted tariffs or the threat of tariffs can be effective in compelling change by a protectionist state or initiating negotiations for new trade agreements.
- Should the embargo against Cuba be eased or lifted? Cuba is still run by a communist dictatorship that has a history of meddling in other countries in the Western Hemisphere as most recently in the case of Venezuela. Cash transactions as currently allowed should be the only economic transactions Americans make with Cuba.
- Should the U.S. military budget be increased? After years of President Obama’s failed funding priorities, I have supported the funding bills for the U.S. military (the National Defense Authorization Act) each year I have been in Congress because we must maintain a technological and readiness edge on all near peer military competitors, like China and Russia. I support the mission of the National Guard and the Little Rock Air Base both of which are critical to Central Arkansas. We must be good stewards of the national defense budgets.
U.S. HEALTH CARE
- Should abortion be legal? I have taken every opportunity to protect the life of the unborn and vote against Democrat policies to expand abortion while maintaining the Hyde Amendment provisions that stipulate exceptions for extreme circumstances, such as rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.
- Should Americans be able to import prescription drugs? No, and the concern is that, while in many instances cheaper, the quality and safety of drugs exported from abroad cannot be guaranteed, as such imported drugs have not received the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- Should the federal government lower prescription drug costs? Yes, but only through bipartisan compromise, such as HR 19, the Lower Costs More Cures Act, which encourages innovation and competition, reduces the price of insulin, caps out-of-pocket costs in Medicare Part D, prevents patent-gaming by pharmaceutical companies, and provides more stability for our community pharmacists.
- Should the U.S. adopt a universal health care system? Health care run by the federal government would only result in the removal of choice for consumers by taking away their employer-sponsored healthcare, ration care, and increase the costs for the federal government. We should expand choice by letting people shop for health care across state lines while protecting preexisting conditions through guaranteed benefits pools, like Maine. Further, the costs of such a system are predicted to be in the tens of trillions of dollars. This would further strain an already strained federal budget and potentially bankrupt the current safety net programs we have today, such as Social Security and Medicare.
- Should the U.S. make available a public option for individuals to opt into Medicare? No, because it would bankrupt Medicare and Social Security and eliminate the choice and innovation responsible for the preservations of the lives of millions of Americans.