Public Radio from UA Little Rock
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Reps. Womack, Hill believe McCarthy will be speaker; discuss future Congressional action

U.S. Rep. French Hill of Arkansas' 2nd congressional district, seen here in 2018, was one of 35 Republicans to join Democrats in voting to support creation of an independent commission to probe the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Michael Hibblen
/
KUAR News
U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, speaks with KUAR News in this 2018 file photo.

U.S. Reps. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, and French Hill, R-Little Rock, believe California Congressman Kevin McCarthy will be the next Speaker of the House. Womack and Hill appeared back-to-back weeks on Capitol View.

Womack said McCarthy has work to do to get the 218 votes needed to secure the speakership, but he thinks that will happen. Hill said McCarthy is putting together a coalition, but not electing him as speaker would benefit Democrats.

“I do think Kevin McCarthy makes it to Speaker of the House because to do something otherwise would empower Democrats. And I think that’s a major unifying force in the Republican conference,” Hill said. “He won his election in the conference to be conference leader, I think 188 to 31. He had a lot of people speak in favor of his nomination from the Freedom Caucus, for example. So I think he’s putting together a coalition to be elected.”

In the next Congress, Womack said he expects to have a key role on one of the most influential appropriations committees in D.C.

“I’m a senior appropriator. And for those that don’t pay attention to Congress and the discretionary budget, there are 12 separate subcommittees, 12 different titles and appropriations. And right now I’m the ranking member, the senior Republican on the Financial Services and General Government subcommittee, which cuts quite a swatch across the federal agencies. When you go from the Department of the Treasury to the judiciary to the executive office of the White House, you’ve got quite a bit of stroke there. And my expectation is that I will be the cardinal on that subcommittee,” Womack said.

Hill, a former banker, said he hopes to chair a subcommittee in the financial services realm.

“I’ll be a subcommittee chairman in the House Financial Services committee. And that portfolio that I’ll have in this Congress is still being discussed, I’ll say. And I’m going to be active in my foreign affairs work where I’ve been a leading voice on religious freedom around the world and holding Assad’s regime accountable in Syria. And in trying to work on America’s leadership in the multilateral space, like at the United Nations or in the development banks to counter a very specific strategy by China to take over behind the scenes in that multilateral space. So I’m going to be spending some time on that next conference,” Hill said.

Between now and then, Congress still has work to do with Democrats in charge. Hill hopes the National Defense Authorization bill that passed the House this summer will clear the Senate before year’s end. Womack says a looming government funding crisis has to get resolved before Christmas.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll get a budget funding the government of the United States beyond December 16th, which is where we’re funding now. If we don’t have something by then, we’ll lapse in appropriations and force a shutdown,” Womack warned.

You can view Hill’s and Womack’s interviews in the videos below.

Roby Brock is the Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics.