Arkansas’s congressional delegation is returning to Washington D.C. this week after a late-summer recess and halting federal funds to Planned Parenthood is a priority. Central Arkansas’s U.S. Representative French Hill wants a moratorium on funding while an investigation is launched. But the freshman Republican isn’t yet drawing a hard line in the sand over the looming funding battle.
KAUFFMAN: One of the looming topics that has built in momentum during this break is the Planned Parenthood videos. They’ve continued to come out and there’s speculation that some Republicans might be willing to shutdown the government, so to speak. How do you feel about that idea, is it worth a shutdown fight?
HILL: I think that people’s reaction to the Planned Parenthood videos, regardless of their feelings about Planned Parenthood or its services have been pretty shocking and visceral. I do support a House investigation by the Judiciary Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee to get behind those videos, find out the facts in the case, and bring that information out to the public.
I also support a moratorium in federal funds until we do get to the bottom of it. You asked about a government shutdown and my view is that the Congress has an obligation to fund our government, make sure our government has the resources to function. I’d like to think we can resolve concerns over the investigation of Planned Parenthood and still provide adequate resources to the functioning of the government.
KAUFFMAN: With the idea that there needs to be an investigation for any final vote to be made on Planned Parenthood, because at this point there’s no proven crime even if the conduct might be shocking or reprehensible to some Arkansans, does that mean with the moratorium though, would you have that be a red line about certain funding bills? Would you need that to be included?
HILL: I just think it’s something that Congress should consider in the investigation first, and in my view I don’t personally think that this investigation or whether or not that funding, should be the cause of shutting the government down. I think people are shocked by the videos, they want to know what the legal situation is, what the facts in the circumstances are and that deserves a thorough and capable investigation.
KAUFFMAN: Looking more broadly at the idea of fetal tissue research, before these videos were released were you in favor of a ban or a moratorium in funding for Planned Parenthood, or clinics, even hospitals that engage in fetal tissue research?
HILL: I’m a pro-life individual so I’m not personally supportive of fetal tissue being used. I’m opposed to the idea of federal funds being used directly for abortion but I do think, in fairness to the whole effort, that a proper investigation should be looked at in what’s going on at Planned Parenthood.
KAUFFMAN: Do you think that investigation should be widened to include hospitals that perform abortions and receive fetal tissue?
HILL: I think we ought to look at the facts that deal with the Planned Parenthood matter explicitly, and see what the facts and circumstances are and then take it from there.