Rice talks health care, immigration, tax reform at town hall-style event

Rice talks health care, immigration, tax reform at town hall-style event

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – U.S. Rep. Tom Rice was back in Horry County on Friday for a town hall meeting, held one day after the House passed a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The conversation between the Republican Rice and the audience went well beyond health care. While many in the crowd were supporters of the GOP platform and the local congressman, there were points when the comments boiled over.

One member of the crowd said they were "sick of the whole damn bunch of you."

"I don't want to get in a shouting match," Rice responded. "The Democrats, when Mr. Obama came in for his first term, something that's very rare, I don't know if Republicans have had it in probably 100 years, they had a majority in the House. They had 60 senators, which means they didn't need a single Republican vote for anything and they pushed through two major initiatives. Those were Obamacare and Dodd Frank. Both have been disastrous for our economy."

A big topic of conversation was tax reform, something Rice has worked on his entire time in Washington. He described to the crowd what it's like to work with the White House and President Donald Trump.

"If he's not on board, it's got no chance whatsoever, none," Rice said. "We did a two-day retreat, we've done these over and over again. The most recent one was this weekend, a guy from the White House was there. I don't want to talk in too much detail - there's a camera on me I got a microphone right here - but we're still working out the details and we'll see where we are."

Rice also touched on the importance of compromise when it comes to getting anything done in Washington. He said he recently read the book "Hamilton," and it taught him compromise played a big role in the founding of the country.

"I've always felt like our Constitution was divinely inspired and put together by brilliant people who were put together by God at the right time, and I still believe that," Rice said. "But if you read that, and how frustrated they all were when they came out of there and how they all felt like because they'd all compromised in all these different directions. People who wanted a stronger government or weaker government so on and so forth, they didn't feel like what they came up with would work."

Rice discussed immigration as well, saying he would support a border wall if it came up for a vote, but he believes the best way to remove illegal immigrants from the U.S. is to make using E-verify a federal law.

As far as the health care debate was concerned, Rice said he did not read the whole bill before voting on it, but added his staff did and he had a good understanding of what was in it.

Rice said he did not attend the White House celebration Thursday night following the vote, feeling it wasn't a time to party as there was still a lot of work that needs to be done.

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