Vice President Mike Pence will visit Little Rock tomorrow afternoon (Friday, March 24) the Republican Party of Arkansas announced today.
Pence will visit Little Rock Tours and Travel, a business on I-30’s Frontage Road, a few blocks south of Roosevelt Road.
Doors will open at 12:00 p.m. and Pence will deliver his remarks at 2:30, the RPA’s invite says. Guests are asked to park at Horace Mann Magnet Middle School, which is across the interstate, and should arrive early. (Horace Mann and other Little Rock schools are on spring break this week.)
The Democrat-Gazette reports that Pence’s visit is for purposes of a “health care listening session,” and says he’ll leave town after his remarks. Pence has visited other states in recent days, including Kentucky and Florida, to promote the Obamacare replacement plan being pushed by the Trump Administration and House Speaker Paul Ryan, the American Health Care Act.
(Update, 3:10 p.m.: Note that the owner of Little Rock Tours and Travel, Gina Martin, has been an outspoken critic of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, saying its implementation has negatively impacted her business.)
A number of congressional Republicans have stated their outright opposition to the AHCA or have expressed doubts about the bill, which disappoints both hardcore conservatives and moderates within the party for opposing reasons. Among their number is U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, of Arkansas’s first congressional district. Rep. French Hill, the congressman for the second district, which includes Little Rock, is a “yes” on the AHCA, according to the New York Times. So are the state’s other two congressmen.
The U.S. House is scheduled to vote on the AHCA today, so perhaps Pence’s visit is more about a different AHCA-skeptic further down the line: Sen. Tom Cotton, who has said the bill in its current form cannot pass the U.S. Senate. Conventional wisdom says the AHCA faces even longer odds in the Senate than the House, although its passage in the House is also now in doubt. Update, 3:10 p.m.: The House has postponed its vote on the AHCA as Republican defected from the struggling legislation.
For the record, Rep. Crawford still seems solidly opposed to the AHCA:
The bill currently maintains O-care’s overall structure/approach, an approach that cements the federal government’s role in health insurance https://t.co/fQMaHOSXfs
— Rep Rick Crawford (@RepRickCrawford) March 23, 2017