Rep. Katie Hill (D., Calif.) is having a tough time in Congress so far, according to an interview she gave a newspaper in her California district.
In highlights from her conversation with the Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer, Hill laid out numerous grievances about the stress of her job, called President Donald Trump an authoritarian in the making, and sidestepped a question on paying for "Medicare for all."
Hill, one of the youngest new members of Congress at age 31, said she hardly has time to hang out with anybody, feels lonely, and only has 20 minutes at the end of the day to "decompress" with her roommate, Rep. Lauren Underwood (D., Ill.).
"It’s funny, because you don’t have a lot of time to hang out with, really, anybody," she said.
"The perception, I think, a lot of people have is that you guys sit around and make laws and then go out, and then—" interviewer Stephen Daniels said.
"I haven’t had a beer with any of my colleagues," Hill said. "The only person in any kind of lengthy period of time is Lauren, who’s my roommate, and that’s, like, you get home at 10 or 11 o’ clock at night and you, like, decompress about the day for like 20 minutes before you both pass out. It’s pretty lonely, to be honest with you, because you don’t—there’s literally just no time."
Hill also complained about the challenge of figuring out when to do "call time"—getting on the telephone and dialing for dollars. With elections never more than two years away for an incumbent House member, raising money is paramount.
"I’m trying to figure out when to do that, yeah. We’re fundraising now, yeah, we have to fundraise now. I’m trying to figure out when to work it in," she said.
"You literally have to cross the street to another building," Daniels said.
Hill said it was a "huge walk to walk in high heels in."
"Which is one of the hardest parts, too, right?" Hill said. "Like, you can’t just say ‘I’ve got an hour between things'—which you don’t really ever have, but—'let me do a few calls right now.' You have to leave the building to do that. Those buildings are big. And by the way, this is a stupid thing to even think about, but walking in high heels, it’s a huge place to walk in high heels in. My feet are always killing me, and so the thought of walking across the street is— I’ve not figured out the shoe situation yet."
Hill also addressed the Trump administration, which she likened to a rising dictatorship against which Republicans are unwilling to stand.
"They are not supportive of him," she said. "A lot of them are not supportive of him in the same way, but they are afraid of him because he has such a strong base, and when you think about the districts, about the way that they are gerrymandered and the way that they can be primaried, they’re afraid of Donald Trump, and they act accordingly."
"Until that chips away, and until people — no matter what your political affiliation is — recognize how this truly is about our democracy and what we leave to our children and whether or not we are moving towards a dictatorship, we are moving toward allowing crimes to be committed in the Oval Office and have people that are not accountable and are better than or above the law, then it doesn’t matter what we do," she added. "In fact, it can actually have a negative effect."
Asked to explain what she meant by "dictatorship," Hill tied Trump to the "rise in dictatorships and authoritarianism across the globe." It is worth noting that Hill and House Democrats were swept into the House majority in November's free elections.
"I think that one of the first things you see on the way to an authoritarian regime is attacking the press," Hill said. "It’s undermining election and reelections and being okay with this hacking that has happened, that we know for a fact, that his own Department of Defense and his own executive branch says for a fact has happened. Attacking the free press over and over and over again, that is exactly what are the first steps toward an authoritarian regime."
Daniels also bluntly asked how Democrats would pay for "Medicare for all," the cause du jour of 2020 presidential candidates that means different things to different politicians. Hill didn't answer the question, but she did say calling for the program was about "laying the marker" and starting a "conversation."
"The Medicare for All package kind of lays out, like, ‘this is how it should be.' It’s recognized that it doesn’t have a pay-for written into it and that that’s the part— We’re putting that out there to start having that conversation, and to say that we have to have that conversation to figure out how to pay for it," she said.
One study estimated implementing Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) vision of the universal health care program would cost $32 trillion over 10 years.