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Washington • Though yet to take office, Rep.-elect Mia Love made her first national political talk show appearance Sunday, harking back to her election pitch that fixing Washington means putting the power back in the American people to solve problems.
Love, a Utahn who will be sworn in Tuesday as the first black female Republican in congressional history, also said on ABC's "This Week" that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, under fire for speaking to a white supremacist group 12 years ago, should remain in his leadership role because he showed humility when news of the speech surfaced.
"These groups are awful," Love told host Martha Raddatz. "And the last thing I want to do is give them any sort of publicity or credibility, and I can say, as far as I'm concerned, with Rep. Scalise, he has been absolutely wonderful to work with. He's been very helpful for me, and he has had the support of his colleagues."
Love had previously tried to sidestep questions being raised about Scalise, issuing a statement that she had never spoken to him about the speech, but that he's been helpful to her as a new member.
Pressed by Raddatz on whether he should be ousted as a House leader, Love pushed back.
"There's one quality that he has that I think is very important in leadership, and that's humility," Love said. "And he's actually shown that in this case. And he's apologized, and I think that we need to move on and get the work of the American people done."
House Speaker John Boehner has backed Scalise as well, saying that the Louisiana Republican acknowledged his remarks to the group were wrong and inappropriate. Boehner added that Scalise has his full confidence as majority whip.
Love joined Sens.-elect Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina on "This Week" for a live roundtable discussion of how the new Congress will function with the GOP in charge of both sides of Capitol Hill.
Tillis noted that the first step would be to return Congress to regular order that is, passing bills out of committee and voting on amendments on the floor rather than legislating by last-minute, backroom deals.
"By just focusing on getting Congress back to function, then we can start doing things that will heal the economy and get our ... job creation situation and a number of other things back on track," Tillis said.
Love chimed in that President Barack Obama has an opportunity "to actually show that he wants to work with Congress," but that isn't enough.
"We have faced dysfunction because people on both sides of the aisle have said we want Americans to trust us again. And we've got that backwards," Love said, circling back to a theme of her 2014 campaign. "We have to trust the American people again, put the decision-making back in their hands so that they can make decisions in their homes, for their own health care, educating their own children and making sure that we're giving we're involving them in the political process."
The incoming Utah congresswoman added that, as she promised voters, she would work to change the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
"Look, I was elected by my districts to make sure that we get the decision-making back in their hands," Love said. "And I have said that I was going to do everything I can to repeal and replace it with something that is functional and get with broad health care reforms, free market health care reforms. And that's exactly what I'm going to do."