Washington, D.C. – On Monday, members of the House Freedom Caucus voted to elect Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) as Chairman. Rep. Meadows released the following statement:
“I am honored and humbled to receive the support of my colleagues for Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. It is a position that I take very seriously, and as we look toward the coming year, I am tremendously excited about the opportunities we will have to make a difference for Americans on Main Street. I want to thank my colleagues for entrusting me with their support – especially outgoing Chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan, for his outstanding leadership over our first two years.
The voters of this country sent an abundantly clear message on November 8th that they feel as though Washington does not represent them. Now, it’s time for Washington to do what it has failed to do for decades – listen. With a new administration coming in, the Freedom Caucus is ready to go to work on day one to help lead the fight to give Americans a voice in their government.”
Washington, D.C—On Wednesday, Rep. Mark Meadows’ (R –NC) bill to extend the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) authority to hear protests over civilian agency contracts passed the Senate. The bill passed the House in September and will now head to the President’s desk.
Whenever the government issues civilian agency contracts, individual contractors are permitted to protest the government’s decision before the GAO to ensure transparency and a fair process. A contractor can protest any civilian agency award over $10 million before the GAO. However, the GAO’s authority to hear civilian award protests expired on September 30, 2016. Effects of the expiration date have already been realized, as just last month, the GAO was forced to dismiss a significant protest over a National Institute of Health contract award.
Rep. Meadows’ bill would make the GAO’s authority permanent, similar to their permanent authority to hear Department of Defense task order protests. This will ensure that contractors to civilian agencies have the same rights as contractors to defense agencies.
“This is a common sense policy that I am thrilled to see pass the Senate,” Rep. Meadows said. “In the federal government’s issuing of contracts, transparency and fairness are always standards we should strive toward, and we are now one step closer to updating our laws and ensuring that civilian award protests can continue. I want to thank my friend, Congressman Gerry Connolly, for his work on the bill, and I look forward to the President giving the final signature.”
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) is an original cosponsor of the bill.
“I am glad to join my colleague, Congressman Mark Meadows, in applauding the passage of this common sense reform. This legislation ensures that contractors to civilian agencies continue to have the same right as contractors to defense agencies to protest task orders and to have that protest heard by the GAO. This bill will provide a level playing field and help make sure that the taxpayers are getting the best possible value for every dollar spent.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) today introduced the SuperPAC Elimination Act of 2017, which champions free speech in the election process and effectively eliminates SuperPACs by allowing unlimited individual contributions to candidates with immediate disclosure. In anticipation of the upcoming 2017 legislative session, the bill lays the foundation for meaningful reforms that better protect the interests of Americans, and will serve as a model for how we should approach championing free speech in campaign finance. The SuperPAC Elimination Act of 2017 will also be reintroduced upon the commencement of the next legislative session.
“Another election cycle has come and gone without addressing a glaring issue that remains significant: free speech and transparency in campaign finance,” Sen. Cruz said. “Our current campaign finance system is absurd. Right now, a large percentage—sometimes a majority—of campaign expenditures are made by independent third-party SuperPACs that are prohibited from communicating with candidates. That makes no sense. Candidates should define their own messages, and citizens should be free to support whatever candidates they choose to support. Restrictions to political contributions are always presented under the guise of preventing corruption and holding politicians accountable, when in fact they accomplish exactly the opposite: protecting incumbent politicians. This bill will put Americans on a level playing field with the media and politicians when it comes to influencing elections and exercising our First Amendment rights. Establishing unlimited contributions paired with immediate disclosure is the best way to promote transparency, eliminate the viability of SuperPACs going forward, and ensure that free speech is protected in the electoral process. I’m proud to work alongside Rep. Meadows to shed light on the political arena and advance this important legislation.”
“I am pleased to join my friend Sen. Cruz in a fight that I believe is critical for all Americans – the fight to ensure that individual citizens have an adequate say in our political process,” Rep. Meadows said. “Too often, our government uses campaign finance laws as a backdoor to increasing their own electoral influence while weakening that of the average American on Main Street. This is a bill that will take comprehensive steps to promote engagement, accountability, and transparency in our campaign finance system while putting every day Americans on a level playing field with bureaucrats in Washington. I look forward to working with Sen. Cruz and my colleagues in the House to advance this bill and to reaffirming the critical principle of free speech within our political system.”
Specifically, the SuperPAC Elimination Act removes the caps on direct contributions to candidates from individuals and requires donations of more than $200 to be disclosed within 24 hours. The bill will protect freedom of speech in America’s electoral process, while providing much-needed transparency in campaign finance.
Sen. Cruz first introduced the SuperPAC Elimination Act in 2014.
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement after announcing his intention to run for Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus:
“The coming year will be a critical period for the Freedom Caucus, and I am humbled at the opportunity to speak with our members and hopefully earn their support for chairman. From day one since our founding almost two years ago, the mission of the Freedom Caucus has been to give a voice to the countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. Our members are committed to developing and advancing a policy driven agenda that supports accountable and limited government, Constitutional rule of law, and principles that foster the liberty, safety, and prosperity of Americans. I look forward to hopefully earning the support of my colleagues and to building on the great work of my good friend, Jim Jordan, as we continue working to return our government to its rightful owner: the American people.”
Fires and flooding recovery keep FEMA active across North Carolina
BY ANNA DOUGLAS
Western North Carolina counties are continuously filing for federal emergency assistance as officials deploy more resources to fight wildfires, and disaster relief is still available for those affected by October flooding during Hurricane Matthew.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is active in more than half of North Carolina’s 100 counties, either providing individual assistance to past flooding victims or emergency funds for communities battling mountain blazes for more than two weeks. FEMA has also issued fire management assistance declarations for areas of South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia.
The offices of federal elected officials from North Carolina say they’re constantly monitoring FEMA’s response to ensure residents and local officials get the help they need.
In one case, a Western North Carolina congressman and his staff ventured to a fire incident command center late one night near the Party Rock fire affecting three mountain counties to help officials there go over FEMA paperwork. The application for emergency funding help was approved.
FEMA recently awarded emergency aid grants for several counties in the western part of the state where fire personnel are working to control wildfires under gusty, dry conditions. Two more counties – Swain and Graham – applied Monday for federal assistance to recoup costs associated with multiple fires. The federal grants will cover up to 75 percent of fire suppression costs.
The potential millions of dollars in federal assistance funds for the fires come as FEMA has already approved more than $152 million in flood-related insurance payments, grants and loans for people living in central and eastern North Carolina.
U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis’ Washington and district offices are engaged with FEMA and state agencies working both disasters. For residents affected by Hurricane Matthew, the senators worked to extend some income tax filing dates.
Tillis’ office staff said Monday that they were keeping an eye on how local economies will be affected by potential drops in tourism due to the spread of wildfires across at least 10 counties.
U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows, a Republican from Cashiers, and Patrick McHenry, a Republican from Denver, N.C., have spent time in communities affected by wildfire evacuations and billowing smoke.
“This has been a priority for our office. When people need the government the most, we’ve been there to help cut through the red tape,” said Wayne King, deputy chief of staff for Meadows, in an interview with McClatchy on Monday.
King and Meadows have worked directly with county emergency management and state forest service officials to help with FEMA paperwork and eligibility requirements for federal emergency funds. In October, King said, Meadows was active in surveying Hurricane Matthew damage and FEMA’s response as part of his duties with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is partly responsible for oversight of FEMA.
The partnership between federal and local emergency management offices has run smoothly so far, according to North Carolina’s congressional members and the office of Gov. Pat McCrory.
At the height of the mountain fires, more than 2,000 firefighters were on site attempting to contain and put out the forest fires. Those firefighters came from across North Carolina and from other states.
The extra hands have helped tremendously as the mountain and rural areas of Western North Carolina depend largely on small fire departments – many composed of mostly volunteers, said Mike Cook, manager of North Carolina Emergency Management’s western branch.
In addition to FEMA funds helping offset strains on local and state budgets, Cook said, an account for donations to assist western firefighters has been set up through the Skyland Fire and Rescue Department. To give to the Western North Carolina Firefighter’s Fund, corporations and individuals can mail monetary donations to the Skyland Fire and Rescue Department, P.O. Box 640, Skyland, NC 28776.
From my family to yours – happy Thanksgiving! We are so grateful for our many blessings that we enjoy in America -- especially for our freedoms. May God continue to bless our nation, and I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday.
Elkamet Inc. Expanding in Henderson County
Great news: Elkamet Inc., a plastic manufacturing company with a plant in our district, is expanding its plant in East Flat Rock, NC – adding 25 jobs and investing over $6.5 million. This is an exciting development for Western North Carolina as business continues to grow in our state! To read the official release from Governor Pat McCrory’s office, click here.
Update on the Wildfires in Western NC
As many of you know, Western NC is currently experiencing an outbreak of wildfires across the district, and first responders are working around the clock to contain the damage as much as possible. Some members of my staff--including Wayne King, my Deputy Chief of Staff—have been visiting some of the affected areas and keeping in close communication with emergency management. We are prepared to offer any assistance we can. We have also reached out to FEMA officials and worked with local emergency personnel to acquire some additional assistance for the firefighters on the scene.
Continue praying for the community and the first responders in the area—Western NC is facing an uphill battle, but our district will bounce back stronger than ever!
Volunteering with the Baptist Men and Women on Mission
Some members of Team Meadows were able to volunteer this week with the Baptist Men and Women on Mission --feeding firefighters in Franklin, NC (Macon County).
I am incredibly grateful for all that our first responders are doing and amazed at the response from our community. Western North Carolina is truly a special place. To read more, click here.
Transylvania County Veterans Day Ceremony
It was a privilege to attend the Transylvania County Veteran’s Day Ceremony last week to honor our nation’s military heroes who put their lives on the line to keep us free. May their lives, stories, and sacrifices never be forgotten.
Interview on Washington Journal
This week I joined C-SPAN for an interview as a part of their Washington Journal series -- discussing the House Freedom Caucus, the lame duck period, and our commitment to help the Trump administration have the most productive 'first 100 days' in modern history. We owe it to the American people to follow through on our campaign promises and to restore the American dream. Watch the full interview here.
Interview with One America News Network
I was able to join One America News Network for an interview to talk about the House Freedom Caucus and our plan to work with the incoming administration. We are ready to hit the ground running to get our country back on track and to return our government to its rightful owner: the American people. Watch the full video here.
The Most Productive ‘First 100 Days’
My colleagues and I have an opportunity to have the most productive ‘first 100 days’ of a new administration in modern history. It's time to get to work and get our nation back on a path to prosperity.
I was able to join America's Newsroom HQ on Fox News to discuss our upcoming priorities in light of the election. Watch the full interview here.
Heritage Action Sentinel Summit
I was pleased to join two great conservatives and fellow House Freedom Caucus colleagues, Congressman Warren Davidson and Congressman Dave Brat, at the Heritage Action Sentinel Summit this week in Texas! It’s an honor to work every day alongside these two men, fighting for conservative principles and values.
Speaking on a panel with Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) and Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH)
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced the Alternatives to Licensing that Lower Obstacles to Work (ALLOW) Act—a bill that will make targeted changes to federal licensure policy by reducing unnecessary licensing requirements.
Some of the most significant burdens on innovation in the job market are heavy licensing barriers placed on small business owners, entrepreneurs, and young Americans entering the workforce. Since 1950, the number of Americans working in jobs that require a license has increased by 500%, with government officials often citing health and safety concerns as the reason for the increased requirements. Acquiring a license can be a both lengthy and costly process, while studies show that most of the health and safety concerns can be address through much less burdensome means, such as certification, registration, and others.
The ALLOW Act will limit the creation of occupational license requirements on federal installments, including areas on army bases and those in the District of Columbia, to those circumstances where licensure is the least restrictive means of protecting public health, safety, or welfare.
“Anytime we look at regulations like licensing requirements, we should have a goal to be as efficient as possible while avoiding unnecessary restrictions on hard-working Americans,” Rep. Meadows said. “And I think when we look at licensing regulations, it’s very clear that many of the rules and requirements go beyond protecting health and safety standards and instead serve as a barrier to jobs for otherwise qualified people. My hope is that this bill can refocus our licensing requirements on only the most pertinent situations.”
Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) is an original cosponsor of the bill.
“Too many hardworking Americans are barred from work due to unnecessary and duplicative rules and regulations,” said Rep. Brat. “I co-sponsored this legislation because it cuts through some of that red tape and will help small business owners, entrepreneurs, and young people to secure jobs.”
Brittney Burns – Staff Writer
It was standing room only in Southwestern Community College’s Swain County campus on Sunday afternoon for a public meeting held by the United States Forest Service on the wildfires burning in the Nantahala National Forests. Incident Commander Mike Dueitt headed up Sunday’s meeting and after being asked by a member of the audience when an end could be expected, Dueitt informed the crowd that it could be months.
“It would take an inch and a half of rain to get any relief for what we have burning today,” said Dueitt. “Right now, based on the forecasts and all the maps we have seen from our meteorologists, that could be mid-December, and even then it may not be enough. It could be March before it is all really over.”
The public meeting provided an update on all of the fires burning in WNC, which as of Sunday afternoon, topped 24,929 acres impacted. The largest fire in the region is the Tellico Fire which is 33 percent contained and is burning 13,676 acres. The Tellico Fire is now comprised of the original Tellico Fire and the Ferebee Fire, which were combined on Sunday morning around 7 a.m.
As of Sunday, there were 20 crews, six helicopters, 50 engines, 10 dozers, four water tenders, and 757 personnel working around the clock to contain the blazes destroying the mountains. A ten-mile stretch of U.S. 19/74 in the Nantahala Gorge is closed and based on representatives with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the road will remain closed until further notice.
Evacuations in Macon County that were issued for Deweese Road and Partridge Creed Road in the Nantahala Community were lifted on Sunday and those residents were permitted to return home.
On Sunday morning, Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale spoke at the Macon County command center to thank firefighters for their diligence and relentlessness in fighting fires that continue to erupt. Sunday afternoon, Macon County Commission Chairman Kevin Corbin was joined by NC House Representative Kelly Hastings (Cleveland, Gaston counties), future House Representative Mike Clampitt, and Congressman Mark Meadows’ Chief of Staff Wayne King.
“We are so grateful for the folks with the forest service and for our local volunteers working non-stop to fight these fires,” said Commissioner Corbin. “In addition to the State of Emergency declared by Macon County and the Town of Franklin, we are grateful for the Governor’s office declaration and work to get access to FEMA funding that will help us rebuild after these wildfires.”
The group were given a briefing by Dueitt ahead of the meeting in Swain County. Dueitt assured the group that the counties in WNC have made every effort to assist the US Forest Service in their work and boasted about the generosity of the community. Dueitt also noted that work is being done to provide a reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspected arsonist who is believed to be igniting the fires.
“We have just never seen anything like this,” said Dueitt. “We have everything we need and its all because of the people in this community stepping up to offer a helping hand for anything and everything we may need. It is tremendous.”
The North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Relief Team began to set up in Macon County on Sunday near the Macon Incident Command Center. The food unit is staffed by an all-volunteer crew, who stand ready to deploy to disasters across the region or the nation. They are proud of the work they do and feel strongly about their mission. “Sharing God’s Love Through Word and Deed,” is their motto.
This assignment is a first for the members of this particular crew, who are more accustomed to serving disaster victims, but as Disaster Relief Team Leader Ronnie McMahan said, “At the end of the day, a fire is like any other disaster. The folks who are working the line need and deserve a good, healthy meal.”
The group will feed the firefighters breakfast, lunch, and dinner while working in and around the Nantahala National Forest Fire District.
To learn more or make a contribution to NCMO, visit ncmissonsoffering.orgRead More
BY EVAN DONOVAN THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10TH 2016
WLOS — MILLS RIVER, N.C. -- Sue Douglas is a spunky 63-year-old transplant from New York who moved to the Western North Carolina mountains to help care for her 90-year-old mother.
She never imagined her mother would be the one doing the caretaking.
"My life took a turn for the worse," said Douglas about the move down south. "I had cancer. I had a son who died. I was going through a divorce. And there was just nothing left in my life that I wanted to stay there for."
In August 2007, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had good health insurance through her job as an officer manager at a cardiologist practice, where she'd worked for 22 years.
She separated from her husband while going through the treatments when she decided to make the move to North Carolina in 2008. After she arrived, the recession hurt her chances of finding a new job.
She had the chance to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act because pre-existing conditions were covered by the new law. She said the coverage worked great for her, and she was especially thankful for it when her cancer returned in January 2015.
"I don't know what I would have done without that health insurance," said Douglas. "My medications are so expensive. I have one pill that costs $10,000 a month. And I have one shot I get for my bones that costs about $5,000 a month. I need to have this treatment and I don't know what I would do without insurance."
Now that president-elect Donald Trump looks set to move into the Oval Office in January, she's worried about what will happen, since he promised to repeal Obamacare while on the campaign trail.
"He's said he has a replacement. I don't know what that is, but I'm hopeful," Douglas said.
Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina's 11th district says he knows what's at stake for Obamacare customers like Douglas.
"My message to her is that she doesn't need to worry," Meadows said on Thursday. "We need to make sure that those safety healthcare nets are still there, and I believe that we'll see that. We're not going to see that go away. In fact, I'm committed to make sure that if you've got coverage, we're going to make sure that, as we repeal this, you get to continue your coverage."
That promise sounds similar to President Obama's "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor" promise in 2009, but Meadows reiterated there will be some sort of overlap to make sure people who utilize Obamacare are not left without insurance.
Meadows said he recognizes the importance of pre-existing condition coverage and wants to drive personal accountability, as well as more price transparency, in the system.Read More
BY REX HODGE WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH 2016
WLOS — CLAY-MACON-GRAHAM COUNTIES, N.C. -- Wind threatens to worsen several wildfires in the mountains.
“The troubling part is that somebody apparently is intentionally setting some of these fires. And so we want to ask everyone to be on the lookout,” Congressman Mark Meadows said as he toured the Boteler Fire in Clay County on Wednesday.
Meadows said it’s a priority to protect the safety of residents and property. So far, firefighters have protected 46 structures from this fire. But they say wind on ridge tops could reach 35 miles an hour Wednesday night.
Late Wednesday, U.S. Forest Service and the Southern Area Incident Management Team issued this update:
“Due to increased growth and smoke from the Boteler Fire, mandatory evacuations have been issued for the following locations in Hayesville, North Carolina: Cedar Cliff Road, Pounding Mill Road and Pounding Mill Loop. Nelson Ridge Road and Cold Branch Road from Nelson Ridge Road intersection south to Cold Branch Drive.”
Stephen Weaver, the Operation Section Chief with the Southern Area Incident Management Team, said wind sometimes pushes fires back onto land already burned.
“But around the corners of this, they can hook,” he said. “And then we get a running head fire and then, of course, it threatens the structures."
One of the biggest wildfires in our area continues to be the Tellico Fire in Macon County. Forest officials say some people have been forced to evacuate. The fire has burned more than 3,400 acres.
Evacuations have been issued for Gassaway Road and south at the junction of Gassaway and Wesser Creek Road south down Wesser Creek Road, and for those in the Queens Creek area of Nantahala. Those affected by the evacuation notice in the Partridge Creek and Deweese Road area of the Nantahala have been contacted.
The Town of Franklin issued a voluntary water conservation notice due to the historic dry weather.
“If the drought and the fire situation continues, the next step could be mandatory water conservation,” Mayor Bob Scott said. “Putting off car washing, not watering grass, and cutting back on other normal uses of town water is in the public’s interest at this time.”
“The county is experiencing wildfires in the Goldmine, Gladdens Creek, East Buffalo, Jordan Hill and Ryefield Communities. Members of the Jordan Hill and Ryefield Branch communities are being EVACUATED at this time. Structures are in danger. This is the Old Roughy (in vicinity of Branch Creek) fire that started Tuesday night. As of this morning (Wednesday) the Avey Branch/Maples Springs fire north of Lake Santeetlah has grown to 3,919 acres. 18% of the perimeter is contained. 98 firefighters are working the blaze. Firefighters believe they will achieve 100% containment by Friday night.”Read More
1516 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
After working as a small business owner for 27 years, Representative Mark Meadows brings a business-style approach to Washington, D.C.
From owning and selling a successful restaurant to building a development company, Mark understands what the 63.7 million people in the United States who are self-employed or work for small businesses need to grow their businesses. He believes real job creation comes from the private sector, not the federal government. Mark recognizes that regulations are stifling job growth in this country and without a budget to set spending priorities, our federal government will continue to spend beyond its means.
While serving on the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure, Mark will hold the government accountable, protect American citizens and interests abroad, and ensure we have a modern transportation network which meets the needs of Western North Carolina and our country as a whole.
He is dedicated to providing top-notch constituent services to North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District and committed to upholding his Christian values and conservative principles while serving in Congress.
Mark lives in Jackson County with his wife Debbie. They have two college-age children, Blake and Haley.
"Double Hypocrisy:" When the White House advocates for a shutdown--pretending to care about coal miners--after an 8 year war on coal.
Retweeted by RepMarkMeadows
Americans have rightfully felt like they don't have a voice in their government. That needs to change immediately. The House Freedom Caucus
This morning I joined a good friend and strong conservative, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), for a joint interview on CNN's program New Day. We discussed
75 years ago today. May we never forget the lives lost at #PearlHarbor and never take for granted the men and women who fight to keep us free.
Time and time again, #IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has taken deliberate steps to stonewall Congress, withhold evidence, and mislead the public.
Tonight I was humbled and grateful to receive the support of my colleagues for Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. We're ready to get to work