Washington, D.C. – This week, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced H.R. 3313, the Prioritize Housing for Homeless Veterans Act of 2017—a bill to facilitate housing assistance to homeless Veterans.
HUD provides assistance to Veterans in a number of ways, including programs that provide rental assistance for homeless Veterans. However, current law does not adequately prioritize areas of the country that are most in need of assistance for Veterans. This has been a significant problem in NC-11, for example, where Buncombe County houses 26% of the state’s homeless Veterans, but has a vacancy rate of 0%. H.R. 3313 would target this problem by allowing for the prioritization of areas like Asheville when HUD considers dispersal of rental vouchers for homeless Veterans.
Rep. Meadows released the following statement on the bill:
“Our Veterans represent the best of who we are as a nation, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that they are taken care of upon their return to the U.S. after service. A significant part of that is doing what we can in Congress to streamline the housing services that our federal government offers Veterans. I’m hopeful that this bill will be a significant step in allowing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to prioritize areas with high concentrations of Veterans in need so that we can give them the kind of assistance they so richly deserve.
I want to specifically thank the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, and Homeward Bound, the organizations and constituents that helped to create this legislation. I was honored to have a few of them visit our office this week and even attend the official introduction of the bill. Most of all, thank you to our Veterans and their families. Only by their courage and sacrifice are we as a nation able to enjoy our freedoms.”
NC-11 constituents, officially introducing the bill in the House
Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) was one of 56 House members to receive the 2016 “FreedomFighter Award” from FreedomWorks. The award, presented to select members of Congress annually, “recognizes members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.” Congressman Meadows received a 100% ranking on FreedomWorks’ Congressional Scorecard.
Rep. Meadows released the following statement:
“I’m honored to receive the FreedomFighter Award and want to thank the outstanding individuals at FreedomWorks for their tireless efforts on behalf of defending freedom and liberty,” Rep. Meadows said. “In a time when our government rarely holds to the principles that made this nation exceptional, organizations like FreedomWorks play a critical role in holding our elected officials accountable and educating voters on how to keep us to our word.
As I’ve often said, this job has never been about me—my voting card belongs to the people of Western North Carolina. Regardless of what happens here, I will always listen to their voices first.”
In a press release, FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said the following:
“FreedomWorks activists across the country can be proud of these members’ votes last year. They showed a commitment to economic liberty and individual freedom. With a Republican in the White House and so many big legislative items on the to-do list in this Congress, including fundamental tax reform and reducing regulation, conservative grassroots activists are watching our scorecard to see who delivers on their campaign promises and who changes their tune.”
Rep. Meadows receiving FreedomFighter Award from FreedomWorks
Reminder: Veterans’ Solutions Seminar
REMINDER: the Veterans' Solutions Seminars are coming up! We would love to see you and answer any questions or help solve issues you may have with federal agencies. You can find the dates, times, and locations below.
Thursday, August 3: Haywood County Senior Resource Center
Thursday, August 3: Fletcher Town Hall
Friday, August 4: Foothills Higher Education Center
Freedom Caucus Increasing Pressure to Cancel August Recess
If you missed it, there are several updates on the House Freedom Caucus’ push to cancel the August Recess. We’re arguing for this so that Congress can stay in DC to work on keeping our promises to the voters.
First, the Senate announced that they are canceling the first two weeks of their recess--giving more time to work on healthcare reform, nominations, and other important legislative issues. I applaud this decision by leader McConnell and remain calling on House leadership to do the same—you can read more about the Senate’s schedule change here.
The House Freedom Caucus also held a press conference last week calling on the House to follow suit and cancel our August recess. The list of Congress' unfinished business is far too long to go on a break, and it's critical that any additional weeks in session are coupled with decisive action to deliver on our promises to the American people. You can watch our full press conference here.
I also joined the team at Fox News to discuss the ongoing effort to delay recess until Congress follows through on its commitments. You can watch the full interview here, and you can also read more about the Freedom Caucus’ push in an article here.
And, as an added bonus, President Trump even tweeted this! I completely agree with his assessment. Let’s pass a healthcare bill before we go home.
Interview with Breitbart News – Budget
I interviewed with Breitbart News this week on the subject of the next Congressional Budget. Make no mistake—Congress’ next budget must provide funding for border security (among other campaign commitments from President Trump), or I--and many of my conservative colleagues--will not support it.
Border security is critical for our country right now--President Donald Trump and Congress have both promised to deliver on it. Be assured that if Congress fails in that area, the budget will not pass.
You can read the full story here.
Assistance to Firefighter’s Grants
Last week I was thrilled to join the Fletcher Fire Department and the Upper Hominy Fire Department to present “Assistance to Firefighters” Grants from the Department of Homeland Security.
The grants were awarded as part of a program through FEMA that seeks to “enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards.” The program provides direct assistance to eligible fire departments for needed equipment upgrades, additional training, and emergency services.
As I’ve often said, Western North Carolina is blessed with the best first responders in the country—beginning with our firefighters. Their day to day professionalism and commitment to keeping our communities safe is truly second to none! These grants are well-deserved and will improve their emergency services capabilities in the months and years to come.
Visiting Johnson Family Farm
Of course, whenever I’m in Mills River, it’s a must to stop by the Johnson Family Farm! Thanks Kirby Johnson for stopping to chat.
Stop in Brevard County
It’s always good to see the Brevard Mayor, my friend Jimmy Harris! He’s one of the best. Thanks to Jimmy and his daughter Cassie for having me in for a visit.
Visiting Brevard Mayor, Jimmy Harris, and his daughter, Cassie
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, Rep. Mark Meadows’ (R-NC) bipartisan amendment with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) to recognize Mayaguez Veterans passed the House as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment would extend the Vietnam Service Medal to veterans of the S.S. Mayaguez Incident.
While the S.S. Mayaguez Incident is often referred to as the “Last Battle of Vietnam,” veterans of this incident are currently ineligible to receive the Vietnam Service Medal. This amendment would rectify the error and allow veterans of the incident—both living and deceased—to receive the medal in appropriate recognition for their sacrifice to our nation.
Rep. Meadows released the following statement:
“As Americans, we have a responsibility to honor those who give everything they have in the service of our country. The heroes of the S.S. Mayaguez Incident deserve to be appropriately recognized—a distinguished group that includes one of my own constituents, Captain Ric Hunter, who served 27 years in the U.S. Air Force and was awarded an Air Medal for his efforts as a pilot in the SS Mayaguez rescue operation.
Yesterday I was grateful to see our amendment pass the House, and I hope it will play a small role in seeing the S.S. Mayaguez Incident Veterans receive the honor they so richly deserve. I particularly want to recognize and thank my colleague Rep. Gabbard for her work here—and for her faithful service to our nation’s military.”Read More
Washington, D.C. – Last weekend, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) joined the Fletcher Fire Department and the Upper Hominy Fire Department to present “Assistance to Firefighters” Grants from the Department of Homeland Security.
The grants were awarded as part of a program through FEMA that seeks to “enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards.” The program provides direct assistance to eligible fire departments for needed equipment upgrades, additional training, and emergency services. Rep. Meadows joined both departments last weekend to present the grants in person and congratulate the teams.
“As I’ve often said, Western North Carolina is blessed with the best first responders in the country—beginning with our firefighters,” said Meadows. “Their day to day professionalism and commitment to keeping our communities safe is truly second to none. I was honored to be with the Fletcher Fire Department and the Upper Hominy Fire Department teams, and I’m thrilled to see them awarded the well-deserved financial assistance that will improve their emergency services capabilities in the months and years to come.”
Chief Greg Garland of the Fletcher Fire Department and Chief Shane Prestwood of the Upper Hominy Fire Department added the following statement: “We greatly appreciate everything that Congressman Meadows and his office does for emergency services in Fletcher, Hominy Valley, and Western North Carolina."
With the Fletcher Fire Department
With the Upper Hominy Fire Department
Washington, D.C.— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate will stay in session for part of the August recess to continue to work on health care and other items. The Freedom Caucus first called in June for Congress to work through the August recess. The Freedom Caucus released the following statement:
“We applaud Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to keep the Senate in session in August to accomplish the important work of the American people. We call on House leadership to do the same. There are too many unresolved issues before Congress including tax reform, health care, the debt ceiling, government funding, and more to leave Washington before the people’s work is done. It is imperative that the additional weeks are coupled with decisive action.”
Mission statement of the House Freedom Caucus:
“The House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety, and prosperity of all Americans.”
House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) told Breitbart News exclusively that the next government spending bill must fund President Donald Trump’s promised border wall, or there will likely be a government shutdown.
In a phone interview on Monday morning, Meadows—the chairman of the most influential group of House conservatives in Congress, the House Freedom Caucus—said that there are enough members in Congress to hold the line against any funding bill that does not explicitly provide for the beginning of construction of President Trump’s border wall. What’s more, Meadows says, his conversations with President Trump indicate that the president is supportive of such efforts and would veto—or refuse to sign—any government funding bill that falls short of the commitments necessary to begin construction on the border wall.
“There is nothing more critical that has to be funded than funding the border wall for two reasons,” Meadows, a key ally of President Trump, said in his phone interview with Breitbart News. “One is it is a commitment that the president made to the American people and one that he intends on keeping, but the second part of that is for our national security we must secure our borders. And the American people will accept no less.”
The current government funding bill runs out at the end of September, and there will be a government shutdown if the Congress does not pass—and President Trump does not sign into law—a new funding bill by the end of the fiscal year. Meadows told Breitbart News there are enough Republicans in Congress who will block any bill that does not fund the wall construction.
Without a doubt there is enough conservative members who will not support any funding mechanism that does not include border wall funding and it’s also even some who are probably even a little bit less conservative as it relates to immigration because it is the major impediment for really fundamentally getting control of what we do from an immigration standpoint. Until we secure our southern border, there will be no pathway to citizenship for anybody and we can’t revamp our legal immigration process until we’ve secured our southern border. But, yeah, conservatives are definitely going to support the president in demanding that there be funding for the border wall.
Meadows added that he believes President Trump is supportive of these efforts and will not sign any bill that falls short on this count. The White House has not commented on the record when contacted by Breitbart News about this matter.
Meadows went on to say:
My conversations with the president have led me to believe that there is nothing less than a full and total commitment on his part to only sign into law a funding bill that actually allows for us to start construction of a border wall on our southern border. He’s committed to do that. We’re committed to supporting him in that position. And most importantly, the American people are willing to support him in that and believe that it’s a campaign promise that this president is going to fulfill.
Meadows also said he does not believe a bill could pass the House or Senate without border wall funding in it. He is not yet sure whether House or Senate GOP leadership is on board. He continued:
I think that sometimes our leadership has to understand where the American people are, so regardless of where their personal conviction may be on this I think they understand in order to get 218 votes and 60 votes in the Senate it’s going to have to include border wall funding and if not we’re going to be looking at a continuing resolution and finding other ways to do emergency funding for the border wall.
Spokespersons for House Speaker Paul Ryan have not responded to requests for comment on this front from Breitbart News. A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Breitbart News that the Senate is focused on passing a repeal and replace of Obamacare and will deal with this problem later.
Meadows said that the Democrats in Congress, in both the House and Senate, would be voting against national security if they oppose efforts to fund President Trump’s border wall. He added:
If we’ve got Democrats, whether they be in the House or the Senate, that are not willing to put our national security as their very top priority and secure our borders, I think it’s time that we get someone else in that position and that goes regardless of party. National security needs to be priority number one and if you’re willing to play politics with our national security then you have no business serving in the Senate or the House.
Meadows, who has endorsed Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) in the U.S. Senate special election in Alabama, said that Brooks’s ad in which he promises to filibuster if the wall is not funded should be taken seriously.
“Mo Brooks is serious about making sure we fulfill our campaign promises ,and if anyone is willing to stand up to Leader McConnell on behalf of the people of Alabama it’s Mo Brooks,” Meadows said. “He’s not one that will make idle promises. If he says he’s going to filibuster until it gets done, everybody better bring their pillows because they’re going to have be staying there for a long time.”Read More
A leading House conservative is warning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) he should not quit fighting to pass legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare through the Senate.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is not happy about talk that Senate Republicans might give up that effort and instead work with Democrats on legislation to shore up troubled insurance markets.
“If we’re waving the white flag on something that we’ve campaigned against for many years, it is not a good sign for what comes down the pipe. How many white flags will we raise just when the going gets rough?” Meadows told The Hill in an interview.
“It’s incumbent on us to work, to negotiate and find a happy medium that gets 51 votes in the Senate, 218 votes in the House and send it to the president,” he added.
Meadows is reacting in part to comments McConnell made Thursday that suggested he might be getting closer to throwing in the towel on the healthcare effort.
“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to private health insurance markets must occur,” McConnell said at a Rotary Club meeting in Kentucky.
McConnell’s statement is one of several recent signals that the Senate bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, is in trouble.
Conservatives and moderates have dug in their heels this week over a controversial proposal sponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to allow insurance companies to sell health plans that don’t comply with federal requirements as long as they sell options that do qualify.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) told constituents in Kansas this week that he will insist on the bill maintaining the protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Senate Democrats welcomed McConnell’s statement as a sign that the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare is wobbling and that GOP leaders are getting closer to moving on to other issues.
“It’s encouraging that Sen. McConnell today acknowledged that the issues with the issues with the exchanges are fixable, and opened the door to bipartisan solutions to improve our healthcare system,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) said in a statement Thursday.
“Democrats are eager to work with Republicans to stabilize the markets and improve the law,” he added.
If legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare fails, states will need billions of dollars over the next few years to keep insurance companies participating in unprofitable marketplaces.
But Meadows warned on Friday that any proposal to funnel taxpayer money to insurance companies to stabilize the market will fall flat with House Republicans.
“There is zero chance you would find enough Republican votes on the House side to do that,” he said.
Meadows said he was willing to look at federal payments to insurers to prevent a premium spike during a transition period, but only for a transition period.
The Obama and Trump administration have made cost-sharing reduction payments to reimburse insurance companies for providing coverage to sicker individuals because of federal mandates.
The Senate healthcare bill includes a $50 billion short-term market stabilization fund covering years 2018 through 2021 but that is only palatable to conservative lawmakers because it would provide a bridge to new marketplaces with less federal regulation.
Talk of spending billions of dollars on the insurance marketplaces to keep the broad structures of ObamaCare in place is a non-starter with Meadows and allied House Republicans.
“To suggest that we’re going to bail out insurance companies when we’re not repealing or replacing ObamaCare — that’s what it would be,” he said.
If the Senate healthcare bill grinds to a stalemate, Meadows said he and other House conservatives would be willing to consider market stabilization measures attached to legislation that replaces as much of ObamaCare as possible under Senate rules.
“If we only have a repeal without a replace can I see a market stabilization measure being put forward in the Senate and the House, yes,” he added.
But to stabilize markets to keep ObamaCare on the books is unacceptable to House conservatives, he explained.
Meadows said House conservatives could also be amenable to a straight ObamaCare repeal bill that has a longer transition of three years instead of the two-year implementation schedule in the 2015 repeal measure that the Senate and House passed but former President Barack Obama vetoed.
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a close ally of McConnell’s, and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) have introduced legislation to “rescue” people in failing insurance markets if the GOP healthcare bill collapses.
Their proposal would allow people who receive subsidies under the current law to buy health insurance outside of ObamaCare’s exchanges as long as those plans are approved by states for sale in the individual markets.
Other Republicans have discussed passing legislation to formally authorize cost-sharing reduction payments, which the administration has now been making under executive authority.
The payments started under Obama and Republicans criticized them as unconstitutional.Read More
The day after the Senate’s own version of a new health care bill came out, influential leader of the House Freedom Caucus and Western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, wasted no time in shooting it down.
“In its current form, the way that it is, we don’t have enough support among conservatives or moderates in either chamber to really get it to the president’s desk,” he told reporters on a conference call June 23.
Meadows said that he’d support the bill if it provided more flexibility for consumers and for insurers.
“The fundamental question continues to be, ‘How do we make sure that we bring premiums down substantially, and then how do we solidify the insurance market to make sure that there’s plenty of insurers there to provide the coverage?’”
For consumers, the answer is simple, Meadows said.
“There are a number of us that believe there should be an amendment in there that allows for people to purchase Obamacare plans but alongside that, purchase other non-compliant, non-ACA plans that would more accurately reflect the risk they have.”
As an example, he said that a person in his or her 50s might opt for more coverage on certain types of illnesses, and less coverage on others.
He also touts an expanded role for health savings accounts; Meadows said he’s on Obamacare and he pays around $19,000 a year before he gets any benefits.
“I would be better off to put $19,000 in a HSA,” he said. “Right now, we’re prohibited from doing that under the ACA. Giving consumers more choice on both of those items, I think if we got that it would go a long way to driving down premiums and getting something that is better for consumers.”
Getting something better for insurers also has to be an important part of any properly functioning health care bill, even though the impending collapse of Obamacare in some states is largely the result of self-sabotage that has driven insurers from the market.
As written, the Affordable Care Act assumed states would expand Medicaid, but a ruling in 2012 by the U.S. Supreme Court made expansion optional. Residents of those states that didn’t expand — like North Carolina — who earn less than the federal poverty level don’t qualify for subsidies and often don’t qualify for Medicaid, either.
President Donald Trump called the Senate bill “mean.”
“What he’s wanting is to be sure we not only handle pre-existing conditions but that we fund it in a way that doesn’t give people anxiety,” Meadows said. “I support him fully in that.”
Meadows has been on record as supporting high-risk pools for pre-existing conditions, and choked back tears after being confronted about their funding.
“I’m a numbers guy, and so as I looked at what came out of the House, I felt like we could increase that to make sure there is no anxiety,” he said. Meadows lost his sister and his father to cancer.
“If that is properly funded, if I come in and I have a pre-existing condition and I’m applying for insurance, not only do I have to be covered, but I get the same rate that you do,” he said. “I just get it handled differently by an invisible high risk pool that’s administered by the state and properly funded so my net premium is no different than yours.”
But that’s a big if. If funding to high-risk pools drop, coverage will dry up for those who need it most.
“Having that flexibility for insurance providers, we think, is incredibly important,” he said. “If we can do that, we believe that will have the greatest effect on rates and allowing people to make sure it’s affordable.”
Regardless, Meadows still thinks Congress is close to replacing Obamacare, which Trump made a priority during his campaign.
“I’m still optimistic we can improve the bill and get more consensus among moderates and conservatives both in the Senate and the House and ultimately get it to President Trump’s desk for his signature,” he said.Read More
In what’s becoming a bit of a pattern for Congressman Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, he and his House Freedom Caucus aren’t 100 percent on board with another one of President Donald Trump’s agenda items.
“It is very apparent that the president’s budget will not be to the levels that gain enough support in the House or the Senate to pass,” Meadows said, echoing comments he made to reporters on the Senate health care bill in a June 23 conference call.
“We’re probably closer along on the health care debate than on the budget debate right now, because we’re in three different camps in the House,” he said.
Fiscal hawks, defense hawks and moderate Republicans eyeing non-defense discretionary spending all have competing agendas.
“It’s trying to get those three groups together to come up with an agreement,” Meadows said.
The biggest budget concerns right now according to Meadows are proposed increases in defense spending and non-defense discretionary dollars.
“Increasing defense spending by close to $75 billion and keeping non-defense discretionary [spending] very close to current levels — that seems to be where most of the consensus is building in the House,” he said.
Locally, Trump’s proposed defunding of the Appalachian Regional Commission was a gut-shot to rural America, and rural Appalachia especially.
“Even under President Obama, there were things he funded that I agreed with, and things that I didn’t,” Meadows said. “This president is no different.”
Meadows continues to maintain that he’s fighting to preserve funding for the ARC, which for more than 50 years has funded economic development and infrastructure projects through federal-state partnerships across 13 states, including North Carolina.
Trump’s budget proposal seeks to defund the ARC completely, saving every American about $2.29 each year.
“The ARC and what it does for economic growth in my district is something important,” Meadows said. “I see any final budget including support for that. I can tell you that budgets we are discussing here in the House would support that as well.”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.
Praying for @SenJohnMcCain tonight--a true patriot and American hero. We're all with you Senator, hang in there.
Retweeted by RepMarkMeadows
I just filed the rule to discharge the 15 clean repeal to the Floor. Call your Representative to support! We need to vote! #RepealObamacare