Give Us Real Tax Reform, Not a Pig In a Poke
Congress shouldn’t repeat the errors that killed the plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
By Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows
Sept. 19, 2017 7:01 p.m. ET
Reconciliation is a parliamentary vehicle linked with the budget and designed to achieve specific revenue and spending requirements. This is the preferred approach for certain policy objectives because only 51 votes are required for passage in the Senate. Republicans plan to use this process for tax reform. There’s one concern: This was the same approach attempted for ObamaCare repeal.
In January, Congress passed a budget with reconciliation instructions for fiscal 2017. The House Freedom Caucus and Republicans across the country believed the legislation to address ObamaCare would be the same as the bill that passed both chambers in 2015 with only one Republican “no” vote. Everyone assumed we would send the same bill to President Trump that we put on President Obama’s desk.
But that’s not what happened. After the budget passed, first we got secrecy. Remember Sen. Rand Paul, searching the Capitol for the hidden bill? When it turned up, it wasn’t clean repeal. It wasn’t what Congress had passed in 2015. It wasn’t what we promised the voters.
Members were told we couldn’t change the legislation—no real amendment process, no witness testimony. Take it or leave it, we were told—“it’s a binary choice!”
After intense debate, the Freedom Caucus did change the bill, and all but two of our members supported the much-improved version that passed the House but still sits in the Senate.
Now comes tax reform, and the same play is being run again. The Freedom Caucus has been told: Don’t introduce your tax reform. Wait for ours. But we won’t show it to you until you vote for the 2018 budget.
If a car salesman shows you a picture of a car and demands a nonrefundable down payment, you’d probably say, “Wait a minute. I’ve got a few questions.” You might even ask to see the car. That’s the situation we face with tax reform—except we haven’t even seen a picture.
The House Freedom Caucus will gladly start the process if we are confident the tax plan will actually cut taxes for families, simplify the code and create jobs. We will gladly pass the budget when basic questions are answered: What are the personal rates? What’s the corporate rate? What’s the repatriation rate? How are small businesses treated?
The biggest question: Why the reluctance to show the American people the plan? Is the bill being written behind closed doors because it will only help the connected class and their high-paid consultants? Congress has been in session 8½ months. Is the plan being hidden away only to be rolled out at the last minute when members will be told again to take it or leave it, it’s a binary choice?
The House Freedom Caucus wants government to operate on a budget, preferably a balanced one. We want to cut taxes and reform our broken tax code. Show us a plan that allows families to keep more of their money and one that grows our economy, and we will gladly vote to pass a budget.
Reps. Jordan (R., Ohio) and Meadows (R., N.C.) are, respectively, former and current chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.Read More
The first shovel of dirt has officially been dug for the new Burke County jail.
Local officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the future jail on Monday morning.
The jail will be built on county property near the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility on Government Drive in Morganton.
Underneath a tent near where the groundbreaking was to take place, officials from across the county, including the city of Morganton and towns of Rutherford College, Hildebran, Drexel, Valdese were present to see the start of a project that has been in the works for years.
“As a government, we understand that we have responsibilities to take care of our folks and this is a part of that responsibility,” said Jeff Brittain, chairman of the Burke County Board of Commissioners.
Brittain knows that it has taken many years to get to this point because of several conditions that the Board of Commissioners has had to consider.
“We have considered over and over the conditions that our current jail is in and the conditions that our personnel work in that current jail,” Brittain said.
According to Brittain, the jail that has been designed is more efficient and safe for staff.
Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant says the goal of the sheriff’s office is to have a sufficient amount of jail beds in Burke County.
“We have had persons in as many as eight locations,” Whisenant said. “Two in Burke County (and) we have some in Raleigh for safekeeping and we've had also people in five other county jails.”
Transportation of inmates, Whisenant says, is “labor-intensive and expensive.”
“It will be a blessing to have all of our arrestees in one location when the jail is completed,” he said. “That will give us the ability to keep more of our deputies here in Burke County serving citizens.”+1
Vannoy Construction will be taking the reins of the building process for the 256-bed jail that will start within the next few days.
County Commissioner Maynard Taylor spoke to the crowd of how “huge” the project was for the county and its residents.
Taylor, who said the jail will total 71,632 square feet, talked about the cost of the jail increasing over the last several years as commissioners have considered the project. He said the budget started at $14 million and eventually rose to a projected budget of $21 million.
“Paul Ijames stated in The News Herald if it costs more than $21 (million) we would have to take some out of the fund balance, but this will be your new jail,” he said.
Taylor reminded people the cost will be paid with tax revenue.
“I encourage you to stay engaged (and) visit often so that you can answer the questions that your neighbors and community ask you,” he said. “It is a major milestone accomplishment for Burke County.”
While Taylor called the project a major milestone accomplishment for the county, he voted against building a new jail and voted against the 2017-18 fiscal budget that included some of the funding for it.
District Attorney David Learner told the crowd his hopes for the jail were that it was built on time and within the budget.
“I would like to see us use a lot of local materials and labor… to help the local economy as the project comes to fruition,” Learner said.
He also said the jail is a huge support for local law enforcement.
“Law enforcement is a core government function that should always be regarded as core government function. And I think it is important to fund that and to give adequate infrastructure, personnel (and) budget,” Learner said. “All of that is very necessary because it is truly a thin blue line that keeps us from anarchy.”
Learner hopes the project will be part of a bigger picture of eventually building a courthouse in conjunction with the jail.
“I don’t believe that would be a totally unreasonable idea at some point in the future,” he said. “We make do with what we have in downtown, but it is a facility that was designed for a different time and there (are) a lot of better designs and so forth.”
Commissioner Johnnie Carswell ended the ceremony with thanks for several vendors who helped with Monday's event.
“We don’t ever want to close the door on history,” Carswell said. “History has been kind to us and sometimes history has sometimes been bad to us, but what we have done today is we have opened the door to the future.”
He echoed Brittain and Taylor by saying the project has been “on their plates a long time.”
“Obviously when you take time, the cost escalates with it, but the citizens of Burke County deserve what they are getting,” Carswell said. “We have tried very, very hard to take their tax dollars and use them wisely and I think we have, and I hope we continue to do that in the future.”
Congressman Mark Meadows was attended the groundbreaking of the jail and expressed his thanks to those who are making it possible.
Commissioner Wayne Abele, who also voted against building a new jail, didn't attend the event.
Staff Writer Jonelle Bobak can be reached at email@example.com or 828-432-8907.Read More
Remembering September 11
This week we paused to remember the victims who died and the heroes who served in the aftermath of September 11, 2001—the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history. May we never forget those who lost their lives and the men and women who answered the call to serve and protect our country from enemies each and every day since.
Recovering from Hurricane Irma
My staff and I have been continuing to monitor Hurricane Irma and the impacts over the coming days—the storm weakened significantly as it approached North Carolina, but the Western part of our district still experienced some flooding and power loss. As the days progress, we still want to encourage you to stay alert and prepared as we recover. Readync.org is a great resource for tips on how to plan moving forward.
For Duke Energy customers without power, you can report outages by texting OUT to 57801 OR calling 800-769-3766.
My office has also put together a page on my website that you can access here. It compiles resources from readync.org and NC.gov on how you and your family can prepare. We want to make sure we provide as much information as possible to help you make informed decisions. Thanks to the incredible team at NC Emergency Management for putting this information together.
Most importantly: please pray for everyone that has been impacted by both Hurricane Irma and Harvey as well. Please also remember to pray for the many first responders who will be putting themselves in harm’s way over the coming days to serve.
Visit from Swain County Officials
This week I was honored to join Secretary Ryan Zinke of the Department of Interior, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), and the Swain County Board of Commissioners for a special announcement of a promise finally kept.
As you may know, for the last 7 years, the federal government has owed Swain County $39.2 million as a part of the "Road to Nowhere" settlement (a dispute that has dated back to WWII), and as expected, the county has run into all kinds of problems getting their money that they deserve.
In June of this year, I introduced a bill to require the government to pay $35.2 million of the settlement, but we would be about $4 million short. Secretary Zinke had stepped up, agreed to cut through the red tape, and announced he would release the remaining $4 million from the Department of Interior--putting Swain County on track to get their full funding.
This was special to be a part of--now Swain County is on their way to getting the full allotment of money owed to them. I want to thank Secretary Zinke for his incredible willingness to work with us and the Swain County Board for the countless hours they poured into this issue. I'm thrilled to see this happen and am hopeful we can close the deal on the full funding soon!
Team Meadows Volunteers
Team Meadows was honored to recently volunteer at 'Heart with Hands' in Asheville! The items being packaged in the photos have been sent to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. In the coming days, we anticipate doing something similar to help those suffering from Hurricane Irma.
Please continue to pray for everyone on the road to recovery from both storms.
My op-ed on Congress Playing Politics with Hurricane Relief
Early last week, I was pleased to vote in favor of a clean bill to provide $7.4 billion in relief to victims of Hurricane Harvey, and I cautioned that Congress would do well to avoid combining pork, add-on’s, or unrelated legislative items to the bill through the rest of the process. Unfortunately, Congress went in the other direction and chose to use the final version of the bill to combine aid for Harvey victims with a separate bill to raise the debt ceiling. For that reason, I voted against last weekend’s final bill to provide hurricane relief.
The hundreds of thousands of Hurricane Harvey victims that have been left broken are in need of help, and as I’ve said before, it’s on Congress to responsibly give it to them. However, disaster relief and the debt ceiling are two very important issues that I believe should be addressed separately—not combined for political convenience. While I’m glad the victims of this storm will receive the help they desperately need, I’m disappointed in the manner in which it was handled. Moving forward, additional votes for hurricane relief will certainly be forthcoming—and if that legislation is used solely to support the people who are suffering and not a leverage for some other measure, then I will gladly support it.
I wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner on this issue that you can read here.
Tour of TekTone Sound & Signal
TekTone Sound & Signal is the type of success story you love to see in Western North Carolina--thank you to the incredible staff there for welcoming me and giving me a tour of their new facilities! You can read the full story about my visit here.
Photo from the Macon County News
Reps Meadows, Langevin Release PAPER Act
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced the Protecting the American Process for Election Results (PAPER) Act—a bill that will provide assistance to states to strengthen the cybersecurity of their elections. The bill is a House companion to the Klobuchar-Graham amendment to the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which is currently being debated.
The PAPER ACT is designed to protect the integrity of American elections by solidifying defenses against cyber intrusions and by recommending additional record keeping to strengthen audits of elections. Broadly, the bill directs the Election Assistance Commission, after consulting with state and federal stakeholders, to formulate Security Risk and Vulnerability Assessment recommendations for states to harden their cybersecurity and develop post-election auditing standards to ensure elections have not been manipulated. States that adhere to such guidelines will be eligible to receive federal Election Technology Improvement Grants—funding that allows for needed system and security updates.
Furthermore, the bill will require voting machines purchased with federal funds to pair votes cast electronically with a paper record, visible to the voter—and recommends that each federal election be followed by a manual audit of a random sample of such paper records, prior to certification of the election result. Paper ballots provide for additional transparency and allow for quick discovery of voting machines that have been compromised in some way.
“The American people rely on our election results to be trustworthy, accountable, and safe from cyber interference—both foreign and domestic,” Rep. Meadows said. “The integrity of our elections is fundamental to who we are as a nation, and the PAPER Act would be a major step forward in securing our election process, updating the security of our voter logs, and allowing for efficient and effective audits of election results. I thank my colleagues Rep. Langevin and Sen. Klobuchar for their efforts and I look forward to continuing to work with them on this important initiative.”
“As a former Rhode Island Secretary of State, I have a thorough understanding of the challenges – including a lack of sufficient resources – faced by state and local election officials. The PAPER Act provides federal assistance to the people on the front lines to ensure that the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote, is not impinged by foreign powers or other malicious cyber actors,” said Congressman Langevin, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. “While I strongly support the designation of elections as critical infrastructure, we need to back this clear statement of the threat with action. The open processes to develop cybersecurity standards set forth in the PAPER Act and the commitment to paper ballots backed with risk-limiting audits will ensure U.S. elections remain free and fair and the American people are confident in their integrity. I commend Representative Meadows and Senators Klobuchar and Graham for their focus on securing our elections, and I hope that the Senate votes today to advance this important legislation.”
“According to the Department of Homeland Security, Russian hackers attempted to break into at least 21 states’ election systems in 2016 and U.S. national security officials have been sounding the alarm that our voting systems will continue to be a target in the future,” Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said. “In order to safeguard future elections, state and local officials must have the tools and resources they need to prevent hacks, and safeguard election infrastructure from foreign interference. I am proud of the bipartisan legislation we have introduced and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect our democracy from future attacks."
The U.S. Department of Interior, under the new leadership of Secretary Ryan Zinke, finally coughed up a payment to Swain County as part of the North Shore Road settlement agreement.
A $4 million installment may not seem like much considering the federal government still owes the county another $35.2 million to meet its $52 million obligation, but the payment gives Swain County commissioners hope that the rest of the money will be forthcoming.
Commission Chairman Phil Carson got choked up as Zinke and North Carolina congressmen presented the check to the county Thursday in Washington, D.C.
“This $4 million payment — along with what we already have of the $52 million —we’re going to help our people in our very economic stunted area,” he said.
Carson is the only active commissioner who was on the board back in 2010 when the county signed the settlement agreement with the Department of Interior. Making the agreement meant giving up on a long hope that the federal government would live up to its promise of constructing the North Shore Road from Bryson City to Tennessee through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The new road was promised back in the 1940s when the Tennessee Valley Authority flooded a portion of the county to create Fontana Dam, but construction in the ‘70s proved too expensive to be completed — creating the Road to Nowhere.
Fontana Dam helped provide electricity that was crucial to the war effort — a war many Swain County men were off fighting. The idea that Swain residents gave all they had to their country with little to show for it when they returned is something that hasn’t been easy to get over.
“When soldiers came back home from World War II they couldn’t get home because the property was turned over to create Fontana Dam,” Carson said. “We are immensely proud to be part of the national park system and have it in our county. We are the gateway to the Great Smokies — the most visited park in the system. I feel this (payment) will help heal a lot of wounds.”
Those wounds are deep — Swain families still remember what it was like being forced off their land that was taken to create the national park and national forests. About 89 percent of the county is occupied by federally owned land, which leaves the county government with a minuscule tax base. Not wanting to overtax its local citizens, Swain County struggles to adequately fund its schools or make infrastructure improvements.
And even though the Department of Interior agreed to pay $52 million to Swain by 2020, the $4 million is only the second payment the county has received since the agreement was signed. A $12.8 million payment was made to the county in 2012, but subsequent installments kept getting delayed and tied up in what U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, called “bureaucratic red tape.”
At first, there was a problem getting Congress to get the funding included in the National Park Service’s budget. Even when a $4 million installment was included in the Park’s budget in 2012, the department claimed it didn’t have the authority to release the funds and asked for additional authorization from Congress.
After years of getting the runaround, the county filed a lawsuit against the Department of Interior in April 2016 claiming breach of contract in the settlement. The complaint was dismissed after a judge ruled there was no breach until 2020. The county recently refiled the claim when news of the $4 million payment was announced, but Meadows is hopeful moving forward that the federal government will meet its obligation to the people of Swain County and bring a “swift end to a problem that should have been resolved years ago.”
“The release of an additional $4 million by the Department of Interior is a critical step toward resolving the unpaid ‘Road to Nowhere’ settlement that Swain County should have received long ago,” Meadows said. “Fortunately, President Trump’s administration has shown a tremendous willingness to make this situation right. I want to particularly thank Interior Secretary Zinke for his work and support in these efforts, along with the Swain County Board of Commissioners in my district who have poured in countless hours into helping make this happen.”
The $4 million being released comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 that included the North Shore Road in the prioritized project list for the Park Service — the same money that was never appropriated because Department of the Interior argued they did not have the legal authority to do so.
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, and N.C. Rep. Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City, were also on hand in Washington for the check presentation.
“By the combined efforts of local officials partnering with congressional leaders our communities will being to receive the valuable funds they are due,” Clampitt said. “I cannot emphasize enough the role Sen. Tillis and Congressman Meadows played, with getting the ball rolling to begin rectifying a wrong that was brought upon the citizens of Western North Carolina, particularly Swain County.”
When you wait so long for something, Tillis said, the expectation becomes that you’ll never get it. That’s definitely how Swain County was feeling about the settlement money.
“This is an issue I have been working on since I was sworn in to the U.S. Senate, and I will continue to work with Swain County, Congress, and the Department of the Interior to advocate for the rest of the money they are owed is appropriated and repaid to them as promised,” Tillis said.
“The Department of Interior’s decision to compensate Swain County is well overdue, as it was initially appropriated in 2011. I support the Department’s decision and count it as a step in the right direction, but I will continue to press the Department to fully match Swain County’s expectations dating back to a decade-old agreement,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC. “When the federal government makes a promise, it should keep that promise. I will continue to work to hold the government accountable.”Read More
Rep. Meadows’ Statement on Hurricane Harvey Aid Vote
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement on his decision to vote against the final passage of a bill to provide disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey—combined with a measure to raise the debt ceiling for three months:
“Early last week, I was pleased to vote in favor of a clean bill to provide $7.4 billion in relief to victims of Hurricane Harvey, and cautioned that Congress would do well to avoid combining pork, add-on’s, or unrelated legislative items to the bill through the rest of the process. Unfortunately, Congress went in the other direction and chose to combine aid for Harvey victims with a bill to raise the debt ceiling. For that reason, I voted against last weekend’s final bill to provide hurricane relief.
The hundreds of thousands of Hurricane Harvey victims that have been left broken are in need of help, and as I’ve said before, it’s on Congress to responsibly give it to them. However, disaster relief and the debt ceiling are two very important issues that I believe should be addressed separately—not combined for political convenience. While I’m glad the victims of this storm will receive the help they desperately need, I’m disappointed in the manner in which it was handled. Moving forward, additional votes for hurricane relief will certainly be forthcoming—and if that legislation is used solely to support the people who are suffering and not a leverage for some other measure, then I will gladly support it.”
Rep. Meadows’ Statement on Swain County Funding
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) joined Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) in a press conference, announcing the Department of Interior’s decision to release an additional $4 million that the federal government has owed Swain County, NC since World War II.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s, Swain County, NC relinquished most of its public land to the federal government in order to assist with building projects that were part of World War II. The land forfeiture forced hundreds of families to move from their homes to clear the way for the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Fontana Lake reservoir—which became the hub for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manhattan Project. The Fontana Lake reservoir replaced a road called ‘Highway 288’—the only accessible road to the old community.
As part of the exchange, the federal government promised to build Swain County a new road that would replace Highway 288 and provide a route to those communities. Now, decades later, the promised “road” has never been completed--and is now known amongst the community as the “Road to Nowhere.”
In 2010, the Department of Interior agreed to a settlement that would pay Swain County $52 million. Over 7 years later, Swain County is still owed $39.2 million of those funds. In June of this year, Rep. Meadows introduced a bill that would require the government to pay back $35.2 million of the money—and today’s announcement from Secretary Zinke, releasing the additional $4 million, will surely pave the way for Swain County to finally receive the full $39.2 million owed.
“The release of an additional $4 million by the Department of Interior is a critical step toward resolving the unpaid "Road to Nowhere" settlement that Swain County should have received long ago,” Rep. Meadows said. “Fortunately, President Trump’s administration has shown a tremendous willingness to make this situation right. I want to particularly thank Interior Secretary Zinke for his work and support in these efforts, along with the Swain County Board of Commissioners in my district who have poured in countless hours into helping make this happen. My hope is that we can now move forward and bring a swift end to a problem that should have been resolved years ago.”Read More
Congressman Meadows tours TekTone’s new manufacturing operations
Brittney Burns – Staff Writer
Manufacturers contributed $2.18 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2016 and tor every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy.
The vast majority of manufacturing firms in the United States are quite small. In 2014, there were 251,901 firms in the manufacturing sector, with all but 3,749 firms considered to be small (i.e., having fewer than 500 employees). In fact, three-quarters of these firms have fewer than 20 employees. One of those “small firms” is having a big impact here in Macon County and Congressman Mark Meadows had a chance to experience their impact first hand last week while spending time in the district.
Last Wednesday, Rep. Meadows met with TekTone Sound and Signal president Johnny Mira-Knippel to tour the manufacturing facility at the Macon County Industrial Park. The majority of everything TekTone does or the parts they use to build their product are all Made in the USA, something Congressman Meadows sees as having a substantial impact for the county and the country as a whole.
“Their impact is critical—companies like TekTone that make such an assertive effort to do business within the United States play a major role in boosting our economy and creating job opportunities,” said Rep. Meadows. “They’re one of several companies in Western North Carolina that have been at the forefront of that effort.”
TekTone designs and manufactures wired and wireless nurse call, apartment entry, area of rescue assistance, alert integration and resident wandering systems. TekTone’s mission stems from the belief that they are part of the community and that it is their responsibility to help drive economic prosperity for their employees and Macon County as a whole.
“We take tremendous pride in making our equipment here and have challenged our staff to continue to improve in efficiency and quality so that we can continue making our products domestically while remaining competitive,” said Brad Hyder, Director of Communications for TekTone. “Our employees have accepted that challenge and we are investing heavily in equipment and automation to ensure they are successful. We know that when we make our products in the U.S., they are made with pride and attention to detail, which means our customers, as well as our families that use our products in healthcare facilities are going to get a product they can count on for years into the future.“
TekTone set a growth target of 8 percent over 2016 and so far in 2017, the company is on target for 20 percent growth from 2016.
“One of the most memorable aspects of my time in Congress has been traveling throughout Western North Carolina and getting a firsthand look at the growth of businesses in our district,” said Rep. Meadows. “Hearing stories from business owners and employees about successes, perseverance through struggles, and opportunities for expansion along the way. Looking at TekTone—a company that started out in 1973 with four employees, and now has grown all the way to 85 employees with a new 72,262-square-foot facility—they’re a prime example of the type of success story you love to see in our district.”
Mira-Knippel gave Rep. Meadows, county commissioners Gary Shields and Ronnie Beale, and county manager Derek Roland a tour of their new facility, that was made possible with the help of commissioners.
TekTone received two different grants to help with the development of their new building. The first grant was awarded with a stipulation of creating 15 jobs over a two-year period and the second required 35 jobs over a five-year period. “In less than 12 months since the grants were awarded, we have added a net 10 new employees in Franklin with an average wage of $42,258,” said Hyder. “In addition, we still have open positions available.”
TekTone currently employs 82 people in Franklin and 85 people overall including regional sales staff. Meadows said that economic incentives and public/private partnerships are an integral part of ensuring the success of growing industries.
“I think at the local level, any time we can create an atmosphere that allows businesses to thrive with the public and private sector working in conjunction, that’s a recipe for success,” said Meadows. “TekTone’s new facility, getting all their operations under one roof in Franklin, will be a major boost not only for their business but for Western North Carolina’s.”
Mira-Knippel said that Meadows’ visit was an opportunity to put on display the hard work and accomplishment of the family-owned business.
“We were very excited to host Congressman Meadows and show him the work that is happening in his district,” said Mira-Knippel. “We are very proud to be an American manufacturer and we know that is something that gives him great pride as well. Our employees were excited to have him here and we hope that he will come and visit again soon to see the continued growth and improvements we are making.”
TekTone’s move to Franklin was a chance encounter, and came to fruition in the late 1980s when the Mira family vacationed in Macon County. In 1988, TekTone, headquartered in Palm Beach County, Florida, was beginning to outgrow its facilities. While visiting Macon County, the family learned about the Macon County Incubator Facility, now known as the Business Development Center. Beale said at the time that the county didn’t quite understand what TekTone was, but said if they agreed to bring four jobs to Macon County, they could operate out of the incubator facility in exchange for a reduced rent. The business made the move the following year to Macon County looking for a second production facility, but eventually decided to move all operations to Macon County. The company has since grown to more than 80 employees and has become a well known name in their industry. TekTone healthcare communications systems are found in hospitals, retirement communities, skilled nursing, and assisted/independent living facilities around the globe.Read More
Texans are suffering. Texans need help.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, hundreds of thousands have been left homeless, displaced, and broken. Many families are returning to their hometowns, some still separated from loved ones, to face the heartbreaking reality of losing everything they spent a lifetime working for. For many children, parents, and grandparents of Texas, the road to recovery will be a long and difficult one.
Our neighbors in Texas need relief. It's on Congress to do our job and give it to them.
One would think that in light of the urgent circumstances, the path forward would seem obvious: Congress should craft a relief bill for Harvey victims that works in lock-step with the concerns of state officials and distinctly addresses the needs of Houston and surrounding communities. Such a bill should stay on a safe, reliable track to swift passage in both chambers from beginning to end.
This should be relatively easy to do. A true relief effort for hurricane victims is not a partisan issue.
However, in Washington we are notorious for making our jobs far more difficult than they need to be. Speaking nothing of how we often fall short in keeping our promises, we frequently play an unnecessary game of politics with key issues -- using must-pass legislation such as disaster relief as a vehicle to sweeten unrelated, contentious bills that may not otherwise pass as stand-alone measures.
This bad habit played out extensively during the Hurricane Sandy relief debate in 2013 — a debacle that has lately been front and center in the news as Congress moves toward drafting a relief package for Hurricane Harvey.
Back then, Congress used Hurricane Sandy aid legislation to attach several completely unrelated spending projects that had nothing to do with relieving the people of New York and New Jersey. These projects included $150 million for Alaskan fisheries, $2 million to repair the Smithsonian's leaky roof, and $8 million for new cars and equipment for the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice -- just to name a few. As a result, Hurricane Sandy victims saw their much-needed assistance put in serious jeopardy.
One would hope that congressional Republicans have learned from our mistakes and will now respond by focusing a recovery bill toward true relief efforts rather than entirely separate side projects.
Old habits die hard. Four years later, a GOP-controlled Congress is poised to repeat the same fiasco — this time by combining Hurricane Harvey relief spending with a bill to raise the debt ceiling, the deadline for which expires on Sept. 30. House leadership is essentially planning to use Harvey relief as a vehicle to sweeten a debt ceiling bill that would otherwise be controversial as a stand-alone vote.
We have known the debt ceiling deadline was coming for months. We should have handled the issue before leaving Washington for August recess, well ahead of the September deadline. Nevertheless, we once again find ourselves buried in the same self-imposed dilemma — making critical decisions up against looming deadlines and using an urgent need such as hurricane relief spending to facilitate the ill-advised result of our own procrastination.
Putting aid for Harvey victims in limbo because of our own inability to handle pressing deadlines in a timely manner is not only inappropriate, but it sends the wrong message to millions of Americans in Texas and millions more who put us in Washington to do a job. We owe them better.
As Congress moves forward, it is our responsibility to keep Hurricane Harvey relief on a safe, reliable track to passage. We should quickly pass a bill to assist victims with no add-on's, no pork spending, and no attachments to gain leverage over separate issues.
The people of Texas have seen their lives turned upside down. Their road ahead will be difficult enough without Washington, D.C., needlessly getting in the way.
Congress, don't play politics with recovery.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., represents North Carolina's 11th District. He is chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.Read More
Rep. Meadows’ Statement on Hurricane Harvey Aid
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement after voting in support of H. Res. 502 to provide an additional $7.4 billion to the “Disaster Relief Fund" for Hurricane Harvey victims:
“As I’ve said before, the hundreds of thousands of Hurricane Harvey victims that have been left broken and homeless are in need of help, and it’s on Congress to responsibly give it to them. Today, I was proud to support the first step toward that end by voting in favor of a clean bill to provide $7.4 billion in disaster relief to those suffering in Texas and Louisiana. Moving forward, Congress would do well to keep Hurricane Harvey relief on a safe track and avoid combining pork, add-on’s, or unrelated legislative items to the bill. The people of Texas have seen their lives turned upside down. Their road ahead will be difficult enough without Washington, D.C., needlessly getting in the way by playing politics with their recovery.”
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.
It's an honor to represent the incredible people of Henderson County https://t.co/O4QYzfNiZi
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