In an important Oct. 16 vote, Buncombe County’s Republican congressmen split over whether to reopen the government and avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt.
Freshman Rep. Mark Meadows of District 11, which includes parts of western and southern Buncombe County, voted against the deal, arguing that it “was inherently unfair to the American people and continued to give Congress a special deal on Obamacare,” according to a statement released soon after the vote. Meadows was in the minority, however, with 285 members of the House voting to approve it compared to 114 who voted against.
In recent days, Meadows made national headlines for his leadership role in urging the party to demand defunding the Affordable Care Act in exchange for keeping the government open. The strategy resulted in a 16-day shutdown, billions in economic losses, and no significant changes to the health care law.
Rep. Patrick McHenry of District 10, which includes most of Asheville, voted with the majority in favor of opening the government and raising the nation’s debt limit through the middle of February. In a press statement released soon after the vote, McHenry notes the move “avoids an economically-devastating default,” but adds: “The legislation is far from perfect.”
The Senate approved the law by a vote of 81 to 18, with both North Carolina Senators Kay Hagan, a Democrat, and Richard Burr, a Republican, voting in support. President Barack Obama quickly signed the bill into law.
Here are the complete statements released by Meadows and McHenry:
Meadows’ Statement on Government Reopening
Washington, D.C. – Representative Mark Meadows (NC-11) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 2775, the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2014, to reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling.
“As the government reopens, I am grateful to the federal and state agencies that worked tirelessly with our office to curtail the impacts of this shutdown,” Meadows said. “Because it was inherently unfair to the American people and continued to give Congress a special deal on Obamacare, I could not support the final bill that passed the House tonight. Furthermore, I believe it is important to give our business climate more certainty by providing long-term solutions to government appropriations and the debt ceiling. As this agreement has now been made, I anticipate ongoing budget negotiations to address our debt and deficit in a responsible way.
“During this process, House Republicans were able to ensure the continuation of the reduced spending levels established in 2011. These levels, which reflected historic cuts in government spending, are crucial to addressing our nation’s pressing fiscal concerns.
“I made a commitment to my constituents to pursue every possible avenue to keep the government open while protecting hardworking families from the disastrous consequences of Obamacare. With the debt ceiling and continuing resolution off the table, I take President Obama at his word that he will now be willing to negotiate fixes to Obamacare to stop some of the harmful effects this law is already having on hardworking families.”
This bill was passed by the House in a vote of 285-144. It was passed by the Senate earlier this evening and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama.
McHenry Statement on End of Government Shutdown
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10) released the following statement on the passage of a continuing resolution in the House of Representatives that resumes funding for the federal government and raises the nation’s debt ceiling:
“Today, I voted once again for a continuing resolution that funds government operations and avoids an economically-devastating default. The legislation is far from perfect. It was a tough call to vote for it – but the best choice given the limited options, and a severely divided Washington. While it doesn’t end Obamacare, it includes a significant change to Obamacare by forcing this administration to verify income for those receiving subsidies under the law.
“The spending controls maintained in this legislation have produced consecutive years of decreased federal spending for the first time in over half a century. Additionally, it marks a return to regular order by establishing a conference committee on the budget. This creates an opportunity to produce a bipartisan agreement that starts to reduce our debt and put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path for future generations of Americans.
“Now that another Washington-manufactured crisis has passed, I hope we can focus our attention on further addressing the disaster that is Obamacare. If someone is able to actually log-in to the exchange website, they are faced with massive rate increases and less coverage. It’s a bad law, and a worse implementation. I hope the Senate and President Obama will work with us to find ways to protect consumers from this train wreck.”