Meadows confirms no FEMA aid for region at CIBO power lunch

Mark Meadows at CIBO power lunch
LUNCH AND LEARN: U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows shares his thoughts on immigration, the economy and other issues at the Council of Independent Business Owners "power lunch." Photo by Daniel Walton

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows was bullish about the nation’s prospects in his remarks during the Council of Independent Business Owners “power lunch” at Highland Brewing Co. on Aug. 27. In a response to Xpress questions after the event, however, he said that Western North Carolina will have to recover from recent flooding events without Federal Emergency Management Agency support.

Gov. Roy Cooper had requested a federal major disaster declaration on July 30, which would have qualified WNC for funds to repair damage from storms, landslides and mudslides during the month of May. Meadows said he joined Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr earlier in August to support Cooper’s request and had reached out to FEMA directly on several occasions.

However, Meadows noted that FEMA Administrator Brock Long’s letter on Aug. 20 denying the disaster declaration was likely the final word on the matter. “I think that decision has been made,” he said. “Obviously, that’s a decision that they didn’t feel met the threshold [for supplemental federal assistance].”

During the lunch itself, Meadows focused on economics and immigration, as well as the intersection between the two. One question from the audience, for example, concerned local construction companies that can’t find sufficient workers to fill their positions and want immigration reform to ease their recruitment of foreign labor.

“There are a lot of very good ideas on immigration that not only give us a secure border but actually work for a guest worker program,” Meadows responded. “That breaks down over building of a wall, to be frank, and amnesty on the other side. Everybody kind of retreats to those two areas.”

Based on his experience in the district, Meadows recognized that Hispanic and Latino workers are often filling “very hard jobs that other people won’t do” and becoming important parts of local communities. Nevertheless, he estimated that Washington wouldn’t make any significant move on immigration reform until after the midterm elections in November.

“Quite frankly, [Senate members] have not shown the intestinal fortitude” to vote on politically contentious immigration measures, Meadows added. “The Senate takes more naps than they do votes.”

Meadows also opined on development of the domestic workforce. He said that the administration of President Donald Trump hopes to promote vocational training for skills such as high-tech manufacturing. Those skills are in high demand regionally: In Buncombe County, the manufacturing sector added 1,100 jobs between April 2017 and last April.

But perhaps more important than training, suggested Meadows, is the work ethic of prospective employees. “In my district, we’ve got thousands of jobs that could be filled tomorrow if someone was willing to do two things: pass a drug test and show up to work. Now that’s a pretty low bar,” he said.

In reference to the aforementioned drug tests, however, Meadows offered no suggestions on issues such as combating the region’s opioid crisis or reforming national marijuana legislation.


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About Daniel Walton
Daniel Walton is the former news editor of Mountain Xpress. His work has also appeared in Sierra, The Guardian, and Civil Eats, among other national and regional publications. Follow me @DanielWWalton

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8 thoughts on “Meadows confirms no FEMA aid for region at CIBO power lunch

  1. luther blissett

    Meadows remains a trumped-up waste of space. Also, Highland Brewing isn’t even in his district.: it’s in the 10th district of Patrick McHenry.

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    Let’s STOP ALL IMMIGRATION for the next 50 years like we did in the 1920s! Yes, we had little to no immigration for about 50 years until the later 1960s, then in the 1980s, the flood gates opened.
    Time to shut them again for assimilation, while we oust all the illegal criminals.

    The opioid crisis can be stopped by those who are abusing pills or injecting…Just stop it. Just have the will power to stop, and you will. Opioid crisis is not a government responsibility.

    • Sam

      It takes more than will power to get off highly addictive substances such as opioids. Have some compassion.

      Secondly, yes, when government-backed pharmaceutical companies flood the market with “medications” that kill thousands, it’s their responsibility to fix the problem.

      I thought you were enlightened? Maybe try again…

      • B E Vickroy

        Coming down between Enigma & Sam. — Are ALL of our nation’s problems due to insecure borders, greedy employers, & venal politicians? NO? Well then by all means lets not do anything. As EE pointed out, our grandparents had enough sense to cut immigration. But in the face of the true COSTS to the PEOPLE of our nation, the MSM & political classes would rather call names than do anything PRACTICAL.

        And Sam is right about addiction taking more than mere WILL POWER to correct. The flood of opioids is a government/corporate created crisis. But among those who are hurt by the over-reaction to the NEW NEW NEW [“the sky is falling”] awareness of the CRISIS, are the folks who need those prescription pain meds just to make it through the day. [Diabetic Peripheral neuropathy] As usual, when the government gets into “let’s fix-it mode”, they sweep everything in the wake of this year’s “get tough on crime crack down.”

        And BTW open, insecure borders ARE a primary source for illegal drugs of all kinds, including opioids. But not to worry, as soon as we all hold hands, think pure thoughts, beat on a few tom-toms, the world will be full of sweetness and light and everything will be just dandy.

        • Dirty Northerner

          According to this government data:

          We have appx 11.5k miles of border including the Canadian border, the Mexican border and US coastline (excluding Hawaii and Alaska).

          How do you propose we “secure” all that? Walls with Canada and Mexico? That still leaves appx 5k miles worth of coastline…

          • B E Vickroy

            Hmmm — well, responding as if that were a sincere query instead of an ATTEMPTED Gotcha…

            If the entire border of our nation were under the same attack [yes, ATTACK] as our southern border [2,000 mi], then it would probably be time for a declaration of war at that point. Invasion by any other name is still an INVASION.

            But that is not the case. The Atlantic, Pacific, & Canadian borders are not being deluged with 10s of thousands of illegal crossers monthly. Putting a barrier at the point of invasion seems like the logical thing to do.

            An example of an effective border fence is at the San Diego area. Responding to the grass-roots LIGHT UP THE BORDER effort, a border wall was constructed, cutting illegal entry by 90% Similarly, OPERATION HOLD THE LINE cut illegal entry in the El Paso area by 80%

            utube showing fences/barriers being constructed around the world.
            50,000 children-crossers in 8 months

        • Maryjo

          When we first address home grown white supremacist terrorist then we can move onto addressing boarder crossing and those average ordinary people seeking asylum from their oppressors.
          You left allot out !

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