I hope you have had an exciting beginning to 2014. I was fortunate to spend New Year’s Eve here at home with my wonderful wife and our bulldog, Hank. Although Hank didn’t make it through the night to see the ball drop, and I doubt he’ll stick to his New Year’s resolution to stop chewing on my shoes, Renee and I enjoyed spending time together and discussing our goals for the New Year.
I will return to Washington this week for the second session of the 113th Congress and will continue to focus on advancing initiatives that increase economic prosperity, reduce our debt, and bring jobs home. In addition to these goals, I am committed to: passing appropriations legislation that reins in wasteful government spending; repealing/replacing Obamacare; finalizing a five-year Farm Bill; protecting our textile interests in the ongoing TPP negotiations; and seeing my TSA reform bill passed into law.
My first year in Congress ended with a bipartisan agreement on the budget. It wasn’t perfect, and I wanted deeper cuts, but it reduces spending, tackles the deficit and provides stability. The budget agreement determines our nation’s fiscal priorities and sets spending levels in the 2014 fiscal year. But this is merely the first step in getting our fiscal house in order. Now, we must make smart decisions about how to spend federal dollars by passing individual spending bills for each federal agency, going line-by-line to make sure we root out the waste and steer decision-making power back to North Carolina and away from Washington. Now is the time to make concrete, real savings. While details on the spending bills are forthcoming, my priorities remain the same: limiting federal spending, reducing the national debt, preventing additional funding for Obamacare, and enforcing North Carolina’s priorities.
As I have said before, Obamacare is a disastrous law that is harmful to all Americans. We can do better, and this year I will continue to fight for quality, affordable health care for you and your families. I promise to continue to do everything I can to defund, repeal, and replace Obamacare, which is why I am proud to co-sponsor the Empowering Patients First Act (H.R. 2300), a bill that will permanently repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered health care. Instead of forcing families and individuals under a 1950s style, one-size fits all system, this bill will empower you to have better control over your health care and restores the doctor-patient relationship.
Last year, I made it a priority of mine to get a five-year Farm Bill across the finish line. Unfortunately, the farm bill is still in the negotiation process between the House and the Senate, and because of the lengthy negotiations, Congress passed a 30-day extension of the previous farm bill before the end of the first session. It’s time to come to an agreement. We owe it to our farmers to equip them with the tools they need to produce an affordable and stable food supply, not temporary extensions of outdated policy. I am eager to find a permanent deal soon so that we can get certainty back to our farmers across North Carolina.
Since my first days in office, I have worked to hold TSA accountable while ensuring the safety of the American people and responsible stewardship of our tax dollars. Just a few weeks ago, companion legislation to the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act (H.R. 2719), a bill I authored to reform TSA, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. This session, I look forward to working with Ayotte and her colleagues to bring it to the Senate floor, and I am optimistic it will be made law in 2014.
I’m eager to begin my second session in Congress, and I pledge that I will work to find commonsense, permanent solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems. There is a lot of work to be done, and I remain committed to serving your interests as I am faced with the tough decisions.
Richard Hudson, a Republican from Concord, represents the 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes most of Robeson County.