Richard Hudson's week in Washington

Mar. 09, 2013 @ 04:22 PM

For the past four years leaders in Washington have promised the American people that the only path to a strong economy is through massive federal spending. The result? One of the slowest and flattest economic recoveries since World War II and higher unemployment in North Carolina today than when the President first took office.

The reason we can’t climb out of this recession is because of Washington’s out-of-control spending. If we are serious about getting America’s economy back on track, it’s time to stop believing in the government-spending fairy.

Last week the House took a good step in the right direction to start undoing the damage our economy has incurred. The House passed the Continuing Resolution (CR), preventing a government shutdown and reducing spending to 2008 levels. The Continuing Resolution’s significant reduction in spending levels brought the top-line overall rate of spending down from $1.043 trillion to approximately $984 billion, including $85 billion in immediate cuts this year alone.  This is a level I promised my constituents I would fight to achieve and I’m pleased to see we got there.

What we were also able to achieve in the Continuing Resolution is the restoration of some of the damage done to our military by the President’s sequester. We now have provisions on the books which prioritize funding for the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, and provide flexibility to the Pentagon to cut waste and preserve funding for necessary functions like training. This gives our military the tools they need to keep us safe and ensure our promises are being kept to our warfighters and veterans.

In addition, the vote was also a partial defunding of Obamacare. I know many constituents were concerned that the bill funded Obamacare, but in fact, it reduced funding for two of the main agencies that are in charge of implementing the healthcare overhaul: the CMS and the IRS. To further express my support for defunding the President’s health care law, I signed a letter with 29 of my House colleagues prior to the vote, urging House leadership to include provisions in the bill that would defund this unconstitutional mandate.

Because of our victory in locking down significant spending reductions in the Continuing Resolution, agencies will find themselves funded at pre-Obamacare levels and therefore will find it difficult to access the necessary funds to implement the health care reform law. As Democrat Congresswoman Nita Lowey explained in her floor remarks: “Specifically, this bill will delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act scheduled to begin enrolling participants in October. Without IT infrastructure to process enrollments and payments, verify eligibility and establish call centers, health insurance for millions of Americans would [be] further delayed.”

This is a tremendous victory for the American people and a first step towards our goal of balancing the budget in 10 years. We are just beginning our work to reduce our debt and create an atmosphere that fosters economic growth and job creation.

Was it all I wanted to cut? No. Am I satisfied? Absolutely not. But for the first time in a long time we took a positive and necessary step in the right direction and achieved historic spending cuts. You sent me to Washington to rein in federal spending and create jobs and I will continue to work hard to ensure Congress does just that.

• U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson represents the 8th Congressional District. He can be reached at (704) 786-1612.