Under the Dome

Dome: US Rep. Price hearing about NC politics, not DC

Staff writersAugust 25, 2013 

U.S. Rep. David Price addressed the crowd at Lake Benson Park Friday night.

JOHNNY WHITFIELD — jwhitfield@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

U.S. Rep. David Price says he is hearing a good deal from constituents about the politics in the state capital rather than the nation’s capital these days.

“It’s as much or more about Raleigh and what’s going on here as it is what’s going on in Washington,” the Chapel Hill Democrat told N&O reporters and editors last week. “Maybe Washington gridlock after a while gets to seem like old news.

“I haven’t seen it this way ever; I think you’d have to go back to the civil rights years,” he continued. “Certainly not since I’ve been in office has there been this much agitation over state-level issues.”

Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat first elected to Congress in 1986, expects that agitation to help U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election bid. If she faces Republican Thom Tillis, Price expects Hagan to remind voters she was a state senator and contrast her tenure against the current House speaker. “I think a lot of the issues that are going to be on people’s minds are North Carolina issues, particularly if Thom Tillis is the opponent. It’s going to be about the direction of the state and the direction Republicans are taking this state,” he said.

Here’s more from Price on other topics:

Egypt: Price said he is not comfortable sending U.S. military aid to Egypt, given the violence and the military’s seizure of control from what he called a “duly elected government.” But he said the U.S. must be cautious because “we have strategic interests in Egypt.”

Sequestration: Price lamented the negative effects in North Carolina, saying that it is contributing to the state’s upward tick in unemployment and that budget cuts in Raleigh are dragging down the state’s economy.

Wake schools bond: He considers the ballot measure an important test, particularly after the Wake County GOP came out opposed to the school bonds. “If the right wing is as fired up as the ‘Moral Monday’ folks are fired up then a county like Wake would be a very significant battleground,” he said.

Federal health care law: With the federal health insurance exchanges expected to come online Oct. 1, Price said he would do everything he could to help get people into the system, despite opposition from Republicans in Raleigh. He said it would be a lot easier if critics weren’t trying to “sabotage” the program. But he expressed support for its progress and said it appears to be on schedule.

2016 governor’s race: Price said he would be “delighted” if Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper makes a bid to challenge McCrory. He expects the 2016 election to align strongly in Democrats’ favor, with a strong candidate at the top of the ticket, giving the party a chance to take control of the state House. “It could come together for Democrats in 2016,” he said. “But 2014 has to build toward that.”

Bond: State going backward

Civil rights leader Julian Bond called North Carolina the new Mississippi because of its voter ID law.

“North Carolina has become the new Mississippi,” Bond said on a program that aired Friday night on “Political Capital with Al Hunt” on Bloomberg TV.

“They’ve just taken an enormous step backward in voting rights and a series of things because of the domination of Republicans in the House and the Senate and in the governor’s chair,” said Bond, who is a former chairman of the national NAACP and a former Georgia legislator.

Ellmers called out

The National Review is calling out Rep. Renee Ellmers for a flip-flop. The article by Jonathan Strong notes that the Dunn Republican bashed the lobbying group Heritage Action on Twitter and its strategy of trying to defund Obamacare with the next continuing resolution.

“Should we stop #Obamacare? YES! But @Heritage_Action’s strategy w/ Continuing Resolution is WRONG,” she tweeted. Ellmers was upset that Heritage Action was spending $550,000 to attack “conservatives” rather than Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, “who was the deciding vote on Obamacare?”

Strong then notes that in a briefing in March 2011 at the Heritage Foundation, Ellmers said she would push GOP leadership to use a continuing-resolution bill to defund Obamacare.

An Ellmers spokesman told Strong the situation is different now.

“The situation you are referring to took place in March of 2011 right after Republicans had taken control of the House in a historic election. Since that time, President Obama has won reelection and Democrats have held onto their majority in the U.S. Senate. Things would be very different now if Mitt Romney had won the presidency and Republicans gained control of the Senate, but unfortunately they didn’t,” the spokesman said. Read the whole article at http://bit.ly/12xcpOc.

Staff writers John Frank, Rob Christensen and Mary Cornatzer

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