Morning Memo: Triangle delegation divided on budget deal

Posted by Mary Cornatzer and John Frank on December 13, 2013 

The big story Thursday was the House passing a bipartisan budget – an event noteworthy for the bipartisan displayed and hearing the “distinguished” congressman from Kansas (Republican Tim Huelskamlp) call it a “crap sandwich.” Dome can only shake its head and go tsk tsk.

The story going forward (after the Senate votes next week) will be how lawmakers spin their votes. The yes votes will be particularly tricky for those Republicans running for re-election against tea party candidates.

Eight members of North Carolina’s delegation voted for the budget package; five against. In the Triangle, two Republicans – Reps. Renee Ellmers of Dunn and Howard Coble of Greensboro – and two Democrats – G.K. Butterfield of Wilson and David Price of Chapel Hill – voted for it. Republican George Holding and Democrat Mike McIntyre voted against.

Holding expressed the view of some conservative Republicans who felt the agreement didn’t reduce spending and deficits enough.

“I came to Washington to cut spending and tackle the hard issues that are saddling our future generations with unsustainable amounts of debt. Unfortunately this budget deal shows just how backwards things are in Washington,” he said in a statement, adding, “We cannot continue to increase spending when we are already borrowing at an unsustainable rate – more government spending doesn’t solve the problem, it is the problem.”

*** Good Friday to all and welcome to Dome Morning Memo. ***

BAH HUMBUG: Charlotte Observer cartoonist Kevin Siers has a new nickname for House Speaker Thom Tillis, Tiny Thom. See his cartoon here.

COMMERCE MOVING FORWARD: Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker continue to move ahead with her plan to take five divisions private despite lawmakers concerns. She told Patrick Gannon on the Insider that 61 workers would be affected – though some are expected to go straight to work for the new entity. Read more here.

VOTING LAW TRIAL IN 2015: From AP – “A federal judge has ruled there will be no trial on North Carolina’s Republican-backed voting law changes until after the 2014 elections, though she signaled motions will be considered to bar the measures from taking effect until the case is resolved.

“U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joi Peake said Thursday the issues raised in the three lawsuits challenging the new law are too complicated to be resolved before next year’s elections. Peake set a bench trial for July 2015.” Read more here.

NEW ROLE FOR ELLMERS: Rep. Renee Ellmers will be Congressional Chair of Maggie’s List, a federal political action committee which tries to help fiscally conservative women get elected to U.S. Congress. The group backed Ellmers i 2010 and 2012. Ellmers has already been designated as the go-to woman on women’s issues by her male counterparts in the GOP.

HAGAN KILLS 2016 IOWA CAUCUS CHANCES: Just a little Dome humor We know U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is running for re-election not the White House. But she announced Thursday that she is co-sponsoring a bill to eliminate corn ethanol from the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, something corn growers surely won’t like.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard is bringing next-generation biofuels to markets that strengthen U.S. energy security and spur economic development in rural North Carolina,” Hagan said. “By eliminating the corn-ethanol mandate of the RFS, this bill will provide relief from high corn prices without harming investments in advanced biofuels.” The statement references a Hoke County turkey plant that closed and blamed the feed prices as one of the reasons.

PERSONNEL FILE: Travis Fain, the sharp, wise-cracking News & Record political reporter, is celebrating his last day at the newspaper. He starts a new job at the Newport News Daily Press covering the Virginia statehouse in Richmond. ...

The N.C. Association of Nurse Anesthetists (NCANA) announced it hired Tracy Kimbrell as a contract lobbyist. Kimbrell at the Parker Poe law firm is the former general counsel for Senate leader Phil Berger.

And Sadie Weiner, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s spokeswoman, says in an email titled “Heading South” that she will transition from the official capacity to the campaign full time on Jan. 1. Deputy Communications Director Amber Moon will fill her role in Washington.

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