Meadows fights for ARC
In what’s becoming a bit of a pattern for Congressman Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, he and his House Freedom Caucus aren’t 100 percent on board with another one of President Donald Trump’s agenda items.
“It is very apparent that the president’s budget will not be to the levels that gain enough support in the House or the Senate to pass,” Meadows said, echoing comments he made to reporters on the Senate health care bill in a June 23 conference call.
“We’re probably closer along on the health care debate than on the budget debate right now, because we’re in three different camps in the House,” he said.
Fiscal hawks, defense hawks and moderate Republicans eyeing non-defense discretionary spending all have competing agendas.
“It’s trying to get those three groups together to come up with an agreement,” Meadows said.
The biggest budget concerns right now according to Meadows are proposed increases in defense spending and non-defense discretionary dollars.
“Increasing defense spending by close to $75 billion and keeping non-defense discretionary [spending] very close to current levels — that seems to be where most of the consensus is building in the House,” he said.
Locally, Trump’s proposed defunding of the Appalachian Regional Commission was a gut-shot to rural America, and rural Appalachia especially.
“Even under President Obama, there were things he funded that I agreed with, and things that I didn’t,” Meadows said. “This president is no different.”
Meadows continues to maintain that he’s fighting to preserve funding for the ARC, which for more than 50 years has funded economic development and infrastructure projects through federal-state partnerships across 13 states, including North Carolina.
Trump’s budget proposal seeks to defund the ARC completely, saving every American about $2.29 each year.
“The ARC and what it does for economic growth in my district is something important,” Meadows said. “I see any final budget including support for that. I can tell you that budgets we are discussing here in the House would support that as well.”