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Political Notebook: North Carolina lawmakers say they look forward to working with Biden

While some of North Carolina’s lawmakers on Capitol Hill didn’t attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration or didn’t make their plans known, they expressed support for working with his administration for the next four years.

Rep. Ted Budd did not make it clear via social media whether he attended Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration. However, in a tweet, Budd said he looks forward to working with Biden to unite the country, grow the economy, quickly distribute COVID-19 vaccines and “#ReopenAmerica.”

But his optimism turned to criticism when Budd said in another online post that Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline in an executive order Biden signed on Wednesday risks”10,000 blue-collar jobs” and “empowers Russia and China.” Budd also criticized Biden in a separate tweet for “trying to plagiarize Trump’s vaccine plan” after one of Biden’s orders planned to distribute 100 million vaccines in 100 days.

Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican who represents the state’s 8th Congressional District and formerly represented Rowan County, said he attended Biden’s inauguration due to his commitment to the U.S. Constitution.

Hudson also called for a focus on areas where both sides of the aisle can work together.

“If President Biden wants to work on delivering vaccines, reopening schools, rebuilding our economy and restoring our way of life, I’m ready to work with him,” Hudson said. “If he wants to take the country backwards by destroying the economy with increased taxes and making us less safe with appeasement foreign policy, then I will oppose him at every turn.”

Sen. Thom Tillis said he informed Biden that regrettably wouldn’t be attending the inauguration due to his recovery from a recent foot surgery.

“Our nation faces many unprecedented challenges, and I look forward to finding common ground with President Biden on areas where we may agree, and vigorously — but always respectfully — opposing policies where we do not,” he said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Tillis tweeted a congratulations to both Biden and Harris, and said he appreciated Biden’s call for unity in his inaugural address.
Rep. Budd introduces bill to stop vaccine waste
Rep. Ted Budd and Rep. Mike Garcia, R-California, last week introduced a bill that would help to prevent doses of the COVID-19 vaccine going to waste.
The bill, called the “Vaccinate More Americans Act,” would allow vaccine providers to administer leftover vaccines to eligible individuals. The bill was prompted from reports that doses of the vaccine were being allowed to expire across the nation due to overly-strict and unclear state and local rules and regulations. It would also allow providers to disregard any existing state or local law that prohibits those doses from being administered to eligible individuals. But the bill also includes a rule of construction that nothing in the act shall override federal, state or local law other than with respect to the current phased allocation of doses.
On Thursday, ProPublica reported that, while the CDC has called on states to report any unused and spoiled doses, many states are not tracking that information. Some states included in the report for wasting doses included Washington and Indiana, while other states like Maryland and Pennsylvania aren’t tracking waste information.
“It’s outrageous that states are wasting COVID-19 vaccines at a time when so many people need them,” Budd said in a statement. “These overly-strict regulations should not stand in the way of vaccinating as many Americans as possible, as quickly as possible. Rep. Garcia and I have a common sense solution that cuts red tape and makes vaccine waste is a thing of the past.”
Sen. Tillis co-introduces bipartisan legislation awarding U.S. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman Congressional Gold Medal
Sen. Thom Tillis co-introduced bipartisan legislation on Friday to award U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman with a Congressional Gold Medal for his heroic actions during the insurrection and rioting at the Capitol earlier this month.
Tillis joined four Democratic lawmakers, including Sens. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Chris Coons of Delaware, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Ben Cardin of Maryland to introduce the bill. Goodman, who has served at Fort Bragg, confronted rioters on Jan. 6, delaying their access to the Senate Chamber, and thus protecting the lives of those inside.
Goodman also escorted Vice-President Kamala Harris during the inauguration last week.
“The attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 was a tragic assault on our democracy that could have been much worse had it not been for the quick actions by Capitol Police Officers like Officer Eugene Goodman,” Tillis said in a statement. “Facing down a mob of rioters, Officer Goodman led the violent mob away from the Senate Floor where they were mere feet away from senators and the vice president of the United States. I stand with my colleagues in our gratitude for his actions that will never be forgotten.”
Tillis added that Goodman’s heroism is no surprise due to his record of serving the nation, particularly in the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg.
North Carolina lawmakers praise Biden’s picks for director of national intelligence, defense secretary
North Carolina lawmakers praised some of President Joe Biden’s first picks for executive offices.
Biden last week named Avril Haines his director of national intelligence. Haines served as deputy national security adviser and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency in former President Barack Obama’s administration — the first woman to hold the position at the time.
In a statement on Tuesday, Sen. Richard Burr congratulated Biden’s appointment of Haines, crediting Haines with not only bringing extensive experience to the role, but also a sincere appreciation for the work the Intelligence Community does every day.
“I am pleased the Senate prioritized this confirmation to ensure the IC maintains clear leadership on day one of a new administration,” Burr said. “And I am grateful to the bipartisan efforts of my colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which allowed for a swift and orderly confirmation process.”

Biden has also named a retired four-star Army general, Lloyd Austin, his secretary of defense. Austin previously made history as the first Black man to serve as the 12th commander of the U.S. Central Command during the Obama administration, and he now makes history as the first Black secretary of defense.

In a statement, Rep. Richard Hudson congratulated Austin, calling him “no stranger to our community” due to his role as 82nd commander of the Airborne Division and 18th Corps.
“As Fort Bragg’s congressman, I will look forward to welcoming Secretary Austin back to Fort Bragg and working with him to support our troops, their families and our national defense,” Hudson said.

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