Conservative North Carolina Republicans consequential in new Congress

by WorldTribune Staff, January 16, 2017

North Carolina’s congressional delegation in the era of Trump will be one of its most influential in decades with several lawmakers in key positions.

The delegation, consisting of 12 Republicans and 3 Democrats, includes chairmen of key committees, members of the leadership and congressmen who are seen as in a position to significantly influence the debate.

North Carolina Sens. Thom Tillis, left, and Richard Burr

In the Senate, Republicans Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, have plenty of clout. Burr is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, while Tillis serves on several committees including the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings on U.S. Supreme Court nominees, and the Senate armed services and veterans committee.

Among the Tar Heel State’s influential players in the House, according to a Jan. 13 report by the Charlotte News & Observer, include:

▪ Patrick McHenry, 41, of Cherryville, is now the House Republican chief deputy whip, making him a leading vote counter in the House and one of a handful of House leaders who meet to make key decisions. McHenry is seen by some analysts as being on a career path to become a future House speaker.

▪ Mark Walker, a 47-year-old pastor from Greensboro, is chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus that includes 172 House members. The group, started in 1973 by conservatives who thought the House GOP leadership was too moderate, pushes for budget cuts, except for defense, for socially conservative legislation and for free trade, and publishes an alternative budget.

▪ Virginia Foxx, a 73-year-old former community college president and state legislator from Banner Elk, is the new chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee. The seven-term House member told Politico she hopes to repeal President Barack Obama’s education legacy. She is a strong supporter of President-elect Donald Trump’s $20 billion school-choice plan that emphasizes vouchers.

▪ Mark Meadows, a 57-year-old real-estate developer from Highlands, is chairman of the 31-member House Freedom Caucus.

▪ Robert Pittenger, 68, a real-estate investor from Charlotte, is chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.

▪ Richard Hudson, 45 of Concord, is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Transportation. The third-term congressman was behind a letter, signed by eight other Tar Heel Republicans, that called on the Obama administration to block Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposal to join the other 32 states that have expanded Medicaid insurance to the working poor.

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