Republican Congressman Richard Hudson joined 143 other lawmakers in the House of Representatives to vote against ending the federal government shutdown.
Despite that, the House voted 285-144 to end the shutdown and the Senate did too, 81-18. The 16-day shutdown officially ended with President Barack Obama’s signature Thursday morning.
During a visit to The Daily Journal’s office in Rockingham on Thursday, Hudson said it was important to stand by his principles even though he was in the minority. The freshman congressman from near Charlotte represents the 8th Congressional District, which includes all of Richmond County.
“The last 48 hours have been very frustrating,” Hudson said of tiring of lawmakers playing politics instead of dealing with issues.
Some lawmakers, he said, “can’t seem to deal with the problem.”
The problem, as he sees it, is a broken system for social security Medicaid and the country’s ever-growing debt. By 2030, Hudson said, America’s debt will reach 200 percent of its gross domestic product. That’s higher than the 180 percent the Greeks are suffering. Hudson is quick to note the Greek economy recently collapsed.
Hudson said the shutdown revolved around two issues. First, that federal lawmakers are afforded special priviledges not offered to the general public. He specifically referred to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. He said members of Congress get a break on the cost of participating in the health exchanges.
The second issue, Hudson said, was Democrats’ unwillingness to offer to the general public a tax break that has been given to the rich.
He said Harry Reid, senate majority leader, and Obama “wouldn’t negotiate over those points” and that created a barrier mostly along party lines. Lawmakers, Hudson said, decided to end the shutdown but the problems aren’t resolved.
“They just kicked it down the road,” Hudson said. “I don’t see why anything’s going to change in January.”
Hudson said he listened to the majority of feedback from constituents across the district to “hold the line” against the Democrats. The split was 60-40, and the minority suggested that lawmakers simply find a way to work together.
Hudson was in Rockingham to attend the Richmond County Farm Bureau’s annual dinner. He sits on the House Committee on Agriculture. The five-year Farm Bill expired on Oct. 1. Hudson said he’s hopeful a new version is soon approved, but he’s not hopeful. The Senate version of the bill attempts to shave $4 billion while the House version attempts to slice $40 billion off the cost of the bill.
“We’re pretty far apart,” he said.
Hudson said a point of agreement that’s a win-win for farmers and taxpayers alike is the elimination of the “pay not to farm” program. Instead, farmers can now purchase insurance to support lean crop years, or crops damaged to to severe weather events.