Rep. Mike McIntyre talks about his recent vote on the debt ceiling, and efforts at immigration reform and gun control
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-NC7) opened a new office in Brunswick County, moving across the Cape Fear River after years of being in downtown Wilmington. McIntyre's office is now located at 497 Olde Waterford Way, Suite 206, in Leland. He said with the recent redistricting changing the seventh district he has represented for nearly two decades, this is a more centralized location for his constituents.
Redistricting is one issue McIntyre is watching from his office in Washington, DC, since it could impact his current congressional district. Lawsuits challenging North Carolina's redrawn voting lines will be heard next month in Raleigh, and many expect the issue to end up in front of the North Carolina Supreme Court. McIntyre lost areas including UNC Wilmington and the downtown Wilmington area to the Third Congressional District, served by Republican Representative Walter B. Jones. "I'm thinking the courts will probably do some readjustments," McIntyre said during an interview in the WECT studios. "I think common sense requires it."
Immigration reform was a key issue in McIntyre's two most recent reelection campaigns. The issue has risen to the top of the priority list now for President Obama and members of Congress. With the House in recess this week, McIntyre admitted to not seeing the specifics of the reform plan introduced Monday by a bi-partisan group of Senators, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). But, he did raise concerns about the effort.
"I have great concerns right out of the gate," McIntyre said when asked about the newly introduced proposal. "Our office works all the time with people who follow the law, and who want to become naturalized citizens the right way. Anytime you try to short circuit the system, or give someone an advantage over someone else, it's troubling. In our district especially, healthcare, law enforcement and education have had a great drain put upon taxpayer resources because of the avalanche of illegal immigration that has occurred."
"I've always been against illegal immigration and softening what laws should be followed," McIntyre added.
After several votes against raising the debt ceiling, McIntyre recently voted for the recent House plan to extend the debt ceiling for 90 days. When asked about the reason for the turnaround, McIntyre explained the new bill sent a message to members of the other chamber.
"I have traditionally voted against raising the debt ceiling because I think we have to honor our priorities within the budget, and we need a balanced budget to do it," McIntyre said. "That's why I voted against the fiscal cliff deal, because to me it was another band-aid, which would have increased by four billion dollars our national debt and did not reign in government spending. This most recent vote was that effort to say ‘a balanced budget must be in place by April 15', and that was the only reason I agreed to make that vote. The Senate has been notorious for not passing a budget. This bill stated that a budget would have to be passed by both houses by April 15, or they (Senators) don't get paid."
McIntyre talked about the regional Veterans' Clinic being built at the Wilmington International Airport, and projects to renourish beaches in New Hanover and Brunswick counties. He also talked about school safety, talking just minutes after speaking to students at Laney High School in Wilmington. In the weeks since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama and Vice-President Biden have proposed a ban on assault weapons. McIntyre does not seem to favor such a move.
"I've been a strong proponent for protecting our rights for law abiding citizens under the second amendment," McIntyre responded when questioned about the need for tougher gun control measures. "Rather than trying to tinker with a constitutional right that all Americans are entitled to, because of some who have unfortunately clearly not followed the law and taken criminal action and done the dastardly deeds and terrible situations we faced in Aurora and Sandy Hook and other places we could cite, we've got to focus our resources on protecting our children in schools, and on dealing with mental health resources that have far too long been overlooked and underfunded. To me, that's the logical approach rather than trying to put limitations on the second amendment."
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