Budd, Walker to appear on Triad Today
Over the past few months, public discourse in America has been hijacked by talk of impeachment and scandal. That’s why when 13th district Congressman Ted Budd and 6th district Congressman Mark Walker agreed to sit down for a half-hour discussion, we focused on a number of issues that have taken a back seat to partisan politics. On Oct. 9, while on break from their duties in D.C., Budd and Walker stopped by the studio to tape a special edition of Triad Today, which will air this weekend. The following are excerpts from our unrehearsed conversation.
Jim: Just since the two of you appeared on this program in March, there have been another 260 people killed in mass shootings. Is Congress doing anything to address this problem?
Budd: There are a couple of bills I’ve co-sponsored, one of which is the TAPS Act. It trains law enforcement personnel to make behavioral threat assessments and to look for problems before they happen.
Walker: We’ve passed multiple pieces of legislation, including the Stop School Violence Act. We’ve also got the Fix/Nix Act that cleans up some of the background checks. And, just recently, in Guilford and Rockingham counties, we saw a $500,000 grant go to protecting schools.
Jim: Are you doing anything to secure our 2020 elections?
Budd: One bill that’s already passed the Senate is the Deter Act, and it would deport anyone who is a non-U.S. citizen who’s here trying to infiltrate or overturn our elections. There are also other measures related to “Blockchain” security, which is the future in terms of preventing cyber hacking.
Walker: We’ve designated $380 million back to the electoral commission system to make sure that older voting machines are not vulnerable like maybe they have been in the past.
Jim: Who should be responsible for drawing up Congressional maps?
Budd: The state legislature. That’s what it’s been historically, and that’s what it should be in the future.
Walker: The State legislature should be able to draw those lines because they are the representatives of the people of that state.
Jim: Both of you and many other elected officials have been touched in some way by the case involving former Congressman Robin Hayes. What do you do with campaign donations which you later discover to be tainted in some way?
Budd: In cases like that, the best practice is to give the money to a charity, and let them benefit from that, and just distance yourself from it.
Walker: The maximum somebody can give to both campaigns is $5,800. With the gentleman involved in that case, we gave the money to charity.
Jim: It doesn’t seem as though we have a cohesive healthcare plan. So where do we stand?
Budd: One of the things I’ve done is introduce the Flex Act, which codifies some of the administration’s efforts to allow associations to offer healthcare plans to small businesses.
Walker: Obamacare is still the law of the land, but evidently it isn’t good enough. The bottom line for me, is it about choice for the individual? Or, is it about more control? If it’s about more choice, then let’s go down that path as opposed to more government involvement.
During the half-hour discussion, Budd and Walker also talked about how to curb illegal immigration, what kinds of legislation they are proposing to strengthen education and workforce development, and whether we’d be better off without the Electoral College. I also asked them if they were afraid to criticize Donald Trump for fear that he would campaign against their re-election. This special edition of Triad Today airs Saturday at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45, and Sunday at 11 a.m. on MY48.
Jim Longworth is the host of Triad Today, airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m.