Remarks made by US Representative David Price on the state of the nation drew thunderous applause during a community listening session held in the auditorium of East Chapel Hill High School.
“It’s a time that, I think it’s fair to say, none of us have ever experienced in our country’s history — a time of apprehension, concern and resistance,” he declared.
Price spoke to a lively crowd of local residents on Saturday as a way to gauge public opinion and relay information to voters on topics such as the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s going to be tens of millions of people losing their coverage; many, many more with reduced support, reduced subsidies for their coverage, and these are people of very, very modest income,” he lamented.
Federal spending priorities were also discussed by Price, who argued against anticipated budgetary cuts to federal agencies that include the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“We have a backlog of needs for community development block grants — all kinds of work that needs to be done,” he emphasized. “Every one of those HUD programs is underresouced, and that’s despite the budget patches that we’ve applied to avoid the worst effects of sequestration.”
In a nod to bipartisanship, Price acknowledged that policy changes cause friction between both sides of the political divide, but went on to question a plan to cut diplomatic spending by 37 percent.
“There are good people in both parties who understand this; there’s going to be some pushback, but it’s such a drastic proposal,” he admitted.
Citing the connection between conflict in Syria and refugee proliferation, Price took a measured approach to fielding questions on immigration policies and foreign intervention.
“It’s not something we want to get drawn into with combat troops or with a long engagement,” he claimed. “On the other hand, we can’t be indifferent — we certainly can’t be indifferent to the humanitarian aspects and the refugee aspects.”
Price has represented the fourth congressional district of the state as a Democrat for over 20 years, having defeated Republican incumbent and former police chief Fred Heineman in 1996.
The congressman will hold a final listening session at Broughton High School in Raleigh on March 13 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, with seats being made available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Photo by Bruce Rosenbloom/WCHL.