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View from the Hill

Carolina Capitol Roundup: Feb. 3-6

This is View from the Hill’s weekly roundup of the most interesting news from Washington, D.C. pertaining to North Carolina and the UNC system.

Hagan rated as moderate; two N.C. reps most conservative

One of North Carolina’s senators has been named the most moderate and two as the most conservative, and all three are touting their record.

In the National Journal’s 2013 vote ratings, released this week, Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., was named the most moderate senator.

Hagan’s campaign highlighting her ranking in a press release, highlighting her support for the Keystone XL Pipeline, opposing military budget cuts and trade deals.

“North Carolinians are more interested in commonsense solutions than in the D or the R after someone’s name,” said Sadie Weiner, Hagan’s campaign communications director. “While others are more interested in playing partisan games, Kay is focused on finding bipartisan solutions and standing up for North Carolina families.”

But the Journal also named Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C, as the 12th most conservative member of Congress and Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., to be the most conservative.

Hudson released a tweet touting the record.

The statements by Hagan and Hudson are illustrative of their election situations.

Hudson won his last election with 53 percent of the vote — which while not a landslide, was still a sizeable margin for beating a Democratic incumbent.

Hagan on the other hand, has a tough reelection fight coming up and cannot afford to be seen as too attached to her party or President Barack Obama.

Coble calls for the release of U.S. prisoner in North Korea

Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., joined a bipartisan coalition of Congressmen who are veterans of the Korean War to call for the release of an American prisoner in North Korea.

Coble was joined by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., Rep. John Conyers, D-MI, and Rep. Sam Johnson, R-TX, calling for the release of Kenneth Bae, who was arrested in North Korea in November 2012.

“You have done the right thing by releasing a fellow Korean War veteran, Merrill E. Newman, to return home,” the letter said, talking about the recently released prisoner. “You would be making further progress on the humanitarian front by freeing Kenneth Bae to reunite with his family.”

The letter also called for the North Korean regime to allow some 100,000 Korean-Americans to see their families.

“Nothing is more tragic than the separation of families and loved ones,” the letter said. “We believe that taking actions to build good will and trust with the international community are crucial steps toward reconciliation.”

Coble is retiring at the end of his term.

Two N.C. Reps Co-sponsor bill to rein in surveillance

This week, Coble also joined Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., in co-sponsoring a bill that would rein in the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

Among the provisions within the USA FREEDOM ACT are the following:

  • Ending bulk data collection of communications records.
  • Require the government to be more aggressive in filtering out information accidentally collected through programs
  • Create an Office of Special Advocacy to promote privacy interests in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts (FISC).
  • Make stronger requirements for reporting to Congress
  • Give the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority to investigate issues of privacy and national security.
  • Create more transparency by requiring the U.S. Attorney General FISC issued after July 2003 that contain significant construction or interpretation of the law.
  • Allow internet and telecom companies to report the number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders and National Security letters received.
  • Require the government to make an annual or semiannual report estimating the number of individuals subject to surveillance
  • Create a single standard for National Security Letters protection and add a sunset date to National Security Letters requiring Congress to reauthorize the government’s authority.

Coble and Jones both voted for the PATRIOT Act in 2001. No N.C. Democrats co-sponsored the act.

View from the Hill is a political blog by Daily Tar Heel staff writers. Any opinion expressed in it does not represent the Daily Tar Heel. Email the blog coordinator at

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