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View from the Hill

Carolina Capitol Roundup: April 20-24

This is View from the Hill's roundup of the most interesting news from Capitol Hill pertaining to North Carolina and Higher Education.

Burr addresses veterans issues

At a conference discussing veterans issues on Wednesday, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., criticized what he said were inefficiencies in the U.S. Veterans Administration.

Burr, ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, spoke to the North Carolina Chapter of Concerned Veterans of America and was applauded after he accused the agency of shifting disability backlogs to its appeals side.

"Veterans won't fall for it, members of Congress shouldn't fall for it, and I'm going to do everything I can to hold their feet to the fire," Burr said.

Burr has been an outspoken critic of the VA's backlog, helping to block a veterans' benefits and pay bill in February, saying it did not effectively deal with the issue.

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., has also criticized the VA's backlog, co-signing a letter with fellow senators last year asking for action from the Obama administration.

A significant reason both of the state's senators have been vocal about the issue is the large population of veterans in the state. North Carolina is home to almost 770,000 veterans.

Hagan calls for funding WIC benefits; calls out McCrory's office

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., stated her support for adequately funding nutritional assistance for women and children, while also positioning herself against her state's Republican party.

Hagan cosigned a letter with Democratic Senate colleagues to the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee's chairman and ranking member asking that the committee fully fund the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

During last year's federal government shutdown, North Carolina was the only state that discontinued issuing WIC benefits, which Hagan criticized.

"As a result, thousands of mothers were left without basic nutrition services for their children while local food banks, already facing high demand in this tough economy, struggled to meet the additional needs of families," Hagan said. "I'm fighting to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are never again left without help because of partisan politics."

Hagan, who is in a close re-election race this year, has been trying to position herself against the N.C. General Assembly. She might also see criticizing Gov. Pat McCrory's decision as another way to create a contrast between North Carolina Republicans and herself.

Cool tweets of the week: Hudson burns rubber at a drag speedway

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., took time off from the horse race in Washington to take a spin at a drag speedway in his home district.

Hudson visited the zMax Dragway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway, which he said was important to his district's tourism industry. Below are tweets.

Hudson's office posted pictures of him suiting up in racing gear and burning rubber onto his Twitter account.

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