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North Carolina lawmakers discuss priorities for new Congress

Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) starts second term as Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) serves as Majority Whip
Published: Jan. 3, 2021 at 7:38 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A new Congress was sworn in on Sunday.

Newly elected and re-elected lawmakers on Capitol Hill took the oath of office including North Carolina congressmen G.K. Butterfield and Greg Murphy.

The beginning of the 117th Congress is marked by a surging pandemic and a divided nation but both representatives discussed their priorities for next term.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) shared challenges he hopes to tackle as Majority Whip and reach compromise.

“Even though it’s a privilege to hold that title, it’s a lot of responsibility,” Butterfield said. “We’re going to have 222 Democrats in the House and 213 Republicans, that’s a very narrow margin for my political party. We will present our competing viewpoints, but at the end of the day, it is my hope that we will reconcile our differences, we will compromise.”

Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) listed his Day 1 plans.

“We’re nowhere near out of this pandemic, and I think my main goal as we begin this next session is to try to continue to help our nation heal, not only physically, but economically to try to get us back on our feet,” Murphy said.

“Unfortunately, a lot of individuals in the first round of stimulus checks got checks when they really should not have, folks who were working. And that same problem exists today. And so I really want us to work on targeted relief … but at the same time balancing the fact that we’re basically adding to a massive debt.”

With lots of items on the agenda, both representatives are focusing on state and local issues as well.

“I’m especially interested in providing infrastructure relief to rural communities,” Butterfield said. “Communities in Pitt county, in Beaufort and Wayne and Greene county, Martin county … all of these counties need significant infrastructure investment in their water and sewer.”

“First and foremost, it’s gonna be attention to the pandemic,” Murphy said. “...even in some ways more importantly is working on the District, making sure that the needs of constituents and different constituencies are taken care of. We have so many coastal issues ... [we have so many issues] tourism, dredging, fishing, all those things that need constant attention.”

On Tuesday, Georgia’s runoff election results for two senate seats will determine which party holds the chamber.

Murphy is a member of the minority party in the House.

“My hope and my prayer, perhaps it’s just pure optimism – is that this next session will be the beginning of healing of our country in so many different ways that we can actually move forward and show that the experiment of democracy really is a good one,” Murphy said.

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