Under the Dome

Congressman David Price says Raleigh 'agitation' trumps talk of DC gridlock

Democratic Congressman David Price said Wednesday he is hearing a good deal from constituents about the politics in the state capital rather than the nation's capital these days.

"It's as much or more about Raleigh and what's going on here as it is what's going on in Washington," the Chapel Hill lawmaker told N&O reporters and editors. "Maybe Washington gridlock after a while gets to seem like old news.

"I haven't seen it this way ever; I think you'd have to go back to the civil rights years," he continued. "Certainly not since I've been in office has there been this much agitation over state level issues."

Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat first elected to Congress in 1986, expects it to help U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's re-election bid. If she faces Republican Thom Tillis, Price expects Hagan to remind voters she was a state senator and contrast her tenure against the current House speaker. "I think a lot of the issue that are going to be on people's minds are North Carolina issues, particularly if Thom Tillis is the opponent. It's going to be about the direction of the state and the direction Republicans are taking this state," he said.

Here's more from Price on other topics:

Egypt: Price said he is not comfortable sending U.S. military aid to Egypt, given the violence and the military control from what he called a "dully elected government." But he said the U.S. must be cautious because "we have strategic interests in Egypt."

Sequestration: Price lamented the negative affects in North Carolina, saying it is contributing to the state's upward tick in unemployment and budget cuts in Raleigh are dragging down the state's economy

Wake schools bond: He considers the ballot measure an important test, particularly after the Wake County GOP came out Wednesday opposed to the school bonds. "If the right wing is as fired up as the Moral Monday folks are fired up then a county like Wake would be a very significant battleground," he said.

Federal health care law: With the federal health insurance exchanges expected to come online Oct. 1, Price said he would do everything he could to help get people into the system, despite opposition from Republicans in Raleigh. He sadi it would be a lot easier if critics weren't trying to "sabotage" the program. But he expressed support for its progress and said it appears to be on schedule.

2016 governor's race: Price said he would be "delighted" if Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper makes a bid to challenge McCrory. He expects the 2016 election to align strongly in Democrats favor, with a strong candidate at the top of the ticket, giving the party a chance to take control of the state House. "It could come together for Democrats in 2016," he said. "But 2014 has to build toward that."

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