While health care reform will get much of the attention of the US House and Senate next month, members of Congress have other priorities, as well. Chief among them is still the economy and whether the federal stimulus plan is working. "There is a lot of chatter nationally about whether it's succeeded. I can tell you locally it has,” said McIntyre. McIntyre points to stimulus money that has helped pay to keep teachers in classrooms in the face of state and local budget cuts, as well as paying for more first responders. "In our area there's explosive growth, and fire departments have got to have the capability to deal with the growing population, so do police departments, so do rescue squads,” McIntyre said. “We've gotten a significant amount of money for our first responders. That's something every tax payer benefits from. It's not targeted to one group." The Congressman said the stimulus has also brought $11 million to our area for beach renourishment. But just last week, the town of Carolina Beach said there was not enough money to take care of all of its oceanfront. McIntyre said that's due in part to state spending cuts, and that he will continue to fight for what he said is the most cost-effective federal funding. "For every $1 we spend on beach renourishment, it generates $320 in tourist revenue. That is essential to our economy. That's a stimulus that can't be replaced." But back to health care; McIntyre said the process needs to slow down and focus on fixing specific problems like Medicare and Medicaid abuse and better utilizing existing resources, like community health centers, like the one in Wilmington. McIntyre added, "They are reaching the uninsured, and they're not driving up the federal deficit even more or adding a trillion dollars if it's part of a massive program like this where there's so many unknown ramifications." Congressman McIntyre said another priority he will work on during the fall session is funding for veterans issues to help take care of the men and women who fight for our country.
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