By Mark Schulman
Congressman Mark Meadows, R-NC, a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told a group of Hendersonville businessmen Thursday that government regulations are strangling free enterprise.
"The attack is real on our values, and on businesses is truly unrelenting," Meadows said during a breakfast at the Hendersonville Country Club organized by the Henderson County of Chamber of Commerce. "When you get it that tight, the regulations don't make sense."
Meadows, a longtime businessman, attributes the government roadblocks to politicians who have not been in the business sector but who are making decisions affecting businesses.
Reforming government regulation is one of Meadows' goals.
"We are being very aggressive," he said about the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Meadows also believes government needs to be more accountable and transparent. For instance, government agencies need to respond quicker to Freedom of Information Act requests, he said.
The public can submit a FOIA request to obtain information, and there is a 20-day deadline for the agency to respond.
Meadows said federal agencies rarely meet that deadline. The oversight and reform committee has put forth an amendment to penalize agencies that do not respond within 20 days of a FOIA request, he said.
"What (the committee) wants to do is to make sure we are a lot more transparent because when you start opening up and pulling back the cover on some of the things that are being done in government, it's like turning on the light and the cockroaches running off to the side," Meadows said.
"Now, I have to be careful with the term cockroaches," he added, tongue-in-cheek. "Cockroaches have an approval rating of nine, and congressmen have an approval rating of eight."
Meadows said that with transparency comes better decisions.
"We are committed to do that," he added.
Following his address to the Chamber, Meadows toured Van Wingerden Greenhouse Company in Mills River.
Meadows is the first congressman to have a district office in Hendersonville. Constituents may contact his staff by calling 828-693-5660 or emailing Meadows through his website at http://meadows.house.gov.