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Butterfield vows to fight Obamacare repeal

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WASHINGTON — At the start of his seventh term, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield said he’ll fight to preserve the Affordable Care Act as Republican congressional leaders seek to repeal and replace the health care law.

“As Republican leadership begin talks of dismantling strides made to strengthen the health care and economic security of every American, I stand ready to protect the outgoing administration’s legacy that put more Americans on a path forward,” the Wilson Democrat said in a statement.

President-elect Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have vowed to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law and replace it with an alternate plan that promotes free-market competition by allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines.

Butterfield, who represents North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, was sworn in Tuesday as a member of the 115th U.S. Congress. He listed health care and economic development as two of his top priorities.

“Today, I renew my commitment to working with my colleagues in Congress to create jobs, help more hard-working Americans put food on the table and have access to affordable health care, and protect the rights of all citizens,” Butterfield said.

An influential Democratic congressman, Butterfield indicated he will continue to weigh in on state-level issues. Before former Gov. Pat McCrory conceded to Gov. Roy Cooper, Butterfield was among the most prominent critics of McCrory’s election protests and claims of voting irregularities.

“I look forward to being a voice on pressing issues in North Carolina and I remain enthusiastic about working with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to advance responsible, progressive solutions to the challenges our state faces right now,” Butterfield said.

First elected to the U.S. House in a 2004 special election, Butterfield represents a 14-county district stretching from the Triangle to eastern North Carolina. The Wilson native said he would maintain his current district offices in Wilson and Durham during his seventh term.

Butterfield serves as the House Democratic Caucus’ chief deputy whip and co-chairs the Out-of-Poverty, Pediatric Trauma and State Medicaid Expansion caucuses. He is immediate past chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The congressman also is a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and serves on its health, communications and technology and commerce, manufacturing and trade subcommittees.

“I will continue to advocate for an America that works for us all and I plan to do everything I can to hold Republican leadership in Washington accountable every step of the way,” Butterfield said.

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