TRUTH TRACKER: Did Rep. Hudson skip out on vote for defense funding bill?

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A campaign ad attacks U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-North Carolina), for missing a vote on the annual spending bill for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Hudson is facing Democratic challenger Patricia Timmons-Goodson in the race in North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District.

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CBS 17 took a closer look at some of the key claims in the ad as part of our political pledge to test the factual accuracy of public communications offered by candidates, political action committees, or partisan groups.

THE CLAIM: The ad says Hudson “skipped out on a vote to give our troops a hard-earned raise.”

THE FACTS: No one disputes that Hudson did not cast a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6395) over the summer.

But the ad, produced by the Democrats’ House Majority PAC, leaves out some critical context.

Hudson was under quarantine for COVID-19 concerns from July 9-23 after having contact with a person who tested positive for the disease. Hudson’s office provided CBS 17 with a letter from Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, that outlines the specifics of his recommended 14-day quarantine.

The bill easily passed the House by a 295-125 vote on July 21.

A day later — and a day before Hudson’s quarantine ended — the congressman entered into the Congressional Record a personal explanation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, that says he would have voted in favor of the bill had he been present.

“The fact remains that Congressman Hudson did not ‘skip out’ on this bill or pay raises for troops, and this ad misleads the public about his record of helping to write this bill and support our military,” campaign spokesman Robert Andrews said.

The campaign has also sent a cease and desist letter, calling the ad “a low-brow attempt to deceive the voters.”

Caitlin Legacki, a spokeswoman for the PAC, raised the issue of proxy voting, pointing out that the House passed a measure in May and extended it until Aug. 18 to allow lawmakers to vote and take part in committee meetings remotely during the pandemic.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, along with 20 Republican members of Congress and four constituents, sued Pelosi in May over the practice, calling it unconstitutional and saying it dilutes members’ votes. Andrew says Hudson has joined the lawsuit.

In a statement posted May 31 on his Congressional website, Hudson said he would not vote by proxy.

“If healthcare workers, first responders, truck drivers, and grocery store clerks are on the job, lawmakers should be on the House floor voting,” he wrote.

The Hudson re-election campaign also says the congressman helped write the bill. In remarks to the House Armed Services Committee on July 20, U.S. Rep Trent Kelly, R-Mississippi, credited Hudson for the inclusion of a provision that increased hazardous duty pay by 10 percent — from $250 per month to $275 — for active-duty military members in eligible locations.

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