United States Representative Paul Broun (GA-10) did not hesitate to play the “blame game” at last Thursday’s Town Hall meeting at the Holiday Inn Express in Banks Crossing.
Over fifty local residents were in attendance as the congressman criticized the Obama administration and senate on a number of issues – from healthcare reform to government spending, often pointing out what he referred to as Obama’s “socialist agenda.”
Broun began the town hall by opening the floor up for discussion. He urged attendees to ask him questions and voice their opinions on the issues at hand.
Citizens were quick to raise a number of questions – some more specific than others.
One citizen inquired as to “why the Senate does not take up bills passed by the House of Representatives.”
Broun responded by calling out members of the Senate, particularly Senate majority leader Harry Reid, for being obstructionists.
“They say we are obstructionist, but we are trying to obstruct their radical socialist agenda that they are promoting and I’ll fight that,” said Broun. “The house has passed 30-40 bills that would create jobs and get our economy going, but Harry Reid throws them in the trash can.”
Broun went on to explain that the house has passed a number of bills that would allow the U.S. to harness “our natural God-given” energy resources in this country, but blames a democratic Senate for not allowing them to pass. Broun claimed that the secretary of energy under the Obama administration said that he would like to see gas prices at $8 per gallon.
“Harry Reid and Barack Obama are the obstructionists to getting our economy going, getting energy prices down and getting jobs out here – in Banks and Jackson Counties and all across the country,” Broun added.
As far as healthcare is concerned, Broun argued “we need to rip Obamacare out by its roots.”
He promoted his proposed healthcare legislation, the Patient Option Act (HR-4224). Broun claimed his proposed act would “repeal Obamacare entirely and replace it with policies that will make healthcare cheaper for everyone.” Broun added, “It will provide healthcare for all Americans and save Medicare from going broke.”
Broun also criticized President Obama for saying that he “wanted everybody in this country in one pool when it comes to healthcare,” calling it socialized medicine. Broun also attacked the Independent Payment Advisory Board, formed under the Obama administration, calling it the “Death Panel,” a popular nickname for the IPAB coined by republicans.
Broun argued that the IPAB is simply fifteen people appointed by the president that are going to be making decisions for all of us based on two things; “money” and a “person’s potential lifespan” in making those decisions. “What’s that mean for someone who is 70 years of age,” asked Broun. “They will deny coverage. They will look at kids, who have type one diabetes and say, this kid’s potential of living a long is not good, so we aren’t going to give him the insulin pump or the health care he needs because it’s going to be expensive.”
Tensions flew high in the town hall once talk of tax rates arose.
Once concerned citizen asked, “how can congress propose budget cuts on things that are affecting education when providing tax cuts on the wealthy?”
Broun replied, “even if we raised taxes on the wealthy, we still couldn’t balance the budget. When you raise taxes on anyone ¬– the vast majority of those affected by the tax hikes are small businesses, some as corporations. It’s ‘taxing away jobs.’ We don’t need to raise taxes; we need to raise taxpayers. The way we do that is to get our economy going.”
One particular citizen in attendance disagreed.
“You can tax your way out of it by taxing the rich,” he said. “This country is worth 200 trillion dollars. The rich – the top 1% own approximately 37% of that. You have to tax the rich who have lived high off the hog for the last 30 years, while the standard person has faced flat wage increases.”
Many members of the crowd in attendance replied in somewhat of an outrageous tone, making remarks towards the man such as, “Are you on welfare mister,” or “what are you smoking?”
Broun encouraged the audience to respect everyone’s opinion and to keep the debate civil.
Broun rebutted by stating, “ We are taxed enough. “Redistribution of wealth does not work. It guarantees everyone is going to be poor.”
Among the other issues Broun touched on were conditions in VA hospitals, energy independence, national defense and education.
“What I’d like to do, is totally eliminate the department of education,” said Broun.
One important issue for the audience was government spending and the ever-increasing federal debt.
“Budgets passed this year and last year would reduce spending,” stated Broun. “The problem is, the senate hasn’t tried to pass one. They don’t want constraints on senate. The only way we are going to stop the gridlock, is to have either everybody republican, or everybody democrat in the house, the senate, as well as the Whitehouse. Hopefully in this election, we are going to move in that direction.”
Broun relentlessly attacked Obama for “violating the constitution,” and went as far as to call Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder both “socialist dictators.”
“We have a tremendous lack of knowledge across this country about the founding principles, about the constitution, about government should be,” added Broun.
“We have the kind of government that the American people demanded. We’ve demanded a Marxist to be our president.”
One citizen asked Broun “what major media has to gain in the position they are taking in supporting all the liberals?”
Broun responded, “The mainstream media across this country are all very, very liberal. They want us to be a socialized nation, so they are promoting a socialistic agenda. That’s exactly why they continue to tout Barack Obama and his administration. They truly believe that the federal government should control every bit of your lives, your children’s’ lives and your grand children’s’ lives.”
As the meeting drew to a close, Banks County Commissioner Charles Turk posed a few choice words to the congressmen that hit a little closer to home, “We as a county have to balance our budget every year, by law. The problem I have, is that the feds and the states send down unfunded mandates that we are going through right now. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars; neighboring Jackson County has spent millions. We would greatly appreciate it if y’all would stop sending that stuff down. It accomplishes absolutely nothing, and if we have to balance our budgets, y’all should have to balance yours too.“
Broun agreed. He explained that he has introduced, and will continue to fight for legislation that would make it very difficult for congress to break a balanced budget. He also vies to end unfunded mandates, calling them a “mandate of taxation” by the federal government on the local and state level.
Broun closed by asking for support for his proposed balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
“We’ve got to cut the scope and size of the federal government and put the power back in the hands of the states and the American people,” he added.
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