What I Learned From My Constituents
by: Congressman Patrick McHenry
Hickory, August 26, 2013
A recap of what I learned from my seven town hall meetings this August.
From the time I was first elected to Congress, I have had the honor and privilege of standing before the people I work for - my constituents - and answering your questions. These town hall forums are a tremendous opportunity for me to listen to those that have sent me to represent them in Washington. Through the seven meetings, one in each of the counties of the 10th District, I heard a variety of questions and concerns, but many focused on similar themes. Whether it is the President's healthcare law, the state of our nation's immigration system, or the unsustainable national debt, it is clear from the questions asked of me that there is much work to be done in Washington.
Throughout these last two weeks, many of the most pointed questions I was asked were about Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. The President's healthcare law has proven to be one of the most polarizing pieces of legislation to have passed Congress and that was evident throughout the 10th District. I heard from a number of folks who expressed support for provisions in the President's legislation and wanted to know why I have voted 40 times to repeal or defund certain aspects of the law. On the other hand, I also heard from many others who thanked me for these votes and insisted that I continue to do everything I can to get rid of Obamacare.
There are certainly worthwhile aspects of Obamacare. The ban on discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions is something I support. I also am supportive of allowing young people to stay on their parents insurance. However, the majority of the law has proven to be an incredibly complex drag on our already--fragile economy and especially harmful to America's middle class. Companies are laying off workers or cutting their hours in order to stay in business. The Obama administration has delayed mandates for big business, but not for the self-employed. Now, they've delayed the enforcement caps that were supposed to limit out-of-pocket costs. We must stop this mess before it causes further damage to our already-sputtering economy.
Many attendees at the town hall also discussed our nation's immigration system. While most agreed that the current system is broken and in desperate need of repair, the path forward was less clear. One thing that was clear from talking to you was that the recently--passed Senate bill is not the answer.
While there were certainly areas of disagreement, I also found that there were a number of areas where most of you agreed. There was near--universal agreement that the IRS should play no role in our healthcare. Most people think that something must be done to reform and simplify our tax code. And we all agreed that Democrats and Republicans must begin to work together to get our economy moving in the right direction and bring down our national debt.
I would like to thank every resident of the 10th District who took time out of their busy schedules to attend one of my town hall meetings. Hearing directly from you enables me to do my job much more effectively. Being your representative in Washington remains a great responsibility and I am honored you continue to give me the opportunity to serve.