Local

Walsh sounds off during town hall

Rep. Joe Walsh, R-McHenry, speaks to the crowd Tuesday during a town hall meeting hosted by the freshman congressman in McHenry. Walsh pledged to “deny each and every penny” to President Obama’s health care bill. (Sarah Nader – snader@nwherald.com)
Rep. Joe Walsh, R-McHenry, speaks to the crowd Tuesday during a town hall meeting hosted by the freshman congressman in McHenry. Walsh pledged to “deny each and every penny” to President Obama’s health care bill. (Sarah Nader – snader@nwherald.com)

McHENRY – The day before the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the health care bill, U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh pledged to constituents that he would continue to fight it.

Vowing to “deny each and every penny” to the controversial bill, Walsh, R-McHenry, told his standing-room-only audience at a Tuesday evening town hall meeting that the Republican-controlled House would do its best to slow it down, given the unlikely chances of a repeal with the White House and Senate still in Democratic hands.

“We’re going to de-fund it for the next few years,” Walsh said to the 150-plus audience members at McHenry County College’s Shah Center.

Audience members supported the freshman representative’s position on the bill. They applauded when he told his audience that he was part of the 54-member House minority that voted against the stopgap funding bill to avoid a government shutdown while Congress hashes out a budget.

Walsh told his audience that he received grief about his vote from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, but told him that his constituents sent him to Washington to stand tough on a budget crisis that he said could be the biggest threat the nation ever has faced.

“We have a debt crisis in this country like we have never had before, and it’s on a path like we’ve never seen before,” Walsh said.

One of the few critical questions Walsh received was from a woman who opposed his vote to de-fund National Public Radio, which has faced scrutiny after controversial remarks made by a former executive caught on hidden camera.

The rest of the audience, however, applauded when Walsh affirmed his vote.

“In a time like this, when everyone is being asked to suck it up, and NPR gets a minuscule part of its funding from the federal government, they need to suck it up as well,” Walsh said.

Walsh, who recently opened up his district office in Fox Lake, told his audience that he planned to open up others in his district, which covers northeastern McHenry County, much of Lake County and far northwestern Cook County.

Walsh pledged to hold more town hall meetings than any other member of Congress – he has two more this week elsewhere in the district. But he also asked his constituents to stay involved.

“If ever in your life you’re going to pay attention to what’s going on in your country and your government, my God, make it now,” Walsh said.

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