Health care repeal may be dead, but U.S. Rep. Justin Amash gets an earful at town hall

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Even though Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have died for the moment, it still was the biggest topic on the minds of several hundred people at a town hall hosted Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Justin Amash.

The Cascade Township Republican heard from constituent after constituent that his support for a repeal was an injustice and that he should represent their interests.

“I was in the house with drapes closed with chronic migraines, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’m standing here today and not home behind the curtains,” said Lauren Taylor, 35, of Grand Rapids. “It’s so important that we let our congressman know that you work for us.”

But Amash, who has held multiple town halls filled with people angry about the possible repeal of Obamacare, was undeterred.

“We should work together. I do think we should start over,” he said during the town hall at East Grand Rapids High School. “But I do think we should repeal the ACA.”

While the 90-minute meeting was partly focused on the ongoing health care debate, Amash also touched on subjects ranging from term limits to redistricting to his congressional no vote — one of three in the House of Representatives — on sanctions against Russia.

“The Russian sanctions were far too broad and too undefined and the bill doesn’t specify what can be sanctioned,” he said, adding that he also disagreed with a provision in the bill that would make it easier for the federal government to get financial data on U.S. citizens.

And question after question also dealt with the controversies surrounding President Donald Trump.

“What will you do when Trump fires Robert Mueller?” one man asked, referring to the special counsel investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 elections.

“I will certainly speak out against it,” Amash said. “Under the current conditions, I would not be happy about it. We have an executive branch that’s supposed to be controlled by the president. He has the authority to fire people, but he should allow these investigations to be independent.”

He stopped short of answering questions about possible impeachment of Trump, saying he couldn’t cross that line until the investigation was complete and if some illegal activity was uncovered.

“I’ve express my concern about this administration. I could come up with a complaint every day if I wanted to,” he said. “You have to let Bob Mueller complete his investigation and I support an independent investigation and I support every president releasing their tax returns. I’m not trying to prejudge the outcome.”

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© 2017 Detroit Free Press


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