MOORE, Okla. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Tom Cole spent nearly three hours Tuesday telling unhappy voters why he opposes a nascent effort to defund the federal health care law at the risk of a government shutdown and why he doesn’t think it would succeed.
At times during the town hall-style meeting, the nearly 150 people attending broke into applause and shouts in support of legislation forcing a showdown that could lead to a government shutdown.
Cole, R-Moore, told The Associated Press that he believes a shutdown would lead to a loss of jobs for millions of people who work in civilian capacities at U.S. military installations, including Veterans Affairs centers and the nearby Tinker Air Force Base. He said Republicans hoping to maintain their majority in the U.S. House and win the Senate could pay politically as well and there might be a “backlash” against the GOP.
Cole told the crowd that a Republican president or Republican-majority Congress would have averted a plan like the federal health care overhaul that President Barack Obama has touted.
“A lot of what’s happened is we didn’t win the last two presidential elections and we didn’t win the Senate,” Cole said.
His explanation did not sit well with Charles Thompson.
“His main deal is you need to elect more Republicans,” Thompson said as he left the meeting. “The choice that they had for a Republican was the guy that created Obamacare in Massachusetts.
“So the two choices that you had was Obamacare or Massachusetts-care,” he said, referring to 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s health care overhaul as governor of Massachusetts.
Beth Groh, who was the first of dozens to raise the health care issue during the meeting with Cole, said she understands Cole’s response, but isn’t happy with it.