From Chinese manufacturing to pork-barrel spending in a measure to provide aid to Hurricane Sandy victims, no topic was off limits for Rob Woodall during a town hall meeting Thursday night.
If anything, said one constituent, the District 7 congressman was too thorough in his answers.
“I would have liked to have seen [Woodall] take twice as many questions as he did,” Larry Mann said. “I was pretty much satisfied with what he said ... he’s a conservative guy that reflects our values, or at least my values.”
Woodall addressed a nearly packed house in the commissioners’ meeting room at the Forsyth County Administration Building in downtown Cumming.
The gathering was one of several in-person and telephone town hall meetings Woodall has held in recent months to talk about the goings-on in Washington, D.C. Such sessions, he said, are “always valuable to me.”
Woodall, a Republican from Lawrenceville whose district covers the lower half of Forsyth County, offered a timeline of the budget challenges Congress has faced, including the debt ceiling and sequestration.
“I’m knee-deep in the numbers all day every day,” he said.
Entitlements, such as Social Security, will not go anywhere. However, the dynamic likely will change, Woodall said, adding the current payers into the system will receive less than their parents.
“For all the talk that goes on about nothing happening in Washington and folks not getting anything done, we’ve reduced spending by about $915 billion,” he said.
According to the congressman, the fight will continue between the political parties, with Democrats believing it would be better to have more money in government and not worry about paying down the debt. That approach is the opposite of Republicans.
“The most important fight we’re going to have is that cultural fight about who we are as Americans,” he said.
Woodall added that children should not have to shoulder the burden of decisions in Congress.
But progress is being made, he said. This year, the House of Representatives will pass a budget that balances in 10 years — last year, it was 27 years.
Woodall also talked about American funding of other nations.
“If I have to choose between sending a dollar to a region to keep it safe and sending a young person in uniform to keep a region safe, I would rather pull out of my pocket ... to make that happen,” he said. “Just understand, we’re spending [money] as a substitute for men and women in uniform.”
In the case of Israel, which Woodall said always will be a friend to America, the money sent there comes back to the U.S. in the form of military hardware and other equipment purchases.
Asked about his Fair Tax legislation, Woodall said he reintroduced the measure in January with 70 supporters, the most to date. He said he will continue working to get more Democrats on board with it.
He also responded to a question by an audience member calling President Barack Obama a cancer on society.
“The enemy in this country is not Barack Obama’s politics. It’s the apathy of those of us that can do something about it,” he said.
Constituent Laure Biel said it was her first Woodall town hall meeting.
“He’s expressing the viewpoint of our area, our county, well,” she said. “I feel like he’s very well versed in the fiscal crisis we’re facing ... and I feel like what he’s saying is we’re the people who elect these people and we only have ourselves to blame for what’s going on in Washington so we need to hold them accountable.”