On a perfect summer evening, while dozens of residents strolled the Riverwalk or took in a band concert at the Peg Bond Center, about 30 people gathered in to hold U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren’s feet to the fire.
Hultgren held a town hall meeting on Thursday in the Batavia City Council chambers to update constituents on what’s happening in Washington, D.C. Though most of the audience members were friendly, they tossed some hard questions at the freshman Congressman.
And several of the residents pulled no punches.
“Really? Is that all you have to show for yourself?” demanded one man, after Hultgren cited voting for a bill that prevented Congress from voting on unpublished proposals as the highlight of his first term.
Several residents asked Hultgren whether he intends to support renewing temporary payroll tax cuts that are due to expire Jan. 1, 2013.
“I think it is absolutely the wrong time to raise taxes on anybody,” Hultgren said in his reply. “How can we raise taxes when we can’t even pass a budget?”
While the House of Representatives has passed federal budgets in 2010 and 2011, he noted, the Senate has not approved a budget bill in more than three years. He said he supported a bill to withhold Congressional paychecks until a budget goes through, but admitted that he doesn’t expect it to come to a vote.
Hultgren also told constituents that he would favor striking the Affordable Health Care Act, which many call “Obamacare,” even though he agrees that Congress should mandate coverage for pre-existing conditions and the ability for children to stay on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26.
"We could delete the individual coverage requirement and leave the rest, but that would be legislating from the (Supreme Court) bench,” Hultgren said. “The way to legislate from the bench the least is to strike the whole thing and start again.”
Though he disagreed with one resident that the U.S. spends as much on its military as the rest of the world does combined, he did blame President George W. Bush as well as Pres. Barack Obama for the country’s $16 trillion deficit.
“Both parties failed (to control federal spending),” he said. “Now we have to work together to solve the problem.”
And he promised to fight for additional funding for .
“ were absolutely backward,” he said. “If we do basic research, we don’t know what we will find, but we do know we will find something. If we don’t do research, we know we won’t find anything.”
Still Have Something to Say?
If you missed the town hall, you can still reach Hultgren's staff for specific concerns during a mobile office hour session. The office hours will be held today, June 15, at the following locations and times:
Mobile Office Hours
Hinckley Village Hall (9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.)
720 James St., Hinckley
Big Rock Town Hall (10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.)
408 Rhodes St., Big Rock
Sugar Grove Village Hall (11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.)
10 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove
Elburn Village Hall (12 noon to 12:45 p.m.)
301 E. North St., Elburn
Campton Hills Village Hall (1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.)
40W115 Campton Crossings Drive, Campton Hills
North Aurora Village Hall (2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
25 E. State St., North Aurora
Constituents seeking assistance during Mobile Office Hours will be asked to fill out a consent form, which allows staff to begin the process of resolving their concern, and should also bring any pertinent information related to their issue.
For more information, contact Hultgren’s Geneva office at 630-232-7104.