During the most recent district work period, I hosted town hall meetings in Canadian, Creek and Lincoln counties. I enjoyed visiting with constituents at these meetings and gaining knowledge on their interests. As I went from one community to another, constituents voiced concerns on an array of different topics ranging from the U.S. budget defi cit to local issues, however; there were two overarching topics that seemed to be of particular interest - Obamacare and gun control.
At each of the meetings I held, constituents voiced concerns over the President's fl awed health care law. This is an issue that has remained at a high level of concern since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Many constituents seem to be worried about what will happen when the law is fully implemented in January 2014. I too share these concerns.
Constituents also asked if members of Congress would be exempt from the law. The answer is no. Under current law, each member of Congress must participate in the Affordable Care Act. However, when Obamacare was drafted, it made special exemptions for committee and White House staff. I supported measures that would have required everyone, including the architects of Obamacare, to participate. While I would like for everyone to be exempt, this unfortunately is not the case. As your Congressman, I will take advantage of every opportunity I have to defund and fully repeal Obamacare. I have already voted to fully repeal it twice and to defund portions of it more than 30 times, and I remain ready to do the same again. Health care should not be rationed by the government. Patients should have the right to choose a plan that best fi ts their needs.
Another prevalent topic at town hall meetings was gun control. My constituents have come out in full force voicing their opposition to any new laws that will infringe on their Second Amendment rights. As a gun owner myself, I share their concerns.
Recently, the Senate tried to pass legislation that would expand background checks for all gun buyers. While this measure failed, I am certain it will be brought up again in an effort to move forward with the President's gun control agenda. In addition, several Senate leaders are pushing legislation that would ban assault weapons and large capacity magazines from being sold, transferred, imported or possessed. Should any of these measures make it to the House for a vote, I will oppose them.
Additionally, many have voiced concerns about the Department of Homeland Security's excessive buy-up of ammunition, which has limited the supply available to American citizens. Even more questions were raised at a recent House committee hearing where the DHS's ammunition stockpile numbers were revealed to the public.
To address these concerns, I have joined with Senator Jim Inhofe to introduce the Ammunition Management for More Obtainability (AMMO) Act of 2013. If enacted, my legislation would increase transparency of the federal agencies' ammunition supply and restrict agencies, except for the Department of Defense, from obtaining additional ammunition for a six-month period if stockpiles are higher than its monthly averages prior to the Obama Administration. We deserve to know why these agencies need so much ammunition, and American citizens should always be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights without being encumbered by the federal government. This round of town hall meetings gave me a clear sense of what the constituents of the Third District are most concerned about. I always enjoy meeting with folks face-to-face to listen to their needs and answer any questions they might have. As I make my way throughout the 32 counties in the Third District this year, I look forward to visiting with more constituents to help address their concerns.