Rep. Bill Johnson spent his first day of vacation meeting with local Republicans and talking about the new federal health care law.
Congress is in recess, and Johnson, R-Ohio, said he is taking the time to meet with residents in the 6th District. And he had plenty to say Saturday during the annual Jefferson County GOP picnic at Jim Wood Park.
Johnson said attempts to provide special health care benefits for congressional staff employees are wrong and should be stopped.
"The Congress should live by the same rules as the American people. I have always thought that way, and I do not want to see exceptions now," said Johnson. "Members of Congress should not receive special treatment under the law for anything.
"Obamacare is bad policy and should be permanently repealed for all Americans. I've voted nearly 40 times to repeal Obamacare in whole, or in part, and will continue working to eliminate this terrible law.
"An amendment to the health care law was introduced by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that will change the health care formula for congressional staff members. The president is trying to fix that but under the amendment the Congress is giving itself and its staff members special privileges, and that is just wrong," Johnson added. "Everyone I talk to in my district is opposed to the Obama health care law. I have declined the congressional health care coverage and am receiving my health care through the veterans health plan I earned while serving in the U.S. Air Force."
He said he also is hearing concerns from constituents regarding the economy and jobs.
"We have been working hard to bring the regulators in line to stop attacking the coal industry and jobs in Eastern Ohio. We want the federal regulators to stop going after the oil and gas fracking industry so we can see prosperity in our district," Johnson said.
"The Obama administration does not want our country to use fossil fuel. I believe it is time to let the markets determine if the American people want alternative fuels. If they do, it will be reflected in the markets. But I believe the people of Eastern Ohio want to see our economy grow and more jobs that are available through the coal industry as well as the oil and gas drilling," Johnson said.
Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Dr. Brian Wilson said about 65 people attended the annual picnic Saturday afternoon.