Facing a couple of hundred rowdy constituents at his first town hall since President Donald Trump was inaugurated, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman took questions for almost two hours on health care, the president's tax returns and the environment.
He defended his support for GOP health care reform saying the Medicaid expansion is breaking the state's bank. Coffman was the only Republican in the Colorado delegation who publicly supported the failed health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The fifth-term congressman said he supported finding a solution that slimmed down Medicaid so it wasn't so pricey.
"The government always over promises and we are a nation with $20 trillion in debt and I think that level of debt is a threat to the security of this country," he told the crowd.
The audience frequently broke into boos and cheers throughout the question and answer session. People were called on out of a hat and were told in advance that if they interrupted each other or waved signs, they would be tossed out. Coffman talked over the jeering through a microphone on stage.
Gary Sunshine, of Greenwood Village, said he worried about tax reform and Trump's lack of disclosure.
"How are they going to do tax reform without seeing Donald's taxes?" he said. "I think you need to see his taxes, otherwise how do you know you're not writing the Donald Trump tax reform act?"
Asked about requiring the president to release his tax returns, Coffman pointed out Trump did release his financial disclosures. The audience booed. Coffman also said he would, in the future, support requiring the president, vice president and members of Congress to release their tax returns, but he didn't think Trump would do it "ex post facto."
The crowd then started chanting, "show us the returns!"
Coffman said he didn't support Trump's big boost to defense spending and called the Defense Department "top heavy." Asked about cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, Coffman said he didn't support Trump's cuts but believed there were "inefficiencies."
He said he supported the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and said the federal government "should focus on research for the next generation."
Video from Rep. Coffman's town hall is posted below.
Posted by Congressman Mike Coffman on Wednesday, April 12, 2017
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