A standing-room only crowd came to see Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle at a town hall meeting Tuesday night. Some people were even turned away at the door because there wasn't enough room inside.
She faced the crowd at the Salina Town Hall after two big votes in Washington, on the hot button topics of federal spending and health care. Buerkle voted with fellow Republicans last week to repeal the health care reform law.
"Two courts have found that unconstitutional so it's going to be on the fast track to the Supreme Court to see if the government can mandate the purchase of health care," said Buerkle.
Several other topics were on the table from global warming, abortion, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But federal spending and the economy was fielding a lot of reaction from constituents. Buerkle says 42 cents of every dollar spent by the U.S. is borrowed and the government needs to reign in spending. She also says creating jobs needs to be the number one priority.
Rep. Buerkle recently voted with many in the GOP to slash $60 billion in spending from the current year's federal budget. She also said she would not raise the debt ceiling.
"We don't have a taxing problem in this country, we have a spending problem and we've got to get that under control," said Buerkle. "We are facing a $14 trillion debt, it's close to our GDP and that is something all Americans should be concerned about. We have to stop spending."
People also asked about why Buerkle voted to cut funding from Planned Parenthood, a question that got a rowdy response from the audience. Last week, the House of Representatives voted to cut off the organization from federal funds. Planned Parenthood says the nearly $400 million in cuts would affect around 1.4 million women who rely on them for cancer screenings, annual exams, birth control, sex education and STD testing.
Republicans believe Planned Parenthood is too aggressive with free abortions, but the organization says that makes up less than five percent of all services they provide.
Buerkle says this will be the first of many town hall meetings in Central New York.