JACKSON -- To a packed chamber in City Hall, U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Jackson, made his first public return to Michigan's 7th District since taking office earlier this month.
And he wasted no time getting to the meat of his address -- health care reform, which he voted to repeal Wednesday night, along with a majority of the U.S. House, calling it a government takeover.
"The Republicans were able to complete what we said initially we were going to do, which was an up-or-down vote on health care," the freshman lawmaker told News 10 Friday after the town hall meeting.
But with little chance of that repeal vote moving forward in the Senate, Walberg says the GOP plans to propose line-by-line repeals of the law starting next week -- though there are parts of it he'd like to keep, including an insurance pool for high-risk individuals.
"Those bills, in a great degree, have been introduced already, and are in committee, and hearings will begin on ways to replace 'Obamacare' with meaningful solutions," he said.
The second-term congressman (Democrat Mark Schauer wedged Walberg's terms) meanwhile, has taken some heat in his first few weeks back in office. This after he voted for the repeal of health care but against a repeal of government-subsidized insurance plans for members of Congress.
"In a stunning show of hypocrisy, Representative Tim Walberg voted to protect government-subsidized health care for his family but not for the families of his constituents," said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Walberg on Friday called that criticism disingenuous, arguing the vote proposed by House Democrats was political gamesmanship.
"It isn't genuine," he said. "It's just simply to put Republicans on the hot seat of voting against something kind, sweet, American apple pie, girl-next-door-type provisions, as this was."
Walberg has also come under fire for taking some $68,000 in campaign contributions from interests in the health care and insurance industries, according to a new TV advertisement paid for by the Public Campaign Action Fund.
The Republican told News 10 that he's never allowed a contribution to influence his vote.