URBANA, Ohio (AP) — Back home in Ohio, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s leading role in the House Republican rebellion against a GOP bill to replace Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is viewed largely as a vote for the average Joe.
“I’m really happy with his decision because there’s so many Americans going without health care due to the Obamacare, it needs to be revamped,” said 31-year-old Social Security recipient David Ball as he sat in the heart of Jordan’s district Monday. “I’m very proud of Jim Jordan.”
Like most of Jordan’s constituents, Ball supported President Donald Trump. Jordan’s congressional district lies in the sweeping flat farm country of western Ohio, where voting Republican is a way of life.
But when it comes to GOP in-fighting, lifelong Republicans here mostly stand by their local son.
“He’s our hometown boy. He seems to be for the people,” said 70-year-old Jenny Thackery, a retired geriatric nurse who cared for Jordan’s in-laws. “I don’t agree with everything he does. But he’s logical in his thinking, and he seems to be thinking about the guys who are struggling.”
An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Wednesday found that nationwide 62 percent disapprove of the way Trump is handling health care. That was his worst rating among seven issues the poll tested, including the economy, foreign policy and immigration.
The same poll found negative views of five of the six changes Republicans envisioned for the bill, including allowing insurers to charge older customers higher premiums than is now allowed, reduced funds for Medicaid and denying federal dollars to Planned Parenthood.
As she assembled chocolate-and-peanut butter Buckeyes at her brother-in-law’s downtown candy shop on Monday, Thackery said she still supports repealing and replacing the federal health care law and hopes Republicans in Washington find a way to come together.
At the local Frisch’s Big Boy, 69-year-old Chuck Siegenthaler said he was disappointed with Jordan and the other Republicans who didn’t support the bill.
“They should have initially passed this at the get-go,” said Siegenthaler, a retired factory worker. “Now it’s going to be how long. Nobody knows.”
The defeat is even more frustrating with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House, he said.
“They need to work together. They had eight years to work on it, and somebody’s not doing their job,” he said. “So they either need to work on it or get out.”
In an open letter to Trump on Thursday, a group of Ohio conservative leaders — including Tea Party affiliates, Republican state lawmakers and an anti-abortion crusader — called on the president to “stand with our heroes” in the Freedom Caucus, of which Jordan is a member. Their plea came after Trump tweeted that “we must fight” congressional conservatives in 2018 midterm elections if they don’t “get on the team, & fast.”
“These patriots are working to keep the campaign promises that you — and they — made to us,” the Ohio conservative leaders wrote. “Please work with members of the Freedom Caucus, not against them, to ensure you are all successful in keeping your campaign promises and ‘draining the swamp.’”
Jordan told Fox News “the Freedom Caucus is trying to change Washington. This bill keeps Washington the same, plain and simple.”
Bill Anderson, a 74-year-old retiree and rare Democrat in Jordan’s district, said that as Trump’s presidency goes on, he’s noticed local Republicans are getting less vocal.
“They’re pretty quiet,” Anderson said. “They were all Trumped up there for a while, but now they’re laying pretty low.”
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