Repealing health care reform and cutting taxes are at the top of U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's agenda -- and thanks to a new Republican-led House of Representatives, he's optimistic about his goals.
"For the past four years, I've had my agenda, but sadly, the agenda hadn't progressed very far," Wilson said Monday during a stop at Earl's Body Shop in Beaufort. "There are 87 new conservatives who will be sworn in on Wednesday. And so I'm excited."
The 30-minute stop was the last of three the West Columbia Republican made Monday to outline his agenda. He fielded questions from a group of about 20 people at the businesses where he also made a campaign stop during his re-election bid last year.
"This was the last stop that he had prior to his re-election," said Fred Krumm, owner of Earl's Body Shop. "I love for him to come out because he listens to us."
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Wilson said he chose the location to highlight the importance of job creation, and suggested a 5 percent, across-the-board income-tax cut to jump-start hiring.
"It's not the government's money; it's the people's money," Wilson said. "And then when the people have additional funds, they can buy products. They can get their cars repaired. That enables Fred to be able to hire more people."
He also lambasted the health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama.
"The first consequence is that people of age will run into circumstances of deferred service, denial of service, waiting lists," Wilson said. "And then for the young people -- our children and grandchildren who we were with over the holidays -- we're going to be saddling them with trillions of dollars of new debt."
Republicans have argued for the law's repeal, but they will control only one chamber of the new Congress. Obama's veto will loom over efforts to undo the legislation.
But Wilson said House Republicans will forge ahead.
"That vote will occur. It very likely can be blocked in the Senate," he said. "But at the same time, the America people know where their members of Congress stand."
He will oppose funding bureaucracies the law created.
"And then if they're not funded, then they can't hire their bureaucrats," Wilson said. "Then they can't rent office space, and then they can't begin the process of new regulations."
Wilson also addressed congressional redistricting, scheduled to occur before the next election in 2012. The state will gain a seventh congressional seat because of population growth recorded by the 2010 Census, and that new district, to be drawn by a Republican-majority state legislature, should tilt Republican, he said.
"We should have the extraordinary opportunity of having six Republicans and one Democrat," he said. "That really is historic in South Carolina."
Wilson said he would try to keep Beaufort County in the 2nd District, which he represents.