Members of a progressive Bay Ridge political club slammed Rep. Mike McMahon for opposing the just-passed health care reform bill and for his right-of-center positions on war, terrorism and military policy.
The freshman Democrat visited Brooklyn Democrats for Change at its regular meeting on Thursday night in the wake of his rejection of President Obama’s health reform package and discovered that liberal anger over the vote was a pre-existing condition.
“I was quite happy [when you got elected],” said Margaret Brennan. “But since then, you seem to have become a Republican. The health care issue is not good. The war is not good. There are a lot of us who are not happy with that.”
Fellow club member Vicki McFadyen reminded McMahon that his support for the war in Afghanistan has given the White House a free ride.
“The only brakes we have is Congress,” she said.
Members of the club were quick to complain that McMahon has voted with the GOP minority on issues of warfare, the rights of terror suspects, and weapons systems, as a Brooklyn Paper investigation revealed last month.
In response, McMahon pointed out that he had voted with the Democratic majority 87 percent of the time.
“A Republican would have voted ‘no’ every time,” he said, adding, “I don’t regret the positions I’ve taken because I believe they were the right ones.”
He said he opposed the health care bill because it cuts subsidies to Medicare Advantage, could hurt local hospitals, and “doesn’t do enough to contain costs,” which, he asserted, will lead to “dramatic increases in premiums.”
McMahon’s vote against the health care bill may have tarnished his reputation with progressive Dems, but it does put him in step with the two Republicans who are facing off to challenge him in November.
Both GOP challengers, Michael Allegretti and Michael Grimm, said they would have voted against the bill, too — eliminating that as a possible wedge issue.