Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – A restive crowd vented to Rep. Frank Guinta over pocketbook issues and political wrangling in Washington at a town hall Wednesday.
Questions for the freshman Republican ranged from Medicare reform to immigration, but two topics that raised contention were tax cuts for the wealthy and U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Libya.
Citing corporate tax loopholes, the national debt and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one man asked: "How can you stand there in front of all of us and take a pledge not to raise taxes?"
During his campaign Guinta promised to oppose any tax increases while in Congress.
"I don't believe that our problem in this country is that we don't receive enough money from taxpayers," Guinta said in response Wednesday, but was drowned out by exclamations of both support and frustration.
One man chimed in: "If they're not spending it wisely, I'm not giving them any more money."
"We're in dire straits here," argued Michelle O'Rourke, a Democrat, who said later she was fearful for the country's future, especially for the middle class. O'Rourke wants to end the Bush-era tax breaks for Americans making more than $250,000 a year.
"We're all going to have differences of opinion," Guinta said. "I personally don't believe that the government spends your money, or anyone's money, as efficiently as it could."
The audience was similarly divided over the debt-ceiling agreement, with some conservative constituents expressing frustration that Republicans had not achieved greater spending cuts in the August 2 compromise.
Several people thanked Guinta for holding the meeting, in part because he was sure to face criticism from some over his support of that deal. On Wednesday he advocated for deeper spending cuts and said the country needs to address both tax and entitlement reform.
"I think you can grow our economy. I think you can be a limited, effective, efficient economy," he said, adding liberals in Washington needed to stop using scare tactics that could prevent serious reforms. "Elected officials over the years haven't been honest with the country."
"Ya think?" someone retorted.
Many in the audience applauded a voter who voiced concern over the amount of tax dollars being spent on the country's involvement in foreign conflicts, particularly in Libya.
During the 90-minute session, Guinta told the crowd he had successfully forged a particular - and surprising - relationship in Washington with Democrat Dennis Kucinich, of Ohio, because of his concerns over U.S. military involvement in the Libyan conflict.