Politics

Republican Lawmakers Are Getting Lit Up By Constituents at Town Halls

May 9th 2017

By:
Mike Rothschild

Since the election of Donald Trump, Republican members of Congress on recess have dealt with rowdy, booing, angry town hall crowds, with almost all demanding answers about what their representative intends to do about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

 

 

 

 

Last week, the House narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (ACHA), a controversial bill that's so unpopular that one poll pegged it at a 17 percent approval rating. They then began a seven-day recess the next day, sending reps back to their districts. This time around, however, most Republicans refused to hold town hall meetings, and the few who did walked into minefields.

Idaho Republican Raúl R. Labrador was met with a chorus of boos and screams after telling a clearly distraught constituent: "nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care."

This statement was deemed by Politifact as a "pants on fire" lie, check out the brutal footage in the video below.

 

 

One Iowa representative's town hall went spectacularly wrong in several ways. Rep. Rod Blum first walked out of a TV interview after he was asked why he was pre-screening attendees.

Then, during a series of testy exchanges, Blum was loudly challenged by constituents who screamed and waved red sheets of paper indicating that they disagreed with his sputtering answers.

 

 

Republicans in Democratic-leaning states seemed to get particularly incendiary responses at recent town hall meetings.

Upstate New York Republican Tom Reed held three town hall meetings on Saturday, and was jeered at each for his yes vote on the AHCA. One featured a man telling Reed that he'd donated a kidney, and if the AHCA became law, he'd be classified as having a pre-existing condition.

 

 

Another New York representative, Elsie Stefanik, allowed in only a small group chosen by lottery to head off protestors, and was met by hundreds of chanting and sign-waving protestors anyway.

Those who did get in told NPR that Stefanik seemed like she was just spouting talking points.

 

 

And Greg Walden, the only Republican House member from Oregon, was booed and jeered at a town hall on Monday by a crowd who overwhelmingly expressed their desire for single-payer health care.

Some Democrats were taking advantage of the Republican propensity for skipping town hall meetings to troll their counterparts. New York's Sean Maloney held a town hall in the neighboring district of Republican John Faso, explaining to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC that he did it so constituents would at least be able to talk face-to-face with someone.

 

 

"I think every Republican who voted for this thing ought to have to stand in front of their voters and explain it," Maloney told Maddow. "And if it takes a Democrat to go in and do it for them for a while, I’ll explain what’s in this bill.”

More town hall meetings are scheduled for the rest of the week, where more Republicans are likely to hear it from scared and confused constituents.