Since Congress has been on recess this week, many legislators have been welcomed back to their districts with angry crowds of people during town hall meetings. Constituents have become increasingly concerned about the dismantling of The Affordable Care Act, and other policies.
The majority of the representatives have been Republicans who’ve had to deal with town hall meetings turn into protests. Some have even cancelled the meetings due to security risk. Others have continued on with their town hall meetings but were met with much resistance.
Legislators like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA) and other Republican leaders faced difficult questions from crowds who demanded straight up answers.
Many people who’ve gone to the town hall meeting have pressed Congressional leaders to provide straight answers to policies that concern immigration, healthcare, Trump’s new administration and more.
In his town hall meeting, Republican lawmaker Dave Brat received shouts of disapproval and boos when he said Obamacare had “collapsed”. In another town hall, an agitated crowd in Utah began booing and chanting “Do your job” at Republican Jason Chaffetz, who is the House Oversight Committee Chairman. Chaffetz spoke with NPR on Friday and claimed he was being targeted by paid protesters from out of state.
The White House has also made attempts to discredit the crowds. President Trump tweeted on Tuesday, “The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!” And during a press conference last week, Trump argued that protesters weren’t residents of the lawmakers’ districts. “They fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there, but they’re not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.”
According to CNN, most of the town halls center around health care, specifically the Affordable Care Act. Many have stressed their concern and disapproval for the dismantling of the health care system.
A University of Arkansas student, Kati McFarland pressed Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) continuously on his stance on Obamacare. “Will you commit today to replacements in the same way that you committed to the repeal?” McFarland asked. Cotton attempted to side step the question, but the crowd shouted at him to answer the question with the chant: “Yes or no!”
Legislators have also had to deal with the blow-back of Trump’s campaign promises like his recent immigration policies, the investigation in the Russian interference in US elections and his tax returns.
Americans are becoming more concerned that with Trump as president, Republicans are able to get away with more and will be able to push their political priorities.
Merlee Harison, who spoke with CNN, was one of the almost 2,000 people waiting to get into Senator Cottons town hall. She expressed her frustration and anger not only with Trump but also with her legislator. “I think most people understand Trump – know what he is, know what he isn’t. I’m here because I’m concerned about the Republicans who now think they have a mandate to do whatever they please,” said Harison, of Fayetteville, Arkansas. “You don’t see this kind of thing when everyone is happy.”
For more information:
The Atlantic: Republican Lawmakers Face Hostile Town-Hall Crowds