House GOP Facing “Angry,” “Booing,” “Tough Crowds”

Friday, April 22

April 22nd, 2011

House GOP Facing “Angry,” “Booing,” “Tough Crowds” Back Home After Voting to End Medicare, Give Millionaires Another Tax Break …


TIME, 4/21 : The Ryan Budget Vote: An Upstream Swim for Charlie Bass : Hillsborough, NH Rep. Charlie Bass knew he was in for a rough night. The first question out of the gate during his Wednesday town hall in Hillsborough, NH was about his vote for Paul Ryan’s budget. And the second. And the third and the fourth, fifth and sixth questions.


ThinkProgress, 4/20: ‘VIDEO: Paul Ryan Booed At Town Hall For Defending Tax Breaks For The Wealthy.’  During a town hall meeting in Milton, a constituent who described himself as a “lifelong conservative” asked [Congressman Paul] Ryan about the effects of growing income inequality in our nation. The constituent noted that huge income disparities contributed to the Great Depression and the Great Recession, and thus wanted to know why the congressman was “fighting to not let the tax breaks for the wealthy expire.”  Ryan argued against “redistribut[ing]” in this manner. After the constituent noted that “there’s nothing wrong with taxing the top because it does not trickle down,” Ryan argued that “we do tax the top.” This response earned a chorus of boos from constituents.


Allentown Morning Call (PA): ‘VIDEO: Barletta town hall gets heated over Medicare’ 

Wall Street Journal, 4/22 : LANSFORD, Pa.—GOP Rep. Lou Barletta sought to assuage fears during the town-hall meeting Wednesday by walking constituents through a series of charts illustrating the swelling costs of Medicare and the impact on U.S. debt if the program isn't tamed. But he was interrupted frequently during the presentation by people speaking up to air their concerns. Linda Christman, a 64-year-old Lehighton resident who last fall voted for Mr. Barletta's Democratic opponent, said it wasn't enough for the congressman to promise her that Medicare would still be there for her. Ms. Christman said she wanted to make sure the program would be there for her niece, her children and her grandchildren. "You said nothing in your campaign about 'I'm going to change Medicare,'" she said. "Now you're voting for a plan that will destroy Medicare."


Think Progress, 4/22 : ‘Town Hall Citizens Confront Rep. Sean Duffy For Voting To Privatize Medicare And Defend Tax Breaks For Rich.’  On Tuesday, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) was the latest congressman to face the ire of Main Street America during a town hall event with constituents who stopped being polite and started getting real. First, constituents explained they were upset that Ryan’s plan would cut off people under the age of 55 from Medicare. Then, others directly challenged Duffy about defending tax breaks for the wealthy for voting to effectively replace Medicare with a voucher system.


CNN, 4/21: Freshman Congressman faces tough crowd back home, after budget vote Philadelphia (CNN) – In the suburbs of Philadelphia, freshman Congressman Patrick Meehan is spending his day running around his district, answering questions from his constituents. During the two week Congressional break, the Pennsylvania Republican is fitting in five different town hall meetings in just one day. … Meehan was asked about entitlement reform and Medicare at nearly every town hall he went to. Some of his constituents say they're worried about proposed Republican reforms to the Medicare system. "Reform usually means cutting benefits, if it's cutting benefits, no, I do not want that," says constituent Bette Popiel.


Daily Herald (IL), 4/16: [Congressman Robert] Dold couldn't even get to the end of the presentation before audience members began peppering him with questions about the Ryan budget, named after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin … Some in the audience then told Dold they don’t like the idea in the Ryan budget plan of Medicare becoming a voucher program that makes senior citizens buy private health insurance about 10 years from now. Audience members said buying private insurance is a shell game where no one really knows what costs a company will cover or to what degree.”


Think Progress, 4/22 :  GOP Rep. Patrick Meehan Faces Constituent Anger After Breaking Campaign Promise To Not Privatize Medicare. GOP Rep. Patrick Meehan (PA) faced a “tough crowd” back home after voting for Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal that would effectively end Medicare by privatizing it and handing seniors over to the private health insurance industry. …Meehan was asked about entitlement reform and Medicare at nearly every town hall he went to. Some of his constituents say they’re worried about proposed Republican reforms to the Medicare system.  “Reform usually means cutting benefits, if it’s cutting benefits, no, I do not want that,” says constituent Bette Popiel.


The Hill, 4/21: ‘Another GOP lawmaker's town hall heats up over Ryan plan’ GOP Rep. Lou Barletta's (Pa.) local town-hall meeting got heated on Wednesday night over his party's proposal to overhaul Medicare. Earlier this week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the architect of the plan, was booed at a town hall in his district.


Washington Examiner, 4/22: ‘Republicans face town hall anger over vote for Paul Ryan budget (Video)’. The summer of 2009 was dominated by town hall anger against Democrats for their plans on health care reform.  Now, in the summer of 2011, Republicans are experiencing some backlash for their deficit reduction plan. 


Huffington Post, 4/21: GOP Reps Host Town Halls On Budget, Get Yelled At : Now, Congress is out of session and House Republicans are returning to their districts to tout the benefits of Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) plan to turn Medicare into a system of worthless vouchers, and guess what? Town halls are getting heated once again., 4/21: GOP gets a taste of tough town halls. In the summer of 2009, Democratic legislators working on health care reform were met with angry protesters at town halls in their districts. Now, Republicans home for a short break are seeing a similar reaction against the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). GOP Reps. Charlie Bass (N.H.), Lou Barletta (Pa.) and Robert Dold (Ill.) have all been hectored. And Ryan himself was booed. So far, the protests are scattered and have yet to approached anything close to the reaction to the health care bill in 2009.


Think Progress, 4/21 : More Republican Congressmen Face Town Hall Backlash Over Tax Breaks For Wealthy And Medicare Privatization. Earlier this week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) held town halls across his district to defend his budget’s plan to end Medicare and extend tax cuts for the wealthy. During a stop in Milton, WI Ryan’s constituents made their feelings apparent, booing down the seven-term congressman when he defended tax breaks for the rich, as ThinkProgress first reported. Yesterday, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) received the same hostile reception from his constituents for voting to end Medicare. This town hall backlash is now spreading to other districts across the country. As Huffington Post reports, freshmen Reps. Robert Dold (R-IL) and Charlie Bass (R-NH) got an earful from their constituents for voting in favor of the Republican budget this month. During a Buffalo Grove, IL town hall, Dold caught a lot of flack for supporting corporate tax breaks and voting to end Medicare.


Times Union (Albany, NY), 4/20 : Gibson explains Medicare vote.   SALEM --  Some left-leaning constituents asked about [Rep. Chris] Gibson's support for continuing the 2001 tax cuts and were concerned with the proposed Medicare changes ...  The Republican budget plan, approved Friday largely along party lines, with Gibson's vote, seeks to replace the system with one in which future Medicare retirees would get a lump-sum payment to put toward premiums in one of several federally approved health plans.  Democrats have been blistering in their criticism, saying the "vouchers" given under the plan will "eliminate" the program as it is known, where seniors are covered for various health care services.


St. Petersburg Times (FL), 4/22 : ‘Proposed Medicare cuts bring out political swords’ . WASHINGTON — The intensifying debate on Capitol Hill over the national debt has seemed abstract for many Americans, with incomprehensibly big numbers and concepts. But throw Medicare into the mix and suddenly it's a lot more personal.   "From a political standpoint, Medicare reform is very dangerous territory," analyst Charlie Cook wrote in the National Journal in advance of Republican approval of the 10-year budget blueprint that contained the Medicare overhaul. (It would contribute to an overall $5.8 trillion in spending cuts.) "House Republicans are not just pushing the envelope — they are soaking it with lighter fluid and waving a match at it."   A Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week showed 78 percent of Americans oppose cutting spending on Medicare as a way to trim the debt, currently at more than $14 trillion. The poll should send chills through Republicans in districts with many seniors or those with a healthy percentage of Democratic voters.


The Nation, 4/22 : Town Hall Meltdowns, Hundreds Protest Cuts. It appears the GOP plan for slashing budgets isn’t receiving the warmest of welcomes from its constituents. Earlier in the week, a town hall audience booed Representative Paul Ryan when he defended tax breaks for the rich. That backlash was one of several town hall meeting eruptions that occurred across the country. Freshmen Reps. Robert Dold (R-IL) and Charlie Bass (R-NH) both received hostile greetings from citizens of their respective states. Dole caught flack for supporting corporate tax breaks and voting to end Medicare:  But Dold couldn’t even get to the end of the presentation before audience members began peppering him with questions about the Ryan budget, named after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin. It began with audience members telling Dold they don’t believe chopping 10 percentage points off the highest corporate tax rate will create jobs.

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