Campaign 2010

May 19, 2011

Republicans Continue to Take Heat at Town Hall Meetings

Again House Republicans are under fire for voting to end Medicare, rather than end taxpayer giveaways for Big Oil or tax breaks for the ultra rich. Throughout this week’s recess, House Republicans have faced tough questions about their choices. Last month, House Republicans across the country took heat for their vote.


Take a look for yourself.


NEW – Freshman Rep. Cravaack defends Medicare vote [Associated Press]

“The freshman Republican showed the 50 people at the town hall a number of slides in a Power Point presentation. They contained detailed financial information on Medicare, Social Security and U.S. debt. […] Terry Bell, 62, of Cambridge, criticized the slides for being inaccurate. He asked Cravaack to point out the last time Republicans produced a balanced budget.  "Your party has added to the deficit ever since the Ford administration," Bell said. "The only time you get the least bit concerned is when the Democratic Party gets in." [Associated Press, 5/18/11]


NEW – Heck town hall meeting sparks passions [Las Vegas Review Journal]

“The crowd didn't just argue with Republican Rep. Joe Heck at a town hall meeting in Boulder City on Wednesday.  The 50 people in attendance often shouted at each other, indifferent to whether the Republican federal budget Heck was there to discuss would hurt or help Medicare and the job market.  Heck repeatedly spoke over the vocal crowd just to get a word in. […]"I'm not saying it's the best idea, but it's the only one and the best being proposed now," Heck said, emphasizing that the government needs to cut back spending to reasonable, sustainable levels. [Las Vegas Review Journal, 5/18/11]


NEW – Schilling defends possible changes to Medicare during town hall in Decatur [Herald Review]

The town hall-style meeting Wednesday at the Decatur Public Library drew a small but dedicated crowd, as Schilling, R-Colona, spoke about his first few months in Washington and the ways he hopes to see the nation's economy strengthened.  Schilling defended the Republican Party's Medicare reform proposals, saying Democrats are using scare tactics to try to control the debate. The GOP plan would issue vouchers to buy private insurance. [Herald Review, 5/19/11]


NEW – Black addresses debt, Medicare at town hall meeting [The Tennessean]

“She supports a proposal that will privatize the system for those who are 54 years of age and under, which she referred to as a premium support program. This structure, according to Republicans, would allot higher payments for the sick; smaller payments for the wealthy; and help seniors with out-of-pocket costs, according to the proposed budget plan. […] Black was frequently interrupted during her presentation and her responses during the question-and-answer session that followed. Some challenged her attempted responses, particularly on matters of taxation. [The Tennessean, 5/18/11]


NEW – Knox County Progressives rip Medicare voucher plan [Galesburg Register-Mail]
“Instead of fulfilling his obligation to every American, Mr. Schilling voted to replace the Medicare program — that provides healthcare and debt relief to millions of seniors and disabled Americans — with a plan that would unduly burden them and their families,” Joel Ward told those gathered. “In addition, the plan Congressman Schilling voted for would have a disastrous effect on healthcare — because out-of-pocket healthcare costs would more than double for seniors and the disabled.” […] As he left, Galesburg resident Gary Ellenberg said he attended the Progressive Party event for a simple reason.“I’m here because I don’t believe people like Paul Ryan have any point of reference to draw on,” he said. “They don’t remember the time before President Johnson made these programs law. They don’t remember things like old-age poverty and when older people couldn’t afford even basic healthcare. [Galesburg Register-Mail, 5/18/11]


NEW – Renacci reinforces national budget fix is cuts not increased taxes [The Daily Record]

Renacci, R-Wadsworth, conducted a town hall meeting for a full house in the Heritage Room at Ashland University's John C. Myers Convocation Center. […]Renacci polled the audience, asking those in attendance to answer questions using double-sided cards -- one side signifying agreement, the other disagreement. Based on their responses, about 80 percent sided with Renacci's approach to various issues.  But several audiences members were vocal in their dissent, particularly on issues like health care, spending for social programs and tax issues.  One man was escorted out by Ashland Police officers after he approached the front of the room during Renacci's response to a question about cuts to Medicaid reimbursements. [The Daily Record, 5/18/11]


Sparks fly in Cravaack’s visit to Iron Range [Duluth News Tribune]

“But it was clear that most in the audience, a diverse mixture of active and retired union members, small-business owners, visible DFL supporters and people who were busy drawing on one or more of those entitlement programs, had come to ask more specific questions or simply raise their own talking points. It wasn’t far into Cravaack’s slide show presentation — he jokingly called it “death by PowerPoint” — that people began jumping in. […] When Iron Range legislative legend Joe Begich delivered an impassioned monologue that derided several Republican proposals and prompted a series of shouted comments from the audience, Cravaack asked for civility to reign.”  [Duluth News Tribune, 5/18/11]


Rep. Allen West faces tough questions at town hall in Pompano Beach [Sun Sentinel]

“Medicare changes and corporate taxes are concerns. U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, delivered a vintage performance Tuesday — full of confidence, never backing down — even when facing a somewhat restive audience posing sometimes hostile questions. […]  Plenty were hostile. For example, one asserted that the House Republican plan to change Medicare ‘is obviously not something Americans want. Even Republicans have been backing off of this unpopular plan.’” [Sun-Sentinel, 5/18/11]


Another Allen West town hall, another early exit for higher-corporate-tax shouter [Palm Beach Post]

“About 300 people attended today’s meeting. As was the case at a town hall meeting Monday night in Riviera Beach, West encountered some shouts from critics while defending the Medicare plan and other conservative stances in answers to written questions from the audience.  West has been holding two town halls each month. Although calling it ‘difficult’ to listen to West, Deon didn’t rule out coming to West’s next meeting.” [Palm Beach Post, 5/17/11]


Rigell stands by GOP budget plan [Virginian Pilot]

“U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell reiterated his support Tuesday night for a Republican budget plan that calls for major changes in Medicaid and Medicare…. […] Addressing about 75 people at a public meeting at Little Italy restaurant in this Eastern Shore community, Rigell said the legislation, called the "Path for Prosperity," isn't perfect but is necessary to begin to address the rising cost of entitlements. […] The independent Congressional Budget Office concluded that, under the new system, most older people would pay more for health care in the coming decades. Starting in 2022, the age for eligibility would gradually increase; by 2033, it would be 67.” [Virginian Pilot, 5/18/11]


Congressman Quayle Takes Heat for Medicare Decision [KSAZ FOX10]

“Monday night at a town meeting in Anthem, it was Ben Quayle who got beat up a bit while meeting with his constituents. Many people in the crowd were fired up about about his stance on the proposed changes to the Medicare system. Quayle favors the Republican plan which would give seniors vouchers to buy health insurance on the private market.” [KSAZ, 5/16/11]


Congressman's Meeting Interrupted By Shouting [WPBF]

“Another town hall meeting organized by U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, devolved into a shouting match Monday night. About 100 people came to hear the congressman speak. Police escorted one person out of the meeting. […] ‘I didn't agree with his explanation about Medicare. I'm very concerned about cutting Medicare and changing Medicare without looking at the revenue side,’ resident Dave King said.” [WPBF, 5/17/11]


Crowd pulls few punches at Herrera Beutler town hall [The Columbian]

“U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler faced a boisterous, partisan crowd Tuesday evening at her first Vancouver town hall, where she fielded sometimes hostile questions about her vote to restructure Medicare and her reluctance to support raising the federal debt limit. […] Several hundred people showed up at Skyview High School for the session. They passed a couple dozen protesters near the entrance who hoisted signs saying, “Save Medicare: Tax the Rich” and “People not Profits.” Several supporters of Planned Parenthood wore pink T-shirts to protest Herrera Beutler’s vote to end federal funding of family planning services.” [Columbian, 5/16/11]


Protesters Greet Paul Ryan in Chicago [Associated Press]

“Dozens of protesters carrying signs and chanting "Tax the rich" marched outside a hotel in downtown Chicago to protest a speech by Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Ryan is the architect of the Republican budget plan, which includes a controversial proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher program. […]The protesters carried signs that read "Hands off my Medicare," "Hands off my Social Security," and "Paul Ryan plan: Let them eat cat food." [Associated Press, 5/16/11]


Rep. Andy Harris takes Medicare budget debate to Berlin, Ocean City [Ocean City Today]

“Harris brought the budget battle to Worcester County Saturday when he spoke at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City and at Showell Elementary School. […] Harris defended the fiscal 2012 budget proposal introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and approved by the Republican controlled House of Representatives. […] The auditorium was filled with senior citizens concerned about Medicare and, as with the numerous town hall meetings of 2009, the crowd reached pitched debate on health care issues. George Benton of West Ocean City was concerned about the costs for future generations and that costs could increase for existing beneficiaries within several years. “The Paul Ryan bill will kill Medicare as we know it,” argued Benton. “These good people want their tax dollars to go toward their grandchildrens’ costs. We’ve been borrowing all this money from China to pay for the Iraq War and for Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy.” [Ocean City Today, 5/13/11]