Senate Democrats

Republicans Face Backlash At Home Over Plan To End Medicare

New York Times: House G.O.P. Members Face Voter Anger Over Budget. “In central Florida, a Congressional town meeting erupted into near chaos on Tuesday as attendees accused a Republican lawmaker of trying to dismantle Medicare while providing tax cuts to corporations and affluent Americans. At roughly the same time in Wisconsin, Representative Paul D. Ryan, the architect of the Republican budget proposal, faced a packed town meeting, occasional boos and a skeptical audience as he tried to lay out his party’s rationale for overhauling the health insurance program for retirees. In a church theater here on Tuesday evening, a meeting between Representative Allen B. West and some of his constituents began on a chaotic note, with audience members quickly on their feet, some heckling him and others loudly defending him. ‘You’re not going to intimidate me,’ Mr. West said.  After 10 days of trying to sell constituents on their plan to overhaul Medicare, House Republicans in multiple districts appear to be increasingly on the defensive, facing worried and angry questions from voters and a barrage of new attacks from Democrats and their allies.” LINK

CNN: Crowd Turns Loud At Town Hall Session For Freshman GOP Rep. “House Republicans back home for congressional recess have been getting some tough questions about plans to overhaul Medicare, but GOP freshman Daniel Webster’s town hall meeting in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday was beyond tough – it turned into a chaotic scene. Webster used charts and graphs to try to explain the controversial House GOP budget he voted for, but he could barely be heard over angry yelling – mostly about the Medicare proposal. As one man held a sign saying ‘keep your hands off my Medicare,’ another woman screamed that the congressman voted to give corporations a tax cut ‘but take away Medicare for people like me.’”  LINK

Washington Post: Republicans Facing Tough Questions Over Medicare Overhaul In Budget Plan. “Anxiety is rising among some Republicans over the party’s embrace of a plan to overhaul Medicare, with GOP lawmakers already starting to face tough questions on the issue at town hall meetings back in their districts. … Democrats, eager to win back the seniors and independents who abandoned the party in last year’s midterm elections, have declared the vote a ‘moment of truth’ and this week launched a media campaign accusing GOP House members of dismantling Medicare and endangering retirees. The assault has taken some Republicans by surprise, prompting concerns that the party is ceding ground in a policy debate that GOP strategists already viewed as perilous.” LINK

USA Today: Republicans In Congress Get Earful On Medicare. “Some Republicans in Congress are getting an earful back home over their votes to dramatically revamp Medicare for seniors. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who proposed changing the federal entitlement into a voucher program, got booed at such a meeting in his district last week. LINK

Los Angeles Times: House Republicans Face Backlash At Home Over Budget Plan. “Congress is on its first recess since Republican leaders unveiled a plan to end the federal deficit by dramatically changing Medicare, cutting other government programs and reducing taxes. With members of the House returning home to meet with constituents, politicians have been anxiously looking for signs of trouble. … A similar argument broke out among voters at a knitting circle in the Southern California district of Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs). …’I don’t trust these guys,’ said Barbara Walden, 77. Once Republicans begin ‘stripping away’ Medicare and Medicaid benefits for the younger generation, she said, they will eventually renege on their promise to protect the program for current seniors. ”  LINK

ABC News: Republican Lawmakers Face Angry, Confused Constituents on Medicare, Budget Cuts. “Americans are particularly concerned, and somewhat confused, about the proposal to overhaul Medicare, a central feature of the Wisconsin congressman’s proposal.” LINK

TIME: The Ryan Budget Vote: An Upstream Swim for Charlie Bass. “Bass spent a lot of time at his town hall trying to explain why it’s not, in his characterization, a voucher system. But he didn’t convince Spitzbarth and Loomis. ‘I like Medicare the way it is,’ Spitzbarth told Bass to applause from the audience, ‘don’t screw it up.’”  LINK

National Journal: Republicans In Swing Districts Take Heat For Supporting Ryan’s Medicare Plan. “Republicans who used seniors’ rage over health care changes to sweep into office last fall are now facing the same type of heat over the same issue: Modifications in Medicare and Medicaid. Many who voted for the plan House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., laid out to privatize the programs in future years have been in constituents’ crosshairs during Easter recess town-hall meetings. Others have simply avoided meeting with constituents.” LINK

Politico: Freshmen Feel The Heat Back Home. “Any lawmaker in a swing district can expect to take criticism from his right flank at a town hall meeting. But at an American Veterans outpost tucked deep in the Pocono Mountains this week, freshman Republican Rep. Lou Barletta took heat from every direction — from Democrats angry with the tax cuts in the GOP budget, to conservatives who thought he caved on the last continuing resolution vote, to a precocious 16-year-old critical of the lawmaker’s environmental record.” LINK

Orlando Sentinel: Angry Crowd At Town-Hall Meeting Could Be The Norm For Dan Webster. “A town-hall meeting held in Orlando by U.S. Rep. Dan Webster degenerated into bedlam Tuesday, with members of the crowd shouting down the freshman Republican congressman and yelling at one another.. … Tuesday at the Orange County Agricultural Extension office in Orlando, boos and shouts of ‘liar’ were mixed with angry accusations that Ryan’s plan to change Medicare would leave those now younger than 55 without health insurance in their retirement. There also were calls to eliminate the tax cuts first put in place by then-President George W. Bush and to raise corporate taxes rather than cut entitlement programs.” LINK

Politico: Overflow Crowds For Ryan Town Halls. “Record crowds of supporters and opponents flooded town hall meetings throughout southeastern Wisconsin on Tuesday to hear Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) defend his plan to trim government spending — including controversial changes to the Medicare program. In the district’s Democratic stronghold of Kenosha, at least 200 people were left outside once the 300-seat auditorium filled to capacity. The people in the crowd largely opposed the Ryan plan, holding signs such as ‘RyanCare = Dying Bare,’ ‘Leave Medicare Alone’ or simply, ‘Save Medicare!’ … ‘The problem is, under your program, when you want to give me X amount of dollars, with the insurance companies, the way they operate … if I can’t afford insurance, then where am I going to be?’ asked one 62-year-old woman with a history of cancer who worried she wouldn’t qualify for private insurance coverage under Ryan’s plan.” LINK

Chicago Daily Herald: Dold Faces Tough Questions At Town Hall Meeting. “Fresh off voting for the so-called Paul Ryan budget plan on Friday, newly-elected Congressman Robert Dold returned to Buffalo Grove Saturday where constituents questioned him about several elements of the Republican budget. …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. A handful of people in the audience identified themselves as business owners and accountants who said their effective corporate income tax rate is already lower than the lowest rates proposed in the Ryan plan.” LINK

Allentown Morning Call: Barletta Town Hall Gets Heated Over Medicare. “Reminiscent of the August 2009 town halls when members of Congress faced angry constituents over health care reforms, a public forum in Carbon County with Rep. Lou Barletta Wednesday night provided a glimpse of the strong emotions stirred by a Republican plan to alter Medicare benefits.” LINK

Huffington Post: GOP Town Halls: Reps Forced To Screen Questions, Duck Out Of Meetings In Secret. “The wave of town hall protests targeting House Republicans, and aided by labor and progressive groups, is forcing lawmakers to put restrictions on the forum’s traditionally open structure. On Tuesday night, Rep. Allen West’s office (R-Fl.) reportedly screened questioners during his town hall event by requiring individuals to fill out index cards which were then vetted by his staff. This was, the Boward County Sun Sentinel noted, different from ‘his usual practice at previous town hall meetings, where West took questions from people who lined up at microphones.’ Separately, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who has chosen to publicly broadcast his town hall locations rather than avoid the protests, was forced to leave Tuesday night’s forum in a different car and from a different exit out of security concerns.” LINK