Congress members met with crowds and protests at town halls
The future of the Affordable Care Act was a common concern.
February 19, 2017, 2:37 AM
• 4 min read
-- As members of Congress return to their districts across the country during a legislative recess, many are hearing from concerned constituents.
Some Republican representatives holding town halls are facing boisterous crowds, including people protesting GOP plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Republican Rep. Tom Reed scheduled four town halls Saturday in his districts in upstate New York, with large, fairly raucous crowds turning out for two meetings in the morning. The congressman was peppered with questions on the health care act known as Obamacare as well as other topics such as President Trump's not publicly releasing copies of his tax returns.
In a town hall in Cherry Creek, New York, there was a strong exchange between several people and Reed on Trump's possible ties to Russia. Every time Reed was asked about Russia and the possibility of an investigation, he said that there was no evidence to suggest any wrongdoing so he did not see the need for an investigation.
Some of those organizing ways to confront lawmakers and make their voices heard are tagging their efforts online as #ResistanceRecess.
Almost every Democrat and several Republicans are hosting open forum, town hall meetings this weekend and next week. But some Republicans are opting for dial-in conference calls for their constituents instead of in-person meetings.
GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey said told USA Today that he chose a conference call with people in his district because he didn't “want to be baited into having an event that some outside group can just make a spectacle out of."
At Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat's town hall in New York City on Saturday, the mood of the audience seemed relatively calm and less confrontational than at some congressional representatives' home-district events.
Some groups are organizing their own events around the country to protest Congress or Trump administration policies, such as by holding rallies or going to lawmaker’s offices.
Planned Parenthood, for example, says it is planning hundreds of events in all 50 states this month.