As Congress leaves Washington for a week-long recess, the contrast between Democrats' and Republicans' relationships with the people could not be sharper. At least 80 Democrats are hosting town halls and other events to support the Affordable Care Act, while only 18 Republicans have events planned through the entire week. Democrats listen to their constituents; Republicans hide from them.
As members of Congress left Washington, D.C., to head back to their districts, there was a notable contrast arising between how Democrats and Republicans treat their constituents — and between how those constituents feel about their elected officials from each party.
For days prior to the recess, Republicans had been confronted with protests and pressure from frustrated voters regarding the GOP's plans — such as they are — to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
In Modesto, CA, about 300 people gathered at a town hall to demand that Representative Jeff Dunham work to protect the ACA, and began chanting "show your face" when they were met with only a member of Dunham's staff and a handout.
In San Diego County, CA, residents created their own town hall and used a full-page advertisement in the newspaper to invite Representative Darrell Issa to attend the meeting, which he has not yet agreed to do.
In Colorado, Representative Mike Coffman offered his constituents a "listening tour" regarding the ACA, but no actual face-to-face meetings.
In Burnsville, MN, protestors gathered outside the office of Representative Jason Lewis, demanding a town hall, having reserved a location to hold a meeting which Lewis has thus far declined to attend.
And this is happening across the nation: from Chicago, IL, to Brighton, MI; from Westfield, NJ to Orange County, CA; to a long list of other cities and towns where constituents are trying to make their voices heard, and where Republicans are doing their best to block them out.
Despite all of these demands and the clear concern from the people regarding the future of the ACA, according to Roll Call on February 15, Republicans had scheduled only 10 town halls over their week in recess. According to Legistorm, a database that tracks Congressional town halls, as of this writing, only 18 Republicans have scheduled town halls during recess week.
In sharp contrast to the GOP's reluctance to meet with their constituents and the disrespect shown by those refusals, Democratic officials are out in force to offer their support for the ACA and to listen to the concerns and requests from the people in their districts.
According to a statement from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, "More than 80 House Democrats will be hosting #ProtectOurCare events across the nation in support of the Affordable Care Act, bringing the total number of ACA events hosted by House Democrats in February to more than 100."
The US should be moving frwd not backward esp as it relates to our healthcare #ProtectOurCare #ACAforum pic.twitter.com/rEPdRRh3em
— Rep. John Larson (@RepJohnLarson) February 18, 2017
Today is #ProtectOurCare National Day of Action–I stand w/families, neighbors & seniors across #Florida & against GOP rationing health care! pic.twitter.com/O2JviKY5ZP
— US Rep Kathy Castor (@USRepKCastor) February 18, 2017
Heading to Gouverneur Health at 11 am for a rally to #ProtectOurCare and defend the #ACA! 227 Madison Street. Please join me!
— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) February 18, 2017
I’m fighting to #ProtectOurCare for the 511,000 in #NC who have gained coverage since #ACA was implemented. pic.twitter.com/93sLQchXo5
— G. K. Butterfield (@GKButterfield) February 18, 2017
We must not allow healthcare for all who need it to become wealthcare for only those who can afford it. #ProtectOurCare
— Congressman Al Green (@RepAlGreen) February 18, 2017
1. Today is @HouseDemocrats #ACA Nat'l Day of Action! I will be hosting a tele-roundtable w rural hospital admins. #ProtectOurCare
— Rep. Terri A. Sewell (@RepTerriSewell) February 18, 2017
I am proud to stand with community members from across the 14th to #ProtectOurCare! pic.twitter.com/FBQZ4H3hLq
— Brenda Lawrence (@RepLawrence) February 18, 2017
Democratic members of Congress are listening to their voters, the majority of whom do not want to see the Affordable Care Act repealed.
Whereas Republicans are barely paying attention the the cries of their constituents, ducking meetings and ignoring protests.
The GOP knows that their plans to repeal the ACA are a disaster in the making, and they are already seeing what will come to pass if they insist on forging ahead.