'There was only one issue.' GOP senator surprised by constituents' health care focus


With Congress in recess and lawmakers back in their home states, Americans need to make their voices heard now more than ever.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins came away from her meetings with constituents over the holiday weekend buoyed by support for her outspoken dissent about the GOP Senate plan to repeal Obamacare and dismantle Medicaid.

Unlike many of her GOP colleagues, Collins actually attended her local Fourth of July parade and talked face-to-face with Maine voters:

As reported by the Washington Post, Collins was struck by the singular focus of the concerns of the residents of this Maine town with just over 1300 residents:

“There was only one issue. That’s unusual. It’s usually a wide range of issues,” Collins said in an interview after the parade. “I heard, over and over again, encouragement for my stand against the current version of the Senate and House health-care bills. People were thanking me, over and over again. ‘Thank you, Susan!’ ‘Stay strong, Susan!’ ”

Collins was joined at the parade by her fellow Maine senator, Angus King, who is an independent. He echoed concerns about the GOP bill, saying, "If you took a blank sheet of paper and said, 'How could we get a bill that would really hammer Maine,' this would be it."

With recent polling showing several Republican senators in swing-states at risk in their 2020 re-election bids if they vote for ACA repeal, Collins and King are likewise no doubt aware of the potential consequences not only to their constituents but also to their own careers if they vote for the hugely unpopular GOP bill.

The takeaway message for voters is the resistance is working.

However, the fight is far from over. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has plenty of "bribes" left to offer to try to sway GOP senators and has made his intention to use them clear. It has never been more critical or more urgent for Americans to make their voices heard.