One of the reasons Senate Republican leaders tried to rush a vote on their regressive health care plan is they feared the consequences of public pressure. If rank-and-file GOP lawmakers headed home during the 4th of July break and were confronted with legions of angry constituents, they may be less likely to return to Capitol Hill eager to start gutting Americans’ health security.
There is, however, a challenge facing those eager to urge their senators to oppose the Republican health plan: many of these GOP senators won’t be easy to find.
Only a handful of Senate Republicans, for example, are hosting town-hall events this week, and the New York Times reported that most GOP senators did not participate in Independence Day parades in their home states.
The Washington Post noted that one of the few Republican senators to engage with her constituents yesterday heard thanks for opposing her party’s legislation.
For the 15th year, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) spent July 4 marching through this town of 1,331, a short boat ride away from Canada. She walked and waved, next to marching bands and Shriner-driven lobster boats. Her constituents cheered – and then asked whether she would vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act.
“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!’ ”
The same article added that more Senate Republicans will go to Afghanistan this week than hold town-hall events with their constituents.
Let’s go ahead and highlight the obvious: if GOP lawmakers were proud of their recent work, and if they believed there’s a strong case to be made in support of their party’s health care proposal, they’d gladly maintain a high public profile this week, meeting as many locals as possible.
The fact that they’re doing the opposite speaks volumes.