Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York) is interviewed at Roll Call in Washington, D.C.
Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call/Getty

Dems host town-hall meetings on health care in GOP districts

The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/5/17, 9:51 PM ET

Democrats on offense over unpopular Republican health care bill

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, (D, NY), talks with Rachel Maddow about the pressure he is putting on GOP Rep. John Faso who represents a neighboring district and broke his promise to constituents with his vote for the Republicans health care bill.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) appeared on the show on Friday, the day after House Republicans passed their far-right health care bill, and he raised an interesting idea.

The Republican representative in the neighboring district, Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.), backed his party’s regressive plan, took his office’s phones off the hook, and decided not to host a local event to explain to his constituents why he’d voted for legislation that would do so much deliberate harm.

Maloney told Rachel on the show that if Faso wouldn’t talk to voters in his own district, answering their questions about health care, Maloney would do it for him. “I think every Republican who voted for this thing ought to have to stand in front of their voters and explain it,” the congressman said. “And if it takes a Democrat to go in and do it for them for a while, I’ll explain what is in this bill. And if he doesn’t like it, he should stand up and explain it himself.”

As the Poughkeepsie Journal reported, Maloney wasn’t kidding, and he followed through yesterday.
On Monday afternoon, Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney listened to their concerns in his 18th Congressional District. Then, he listened to concerns from constituents in the 19th Congressional District Monday night. […]

Maloney said he was on hand to “adopt” the 19th district, after he said Faso rejected Maloney’s invitation to visit the 18th district to explain his vote. Maloney said Faso on Monday night was at a fundraiser in Albany. An empty stool had a card with Faso’s name.
As best as I can tell, the turnout for the event looked quite good, especially given that it wasn’t their congressman who was speaking.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/8/17, 9:56 PM ET

Democrats look to supplant Republicans avoiding home town halls

Rachel Maddow reports on a new idea of Democratic members of Congress attending town halls in neighboring districts where the Republican representative is unresponsive to constituents amid a backlash against GOP lawmakers who voted to kill Obamacare.
Rachel described it last night as a “new form of protest,” which it clearly is. I also think it’s quite clever: nervous voters have questions about Republican efforts to gut the health care system, and if their representative doesn’t want to talk about it, there’s certainly no harm in having a different member of Congress help pick up the slack.

Indeed, Maloney isn’t alone. The Arizona Daily Star reported yesterday that Rep. Martha McSally, Republican who voted for her party’s unpopular proposal, isn’t hosting an event in her district, so Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego is doing what Maloney did in New York: going to a neighboring district to discuss the bill.

To date, these are the only two House Democrats “adopting” a nearby district, but plenty of Republicans have decided not to host town-hall events in the wake of their controversial votes, so there are opportunities for more.

Arizona, Health Care and New York

Dems host town-hall meetings on health care in GOP districts