Congress Has an Answer for Public Wrath: Eliminate Town Halls

Remember a couple of years ago, there were all those staged town halls with Tea Baggers ranting against health care reform?

That scared the Dems for life…

Well, the Republicans aren’t about to let that happen to them.  They are canceling their August Recess Town Halls or making people pay to attend.  So much for going back home and talking to the constituents they allegedly serve.  They aren’t about to allow those “YouTube” moments to occur or be captured.  If they do happen to have a town hall, most Reps are barring cameras and recording devices.

Paul Ryan  is just having people evicted from his office and/or arrested.

What was that Hillary said back in the 1990’s about a “vast right-wing conspiracy”?


Congress approval rating—currently 13 percent, according to Gallup—is at a historic low, and its disapproval rating, at 84 percent, is at a historic high. Many Americans eagerly awaited Congress August recess so they could use town hall meetings and other public appearances to  give their elected officials a piece of their mind. Theres just one problem: most of Congress isnt scheduling any town halls. None. Zilch.The think tank No Labels called the offices of all 430 active members of Congress and found that 60 percent of them werent scheduling town hall meetings. According to No Labels analysis, more Democrats than Republicans are shutting themselves off from their constituents: 68 percent of Dems and 51 percent of Republicans hadnt planned a town hall during Congress weeks-long summer break. Click here to see if your representative or senator is planning a town hall or not.Not to be ignored, angry citizens, at least in one high profile district, have taken action to get some attention. Last week, a handful of unemployed constituents organized a sit-in in GOP Rep. Paul Ryans office in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while 100 protesters picketed outside. Ryan in particular has drawn heaps of criticism for his plan to eliminate Medicare as we know it and refashion Medicaid into a state-based block grant program. In the end, Ryans staff had police remove the protesters from the office, which was done peacefully.Paul Ryan has made himself available during the recess—but for a price. Thats right: Ryan and other lawmakers are now charging constituents to attend public events and ask them questions. Ryan wanted $15 a head. Rep. Dan Quayle R-Ariz., Politico reported, is charging $35 from attendees who want to ask him questions over a catered lunch at a Phoenix law firm. Rep. Chip Cravaack R-Minn. also wants money—$10 a person—to attend an his event, which is hosted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.Why the ticket price? At the very least, its a way to weed out the unemployed and financially burdened, who are also the most likely to give lawmakers an earful for the dismal state of the labor market and sluggish economic recovery. As Scott Page, a twice laid-off worker who participated in the sit-in inside Paul Ryans office, told a local blogger, “I dont have $15 to ask Rep. Ryan questions, so I guess this is the only means I have to talk to him.”

via Congress Has an Answer for Public Wrath: Eliminate Town Halls | Mother Jones.

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