Republican lawmakers returning home this week to host town halls are being greeted by overflow crowds filled with angry voters and protesters demonstrating against President Trump’s polarizing policies.
And in Iowa on Tuesday, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley faced harsh questioning from his constituents, including a 62-year-old pig farmer who pleaded with Grassley not to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“I’m on Obamacare,” Chris Peterson told Grassley in Iowa Falls, where more than 100 people packed a community center. “If it wasn’t for Obamacare, we wouldn’t be able to afford insurance.”
Angry constituents confront Chuck Grassley in Iowa: “If it wasn’t for Obamacare, we wouldn’t be able to afford insurance!” pic.twitter.com/vrbhbOiBMM
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 21, 2017
During a 2009 town hall in the Hawkeye State, Grassley led the fight against the Democrats’ health care proposal, saying the plan had an “end of life” provision that would allow the federal government “to decide when to pull the plug on Grandma.”
Peterson told Grassley on Tuesday, “Over 20 million will lose coverage. And with all due respect, sir, you’re the man that talked about the death panels. We’re going to create one great big death panel in this country [because of the fact] that people can’t afford to get insurance.”
“Don’t repeal Obamacare,” Peterson added. “Improve it, for God’s sake.”
Grassley responded by saying he believes no one receiving health care under Obamacare would lose coverage under three of the four Republican alternative health care plans circulating on Capitol Hill.
Trump and the GOP have vowed to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Earlier this month, Trump suggested it may take more than a year to do so, though Republicans on Capitol Hill have suggested it’s the No. 1 action item on their agenda.
On Tuesday night, Trump criticized the town hall unrest, claiming the “so-called angry crowds” were organized by progressive activists.
The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2017
“The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists,” Trump tweeted. “Sad!”
Amid the backlash, some GOP members of Congress have canceled or skipped their town halls altogether.
Earlier Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that town hall demonstrations have not been grassroots efforts, likening them instead to “AstroTurf.”
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