Weekend Wrap: Lawmakers Talk Health Care With Friendly Audiences

Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:17am

Halfway through the August recess, Members of Congress still seemed to be focused on nothing but health care when they met with constituents over the weekend.

On Saturday at Los Angeles Southwest College, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) urged President Barack Obama to stand firm in support of the public insurance option and criticized Senate Democrats for their willingness to compromise.

“Not only are we going to do everything we can to organize and put pressure on the senators — some of whom are Neanderthals — we’re going to say to the president, We want you to use every weapon in your basket in order to get those senators to do what they should be doing,’— she said, according to the Los Angeles Times. The liberal Congresswoman represents a liberal district, and no one has declared an interest in opposing her 2010 bid for an 11th term.

Less than an hour’s drive southeast, Republican Rep. Ed Royce (Calif.) also met with constituents Saturday morning. Addressing a crowd of 300 in a town hall that was moved from a coffee shop to a strip mall parking lot, Royce said he believes the Democratic health care proposal “is too expensive, inhibits free market competition and would attract more illegal immigrants,— according to the Orange County Register. The nine-term Congressman had a friendly audience; his district is conservative, and he has yet to attract an opponent in his 2010 re-election campaign.

In central Iowa, Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell told almost 500 people at the AIB College of Business that he expects a bill that includes a public insurance option to pass by the end of the year, according to the Des Moines Register.

“I think [Republicans] will come to their senses on this and we can work together,— he said. “We’ve got to get our hands on it because of the impact on the people and also the impact on the economy; we can’t afford to keep doing what’s going on.—

Boswell, who represents a swing district and often gets tough re-election campaigns, appears safe heading into 2010. He won his seventh term with 56 percent of the vote.

In a telephone town hall Sunday night, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) pointed to a home-state hospital, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, as an example of patient-oriented care that could work well across the U.S., according to the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

Klobuchar, who is not up for re-election until 2012, emphasized that health insurance premiums should be controlled and health insurance coverage should be stable, regardless of an individual’s job security.

More Members are scheduling additional town halls even as recess winds down. See a list of today’s town halls at Congress.org.