It's August, and lawmakers are back in their home states talking to constituents. Liberals and conservatives alike will show up to town-hall meetings and other events to question their elected officials--sometimes loudly--about health care and the rest of Washington's business, as lawmakers make the case for their own agenda. When passions run high, debate can be spirited. We'll be watching.
83-year-old John Dingell (D-MI), the longest-serving member in the history of the House of Representatives and chairman emeritus of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (which produced part of the House health care bill), was berated by health reform opponents at a town-hall event in Romulus, Michigan yesterday.
The father of a man with cerebral paulsy stood shouting at Dingell in front of the podium, refusing to be seated with the rest of the audience and alleging that his son would be given no health care whatsoever under President Obama's reforms. After the event officially ends, audience members approach Dingell and a woman shouts in his face: "Exactly where's the money coming from? Is it coming out of my paycheck? I wanna know if it's coming out of my paycheck--yes or no!"
Speaking to reporters afterward, Dingell says: "This meeting has been rather heavily infiltrated by folks who wish to make trouble, as you all saw, and they were very diligent and effective in the matter."