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.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) got booed loudly at a town-hall meeting in Philadelphia over the weekend while talking health care. An audience member asked how the public can trust lawmakers to overhaul the health care system if those lawmakers don't actually the read health care legislation before them. Other audience members cheered the question...Sebelius said she's never been a member of Congress, and got booed heartily. Specter explained, over raucous boos, that in reading 1,000+ page legislation, quick decision must be made, and he splits up the bill with his staff, though every bill is read and understood before he votes on it. Exasperated, Sebelius told the audience that the bill hasn't been written yet, so they shouldn't boo Specter for not having read it.