Unlike their Republican colleagues, New Democrats have been listening to their constituents.
From San Diego to Florida and in over 60 districts in between, New Democrats have packed school gyms and churches to listen to their constituents. Since January, New Democrats have spoken with impassioned crowds that have expressed their concerns about the uncertainty of affordable health care coverage.
President Trump and Congressional Republicans have taken steps toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act, even after the New Democrat Coalition sent letters urging Trump and Republicans to work on bipartisan policy solutions that will help all Americans. In January, New Dem Members sent a letter to Speaker Ryan strongly opposing his plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Access to lifesaving health care is not a partisan issue, and any improvements to the ACA will only occur through bipartisan cooperation. In February, the New Democrat Coalition Leadership team sent a letter to President Trump urging him to do his job so Congressional lawmakers can start doing theirs. The Coalition called for Trump to stop the inflammatory rhetoric coming from the White House and instead focus on policies that will grow the economy, create more opportunity for all, and make government work better.
Both letters have remained unanswered, but that has not stopped New Democrats from continuing to fight for access to affordable health care for their constituents. More than 200 people showed up for New Democrat Chair Emeritus Ron Kind’s listening session in Wisconsin.
“He was also able to do something that Republicans battered at town meetings might envy: He thanked everyone for their civility,” reported the New York Times.
New Democrat Coalition Vice-Chair Terri Sewell hosted a tele-town hall with rural hospital administrators to discuss the future of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid.
“The feedback I received from our rural administrators on today’s call gave me valuable insight into what progress made under the ACA needs to be built upon and how we can improve access to care for rural Alabamians,” said Rep. Sewell.
Many Members have responded to the floods of requests from grassroots organizations to organize town halls.
Rep. Joaquin Castro addressed a crowded town hall and constituents’ concerns around the looming uncertainty on Capitol Hill. Constituents praised Rep. Castro for hosting the event:
“It’s awesome he showed up here. Any and all lawmakers should have to deal with the people that elected them,” a Texas constituent said. “They need to rub shoulders with their voters.”
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney has had an ongoing town hall series and has given constituents an opportunity to share any questions, comments, and concerns they have on Facebook. Rep. Maloney has taken his outreach to social media to reach a wider audience of constituents. Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida heard directly from a crowd of over 550 constituents at his town hall. Watch highlights of Rep. Crist, former Republican Governor of Florida, at his town hall.
Members have been inspired to take action on behalf of their constituents.
Rep. Scott Peters talked about standing his ground with the President, “I don’t want to be the ‘Party of No.’” After hearing from constituents, Rep. Peters sent a letter demanding that Speaker Ryan give the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) time to “score” the substantive changes to the Republican healthcare repeal bill before scheduling it for a vote in the House.
New Democrats have continued working to reach across the aisle to have an open and honest dialogue on bipartisanship in the age of Trump. New Dems met with the Republican Tuesday Group to explore paths to middle grounds on affordable health care and other legislation, and we hope to continue this dialogue to reach bipartisan compromise on future legislation.
No matter the outcome of the House proceedings today, New Democrats will not stop fighting for access to affordable health care for their constituents and we will not shy away from creating space for their voices to be heard.