Holdout Republican Senators Are Being Embraced By Home-State Crowds for Opposing Trumpcare

Others are staying far away.

With the memory of Spring’s rowdy town hall events fresh in their minds, Senate Republicans largely appear to be dodging public events with voters—many of whom are expressing anger over the party’s plans to kill Obamacare—while back home for the current recess. 

Only a handful participated in their local Fourth of July parades, historically friendly ground for lawmakers returning to their home states. The common thread among these lawmakers? Their criticism of their own party’s legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.), who has said she would oppose the Senate-generated Better Care Reconciliation Act barring significant amendments, was one of the Republican senators to appear at local festivities, where she was met with appreciation.

“What I’ve been hearing the entire recess is people telling me to be strong, that they have a lot of concerns about the health care bill in the senate, they want me to keep working on it, but they don’t want me to support it in its current form,” Collins said during Tuesday’s parade in Eastport.

“Most people don’t ask ‘for or against,’ ” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), another Republican senator who has signaled she may vote “no” on the bill, told the Washington Post during a Fourth of July event in Wrangell. “They just say, ‘Make sure you’re taking care of our interests.’ In fairness for those that do the ‘for or against,’ everybody is pretty much [saying] they don’t think this is good for us.”

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who in April faced hostile constituents over his position on heath care and Planned Parenthood funding, also made the rare Fourth of July appearance, days after breaking with Republicans by announcing he too did not support the current form of the bill. (The Nevada senator’s seat is considered to be one of the most endangered in the 2018 midterm elections; pressure on Heller grew Thursday, when Democrat Rep. Jacky Rosen officially announced her bid to challenge his Senate seat.) 

Apart from participating in parades, only four Republican senators scheduled town hall events during the recess—Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)—according to the Town Hall Project. So far, they’ve been greeted by protesters. That’s unlikely to change.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate