GOP Sen. Faces Tough Questions On Health Care, Trump At Town Hall

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 01: Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., listens to David Shulkin, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, testify during his Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, February 1, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQPHO

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on Wednesday morning faced a crowd of more than 200 people with questions about Republicans’ plans to repeal Obamacare and the Russia probes, according to the Times-Picayune.

Cassidy was met with both cheers and jeers as he answered questions from constituents submitted in advance. Most questions centered on the Republican health care plan, per the Times-Picayune.

At one point, Cassidy tried to lay out the major points he would like to see in a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, such as making sure people don’t have a gap in coverage and caring for those with pre-existing conditions. When he mentioned that President Donald Trump pledged to eliminate the ACA mandates “because Americans hate the federal government telling them what to do,” a few members of the audience could be heard saying, “No,” according to a clip from the event aired by MSNBC.

“You all may disagree with him, but that’s what he said,” Cassidy replied.

At that point, one member of the crowd could be heard saying, “He lost by 3 million votes,” a reference to Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory.

The room where the town hall was held at the St. Tammany Parish School Board office was at capacity, per the Times-Picayune, which left some outside chanting, “Do your job!”

Cassidy also faced tough questions about Trump’s potential ties to Russia and the investigations into Russia’s election meddling.

He was asked if he would back an expanded Russia probe, and Cassidy replied that he thinks the congressional intelligence committees can handle the investigation. Cassidy said that he has a lot on his plate as a senator, according to the Times-Picayune.

A town hall attendee then told Cassidy that “if the president is a traitor that should be the biggest thing on your plate,” per the Times-Picayune.

Pressed further by that attendee on the Russia probe, Cassidy noted that he is not on the committee charged with the investigation, according to a clip aired by MSNBC.

“Well, I’m not the special counsel. And I’m not on that committee of jurisdiction. At some point, the — not to say I don’t follow it and not to say I don’t intend to learn — I already go to classified briefings. Actually, the special counsel actually is asking some material not to be shared with Congress yet because he is keeping it in his office to review,” he said.

During the town hall, Cassidy also said he was not bothered by the reports that Trump is planning on pulling out of the Paris climate agreement.

“I’m actually neutral on whether we pull out of the Paris Accord or not,” he said, according to the Times-Picayune.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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