Lawmakers are preparing for extensive protests when they recess next week.
From McClatchy DC:
It’s going to be ugly for congressional lawmakers next week back home. If they go home.
Congress Friday begins its first extended recess – dubbed a “district work period” – since Donald Trump became president January 20. It returns to Washington February 27.
“As I’ve told our staff in the district, ‘Be prepared next week that we go home, everywhere we go there’s going to be droves of people coming out,’ ” said Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
The anger is bipartisan and bifurcated and has already erupted in town hall meetings and at local congressional offices over the past few weeks.
Democrats and liberals are upset about efforts by Trump and congressional Republicans to kill the Affordable Care Act, outraged over Trump’s immigration executive order, and irate over most of the president’s cabinet picks.
Republicans are slowly showing independent streaks. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos came within a single vote of not being confirmed by the Senate, and Andy Puzder, Trump’s first nominee for labor secretary, pulled out because he lacked enough Senate Republican support.
While several lawmakers describe the protests as noise, Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen, a nonpartisan government watchdog group, said the furor back home will matter.
“People are clearly upset,” Holman said. “We have seen the impact on members of Congress – we have canceled town hall meetings. This is being talked about at kitchen tables throughout the country.”
When Congress returns, it has a lengthy list of more controversial confirmations, including Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. And it plans to take a serious look at how to replace Obamacare and pay for a U.S.-Mexico wall.
Yet a lot of Senate and House members won’t see much of their constituency.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, for example, will be out of the country on congressional business. His GOP colleague, Sen. Thom Tillis, will be on a congressional trip touring the U.S.-Mexican border.
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida, will be among 16 congressional lawmakers attending the annual Munich Security Conference in Germany.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has not set up office hours and currently has no public appearances scheduled. He, too, is scheduled to be out of the country. Blunt plans to speak at the GOP’s Lincoln Days in Springfield, Missouri February 25. Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Senate Homeland Security Committee's top Democrat, will be touring the U.S.-Mexico border next week.
Their absences won’t stop the protests at home.
In North Carolina, members of Indivisible Charlotte, an offshoot of a national group created after Trump’s election by former Democratic staffers, are planning to hold a Tillis-less town hall meeting next week after they say the senator repeatedly rebuffed the requests of Indivisible NC groups to attend a town hall.
“It’s going to be the very town hall that he should support to listen to his constituents, to hear what’s going on, to hear their concerns,” said Scott Huffman, 55, a Charlotte tech entrepreneur who formed Indivisible Charlotte.
Read more here: (Link: www.mcclatchydc.com)