Fifteen to 20 people gathered outside the Mishawaka office of U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski Thursday, Aug. 15, part of the group’s bid to strip the Affordable Care Act of funding.
The demonstrators held signs and spoke with passers-by, voicing their call for the Republican lawmaker to hold a town hall meeting during the congressional recess this month. The broader aim is to press Walorski in a public forum to pursue moves to de-fund Obamacare, President Obama’s controversial overhaul of the health care system.
FreedomWorks, a conservative Washington, D.C.-based group, called for the rally, one of many they’re sponsoring at lawmakers’ offices around the country. Representaties from the Libertarian Party of Indiana were also on hand.
Ty Bancroft of New Carlisle, who took part in the rally, said afterward via phone that their concerns don’t end with word from Walorski’s office that she’ll hold a town hall meeting Aug. 21 in Rochester. The participants want the opportunity to speak directly to Walorski on their calls to pull funding for Obamacare, central in their push to halt the initiative, which they oppose.
FreedomWorks and some conservative U.S. House members have touted a strategy of stripping funding for Obamacare via an anticipated continuing resolution that Congress is expected to take up on funding of future U.S. government operations.
“That continuing resolution is coming and that’s specifically what we want to talk about,” Bancroft said.
If the GOP-led House passes a resolution stripping Obamacare of funding, the Democrat-led Senate would likely reject the measure, potentially leading to a government shutdown. But as proponents of the anti-Obamacare effort see it, responsibility for the shutdown would rest with Senate Democrats and the Obamacare foes would have political leverage to press their cause.
Walorski’s office said in a statement Wednesday that the lawmaker, who has repeatedly voiced opposition to Obamacare, has signed on to a letter distributed by U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., that asks that funding be stripped from the president’s health care plan. Bancroft said he hopes “she won’t budge.”
Joe Ruiz, who vied as a Libertarian in 2012 for the post now held by Walorski, also attended Thursday’s rally. He expressed mixed feelings about the planned Rochester rally, saying a lawmaker ought to make him or herself available at multiple locations during the summer congressional break, accessible to as many constituents as possible.
Traveling to Rochester for the planned town hall meeting, about 40 miles south of South Bend, may not be easy for some. The Rochester meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 21, according to Walorski’s office.
The U.S. Congress is set to go back into session Sept. 9.