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Signs held aloft during a contentious town hall with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) last week. (Photo: AP)

To Resist and Reclaim, Hundreds of Recess Events Planned to Target Lawmakers

Planned Parenthood alone, on the heels of a GOP defunding vote this week, is planning hundreds of hometown events

Deirdre Fulton

Members of Congress are heading home this weekend amid a high likelihood of encountering angry—and empowered—constituents who are ready to confront them at town halls and other gatherings.

GOP lawmakers in particular (those who don't hide from the people who put them in office, of course) will face difficult questions about past and future votes, as well as demands they hold President Donald Trump accountable.

"Next week's recess is our biggest opportunity yet to make sure that Republicans who side with Trump are held accountable and that Democrats understand that using every single tool at their disposal to block Trump's toxic agenda is not just justified, but absolutely necessary for our democracy—and our most cherished values—to survive the Trump era," said Victoria Kaplan, organizing director for MoveOn.org, which is coordinating a national "Resistance Recess" effort. 

With House Republicans having passed a bill Thursday that allows states to withhold federal family-planning dollars from Planned Parenthood affiliates and other health centers that provide abortions—paving the way for defunding the organization entirely—Planned Parenthood and its supporters are gearing up for hundreds of rallies and events during the Congressional recess. 

According to The Hill:

Some of those events include a rally outside Alaska’s statehouse and a rally in Milwaukee, Wis. on Feb. 25 to tout the organization's support and push back on efforts to defund it.

Patients from Speaker Paul Ryan's district are planning to attend. Last month, the Wisconsin Republican said that defunding Planned Parenthood will be part of Obamacare repeal.

There will also be two town halls in Nevada: one in Reno next Wednesday and another in Las Vegas next Thursday. The group said it will be contacting and showing up at Sen. Dean Heller's (R-Nev.) office to invite him to attend. Heller, who is up for reelection in 2018, is Senate Democrats' biggest target in the midterm elections.

Others—many with the help of materials from the Indivisible Guide and Resistance Recess—are mobilizing around issues including healthcare and the Affordable Care Act; President Donald Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch; and immigration.

Members of online women's advocacy group UltraViolet Action plan to attend more than 125 events "designed to let Republican members of Congress know the full size of the pro-woman, pro-healthcare movement—and how their constituents are staunchly against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act," according to a statement. The group specifically plans to target Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) with a billboard and postcard campaign, respectively.

"Congressional Republicans, led by President Trump, want to take us back to a time where women paid more for health insurance and millions of Americans died unable to affordable care," said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet Action. "Our message is simple: we won't let this happen."

Meanwhile, Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action is launching a social media ad campaign on Friday "designed to inform voters about local events held by GOP lawmakers in their area," Politico reports. The ads, targeting "more than a dozen such town halls," direct people to Indivisible's "Reclaim Recess" site.

"The upcoming recess week promises to provide even more scenes of grassroots activism by everyday citizens concerned about our country's future," Guy Cecil, the PAC's chairman, told Politico. "We are inspired by Indivisible and couldn't be prouder to partner with them to empower those who want to make their voices heard and engage in social action. Republican lawmakers who refuse to stand up to Donald Trump should be prepared to answer for that to their constituents over the coming week, and beyond."

The Town Hall Project also has a comprehensive list of upcoming town halls and other such events.

Follow the action under the hashtags #ReclaimRecess and #ResistanceRecess:


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