For some Texas congressmen, the long-awaited recess from Washington might not be as pleasant as they anticipated.
Liberal groups looking to draw attention to key Republican votes during this month’s budget meltdown in Washington have descended on events attended by U.S. Reps. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, and Francisco “Quico” Canseco, R-San Antonio.
Protesters, spurred into action by what they see draconian cuts to essential services, will likely continue to mobilize until members return to Washington.
“They will certainly be loud about how they feel the members voted,” said Lauren Weiner, the deputy communications director of Americans United for Change. Weiner credited the grassroots efforts of groups like MoveOn, which protested at Hensarling’s event at the Lakewood Country Club in Dallas, for garnering the attention she says will likely increase. “I do know that these members are all in their district for the next month and some are a lot more accessible than others," she said.
Canseco and Hensarling told local media outlets they were open to debating the issues, and were actually trying to reform entitlement programs like Medicare, not eliminate them. But Canseco also drew fire for allegedly refusing to meet with constituents, something he denied doing.
Weiner said it is one thing to meet with constituents of all stripes and take some heat, and another to only wade in to friendly waters.
“They’re hiding behind a lot of these paid events,” she said. “Even though it’s technically open to the public, you’re asking to charge $25. A lot of these people protesting are unemployed. That’s really not an option just to talk to a member of Congress.”