Shea-Porter discusses 'great divide' in Washington, holds out hope for the future
LACONIA — First District Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., got a warm reception during a town hall Tuesday at Laconia Middle School.
The seat of Belknap County, Laconia is the largest city in New Hampshire north of Concord. In the 2016 elections, Laconia voted solidly for Donald Trump, who won five of its six wards. Shea-Porter won just two.
Addressing about three dozen people in the school’s all-purpose room, several of whom wore Carol Shea-Porter T-shirts, the four-term lawmaker pointed out the obvious: the current legislative term has been a difficult one.
There have been bright spots, however, including bipartisan agreement on the Veterans Choice program, “and we don’t have funding for the wall, yet.”
“The ACA (Affordable Care Act) is still there,” she said, although it’s sustained “a lot of damage.”
Despite there being a “great divide” in Washington D.C., Shea-Porter said there were nonetheless “a lot of private conversations” occurring among Democrats and Republicans.
“We are at least trying” to have those conversations,” she said.
Asked about the possibility of a government shutdown on Oct. 1 if a new spending resolution is not approved, Shea-Porter said Democrats want “a clean bill,” not one laden with “all the things they want”, in referring to the conservative Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives.
As to things looking hopeless from a Democratic perspective, Shea-Porter disagreed.
“There is hope, actually,” she said, noting that in January the Republicans “were calling Democrats sore losers and in June they were issuing subpoenas” in the multiple investigations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, “and the fact they did that is enormous.”
She pointed out that some Republicans are “acting a lot more independent” and that the national discourse is moving toward the GOP becoming more vocal in its criticism of the President.
Both political parties, she said, are “remembering that we don’t work for the President” and that Congress is “not supposed to be a rubber stamp.”
As to what the House can do to protect FBI Director Robert Mueller from being removed by Trump from investigating Russian meddling, Shea-Porter said the Senate has taken steps to prevent the President from making any recess appointments.
Both Republicans and Democrats feel Mueller “is the right person” for the job, she said.
Despite the highly partisan tone in Washington, “I personally am encouraged and I say that all the time,” said Shea-Porter, because the House has passed a budget and because other work is getting done there.
Shea-Porter advised the audience to be patient.
“Everything changes, nothing stays the same,” she said. “Keep writing, keep calling, keep telling the story.”
She said she has a good disposition because “I’ve lived long enough and all things change. Change will come.”