• WisPolitics


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

 11:47 AM 

Feingold, Petri listening sessions remain contentious

A pair of Wisconsin lawmakers are finding similar levels of frustration with health care reform in January as the rest of the country did this past summer.

U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac, and U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Middleton, have held numerous town hall events while Congress recessed this month. Despite both chambers passing their versions of health care reform late last year, the lawmakers are hearing from angry constituents as final negotiations on the health care bill heat up.

Feingold was on the receiving end of calls to step down from the Senate over his support of health care reform at a listening session in Pewaukee Monday.

"We are fed up and you better get your resume ready," said one attendee at the Pewaukee listening session. Feingold began his annual series of county listening sessions this month, defending the health care reform effort during additional stops in Hartford, Mequon, Appleton, Oshkosh, Rhinelander, and before business leaders in Kenosha.

"My job is to look at the balance. And I think the benefits to Wisconsin outweigh the negatives," Feingold told his audience at UW-Oshkosh. "Changing health care is one of the most important things we can do to reduce spending."

Petri is also hearing from constituents even after voting against the House version of the health care bill. He wrapped up a six-day, 12-city tour of the 6th CD on Saturday.

An attendee at his Fond du Lac listening session told Petri, "I want you to continue to vote no until we know exactly what's in (the health care bill)."

"We have had good attendance, and a lot of concerned citizens have been particularly concerned about changes that are being proposed in bills before the House and Senate in the health care system, but there are also concerns about the federal deficit and state of the economy," Petri said in a statement on his tour.

The House returns to the floor today, while the Senate returns next week. Feingold's county listening session tour continues this week with events in Marinette, Lena, Wescott and Wrightstown.

UPDATE: Fox News' "On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren" ran a story on Feingold's Pewaukee listening session, interviewing a local Republican who attended the event as well as Joe Petrie, who covered the listening session for the Waukesha Freeman.


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