Two Super Congress Republican members, Rep. Fred Upton (MI) and Sen. Pat Toomey (PA) found themselves confronting angry constituents at home this week, being pressured on tax increases and job creation. In hard-hit Michigan, Upton conceded that he'd be open to tax "reform" that closed some loopholes, but that didn't go far enough for many attendees at his town meeting.
During his 45-minute appearance at the Coover Center, Upton was continually interrupted by people in the audience. Most shouted comments and questions about growing jobs in Michigan and what Upton plans to do.
About 20 people who appeared to be in an organized group sometimes broke into chants. They declined to identify who they were with, with one woman telling a photographer her name is "I am jobs."
At one point, as Upton was talking about reducing the cost of Medicare and ensuring its solvency, a man shouted, "Where are the jobs on your chart?"
A woman stood up and started yelling at Upton, and the group begain chanting "bring back jobs."
They did force Upton to speak on jobs, to talk about his efforts to get an Indiana-based company to increase production in Michigan, but as for a national jobs program, according to this report, Upton didn't have answers.
Toomey's constituents apparently had far less success in getting a response out of their senator on jobs. In fact, they couldn't even get a meeting with him.
Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's stock has been rising rapidly in Washington, as the freshman was named last week to the crucial 12-member "super committee" that will try to resolve the nation's growing debt crisis.
But his stock hit rock bottom today with Shawn Wygant of Forest Hills, who was recently laid off from Pittsburgh-based Sodexo Co., plus about 20 other members of liberal and union groups who gathered in a steady rain outside his office here.
"We want Pat Toomey to meet with the people who voted him in, but the only ones he meets with are big business owners," Mr. Wygant said. "I lost my job and my health insurance but Pat Toomey doesn't worry about that. We want to have a town hall meeting with him by early September so we can get more jobs."
Another laid-off worker, Dan Haney of Philadelphia, said he's been traveling to Toomey offices in Eastern Pennsylvania, and "He said he'd meet with us who lost our jobs but he won't give us a time and a place. He campaigned on bringing jobs to people but we haven't seen it yet. Rich people pay little or no taxes and it's sickening."
However, the protesters are on a different page than Mr. Toomey. Just after being named to the super committee last week, he said that major tax hikes "are not going to be part" of the effort to reduce the nation's $14 trillion deficit. He said he was looking toward reductions in "entitlement programs," such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which are among the biggest items in the federal budget.
There is, however, a bipartisan message coalescing in the Super Congress. Tax "reform" in the form of closing loopholes. Clyburn says that's the only revenue hike on the table, and even Toomey says "all kinds of deductions and write-offs and special-interest loopholes" need to be eliminated.
But he doesn't have anything to say about jobs.