Times Herald-Record: Protesters denounce Faso’s vote for GOP health-care bill

http://www.recordonline.com/news/20170505/protesters-denounce-fasos-vote-for-gop-health-care-bill

KINGSTON – A hard rain drenched demonstrators outside the office of Rep. John Faso on Friday, but it did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm for getting the Republican out of Congress.

Umbrellas bloomed as about 200 demonstrators planted themselves on the sidewalk in front of Faso’s office on Broadway.

They pointed their signs at traffic driving by, and the blare of car horns mingled with chants of “Na, na, na, na; hey, Faso, goodbye.”

Faso joined 216 other Republicans on Thursday to vote for the GOP legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare in the House of Representatives. The bill needed 216 for approval and no House Democrats voted for it, so Faso’s vote was key to its passage. That swelled the ire and the size of the regular Friday anti-Faso crowd.

Faso’s office staff declined to comment on the protest, which started at noon and lasted for more than an hour. In a statement on his web site Thursday, the 19th Congressional District representative said the changes made to the American Health Care Act were enough to warrant his vote in favor of it. He did not attend the celebration of the legislation’s passage that President Donald Trump held at the White House, Faso’s spokesperson said.

On Friday, protesters said that with his vote, Faso had abandoned thousands of residents in the district - which includes Ulster and Sullivan counties - who would be harmed if the legislation becomes law. The bill now moves to the Senate.

“He decided that giving tax breaks to the wealthy is more important than making sure his people are taken care of,” Callie Jayne said as she stood on the sidewalk. She is a lead organizer of Citizen Action of New York, which organizes the weekly demonstrations at Faso’s Kingston office.

The demonstration Friday was larger than in the past, something she attributed to the vote on Thursday. The increase in numbers was encouraging, she said, but she has a larger goal.

“It is up to us as a community to get out and make sure that everybody does know what John Faso did so we can stay organized and mobilize so that he is a one-term guy.” A chorus of “Vote him out” rose from the crowd behind her.

Many of the demonstrators carried signs of support for Planned Parenthood. The House legislation cuts funding to the organization.

“We are looking at about 12,000 patients that would no longer be able to access the services they have come to rely upon for their health care,” Frances Fox-Pizzonia said. She is with Planned Parenthood of the mid-Hudson Valley. “We believe he is using woman as collateral damage. ... People need to continue to speak up, speak out.”

Chris Koenig opened the door of his insurance office next to the location of Faso’s office and asked for someone to move the anti-Faso sign propped on the steps.

“They are entitled to say what they want to say, just don’t get in the way of my customers,” he said as he sat behind the counter in the office.

Koenig uses Obamacare for health insurance. He pays $460 a month for it. The deductible is $3,500 a year. He can afford it, but a lot of people can’t, he said.

“I hope the rates come down and the deductibles are more affordable,” he said.

He said he voted for Trump – after voting twice for Barack Obama as president. “I blame both sides,” he said.

FasoCaroline KavitNY