Last night, Congressman Cao faced hard questioning from a room of New Orleanians, and most of the smaller-than-expected crowd of about 60 was loudly dissatisfied with his answers.
Cao’s office apparently was nervous about public expressions of opinion they couldn’t control. In advance of the event, they attempted to forbid local organizers from passing out information about the state of health care in Louisiana.
The evening was dominated by questions about medical insurance, as one person after another tried to pin down the Congressman to a stance on the White House’s health care reform bill. Cao would only repeat that he was for reform, but not necessarily this bill. Questioners asked if Cao was more responsive to donors and supporters such as Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions than he was to his constituents.
One position that Congressman Cao did commit to was a stance against federal funding for abortions. In response, a woman in the audience gave an impassioned declaration that, as a man, he should not try tell women what to do with their bodies – to wide support from the room. Other audience members responded that, regardless of anyone’s opinion on the issue, the White House bill would not overturn the already-existing Hyde Amendment, which already prohibits such funding. Cao disagreed.
Finally, in response to a question from Tracie Washington of Louisiana Justice Institute, Congressman Cao declared that he would not support a health care reform bill that did not specifically prohibit federal funding for abortion. Many in the room expressed frustration and anger at his stance. One speaker declared that Cao was standing against the bill, but they did not see him standing for anything, especially Louisiana.